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Long Term Memory

July 26, 2008

Recently I heard someone say that studies have shown that children can’t remember anything prior to age 3.  I think this is a very interesting study considering I don’t remember prior to age 11.  But that is beside the point…whatever that means (honestly, how is something “beside the point”?  Do I just have that phrase wrong?  Seems a like weird.).  So I always have wondered why we make a huge deal out of birthdays and milestones and holidays for our <3-year-olds.  Todd, Wendy, this has nothing to do with you if you actually read this.  I promise I’m just curious.  Today we went to a birthday party for what we call our “practice child”.  He turned 2 yesterday and his parents threw him a party.  Now I don’t have tons of friends, but I don’t remember the last time (if ever) I have had a party for me with that many people at it (at least those that were there by choice…I’m not talking about going to Chuck E. Cheese and there being 200 people there already).  I mean for real.  We just got home from a party that there were about 40 people at.  Now please, Todd & Wendy, really don’t take this whole post wrong.  You know I love you and my godchild.  This really has no bearing on you at all.  I am just asking the question.  But back to it.  If our kids can’t remember, do we actually throw those parties for ourselves?  I mean seriously.  I have been to about five 1-year-old birthday parties in the last couple years.  What’s the point?  Is it just to have another way to get toys and things for the kid so you don’t have to?  Either way, for some reason we have them and for some reason we all flock to them and have a freakin’ ball watching a bunch of kids run around and argue with each other because all the presents are “mine!”  Good times.

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. kkjames permalink
    July 26, 2008 8:19 PM

    Just so you know…our children will have birthday parties when they turn those glorious years of 1, 2, 3, etc. So you better eat your words mister!

  2. Chris Rogers permalink
    July 26, 2008 8:38 PM

    hey man, interesting post seeing as how amber and i just had a birthday party for kenadie who turned 1. anyways…i pretty much feel the exact same way and have been thinking about it a lot. this is the conclusion i have come to. i think it’s more about amber and i’s memories than kenadie’s, as well as everyone else’s that is a part of her life that was able to be there. obviously kenadie will never remember it, but for amber and i, i think it will be something we look back on when she is moving out or even when she is having her 1 year olds birthday party 30 years from now :). of course she will have all the pictures and video to look at as well when she gets older. so there are my thoughts on it.

  3. D. James permalink
    July 26, 2008 10:21 PM

    Soooo if you don’t have a party when they are 1 or 2 or 3…when do you start? Or do you just forget them until the grandparents throw a fit and call you a child abuser? If you wait til the child is 11 (as in your case when they will remember it) then you will find this child will be one who remembers details from when they were 2(as in the case of your mom. Such delemmas…. You are right though that early birthdays are for the adults entertainment but at some age the precious child begins to remember the fuss everyone makes over them and gains some self esteem (or selfishness).

  4. Jason Waymire permalink
    July 27, 2008 2:25 AM

    I totally agree all kids really want is the freedom to smear chocolate cake all over their faces and to toss stuff off the table at will. …so what is the big deal with me wanting to give infants savings bonds or wanting to contribute to their educational savings accounts…my wife always freaks out on me when I suggest that stuff.

  5. Cassie&amp;David permalink
    July 28, 2008 10:56 AM

    I’m going to remind you of this post some day.

  6. triplatte permalink
    July 28, 2008 10:47 PM

    Who is this kid in the photo? Ha ha. Not the one to whom you are referring in your question!

    Anyway, I will attempt to answer your question, but am sure that it will only partially be answered at this point in your life. Your curiosity about such things will (hopefully) dissipate once you have a child of your own. And KK says you’re having a birthday party for your kids at 1, 2, 3, etc. whether you like it or not!! By the way, I’m not upset. I know you’re curious and I know you’re not “on the other side” yet. But one day you will be, so maybe you will remember some of this stuff when a little Brook or Brookette decides to make his/her debut into the world.

    Everything we do for our little boy is to show him how overwhelming our love is for him…whether it’s throwing a birthday party with lots of his/our friends and family present to help celebrate, disciplining him when he does something wrong, spending some quality time reading a funny story together, dancing around the house to some good music, or discussing the reasons why we shouldn’t ride the dog like a horse. It all points back to the same thing. Love.

    I believe every single experience that someone has–every single word spoken to them–lays tracks in his/her mind and shapes who they will become. I’ve studied such things in psychology, and it’s amazing what impact words of encouragement or positive experiences can have on someone. The reverse is also true. When someone hears or experiences something enough, they start to believe it. I don’t want my little boy to question–even for one millisecond–my love for him.

