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Apollo Sunrise

Things in the news that remind me...

It seems every time I read the news these days I see an article which remind me of something from my own life. The latest involves a three year old who was found sitting on a sidewalk on a suburban street at 4 a.m.. It turns out the kid had let himself out of the house; the family had been unaware of his absence. I was glad to read the mother was not charged with child endangerment. Because I did exactly the same thing when I was three.

I have lots of memories going back to the ages of 2 and 3, which I understand is not very common.



This memory: There was a Dairy Queen across the street which was either selling or giving away whistles with a purchase. I was determined to get one of those whistles. My parents, quite understandably, did not want to give a toddler a whistle. I failed to see their logic at the time. Little did they know it, but I had figured out how to open the back door. The back yard fence was taller than I was, but I had also figured out how to unlatch the back gate. Which I did.

Now, we were also across the street from a busy train crossing. I knew I wasn’t supposed to cross the street because of the cars. But I had observed that when the railroad crossing arm came down all the cars came to a halt. So I found a long stick, held it horizontally to my body in order to create my own “crossing arm” and crossed the street. It worked! All the cars came to a halt. Of course it didn’t occur to me that they came to a halt BECAUSE THERE WAS A THREE YEAR OLD WITH A STICK CROSSING THE STREET. I made it to the Dairy Queen, but of course I didn’t understand a thing about money – I figured they’d just give me the whistle if I asked for it. They didn’t.

My own memory stops there. My mother filled in the rest of the story by telling me how someone rang the doorbell. She went to answer it, and found a strange man outside, with me in tow. He asked, “Is this your kid?”

In recent years, I figured if this had happened now my mom would have been arrested for child endangerment. I’m glad this isn’t necessarily the case.

So, memo to anyone who cares for children: Most kids are smart and spend their time figuring things out. You have to be ahead of the game.

Comments

Funny story :))) I don't remember anything of that age, but this might be better ;)
I've only met a couple of other people whose memories go back that far. I have literally dozens of memories from that age, mostly tactile - what it's like to stand beneath the dining room table looking out at the world through my mother's lace tablecloth; sitting on top of the refrigerator; being able to fit inside the back compartment behind the back seat of a VW bug. I've always thought the reason I have these memories is that when I was four my family moved 2000+ miles (3200+ kilometers) from close to the Canadian border to close to the Mexican border, and the extreme change in environment solidified those early memories.
You could give my four-year-old a run for her money. I thought she was quite the escape artist (we used to say that she was channeling Houdini) but I think you have her beat, lol.

Big, emphatic YES to this...

Most kids are smart and spend their time figuring things out. You have to be ahead of the game.

... it's very true.
Definitely kids are smart! That's why I never trusted them out of my sight. ;-)

Edited at 2011-09-04 12:47 pm (UTC)
My sister doesn't have many early memories, but I do. I remember walking up to the park with my mom to play on the swings when I was about three, and waiting for my dad to come out of a business meeting when I was four. I was waiting with my mom and baby sister and grandparents, and my dad's dad went in to say hello to the people he knew there.

I remember the car we had before I started kindergarten and my first day of school, and a bunch of stuff. I wish my memory was as good now! ;)