Tuesday, July 13, 2010

48. No Memories Here

It is a well-known fact that children do not remember 99% of what happens to them before the age of 5. My own memories from when I was this age consist of me falling off the jungle gym and cracking my head open, and also the exact color and texture of the lunch trays at my preschool. That's it. My mom tells me we went to Hong Kong on a cruise. Nope, doesn't ring a bell. My grandmother used to take me to the toy store and buy me special dolls. No, no recollection whatsoever. Why is it, then, that I knock myself out to provide wonderful "experiences" for my children when merely playing in the backyard would suffice? We have dragged them to dinosaur museums, Air and Space Museums, history museums, the zoo, every park within a 20 mile radius, puppet shows, aquariums, butterfly gardens, the coast, and even the airport. If it is synonymous with "culture", we have tried it. Sometimes I quiz them later to see if they retained anything. Our conversations go something like this: Me: Tall, did you like the American Indian Museum we went to last week? Tall: (thinking hard for a minute and scrunching up his little eyebrows) Do you mean the one with the fountain in front? or, um, no, was it... Me: (cutting him off) YES, that's the one! Tall: Uhhh, I can't exactly remember what I saw there, but the spaghetti they had in their lunch place was definitely better than yours. Next, I quiz Short. Me: Short, what did you think of that new playground Mommy took you to this morning? The one by the Post Office? Wasn't that fun? Short: Shhhhhh, Mom! I am TRYING to watch "Chugginton" and you keep innerupping! Me: (turning off TV) Short! You are being rude to me! I am asking you a question. Short: (mad) Turn my show back on right now, you mean Mommy! Me: Not until you answer my question. I asked you what you thought of the playground we went to. Short: (blank look on his face) We did not go to a playground. Me: (getting frustrated) Yes we did. We just got back 2 hours ago! Short: Have you seen my Avatar toy from McIcky's? Me: (finding my camera) Look, Short, I'll show you. Here. I took a picture of you on the swing! Short: (looking at the picture) Huh, who is that? Me: (triumphant) It's you! Short: It's not me. As you can imagine, I can get quite deflated when my children not only do not appreciate the fact that I took them on some new adventure, but they cannot even remember it from this morning. It is like Alzheimer's, but in reverse. Chilzheimer's. Even though THEY recall virtually NOTHING about it, I vividly remember getting the snacks together, putting the sunscreen on them, spraying everyone with bug spray, getting cold water bottles for them, checking that the camera battery is recharged, packing a change of clothes for both of them (just in case), finding the lost hat, going to the bank to get some quarters for parking meters, filling the tank with gas, printing out MapQuest directions. Tall vaguely remembers the possibility of some sort of fountain. The next day, I take Tall to a local bakery known for its bread. For about one year, I used to go here almost daily with Tall (he was about 2 years old at the time). In the meantime, a new cafe has opened that I prefer, so this one has dropped off my radar. We walk in together and the owner practically jumps across the counter. "Tall!" she screeches, "Is that you? I have not seen you and your mother in, what, maybe 4 or 5 years?" Tall gets a big grin on his face, "Hello, Ms. Marianna. I remember you. My mommy and I used to come here every day and she would always get a chocolate croissant." Ms. Marianna and Tall beam at each other, sharing a memory, like he and I used to share a croissant. MOV ("Memories Of Voyage")

1 comment:

  1. So true. I vividly remember walking to our neighborhood bakery with my Mom and getting a "smiley face" cookie.


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