What is your earliest memory?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
What is your earliest memory?
11
Mon, 06-23-2003 - 8:34am
You know, for years, I have watched every new mom I know spend a small fortune for coordinating linens and matching wood furniture for their baby's nursery.

And I always wonder, why the heck is it so important, when I personally cannot remember what my own bedroom looked like until I was around 5? As an infant, was I more calmed to see that mom had carefully matched the wall art to my room to my crib sheets? Or was it just more important that the appropriate bonds were made and that my needs were met? Recently, the topic of spanking children came up with my mom, and she told me that I had plenty of swats to the bottom between the age of 1 and 3, and after that, I did not need any at all. I don't remember a one. I have to wonder if that really even caused any kind of long-lasting effect on me.

On the flip side, I have to wonder if having been in dc for those same years would have really would have made me less shy for pushing the social part of it on me... or if I would have still become the socially inept, awkward individual that I grew up to become? As parents or child care providers, how much influence do we really hold?? If the constant influence, (parents) are consistently there throughout a lifetime, would those not be the major influences, rather than a dcp who did not go through her daily activities with the children in the same consistency for a few years? Would my adult self be that much different, if my childhood circumstances were not the same?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-22-2000
Mon, 06-23-2003 - 8:48am
My very earliest memories are the flashbulb type, of slamming my thumb in a phone booth door when I was 18 months old, and of my dad coming home from overseas for the 2nd time (and of being scared to death of him) when I was about 2. After that, my earliest clear memory is of preparing for my 3rd birthday party.

I never gave much thought to whether a child would remember what their bedroom looked like when they were a baby. I just figured it was something parents did because they thought it was cute.

I was with my mom 24/7, with very little exposure to anyone else except my brother and sometimes my dad, until I was almost 7 and started school. (There was no kindergarten then and my birthday was 20 days past the deadline, so I started 1st grade just shy of my 7th birthday) I don't know that dc would have been the answer (particularly since no one had heard of such a thing back then!LOL) but SOMETHING would have been good for me...I was kinda like Encino Man when I finally started school! EEKK!!

Cool question.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 06-23-2003 - 10:53am
Gosh, probably the first memory is eating from my high chair in my aunt's kitchen (who my mom said used to watch me pre-2!) I remember my bird from when I was 2-3, my "ollie" a ride-on toy from the same age, I remember the carpet on the stairs of the apartment where we lived (don't ask me why!) & the kitchen table there, the community pool, my rockinghorse, all from before I was 3. I also remember my nanny Nonnie, her cats, her room filled w/magazines, & her sundial in her garden. I distinctly remember my baby sister arriving (when I was 3.5) & the house we were living in at the time & the garden, the patio furniture, the sandbox....

I've always been a very visual person, though, so perhaps that has something to do with having memories from so far back?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 06-23-2003 - 10:07pm
what excellent questions. i have often wondered the same thing. i can remember lots of things as far back as three years old. specifically, learning to tie my shoes at my moms feet while she stood at the changing table changing my sister's diaper. i remember my room when i had a twin bed and lauren was still in the crib. when i was 4yo, we were getting ready for bed, and that day, my gran had washed our curtains. evidently a nail fell on the floor and was sticking straight up, going into my foot when i stepped over next to the bed. my dad swept me up and put me in the tub to wash it off.

being brought up in a very warm, loving home with lots of attention from not only my parents but my extended family, i am sure i would be very different if things were different. as a person with mild depression, i know one of the symptoms is holding on to something that happened in my life that was unpleasant, and this has been very prevelant for me to deal with. considering my parents were/are very loving and warm, my dad was very strict, and i had a hard time with that all my life until i was about 33yo when i finally convinced myself he was doing the best he knew how, and to cut him a break and let it go. i was never abused, but did get quite a few swats across the fanny or upper leg when not behaving in the fashion he wanted me to. my point being, if i were abused, i would probably be in therapy and have a lot of baggage to shed.

so yes im sure things would be different for me, but i am very thankful i had the upbringing i had. having just finished spending the better part of a week with my parents, although i love them, and they love me, i am also very thankful they equipped me to be on my own!!LOL

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-20-2001
Tue, 06-24-2003 - 8:34am
I agree with Beth, you've brought up some great questions. I happen to believe the first few years of a child's life are very important ... not because of memories, but of what the affect of a positive/negative beginning can have for the child. I firmly believe that consistency of a loving thoughtful caregiver does make an impression on young children, the same as does a loving thoughtful parent, it can affect trust for a child. Disrupt that consistent thoughtful care ... trust can fly out the window.

I also happen to believe that shyness is hereditary ... not everyone in the same family will be shy, but some or one will be. My earliest real memory is of my cat, Mr. Tibbs, being run over and a man telling me he was taking Mr. Tibbs to the doctor to get better ... I was 4yo. For a few years, I kept up hope that Mr. Tibbs would soon be home. I must have been 6 or 7 when I accepted that Mr. Tibbs had died and the man was only being kind. To this day if someone or an animal dies I tell children the truth.

Linda

 

Linda - wife, mother, grandmum                     &nb

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-31-2003
Tue, 06-24-2003 - 11:37am
It's an associative memory, but definitely the assassination of JFK. I remember it because of the memory of my father crying; just bawling his eyes out. He used to come home for lunch every day, and we would have the radio on in the kitchen. I remember the crash when Mom dropped the plate she was carrying to the table, and the sound of Chet Huntley's voice once Dad had run to turn on the TV. Above it all, for the next 3 days, the sound of my father sobbing. I was 22 months old.

