Tonawanda News


September 15, 2010

Never too young to begin total recall of life

NORTH TONAWANDA — Most research on memory indicates that children don’t begin to permanently store information until at least age 3.

But what these researchers seemingly failed to take into account is the fact that there is no fury like a toddler girl scorned.

Sometime nearly a year ago, Penny endured a, shall we say, less than pleasurable dining experience. I wasn’t there, but it’s been relayed to me that the waitress of a seafood restaurant took Penny’s plate before she finished, prompting Penny to get upset due to the inability to finish her meal.

But the incident wasn’t soon forgotten. For weeks afterward, any mention of the eatery (or of dining out in general) prompted Penny to complain about the waitress with a quick trigger. Even now, any mention of the restaurant will still result in Penny denying attempts to go there (which she did on my birthday a few weeks ago) or to hope: “Next time, she won’t take my plate. That was silly!”

If she remembers that event from months and months ago, I can’t help but wonder whether that and other occurrences will stick with her and Rigby long term, or if annoyances such as that will fade from her mind with time. I know that I don’t remember anything from that age, but then again my children are brilliant.

In at least a few cases, I hope that time works in my favor. Like that time that I admonished Penny for not excusing herself for passing gas, only to commit the same act mid-sentence? I wouldn’t mind if she forgets that.

And that time that Rigby tumbled in uncontrollable hysterics after the contents of his dirty diaper inexplicably ended up on the tip of my nose? Yeah, it’d be OK if he never brings that up again.

Time and time again, I am amazed by Penny’s ability to recall events, places and promises I made (she uses the word “yesterday” to signify any day previous to the current day, but just the fact that she remembers I said “yesterday” that we maybe could go to the zoo today is impressive).

Granted, I don’t have much perspective on this issue. But it astounds me that two children who are so young can even remember their long-distance relatives whom they only see once a year. And it amazes me how Penny can recall ad infinitum the climactic finale of “Toy Story 3,” which she saw with an obstructed view at the drive-in well past her bedtime.

What else will they retain? Will Rigby continue to watch “Toy Story” through his childhood, and if so will he remember his early admiration of Buzz Lightyear (he still screams in fear every time Buzz gets zapped by Emperor Zurg in the opening of “Toy Story 2” and has learned to anticipate his hero’s faux demise)? Will Penny continue to play tickle-boop (three tickles to the armpit, then a gentle boop on the face) as she approaches adolescence?

It would seem from this father’s viewpoint that their hard drives have already started mass storage of information, which is great — unless we want to go out for seafood ever again.

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