“Bo On The Go!,” my wife cheered as she flipped through the channels to find something for a sick Charlie to watch as he stayed home from school.
He didn’t flinch.
“Bo On The Go!” she said again, trying to jog his memory.
Preschoolers live in the moment, the now, and not much of what happens gets filed away for future memory.
I’m trying to rack my brain about things I remember from my childhood and they are just flickers. I remember falling asleep to hockey games in our basement, I remember fishing with a next door neighbour, I remember a few summer trips.
The earliest I can dial back my Delorean is to about 7 or 8 yrs old. Anything before that, if a memory exists, it’s because of a photo album.
When I took Zacharie to his first hockey game at 2, I thought I was doing it for him, but looking back on it, I realize I was doing it for me.
It was my excitement that mattered that night. I was the one who was giddy and excited. I am the one that remembers the night vividly.
It’s just like how it is on Christmas morning with infants and toddlers. They don’t care about the presents, they just want the wrapping paper and empty boxes. When we shower our kids with gifts and parties and things when they’re really young, we’re doing it for us.
And that’s okay, but it’s something you really need to realize.
The same goes for parents who bring infants and toddlers to Disneyland. What are they really expecting from the adventure? You can take a 2, 3, 4 yr old to Disneyland and have the time of your lives, but 4 years later – just like with Bo on the Go – they won’t remember a thing.
It’s one of those parenting lessons that you never realize in the moment and can only appreciate looking back.
And that’s something you really need to prepare yourself for: you’re not building a great childhood memory for them, they simply won’t recall it – you’re building a memory for yourself.
Make your kids’ lives wonderful “in the moment”, for sure, but if you think “they’ll remember this day forever,” you’re kidding yourselves – you will, but they’ll forget it soon enough.