Thursday, 25 July 2013

Since You've Been Gone

Every once in a while I find myself wondering about the impact we've made in Molly and Jack's lives so far.  I know that on a basic needs scale that we've done the hunting and the gathering, that we've nurtured them and comforted them and that we try to teach them little things like how annoying whining is (Molly) and how you shouldn't try to shove a pair of scissors into a plug outlet (Jack).*  I know they're quite fond of us by the way that they squeal and run towards us at daycare pickup or the ways in which they require baby kangaroo treatment whenever they're feeling ill.  What I'm wondering is do we have a more profound impact on our children at age two than say a mama bear with her cubs?** 

Toddler memories are complex and something which can be recalled by them at four may not be remembered by the time they're a teenager.  Essentially, little brains are always developing.  More memories wipe away old ones and at age two, the way they access their memories today is going to be very different with each year that passes.  Some of what I read talks about how language development is needed in order for people to be able to properly store and access their memories along with the development of self-concept.  This memory barrier is called childhood amnesia and refers to a child's inability to recall memories before age three or four.

Earlier this week Chris went away on a business trip leaving me solo with the minions.  Repeatedly Molly would ask me, "Where's dad?" and when I answered, "On a trip for work in Vancouver." I knew that it meant absolutely nothing to her because even though she's been to BC I'm sure that she doesn't remember it or understand beyond, "Dad's not here right now."  She also asked me the question, on loop about once every hour the entire time he was away. 

On Sunday afternoon Molly grabbed a copy of Douglas Coupland's book The Gum Thief from off of our coffee table.  She opened the book jacket to the author bio and pointed at Mr. Coupland and yelled, "Daddy!"  I explained to Miss Molly that although I am a huge Coupland fan, I'm fairly confident that he's not the father of my children.  On Tuesday night my brother came over to help wrangle the kids and read them a bed time story, also by Mr. Coupland (AKA not your daddy).  After Uncle D. finished the story I opened the book jacket and asked who the man on the cover was.  Answer: "Daddy", naturally.

I informed Chris that night that he had been replaced by a book jacket photo.  He was amused.  

Douglas Coupland - image courtesy of Wikipedia

Chris - the resemblance is uncanny, No?

I think one of the many reasons I started this blog was because I wanted some sort of record or imprint that someone could hand the kids if anything ever happened to me.   This way they could know how much I care about them.  Here's hoping we have many years of memories that stick with them, or at the very least a flattering book jacket photo to watch over them.

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*It's not that we provide him with scissors to play with, it's that he's getting more and more creative and taller and can reach new things each day.
**Which for all I know is extremely complex.  Unfortunately, I didn't minor in neurology or memory imprint patterns of mammals in my Canadian literature degree.

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