Posts Tagged ‘ memory lane ’

Do Toddlers Have Memories?

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

BestFriends: Reunited

From almost birth, Fia spent the first 18 months with her friend Teddy. I wrote about how Courtney (Teddy’s mom) and I first connected back in Brooklyn, bonding over tortured writer husbands, sleep deprivation, and baby barf.  When I moved to LA, she was the only person I cried over when saying goodbye.

Fast forward to July. In a crazy twist of fate, Courtney’s husband’s TV show got picked up and they moved to LA. I couldn’t believe my luck. Naturally, they found a house 2 miles away from us. Teddy will go to Fia’s preschool. Courtney’s main priority was being close to me.  We are now seasoned screenwriter wives (Courtney is basically a “TV widow”) and know what the long hours entail.

Side note: We joke that it’s like being married to the Secretary of State. They can be called at all hours and often have to hop on planes or go into a studio at a moments notice. In fact, I never even wrote about this, but Phil had to leave me a day after Emmett was born and crank out a script for 2 days with a figurative gun to his head.  That’s one of the reasons we didn’t have a name for so long. It’s not world peace on the line, but in Hollywood they think it is. Or at least the drama seems just as great.

Anyway, back to memory. Courtney and I wondered if our babies—now toddlers—would remember each other. A third of their life had passed since they had been together.

I told Fia that Teddy was coming over. I asked if she remembered him.  “Yes, and Courtney too,” she said.  I wondered if that was just a good guess? Or if she had heard me saying Courtney’s name?

She was so excited about Teddy’s arrival she sat on the front steps waiting for him.  Out of the car he came. They ran up to each other and hugged. I swear it was a scene from “Sweet Home Alabama,” where Reese Witherspoon sees her childhood love Josh Lucas. That is, if Reese and Josh were toddlers.

It really did seem like Fia and Teddy remembered each other. Is that possible? They’ve been apart from 18 months to 2 years 7 months. According to an article in Parents, the answer is yes and no. And gets too complex for this blog, though it’s interesting, like, ie.. left-handers seem to remember earlier than right-handers.

On a non-scientific note though, this got me thinking what my earliest memory is/was. I have fuzzy/hazy memories of scenes. And I remember distinctly at the age of 7 having a near nervous breakdown when I thought a snapping turtle was after me in a lake. But specific memories? Not so much.

Do any of you have a memory bank back to those toddler years? I know the first few years shape us immensely. Knowing you were safe and loved are factors that affect you the rest of your life. But the memories themselves seem hard to conjure up. At least for me. Will be curious on your thoughts.

At Preschool Together

 

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Milestone Monday: Memory Lane

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Author’s Note: Join me every Monday as I share Fia’s ongoing milestone (mis)adventures–from potty training to talking to everything in between.  Mayhem and mischief guaranteed on Milestone Monday!

A Special Shakey's Moment

When I was a kid, going out to dinner was a treat. My mom (who passed away in June) ran her own plant business and whenever she had one of her sales, if she did well, that was our reward.  The sale was always on a Sunday at our house in the garage she had converted to a greenhouse. We’d run up to her constantly and look in the cash drawer.

“Mom, do you think you’re making enough for us to go to dinner?”

“Not if you guys keep distracting me from my customers,” she’d say with a laugh.

It was always a toss up between Shakey’s Pizza and Ponderosa. Both had the all-you-could-eat salad bar. At Ponderosa, we loved taking the red plastic tray down the line to pick out side dishes. We always brought our lunch to school, so cafeteria style, complete with hot food was like hitting it big time.  And the vinyl booths both places sported? You couldn’t get more chic.

Shakey’s had the arcade. We’d play the games while we waited for our pizza. And we’d always walk out with some form of trinket junk that would inevitably end up on the floor of the car, or in the hamsters cage a week later, with everyone denying who put it there.

On Sunday, it was pouring rain here in LA. I was stir crazy. I begged Phil to go with me to Lamps Plus. We desperately needed light in our living room. He equates lamp stores to the horrible fabric stores his mom dragged him to as a kid. But after much debate, he agreed. I’ll admit, having a hyper 2-year old running through a crowded lamp store screaming “I pooped!” isn’t ideal, but we found two lights so mission accomplished (btw—she didn’t poop. It just happens to be her favorite sentence).

On the way home, I spotted a Shakey’s Pizza.  Phil was game, seeing as his day was already ruined by the PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) of Lamps Plus. We started to reminisce about our childhood Shakey’s experiences. We got excited to take Fia. We agreed it was a milestone—a rite of passage. Granted, she’s a little young, but we’re overachievers.

It was 5 pm and jam-packed. Phil ordered and I took Fia to the arcade, where she touched every button, even the car pedal on the floor. I was totally grossed out. There were kids running everywhere and I could feel the filth in the air. She won a spin top trinket. The perfect choking hazard.  She was so excited putting her tickets into the machine. “More! More!” she kept yelling.

She was in heaven.

At our booth, Fia kept touching the vinyl part that was ripped, laughing, while trying to destroy the hole further. I grabbed the sani-wipes and went to town on everything— the highchair, table, our hands—even the booth.

At the salad bar, I cringed at the cough guard, trying to forget a Dateline special I saw about the germs on those things.

When the pizza came, Phil and I could barely eat it. Granted, we’re snobby NYC pizza lovers, but this stuff tasted worse than frozen. Fia, who is typically a picky eater, devoured it, all the while playing with her choking hazard toy.  And for once in her life, she couldn’t get enough of the garbanzo beans from the salad bar.  At a nice restaurant she will refuse them. Here, they were like candy. She ate about 33 of them.

That night, all I could think of was how gross I felt; how I have to start exercising and eating better. Fia slept the longest she has in months–12 hours.

As a grownup, I’m a snob with a lot of stuff.  And I guess this is one of them.  I can’t say we’re going to become regulars at Shakey’s. Or ever go there again. But even at the expense of my sanity, I’ll admit, it’s fun traveling down memory lane, marveling at how little we cared about things as kids that we adults get so uptight about. This is the part of parenthood that puts life in perspective. In a good way.

Every once in a while we all need a Shakey’s experience. Tell me yours.

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