Memories of a four year old

It’s been a while. I’ve got three children now. A soon to be five year old, a two year old and a recently turned one year old. I haven’t really posted anything about my experience as a parent because I didn’t really have anything to post about. Now though I suddenly have quite a lot to post about. I guess I’ve been reflecting more on my own childhood as well as fundamental parenting believes I had that have changed or solidified with time.

This post will be about the former. Memories from my own childhood. I’ve often heard people say, ‘Don’t worry they won’t remember it anyway.’ Referring to the early childhood years. I’ve always had a problem with this. Well several problems with it, but the main one is that I do remember it. I have several memories from when I was so young that I can’t actually tell you how old I was. One thing i remember is the yellow automatic swing that I loved. My mum explained my ability to remember that away with the fact that we have a photo of it. However there are a few other memories that there are no photos of.  The reason we have no photos of them is because they weren’t with my family. There are probably photos but i don’t have access to them.

My parents both worked at a time where there was no daycare. In order for my mother to continue working she needed to find someone to look after me, it was the same for my older siblings too. Thus for a sizable amount of my most formative years I was looked after by an Indian woman who lived in the neighbourhood. It’s funny, my mother would often point out where she lived to me later in life and I’m fairly certain I could drive there right now if I was in the neighbourhood. I’ve never been inclined to seek her out though until now. Last night I was thinking about how truly influential the first few years of life are to a person’s sense of the world and how to live in it. It made me wonder what was her parenting philosophy? I only ever remember her being kind and understanding. Never angry, always there but also going about doing the housework. I know that’s where i get my love of Asian food but what else did she teach me? Is she the reason why I feel a strong connection to Buddhism despite my family being firmly atheist? Side note, those don’t actually connect because Buddhism is an atheist believe structure. Well fundamentally it is anyway. That’s a different discussion. My point is from birth to five we form some of our core believes on what it means to be human. I understand my own parents’ views on what it means to be human but I don’t know my Indian mother’s core values except in that there is probably some mirror of those values in my own views of reality. I’m now quite excited to try and meet her again and talk to her about parenting.

I kind of digressed though. This blog is titled memories of a four year old. There are several memories that often float up to the surface of that time. I have always cherished those memories but never really reflected on them. Just enjoyed them. I can distinctly map out the living room space on the second story of the house that I had crawled and walked in so many times. I can remember my first experience of Indian spices in the form of Bombay mix and my desperate attempts later in my childhood to find that flavour again. I remember playing with a helium filled fish balloon. I was telling a story to myself in which I was fighting to keep hold of it because I knew it would fly off into the sky. Of course I ended up letting go of it for real and was devastated by the turn of events. Fortunately my Indian mother was there to console me. Which brings me to my final memory. A memory which is more the memory of a feeling. The memory of her own son coming home from school and how that made me feel. It’s the memory of a feeling i have often recalled but never really contemplated until now. you see I keep on saying my Indian mother because in my memories that is who she was. At least until her son came home. Then I remember a strong cocktail of emotions. First was the territorial emotions coming from the entrance of a rival. Then came the guilt, for lack of a better word, coming from knowing that she wasn’t my mother. That this was her son. Then to a strong feeling that I should hide or get away from this son. I never befriended him. It wasn’t until only a few moments ago that I thought how interesting that series of feelings is. Of course I haven’t been able to understand that series of feelings until now. Now that I can see similar thought patterns arising in my own children.

I didn’t really have a point to this blog except that you shouldn’t dismiss your children’s memories.


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