How well do your children remember things from their youngest years?


9 Years
Jul 26, 2010
I want to make something very clear - I'm not talking about stories that you told them, things that you gave them words for or things you retold stories about again and again. Something they felt and experienced themselves - and remembered all on their own - without anyone reminding or telling.

I'm writing a story about a child's memories, and I got very curious about parent's experiences.

I mean something they've seen as little ones - and then recognize again years later, something they felt back then and then clearly recalled - to your surprise. Let me give an example of what I mean. Sorry I haven't a simpler one, but this one is true so it will have to do.

My friend's son, when he was 2 and only speaking a few words, went on a train journey with my sister and me - we were sort of like aunties to him. Our job was to take him to his granma's for the summer by train, while his parents went on a 'grown up vacation'. What happened on that train journey, we never got a chance to share with his parents as they had to rush off to a family event and we went our separate ways - for 20 years.

So we are very, very sure she did not (and in fact nor anyone else) ever repeated this story to him or talked to him about it.

And yet, 20 years later, I saw him. I said, 'you and I went on a train journey when you were two'. And he said, 'Yes, and the first time I got a glimpse of you, I thought you were my mom because of your long black hair, and grabbed your hair and I yelled out, 'Mommy!' Then he proceeded to give a bunch of details about the trip that I am very sure no one ever reminding him of or gave him words to say about.

Of course in the story, what the hero will remember will be much more important in the story. But this idea fascinated me, that an adult would recall, on his own, such rich details from such a small event that he experienced himself, so long ago in his early life.

So what do you think? Have your children surprised you by remembering something from their early past. What was it?
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I can't tell you about my children because I never had any. But I can tell you about one of my own memories. I clearly remember standing by the wood cookstove in my aunt's kitchen when I was not quite two. I asked my mother about it years later. It turned out my parents had dropped me off there for a few weeks while they made the move from Portland to LaGrande Oregon. I don't remember anything about the place in Portland and I don't remember moving to the new place in LaGrande. But I do remember my aunt's kitchen.
Some people have photographic memories where they remember things in minute detail (here is some info on it )

My brother remembers names of people and where he met them even if it was many years ago (but I don't recall him talking about people he met when he was 2). Closest I can think of to your story didn't span many years, but we took DD to my mothers house when she was about 18 months old and we were returning from Guam. Mom later had some rennovations done to her house, and the door to the cellar was put on another wall. A few years later, we went to visit again (it's 1500 miles so don't go often) and DD was now 4 years old and she asked if 'the door used to be on this wall' (which it was). Maybe the cellar fascinated her because it has stone walls and a dirt floor so she thought it was a dungeon?
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I remember dreams that I had when I was a small child. It had to have happened before I was 6 since we moved then and I know I was in the old house. I still vividly remember a couple of them.

I also have a memory from when I was very, very small. I don't know how old I was, but my head wasn't much higher than a man's thigh. I was at my grandmother's church. The women were up front chatting and all the men had gathered by the back door. I wandered back to the back and grabbed the pants of who I thought was my grandfather. Turns out it was another random old man (they look suspiciously alike when you are short). I remember looking up and being startled and then all the men laughing. I couldn't have been much older than 2 or 3 though.
My youngest daughter is 8. She remembers EVERYTHING! It's crazy. She has a crazy sense of direction too. She can tell you about people, places and things that happened when she was 1 1/2-2 years old, in detail. Stuff we dont all sit around talking about. It is the strangest thing.
I don't know about my kids, since they are young, but I know I remember stuff from when I was 2. My earliest memory is NOT a good one, it is of the fight my parents had the night the finally left each other. It is a horrible memory to have as my first one.

I sort of have a photographic memory. I can remember 98% of everything I have ever heard, read, or written down. It came in real handy when I was in school because I never had to study for anything. Now, I can find an exact part in a book that I am looking for, if I have read it before.
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