Childhood Amnesia

SIDE NOTE: Since, I’ve been nominated for the Three Days, Three Quotes Challenge, I’ll be incorporating quotes into my posts for the next three days. Hurrah! That is all…

“Childhood is a short season” -Helen Hayes

Isn’t it weird how most adults’ memories stretch back only to the age of 3? What about that time between our birth and third birthday? Did it just never happen? Try as we may to access that information deeply entrenched in our hippocampus, the faintest and earliest memory we retrieve may be of some bright and colorful birthday party we had when we were six. This phenomenon is officially called Childhood amnesia (Look it up if you don’t believe me, you lovely skeptics).

And it’s not as if nothing worth remembering happened to us before then. In fact, I’m certain that we had a string of notable developmental milestones during that period, including but not limited to:

-Smiling at someone for the first time. Your probable internal response: Wow, my face is doing this weird thing whenever I see someone I like. Oh look! They’re doing the same thing to me!

-Saying your first words. Your probable internal response: I have just uttered words in the same language of my caregivers, and they are going nuts. Seriously, they’ve been videotaping me saying the same thing for over an hour. But I like the attention.

-Taking your first steps. Your probable internal response: Today I have discovered something incredible simply by putting one meaty foot in front of the other. After a few moments, I realized that I was propelling myself forward at an impressive speed! And all this time I thought I was destined to crawl!

And in addition to these essential milestones, just imagine our terrible two’s! We were essentially little, chubby whirlwinds, leaving a wake of destruction in our paths! We were determined to see everything, to touch everything, TO EAT EVERYTHING. The world from our infantile eyes was brighter,  newer, more exciting, and more colorful than anything we can or ever will perceive.

It is for this reason that I find Childhood amnesia so unjust. It is as if some of the most raw, beautiful, and exciting memories have been snatched away from us. While I understand that it’s essentially the brain’s way of saving storage space, I still would like a glimpse of that exciting and wondrous world.


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