Children are extraordinary. The exponential growth in physical prowess, social awareness and sheer intelligence I have witnessed in my 5 year olds and my 3 year old (oh, excuse me, 5 AND A HALF year olds and 3 AND A HALF year olds) is nothing short of miraculous. The way they absorb the world around them and learn from every single thing they encounter during the day is simply amazing.

I do have some concerns, though, about whether they might all be suffering from childhood-onset-Alzheimer’s.

Short-term memory does not seem to be a friend of my children’s. They can have a library book in their hand and as we’re walking out the door (five minutes after we were supposed to leave), they won’t have it anymore. And they don’t know what they did with it.

Because they forgot.

Tell them to take off their muddy sneakers before they walk on the carpet, and forty-five seconds later, there’s a size 1 trail of dirt-prints from the front door. Why?

Because they forgot.

Basic questions stump them.

“What did you do in school today?”

“I forget.”

“What’s the letter of the day?”

“I forget.”

“Did you give Mrs. H the note I sent in?”

“I forget.”

I’m sure if I were to spend less time surfing Facebook and more time researching child development (when pigs fly, my friends. When pigs fly.), I would find a legitimate reason why children seem to be unable to remember anything that happened to them in the previous eight hours.

I should clarify here. This memory loss is not absolute. They can remember, with stunning accuracy, a classmate passing gas during word study, vomiting during gym or bringing in a better snack than they did. Those vignettes they can remember with startling detail. (The better to incessantly share at the dinner table, apparently.)

Neither do they have any issue with long-term memory. A few days after Christmas 2010, my husband told them that next year we’ll make them hot chocolate and drive around looking at Christmas lights. Naturally, an entire year later, this is what they remember. Tell them to behave so Santa will come and they conveniently “forget” while one is wrestling the other to the ground in a headlock. Tell them that we’ll get them a motorized scooter when they turn 8 and you can be damn sure that they’re looking for that scooter before the sun comes up on their 8th birthday.

Perhaps the trick is to tell them a year in advance what I want from them. On January 4, 2013, I need you to clean your room. You might have gym, so wear your sneakers. And it might be library day, so make sure you can find your books. Stop hitting your brother, teasing your sister, don’t pick your nose, put the seat down, put the seat up, your dirty socks don’t belong on the floor, change your underwear, quit whining, and for the love of all that is holy, remember to knock before you come into the bathroom!

Pretty sure they’re not going to remember any of that, no matter how many times I tell them.

Does anyone know if Flintstones vitamins come with gingko biloba?

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2 Responses to Um, I forget . . .

  1. Dawn says:

    Oh my gosh! I thought I was the only one with a forgetful kid! We were riding home on the bus from the school field trip to the pumpkin patch, and I asked Ben “What are we going to tell Daddy we did today?” “Um, I don’t know” he responds. HE STILL HAD HIS PUMPKIN ON HIS LAP!!!! Argh!!! We ended up making up a story that we went to the moon and gathered moon rocks. I thought he would think it so crazy that that is what he would tell his dad. Nope. He forgot that too!

  2. My 2 year old daughter’s favorite thing right now is “It’s around here somewhere” as she obliviously looks down and moves her head side to side pretending to search around her feet!!! When you say ‘YOU JUST HAD IT’ she says “Oh, where did it go?” …IT’S A NEVER ENDING CIRCLE!!! Well, until 10 minutes later when she is playing with it like nothing happened!