Monday, 15 August 2011

I remember, I remember

I remember it so clearly. Sitting in the car outside a pub, the window open to give us some air, being brought lemonade and crisps to occupy us while our parents were inside. I can taste the lemonade, the strong distinctive taste of R Whites, the fake cheese and onion flavour of the crisps back when cheese and onion was green, salt and vinegar was blue and prawn cocktail was exotic. 

This is the memory of a million 1980 childhoods and I can transport myself there so easily, back into that memory. We were wearing bodywarmers before they were called gillets, our gloves were attached to our duffel coats with strings up each arm and across the back, my earmuffs had pandas on them. 

Except, except... this image might be true for everyone else who writes about them, but though I remember them so well I am pretty sure they are all false. My parents never went to pubs. If they did we wouldn't have been left outside in the car. For many years we didn't even have a car. I never had a duffel coat. My gloves always just got lost. 

I've been wondering about memories of childhood because it seems to me that so much of parenting is about creating memories, be it the perfect day at the zoo or the ideal birthday party, a wonderful summer holiday or a special treat trip. Yet we never really know which are the images that will stick, which will define a generation, and which will be true. 

For now though, even though everything we do no doubt has an impact on the baby's development and her understanding of the world, the memories we make each day are for me, be it a sleepy cuddle before bed or a morning of giggles and wonder at the world. And though I am a grown-up, I suspect these memories will be just as riddled with false realities and rewritten history as my memories of childhood, not least because I seem to have already forgotten the detail of events of even a few months ago, as evidenced by having no idea of the answer to questions from parents a few months behind me asking about sleep patterns and weaning.  

But though no doubt different from what really happened, the memories I am making now will be wonderfully glorious, of that I am sure, and some details will even be true. For I did have panda bear earmuffs. I did. 


  1. Enjoying your blog and amazed you can write so well so soon after having a baby, damn you. Keep it up - I'd buy the book.

  2. I have a really vivid memory from very early childhood: we were in town, I was dressed up all fancy, and my baby brother was in his stroller. My mum parked him next to a fountain, told me to hold on to the handle and stay right there, she'd be right back. She walked away, and I lost it. I was terrified! All alone in the middle of the big city. It was very scary.

    Years ago, I saw a photograph of my brother and I next to a fountain in Brisbane. I pointed and said to Mum, 'OMG! I totally remember that day! I was so scared, you walked away from us and I didn't know where you were!'.

    Mum replied, 'Who do you think took the picture?'

    D'oh. Of course. She can't have been more than six feet away from us at any point. Still, weird how the brain works.

    This is probably not a useful story to tell. I mean it as more of an indicator of my strange brain rather than a story of infant terror.