Memories

September 25, 2008 at 4:50pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

I always thought kids were supposed to have really poor memories. My niece can barely tell you what she did yesterday and she’s four and a half. But not Robert. That kid seems to have an incredible memory. Here’s the latest example:

Back in late winter or early spring (January or February, I think), Robbie went to the circus. He was a few months shy of two years old. When he came home, he told me all about the things he saw and did. Most of it was gibberish—his vocabulary was pretty small, after all—but it was told with enthusiasm. He talked about the circus for weeks.

Fast forward to a couple days ago. I was sitting on the couch while Robbie played. Out of the blue, Robbie started talking about the circus. He hadn’t talked about the circus in ages, so it was a bit of a surprise. He tossed in enough small details, including the bit about seeing elephants pooping, to let me know that he was actually remembering his trip to the circus; he wasn’t just talking about the generic concept of a circus. But then he really threw me for a loop: he started talking about motorcycles. From what I could piece together, he seemed to be talking about a classic daredevil-style motorcycle act. He had never mentioned motorcycles in connection with his trip to the circus before, but he seemed to be genuinely recalling something he had seen. Odd.

Last night I asked The Missus about the circus. “Was there some sort of motorcycle act?”, I inquired. Sure enough, there was. We started talking, and we’re not even sure that Robert knew the word “motorcycle” at the time of the circus.

Now, it’s possible that Robbie was actually talking about something else entirely. Maybe while at daycare he saw a commercial for a circus and it featured motorcycles. But I think it’s cool to think that he may actually remember something from that long ago, and it’s even cooler to think that he may have remembered the motorcycle act without even having the words to describe the act at the time he saw it.

The human brain fascinates me.

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Fletch September 25, 2008 at 6:37pm

I saw your son and better half out walking this morning. Cute kid.

I’m learning all kinds of things right now about the brain, by reading a book called “The Answer.” It’s written by John Assaraf and Murray Smith.

You may recall Assaraf if you’ve ever watched the video of “The Secret” - he’s the one in the vignette where he was in his office with his son, and his son found his old vision board (visuals of goals) that featured a photo of the house he had just moved into.

The science of the brain, and what they’ve discovered in the past decade, is amazing.

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