Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Steel Trap

Can you remember anything before you were five years old? I mean, I got nothing. A vague, fuzzy image of me rocking in bed and my dad looking at me like he was sizing me up for a baby straight jacket. But other than that, zip.

It’s my own lack of memory of things that happened 35 years ago that made me think babies have no ability to remember things. I thought they were like ducks. Each morning is a completely new life.

But like every other thing I think I have figured out about childhood, Elijah proves me wrong every day.

As we wind him down for bed every night, he insists on “Cuddle Cuddle,” which involves rocking him in his chair and listening as he rattles off the tiniest details of things that happened months ago like a baby savant.

A few days ago he asked me to list the animals at the Goebbert’s Farm.

“Uh…there was a pony. I remember that. I have pictures. And…um…a monkey?”

At which point he launched into an inch by inch description of the Farm, complete with how many bites it took the giraffe to consume an ice cream cone filled with feed.

So last night, I decided to use his brainpower for good.

“Elijah, mommy is great, isn’t she?”


“And she’s pretty, wouldn’t you agree?”

“Yes. Mommy pretty.”

“Tomorrow you should tell her she’s pretty.”


This morning while Diana was on the computer I asked Elijah if he remember what he was supposed to say to his mommy.

The little light went on in his head and he sprinted into the office.

“Mommy pretty. Mommy pretty.”

Yes, it was quickly discovered that Eli was coerced. But the five seconds of joy it brought Diana was worth the deception.

But at least I’m not making him fly to Las Vegas with me to count cards.

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