MOVarazzi

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

679. Memory Is A Game

Did you ever play the Memory Game? We bought it when Tall was still in diapers (okay, he wasn’t even crawling yet) so he could hone his memory skills from the crib.

It worked.

I sit down on the couch to play the Memory Game with him. We lay out all 100 square tiles (50 matching pairs) on our large wood coffee table, face down, and mix them up. I let him go first, because I want him to win. It will help boost his self-confidence. Turns out, I didn’t really need to worry about that.

He randomly flips over two squares, no match. I methodically flip over the two closest to me, stare at them, and will myself to memorize them. I go so far as to announce them out loud, as if we are at a wedding announcing the new bride and groom: “Introducing for the first time ever, the happy couple Zebra and Mouse! Congratulations!” Zebra and mouse zebra and mouse zebra and mouse, far left and next to it, zebra and mouse.

Wait, what did Tall have again? Did he have pony and grasshopper? Or was it horse and ladybug? And were his right in the middle, or slightly above the middle? What did I have again? One was gray. Did I have armadillo?

Tall flips over two more tiles, one is a zebra. Aha! I place my hand on it the second he removes his. One zebra and one … mouse? No! Nooooooooo! I just did that square! What happened to the other zebra?

Tall’s turn. Two zebras. Yay for him. He gets a bonus turn. A cat and a dolphin. My turn. I methodically flip over the squares on the bottom row. Dolphin and dinosaur. Wait, what kind of dinosaur is it? Is that a T-rex? Or triceratops? Maybe it’s a pterodactyl. Are there more than one kind of dinosaur mixed in this game? Should I just say “dinosaur”? Is that good enough?

“Mom, it’s my go. Flip your stegosaurus back over. Hurry up.”

I reluctantly do as instructed. He (unsurprisingly) gets two dolphins. He flips another new card to reveal a grasshopper and then he remembers where the other one was (naturally) and makes another pair. “Yes! I found both centipedes!” he cheers.

The game progresses in this fashion until his stack of tiles is teetering and mine is, well, mine I can count on one hand. Where did my memory cells go? This is an easy game, I should be good at this.

The problem is, my memory is already full. It’s got that semester in Italy crammed in there, right next to all the stuff I learned in flight attendant training. Stacked on top of that is the floorplan of my old house in California, including where to get parts for that vintage stove we used to have. I can see what I wore to dinner the first night of our honeymoon. I can still taste our wedding cake (chocolate). There is that memory of me playing Barbies with my little sister. I remember where I hid my mom’s cigarettes so she wouldn’t find them. I remember losing the spelling bee on a simple word (bicolor—yes, I spelled it with a “y”). I know my locker combination from 6th grade. I can vividly recall the precise chemical smell from the first time I got my hair highlighted. I remember the poster I bought at The Tate Gallery in London. I remember realizing later that I'd inadvertently left it on the train. I remember how it felt to hold my infant son for the first time. What it felt like to listen to him breathe. I remember the name of the doctor who delivered him. And the nurse.

My brain is full, so full, names of doctors, teachers, my teachers, my sons’ teachers, friends, neighbors, faces, places, houses, sights, sounds, smells, tastes, feelings. I remember so much. Except where the dolphin tile is.

I tell myself I am letting him win. Yeah, that’s it.

MOV
(“Mom’s Other Victory”)

18 comments:

  1. Beautiful. Really. Now I understand why I can't play that game...too much other stuff in my brain. (That and a car accident many years ago that probably messed with the memory functions of my brain a little.) Frankly, I think I'd rather have the wonderful sights, sounds, smells, feelings, etc., that I have than the knowledge of that one elusive dolphin tile. Priorities. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. No way, drop the smell of diapers and add the dolphin tile. Will it upon yourself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ron, never thought of it that way. You are (obviously) right. I am blocking out diaper smell in my brain AS I TYPE THIS. Thank you for the motivating pep talk!

      Delete
  3. That's in the list of games I hate to play with children. Right up there with Candyland.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oh, Candyland is the absolute worst. Ugh. Thank goodness my kids are finally too old for that.

      Delete
    2. and congrats on your winning sheep from Stephanie! yay!

      Delete
  4. I always sucked at it, too. My mind was like "OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGODSOMETHINGINTERESTING" because I have an IQ of about 200 (which is crippling) and I was so focused I was unfocused.

    -Motaki, Aspiring Falconer

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 200? I would like to be crippled with a 200. The only 200 I've ever seen in my life time was when I was 8 months preggers and the scale crept up dangerously close to the 200 mark. Then the 200 was not such a welcome number after all...............

      Delete
  5. This is one of the reasons we have children. They can remember people's names, who we're supposed to pick up from carpool, and where we put our keys. Children = our memory with feet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. can. not. breathe.

      Marianne, "children = our memory with feet"??? that is the funniest line I have ever heard! man, I wish that was the title of my blog! maybe I'll go back and change it now.........

      Delete
  6. Haha! I HATE memory. Seriously. That game gives me hives.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right? Give me a useful game, like poker.

      Delete
  7. I would hate to try to play that game now. I like to play the game, "Forgetful." Yeah, I play that one a lot...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oooh, yes, I could *totally* win at "Forgetful." We're talking world champion status here. And I don't even remember the rules..........

      Delete
  8. Lovely post, can see you both there playing.
    My mum had the bestest memory of anyone. I could call her and hum a tune and she'd tell me what it was. I could ask her for a word that meant 'bla bla bla' and she'd know it. I miss her.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks, julie. so sorry about your mom. she misses you too, I'm sure of it.

      Delete
  9. Have you ever played a game with your little one, but because they are so young, you have to manipulate the game a bit in order to hurry it along. Telling them "Oh look honey, you rolled a 6"(when really they rolled a 2) "Yay you win!! Game is over, you win, Mommy loses. Now Mommy is going to get back to her television shows!"

    But a year passes, they are now 5 years old, and you sit down prepared to "let them win". Only they find the matching dolphins, frogs, and apples all on their own, you haven't helped a bit, and in the process you realize not only have you lost a game, but you have officially lost your memory!

    Don't feel bad MOV, I would only worry if you start forgetting what time Target opens and closes ;) Dolphins? Who needs em!

    ReplyDelete

When you write a comment, it makes me feel like I won the lottery or at the very least like I ate an ice-cream sundae. (This has nothing to do with the fact that I did just eat an ice-cream sundae.)