    The verse in the Bible that comes to mind is, “Train up a CHILD in the way he should go and when he’s older he will not depart from it.” Okay, not talking about birthday parties per se, but it’s the concept behind it. Children begin learning at birth, and some even say it is possible to learn in the womb. Cade already knows 5 or 6 (long) Scripture verses (and the Pledge of Allegiance just for fun) and can recite them word for word (plus or minus 1 or 2) when asked (Jeremiah 29:11, Proverbs 3:5,6, etc.). Oh my goodness…he was eating lunch a couple of months ago (before his second birthday) and he stopped and looked at me and said, “I can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens me.” It brought a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes because that was one verse of many that I had been speaking over him (out loud, to him) since he was born! Here he was saying it back to me at one year old!

    Showing love, exercising discipline (a form of love)…it all begins at birth. Think of it this way: Would you wait until your infant child was capable of remembering things before you start showing him affection, or smiling at him or saying “I love you?” That would be silly. Like your dad asked…if you don’t have a party when they’re 1, 2 or 3, when do you start?

    So while the actual details of the party may elude him over time, the overall impression it will leave on him will last a lifetime. Everything that touches a precious child impacts their life in one way or another, whether it’s a good experience or a bad one. I didn’t realize how true this actually was until I became a mom. Later on in life, I want him to be 100% secure in who God made him to be, and secure in the fact that he is for sure 100% loved by at least two people in this world. It has nothing to do with presents, nothing to do with him actually remembering the details. Just a big celebration of one little life we love more than our own.

  7. I'm Brook James permalink
    July 28, 2008 11:53 PM

    Well, for those of you that think I am now the mean grinch, please know that I love those parties! Of course I expect to throw parties for any children I may have in the future! How else am I going to get to buy someone a bag of 100 balls and still get to play with them? You know I love your kid! My dad would kick my butt if I didn’t have them! I’m actually glad that you throw them because KK told me I don’t get a party and I’m already not allowed to have cake!

  8. I'm Brook James permalink
    July 28, 2008 11:53 PM

    Well, for those of you that think I am now the mean grinch, please know that I love those parties! Of course I expect to throw parties for any children I may have in the future! How else am I going to get to buy someone a bag of 100 balls and still get to play with them? You know I love your kid! My dad would kick my butt if I didn’t have them! I’m actually glad that you throw them because KK told me I don’t get a party and I’m already not allowed to have cake!

  9. triplatte permalink
    July 29, 2008 12:02 AM

    Ok…follow up comment…Brook James just freaked out at my previous long comment and was afraid he hurt my feelings…LOL! Disclaimer: No offense was taken in any shape or form to Brook’s post! We happen to be very good friends with Brook and his lovely wife and we know they love us!!! I just love a good blog so I couldn’t resist responding! 🙂

  10. I'm Brook James permalink
    July 29, 2008 12:32 AM

    Ok, now follow up to the follow up. I’m not sure I would call it freaking out! I have just never had anyone write me a blog back as a comment! Congrats to anyone who still has the attention span to get all the way through it in one shot! It took me 3! I had to break it down! Better not start a blog of your own or I might write everything I can possibly think of as a comment…still not sure it would be long enough to match the likes of the Wordy Wendy!

  11. I'm Brook James permalink
    July 29, 2008 12:32 AM

    Ok, now follow up to the follow up. I’m not sure I would call it freaking out! I have just never had anyone write me a blog back as a comment! Congrats to anyone who still has the attention span to get all the way through it in one shot! It took me 3! I had to break it down! Better not start a blog of your own or I might write everything I can possibly think of as a comment…still not sure it would be long enough to match the likes of the Wordy Wendy!

  12. triplatte permalink
    July 29, 2008 12:48 AM

    just wait until i leave comments on all your other blogs!! keep asking those questions! i’m just getting started!

    lucky for you i don’t have that kind of time or i would.

    we’ll just discuss it over steak. when are you guys coming over?

  13. I'm Brook James permalink
    July 29, 2008 12:52 AM

    We probably would if we were ever invited again. I was under the impression that we were about 100 balls away from that!

  14. I'm Brook James permalink
    July 29, 2008 12:52 AM

    We probably would if we were ever invited again. I was under the impression that we were about 100 balls away from that!

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