A child's memory is a peculiar thing. Its workings are a mystery. Like one of the wonders of the world - the Great Wall, Stonehenge, a 7-year-old's random recall. You bribe them with something? That is seared in their brain. They will remember that, until that debt is collected. Next thing you know, you walk out of the bathroom and are startled by a tiny creditor, with a stern expression. "Remember when you said I could have an ice cream cone with sprinkles on it, when I was 3?" You put on your best thinking face. You know damn well you don't remember. It does sound like something you may have used as leverage...in a desperate situation...four years ago. Ice cream with sprinkles for everyone!!!
Get ready to be amazed. You ask your tiny human to pick up their colouring stuff, before they head upstairs. They are looking at you, when you say this. Or looking through you. Looking in your general vicinity, anyways. You ask for acknowledgement, in the form of saying “Okay?”, what feels like 20 times. How many okays does it take before you go cray? I passed that station a long time ago, so I can’t say for sure. “Okaaayyyyy!!!!!!!!” When the response finally comes, it is riddled with annoyance and exasperation. Is this kid serious? But, wait. This is when the magic happens. Literally, three minutes later, he goes upstairs without picking up his things. Oh, hell no! You call him back down. His slumped shoulders and heavy steps down the stairs, accentuate how put out he is by this. You point to the papers and markers all over the table and floor, your eyebrows raise and eyes widen in a non-verbal, WTF? His response – “I forgot”. Ta-Da!!!!
This curious phenomenon is worrisome. Especially this past week, when my oldest asked me a question that I have been dreading. He wanted to know when he could have a sleepover with his friends. Anxiety gasped in horror. She really has no self-control sometimes. As my sweet boy waited expectantly for an answer, I internally willed Anxiety to take that terror stricken look off of her face, and contemplated the extent that my response would be remembered. But that’s the thing with the unexplained, you just never know..... My gut instinct was to scream “NEVER!!!!” but I thought that might be a tad overzealous. So, I went with the comfortably vague “sometime”. That way, when he is twenty and is standing outside the bathroom door, hands on his hips, asking me if I remember when I said he could sleepover at his friend’s house sometime, when he was seven, I can just nod in agreement. Yep, sometime. Take that wonderous childhood memory!
Seconds, minutes, days, years. There is no way to figure out the why and the how of these little beings' memory. I think it it just important to know when to stay ambiguous and use words like "soon" and "sometime" and when to stray off of the okays. Otherwise, the random recall might make you go cray.
Does Mommy need to lose her shit?
Not this week.
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