My oldest daughter’s first words were “Dada” and “Mama.” And if I remember correctly, her next few words were, “Ummm, I forget.”
While she’s become adept at many things since then, memory is not one. Actually, my husband and I can’t decide if she has trouble remembering, trouble listening, or an unfortunate (and sometimes exasperating) combination of the two. The only thing we do know is that in all likelihood, it’s hereditary.
Forgetfulness has been a running theme in my family for as long as I can remember. Sunglasses, keys, bankcards, keys, passports, keys (did I mention keys?) have become but breadcrumbs dotting the path of normal life for my siblings and father. Like most heredity imperfections, I like to consider myself exempt. In this case, it’s true. I very seldom lose things (besides my cool).
But where I’m really guilty is listening. As much as I hate to admit it, my daughter’s infuriating inability to listen, to actively listen and engage and respond, is 100% me. I’ve improved, but when it comes to absorbing and storing important information, I’m more of a black hole than a sponge. (This trait is not shared among my siblings and father, whose memory is Encyclopedic.)
At age six, my daughter’s forgetfulness is fairly harmless. Whereas most kids make note of the bathrooms or classrooms or exits in their new school, my daughter quickly becomes familiar with the location of the lost & found. More often than not, her water bottle, lunch box or backpack is waiting for her at the front of the bus, forgotten from the day before. It’s not a big deal. (Although I’m not looking forward to mitten season.)
It’s her listening that I worry about. Forgetfulness might mean a few extra trips to the lost & found, but for me, poor listening skills meant a few too many trips to the Principal’s office. Her heart is pure as gold (much purer than mine) so it’s not her intent to fail to engage in the most simplest of conversations or classroom instructions. It just proves a little difficult sometimes.
But despite some frustrations, I do have faith that all will be fine. She’s six, and six-year-olds have a lot on their minds. They must, since there doesn’t seem to be room left in there to remember to fix their bed, shut the fridge door, get ready for bath, respond to a simple question… But I digress.
I’m sure this is a universal parenting problem, especially at this stage. In fact, I read an article once about this very issue, describing our memory and listening situation exactly, and even suggesting tips and tricks for correcting it.
If only I could remember what it said.