New Research Shows Kids Might Remember All Our Parenting Mistakes (Uh-Oh)

toddlerFor many of us moms, the first few years of our kids' lives are sort of a blur: We have vague memories of diapering, breastfeeding, and wandering half-asleep into their rooms in the middle of the night to tend to their needs (mostly diapering and breastfeeding) during their baby years. We may remember, as they grew, their first toddle across the room, the first foods they ate, and the first words they spoke. But how much do our kids actually remember? And how far back in their lives do their powers of recall go? I, personally, have often wondered.

Now it looks like we have an answer: Years later, kids can accurately recall experiences they had as young as when they were 2, researchers in New Zealand have found. Yikes! The implications of that are actually kind of chilling.


That means our children may remember that time we forgot to buckle them into their car seat on the way to the grocery store. And that time we left them with a babysitter to go out and they cried for hours non-stop until we came home. And the time we accidentally dropped them on the kitchen floor while we were doing that fun little flip routine they loved and then had to rush them to the hospital for stitches. (Little chins are so delicate.)

They'll remember the way we made them eat their peas, despite their protestations, and then they were so genuinely grossed out that they threw up. And the time they also threw up because we weren't paying enough attention to them at a party and they ate a staggering number of (large) chocolate-chip cookies.

These are things we would very much like our kids to forget -- and would very much like to forget ourselves.

On the other hand, maybe they'll also remember all those nights we lovingly tucked them in and read them stories and sang them lullabies and rubbed their backs. And all the healthy meals we carefully prepared for them, at least if you consider endless PB&J sandwiches and boxed (organic!) macaroni and cheese to be healthy meals. And all the blocks we stacked and silly stories we made up and times we tickled them until they were breathless and giddy with laughter.

Here's hoping our children remember the best of their toddler years as well as those cringe-worthy other parts. Or at least remember that, even when we messed up, we meant well.

Are their things you did when your kids were toddlers you'd rather they forget?


Image via Theodore Scott/Flickr

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