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How far back can they really remember

(22 Posts)
Klara Thu 28-Apr-05 06:55:30

Just about fell off my chair last night as I was chatting away to my son who is just 2, and asking him who his "friends" at playgroup were. After trotting off the names of his favourite little pals, I asked him "who else are you friends with" and got the extremely satisfying answer of "mummy, daddy etc"...them he said "monika. Monika gone away". Now - Mokia was our first au pair, who we all really loved - but she left 10 months ago - can he really remember her?
How long term are small children's memories? I have to say that in general I think he has an amazing ability to recall pretty arcane things that have happned, but interested to know. I['m sure Monika will be pleased to hear he still remembers her anyhow!


throckenholt Thu 28-Apr-05 07:49:58

I think they can remember things from when they were about 1ish for quite a while - but I think probably by the time they are 3 they will have forgotten things from that far back.

They also have an amazing memory for detail.

BadgerBadger Thu 28-Apr-05 14:37:20

I very nearly drove off the road the other day when DD1 and I were in the car.

She was telling me about the time I cried when she was having an injection "because you were worried mummy. I was fine though Mummy, you didn't need to be sad."

I did cry when she was having her first set of jabs - at 3 months old!

Cristina7 Thu 28-Apr-05 14:39:35

My DH's first proper memory was of tying his shoe-laces. He can't have been that young.

My first memory is of crossing a busy road with mum & dad and telling them that it's like New York. I was in Bucharest, Romania, at the time, and I have no idea how New york came into it. Again, I can't have been that young.

fastasleep Thu 28-Apr-05 14:42:37

I can remember the grimy tiled ceiling in the hospital as I was popped out....

They might remember that far back now I suppose (although very strange!) but I doubt they'll remember much at all from before they're 3 by the time they're 10.

Gizmo Thu 28-Apr-05 14:49:26

Ooooh, you'd be surprised, fastasleep. I remember quite a number of small 'flashes' from the first house we ever lived in, that we left when I was just over 2.

Including a birthday party (mine) which I must assume was my second birthday. These aren't detailed 'story' memories but little bits of video that last 5-10 secs generally.

fastasleep Thu 28-Apr-05 14:53:19

I hope my DS doesn't remember his operation and hospital stays, he was 5 months old for the worst bit... I've heard that things that are a real emotional upheaval stick in your memory for a lot longer... I remember hiding under a table for no apparent reason when I was about 2 and eating a boiled egg with the shell still on and mum yelling at me from about the same age! [confused face!]

fuzzywuzzy Thu 28-Apr-05 14:54:36

did you eat the entire shell FA??

BadgerBadger Thu 28-Apr-05 15:10:29

I remember at about a year old, carrying a tin of golden syrup from the kitchen, through the dining room and into the living room with it spilling from the tin all the way!

I do remember a certain amount of emotional upheavel over that one, on the part of my mother that is!

fastasleep Thu 28-Apr-05 15:13:10

Yes I ate the whole shell... I distinctly remember mum going 'STOP PLAYING GAMES! Where have you hidden it!!!???'

tweetyfish Thu 28-Apr-05 15:19:34

DP can also remember flashes from when he was 3/4. I can barely remember last week on some days! Actually, my mum gets quite upset as most of my youngest memories are from when I've been told off/hurt/sad. I was a very good girl so didn't get told off much, but it seems to have stuck!

piffle Thu 28-Apr-05 15:21:30

my son now 11 can only remember as far back as 2.5, he only remembers very vague facts like our best friends red car, he does remember HER though!

FLUM Thu 28-Apr-05 15:24:00

I can't remember much until was about 6.

dd stayed with MIL for a month with me when she was 9 months. we went back for another stay when she was 12 months. When I said 'dogdog' she immediatly looked down and around for the dogs. i was quite surprised she seemed to remember the dogs

JanH Thu 28-Apr-05 15:24:06

I have a couple of memories from about age 4, both involving dogs (one bit me, the other ripped up the kitchen lino, major trauma for my mum).

Klara, you will have talked about Monika since she left, so it's probably a combination of his memory and things he's heard. Dunno about BB's DD's injections though!

trinityrocks Thu 28-Apr-05 15:36:19

I'm sure I can remeber one little 2 sec shot of the room I was in and the feeling I had when I was a baby and I cried for my mum in the night and I was feeling " I know that my mummy is coming now"
but after that I don't remeber thing much before 5 or 6 and then they are just short bits and vague visions of people and such

KarenThirl Thu 28-Apr-05 16:22:08

A friend of mine in her 50s once told me that she can clearly remember being sat in her Silver Cross pram, parked outside of Woolworths in the days when it was OK to do that sort of thing, watching the rain bounce off the waterproof cover and wondering if she screamed loud enough would her mum come out and get her. She couldn't remember whether or not she DID scream, but the thought was there.

Noggermum Thu 28-Apr-05 16:41:16

My DD (22 months) was playing happy land the other day and she had a nurse figure. I told her that the nurse made poorly people bettter and she pointed to her arm and made the nurse kiss it better. She broke her arm and had to go to hospital at 14 months old - I thought she had completely forgotten but obviously she remebers the experience very well. I am now paranoid about all the times i displayed crap parenting technique.

Louise1980 Thu 28-Apr-05 16:54:41

Just this morning on the way to school my ds1 whi was 4 in dec told me about the time he had a needle put into his head. He told me it was dark and he was crying but I didnt cuddle him.

I was in labour at the time!! I cant recall telling him this although I have mentioned his scare on occasions but I told him it happened when he was in my tummy not how!

Can he remember or was it just coincidence?

suedonim Thu 28-Apr-05 17:23:04

I can't recal much, if anything bedfore about 4yo but dh remembers being in hospital in South Africa with measles when he was 18mths. What he didn't know until recently was that his mum was also hospitalised with measles at the same time!

Ds1 remembers falling down the stairs when he was about 21mths and the house we lived in when he 18mths to 2.3yrs. He also remembers what he had for tea(!) the day ds2 was born( He has a pretty good memory for his young days.

TwinSetAndPearls Fri 29-Apr-05 16:46:23

My earliest memory must have been when I was about three. My mum, my sister and me were in a grotty bedsit, I can remeber the red throw or blanket, those awful ribbed ones from the seventies. My mum must have had to work nights or leave us alone because I can remember her being dressed up with make up on and her standing in the doorway telling us that we should go to sleep and we mustn't make a noise and she would be back soon. I don't hvae another memory for about a year, waiting for a train to take us to live with my gran.

I have a vague memory of running around in circles in a house where all the doors met in the middle of the house. My mum says it was her grandfathers house and I was last their at about three, what is odd is that i cannot remember the time I cut my head open doing just this. although I still have the scar!

Studies suggest that our earliest memories do come from about this age. It has been suggested that we do not remember earier memories because our view of the world was so different, being little and toddling about, perhaps memories would be aroused if we crawled on the floor! It may also be that in our pre languistic days of toddlerdom we coded memories in a different way than we do now we can talk and therefore we cannot access those early pre langiage memories.

hamster Fri 29-Apr-05 17:03:23

I remember back till I was 2. My earliest memory was going with my Gran to the hospital to visit my Mum and new baby sister. I think it was mainly because such a big thing was made of it.

Everyone's different though I suppose. I have heard of people remembering birth, whether it's true or not is another matter!

starlover Fri 29-Apr-05 17:05:18

my first memory is from when I was about 1.
i remember a red car in our back garden and finding a bubble stick thing in it and my brother taking it from me.

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