Aside from that, there isn't much until I was 3; from that point I remember quite a lot. I remember smashing my little finger in the fridge door, and having to have the nail removed (it's still crooked.) I remember the Easter outfit I had at age 3; all yellow lace, even the purse, and horrendously itchy. I remember hiding in the doghouse when my Mom got annoyed with me. I remember lying among the trees in the back garden, and thinking I was seeing the Holy Spirit coming out of the sky; there were pigeons, and the sunbeams made a halo around them, just like the painting in the nave of our church. Mostly, I remember scrubbing things, my mother had me do housework with her all day long. (The one that really sticks was using butter & a toothbrush to remove the black heelmarks on the linoleum under the kitchen table. I was always banging my head on the table legs.) As far as decor, the only thing that impressed me was when I got to pick out a new bed quilt when I was 6, and got my own twin bed; it was white and green, with pots of colorful tulips appliqued on it; we paid for it with S&H green stamps.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-22-2000
Tue, 06-24-2003 - 12:54pm
Wow, I haven't heard anyone talk about S&H green stamps in the longest time! I have a little rocking chair, given to me by my aunt on my 1st birthday, that she bought with S&H green stamps. She was 11 at the time, which I think makes it a cute story. :-)

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-31-2003
Tue, 06-24-2003 - 2:09pm
I think that in a lot of working-class families, it was a common thing to let your kids have the stamps if they wanted to save up for some special purchase, unless, of course, Mom needed something for the house. They weren't any good for cash, really. I know that we collected them religiously, both the S&H green ones, and also a yellow version that I can't remember the name of; those came from Winn-Dixie stores where we lived.

In our neighborhood, the stamps were moms' mad money; mothers who had no cash income of their own used the stamps as a way to buy little luxuries they otherwise couldn't afford.

Lots of people got their first TV that way, or their first vacuum cleaner.

Did you know that S&H stamps are still good? The company is Sperry & Hutchinson, and they now do business on the internet as greenpoints.com. If you send in the old stamps, they will credit you for the new point system. Lots of people I know have found tons of stamp-books in their parents' homes when cleaning them out for sale.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 06-24-2003 - 10:20pm
i did want to mention, and funny this has come up. i was with my most bestest friend this past weekend while visiting dd, and katie(my friend) and i have so much in common, we practically read each others minds. anyhoooo, we were talking about what we have read lately about the progress scientists/doctors are making in the field of learning what parts of the brain control what, and how each part affects our behavior. i had read where they are actually honing in on recognizing by a ct-scan if a person has add/adhd. katie was telling me, they are also learning that shyness/outgoingness can show up on a ctscan as well. this to me, who hates science, is totally facinating, and logical. i may be off base, but this brain stuff is very prevelant as far as im concerned with how each of us behaves.

after spending a good part of the week with my parents, my mom, very gently told me, *you have an answer for everything, beth ann*. well, i know this, and i know im a brat, and i told her, you know, things come into my head and out my mouth before i can even catch them. i try to be kind, but the sarcasm just ooozes, and very often there's no stopping it. my brother and sister are not as intense as i am, and im sure it is all based on the chemicals in our brains.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 06-24-2003 - 11:13pm
Well, I must admit, my children have always had impeccably decorated nurseries, LOL........ but it was more for me than for them. Will they remember? Probably not, but it was fun for me. As for my earliest memories? I remember playing with a clock with my grandmother (around 2-3 I guess). I remember preschool with my cousins. And I remember my first sleepover, I was 5-6......... and I BAWLED and wanted to go home. It was so traumatic, I remember it perfectly. All the other little girls were watching "The Apple Dumpling Gang" and getting their hair braided and I just sobbed and sobbed and sobbed because I was so homesick. It was at my cousin's house for her birthday and she had me and our other girl cousins and a bunch of friends, so you'd think I'd have felt somewhat less homesick as it was family. Nope, bawled and bawled and bawled. And since my cousin lived about 30 minutes from us, my parents would not/did not come get me. I was a boob. My mom was with me 24/7........ and whether it was that fact, or just an inborne trait, or both mixed in with the fact I was a spoiled only child, I was a social "sissy" for awhile as a child. I remember at least a few other "occassions" where I was the only child who was homesick while the others had fun. Even summer camp at 10, OH I REALLY HAD A HARD TIME. I ended up coming home early due to faked sickness. Now, college, I did okay going 1200 miles away, but as a child, I struggled. Like I said, was that due to the sahm? I don't know, maybe. I leave my kids even though I don't wohft, in fact, they are having a sleepover at nana and grampa's this weekend.......... yippee!!!!!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 06-24-2003 - 11:47pm
My earliest memory is when I was about 3 and I woke up to an empty house. I was terrified. My parents came back with my brothers and baby sister and explained that they went for a walk and didn't want to wake me up :O

Funny that my first memory was traumatic. I've read that a person's personality is fixed by the time they are 5 years old. I do have abandonment issues. lol.

My oldest is 4, so I am just starting to relax, hoping nothing traumatic happens before his personality is "fixed."

Jill

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