My Life with S

Chidlhood Memories

In my very first memory, I am around two years old.
I was having my nappy changed, laying on my parents’ bed. I remember holding my legs up and feeling good, being told I was being helpful. I remember my mum’s smile; I was being such a good girl, holding my legs up.
A little while later, I remember going to the paper shop across the road from our terrace. My brother was in the big, old Silver Cross pram. I was in a seat fixed to the top of it. My older sister walked next to the pram, which my mum pushed. I don’t remember going into the paper shop; I don’t remember being in there. What I remember is coming out of the door, and my mum crying. she had a tissue to her face. When I turned around, I saw two people lifting something out of the road and putting it on the opposite side. At the time, I didn’t know what was going on, and I don’t know how much of the memory has been manufactured by the tall tales my older sister liked to tell, but I know now that the thing the people were lifting out of the road was our cat, Mister Sandy.
Another very clear memory is from when I was a little older. I think I was maybe 3 or 4. My mum had picked me up from nursery, and we’d walked home in the rain. I was wearing a pink jumper with a brown elephant on it; I think my nan knitted it for me. I suppose my little brother must have been with us, but I don’t recall him being there. What I recall is getting into the house, and my mum sitting me on the kitchen table while she dried my hair and took my wet shoes off. The table was wooden, with yellow check plastic over the top; something from the 1970s in my parents’ first proper home since they’d married. I remember it being a big treat, for me to spend time with my mum; just the two of us, and nobody else. We had scrambled egg sandwiches for lunch, which was a massive treat. I remember feeling so special, and like I was getting something my brother and sister weren’t: special time with my mum.
I asked some friends about their first memories, and got:
  • Going down a slide on Christmas Day when I was 3
  • Being in the sea and getting salt water in my mouth when I was around 18 months old
  • Moving into our new house when I was 3
  • I’d just turned 3 and my sister came home from her last day of second grade and told me she hated it
  • Watching my dad putting up hessian wall paper when I was 2 or 3
  • Standing with my dad to watch my primary school being built when I was 3
  • Being in a cot in hospital when I was around 2; I was freezing but they had fans on me.. I had pneumonia.
  • Being weighed as a baby – I didn’t like the crispy paper they had in the bottom of the scale!
  • Drinking warm milk from a bottle, looking at Christmas decorations, aged around 3-4
  • Aged 3 or 4, sitting in the airing cupboard with my teddy, reading a book
  • Aged 2-2.5, sitting on the seat of our Silver Cross pram with my brother beneath me (someone else has the same early memory as me!)
  • I was 1 year old, and my mum threw a bag of rubbish over the back wall because the gate was stuck
Some of these memories are based around Christmas – a time that’s exciting and fun for children. Some are based on a time of great trauma and anxiety. Both of those are reasons a memory might be fixed in one’s mind. But equally, several are just normal, every day things in life. They might have meant something to the child, at the time, but to you or I they would be as inconsequential as brushing ones teeth or going to the shop.
Interestingly, research has shown that if you ask a young child about their first memories, they will tell you what they remember… if you ask them again when they’re older, they might tell you different things. Many also remember the memories they gave before, but will now tell you they happened to someone else. Children don’t crystalise their early memories until the age of ten.
I write this because I realised that my very first memory is from around the age of two.  It occurs to me that S is coming to the age where her first lasting memories will be formed. Something that happens over the next 12 months or so, will be the very first thing she remembers when she is my age… But I have no control over what those memories will be.
I mean, I’m sure that during the year I was 2, having my nappy changed was not the most exciting thing that happened to me. I have numerous photos of birthday parties; my brother was born when I was 18 months old, and he would have been christened a while after that. I have vague memories of being at nursery school, but no specific memories until I was almost old enough to start school. My first memories are random snap-shots in the life of a toddler.
My point with all of this reminiscing is this: I don’t know which random parts of the next couple of years will be forever imprinted on my daughter’s mind as her first memories. I have no control at all over which parts of the next couple of years she will pick out and cling to as the essence of her childhood.
Many people think I’m a soft touch because S ends up in my bed most nights. They think I’m stupid to have her cot next to my bed. People tell me it’s not healthy that it’s just the two of us for large portions of time, and that there is only one person I will leave her with (apart from nursery).
Just lately, having realised that my first memory is from around S’s age, I’m acutely aware that any tiny, insignificant thing from the next year or two could be the one thing she picks up as her first memory. I’d rather that tiny thing was being cosy in bed with Mummy, than crying in another room and wondering why I don’t come to make her feel better.
And yes, that photo up there is of me. It won a competition. 

What is your earliest memory? How old were you? Is it a good or a bad one?

Vicky is a mother, a blogger, a podcaster and a social media trainer. She writes about life as a single mother, parenting and lifestyle type things.

8 Comments
  • Laura Huggins

      REPLY

    Absolutely love that photo of you! So Damn Cute! S looks a lot like you! <br /><br />That&#39;s a lovely memory of you spending quality time just you and your Mum. Brought a smile to my face reading that. <br /><br />x x x

  • Oly Trinity

      REPLY

    hi great childhood memories u got and i absolutely like ur photo, sooo cute! ur little one must be having a grand time with you and she&#39;s a lot cuter than her mum, luv her smiles!

  • LivingforGod

      REPLY

    Your daughter looks like you in your picture (just different hairstyles)! You know your child best; please don&#39;t feel bad and don&#39;t let anyone else dictate how you should raise your daughter.<br /><br />~Urailak (Fruit Bearer on Facebook)

  • loadsofsomething

      REPLY

    I remember when I was one or two, I was learning to walk. I jumped and dove to catch a bird and ended up crying on the street.

  • Kathryn Caldwell

      REPLY

    One of my first memories is of me standing in the corner. I must have been three or so. I don&#39;t remember what I did wrong. I remember my breath making the walls smell like paint and the condensation building up on them!

  • Yet Another Blogging Mummy!!!

      REPLY

    I can't remember exactly my earliest memories as they tend to jumble into each other. But I do remember my 5th birthday presents #archiveday Yet Another Blogging Mummy!!! recently posted...Mumsnet Book Club review – Falling by Emma KavanaghMy Profile

  • K. Renae P.

      REPLY

    One of my first memories was eating pizza and seeing a movie with my Dad. I remember the pizza place had a red and white checkerboard table cloth. I was so happy that it was just me and my Daddy. Years and years later we still go out to eat and see movies together. I still get happy when I can hang with my Dad by myself. K. Renae P. recently posted...Kid President gives an adorable TED, er KID, TalkMy Profile

  • Adventures of a Novice Mum

      REPLY

    What a really lovely, touching and thoughtful post. Thanks for sharing. I think my first memory was around the age of 2 too and it involved tears. You've definitely got me thinking about my little one. What he remembers has already been part of many discussions in our household; but my, what would actually be his earliest memory? ... so out of my control ... can i do anything to influence it? ... what would i like his first memory of childhood to be? Seriously, i see a blog post coming on. I hope you don't mind that your post has inspired me to reflect on this issue. I really hope your daughter's first memory is one of fun, love, and warmth with you. I really enjoyed reading your post; thanks again for sharing. Adventures of a Novice Mum recently posted...Tree & WorkMy Profile

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