Journal prompt #4: What is your earliest memory and (I believe) how did it make you feel?
This one is a hard one to answer, but I'm going to go with the memory of how I met one of my first friends, since it happened when I was four and that's when you start forming reliable long term memories. I was sitting on the sidewalk playing with some chalk and one of the neighborhood kids came over and asked me to be his friend and if I wanted to come over to his house and play. I said yes and I went over to his house. I know, it's kind of an anticlimactic memory. It's basically something a typical four year old would do. But that's not why I decided to put this post in my blog. As I was thinking about this prompt, I got on a whole other topic.
Emily prompt of the day: Why do we begin to form memories at age four anyway?
This got me thinking. Four is such a random age to begin remembering things and it's really quite late when you think about it from an evolutionary standpoint. I'm sure back in the day, when our very survival depended on our capabilities as human beings (unlike now, when technology has enabled a completely directionless, dependent, lazy person to pass along their traits to as many kids as he/she desires), it was important for a young child to be able to remember important stuff, like lions are bad and will eat you, etc.
Of course, times have changed. I'm sure that the real reason behind this phenomenon is simply that age four is when our brains are developed enough to form long term memories, but I have a different theory.
Think about it: you're a fetus, floating around in the womb in a nice, warm, quiet environment. Everything you could ever need is literally fed directly to you through a giant tube in your stomach. You don't even have to open your eyes. You just sit there, occasionally suck your thumb and throw out some kicks for good measure. Then, all of a sudden, without warning, the warm fluid you're floating around in goes away, and the walls of your bedroom literally push you right out the door. Within a few hours, you're thrown into a cold, loud world full of bright lights and strange people. I think the reason that we don't remember things as babies is because we simply just aren't ready for this bullshit.
I know that your first thought is that babies have it really easy. Your parents literally do everything for you and all you have to do is smile occasionally, spit some food on your clothes, and cry whenever you get the least bit unhappy. Sounds like an easy life, doesn't it? In reality though, babyhood is like one giant Monday. I don't think we give babies enough credit for all the shit they have to go through.
For starters, they don't get a say in what they eat. Have you seen baby food? Is there anything remotely appetizing about pureed mushrooms or chicken mush? No. There isn't. In addition to that, half of the things babies eat make them puke anyway, so they get to taste that shit twice. And they get no say, because they can't talk yet. Sometimes they get Colic, which is just one giant stomach ache all the time. That doesn't sound remotely fun to me. Then there's the whole teething situation, which is the first time a human being gets taught the lesson that their body will betray them on a regular basis. They can't even just drink the pain away like adults do, since they're babies and their tiny fingers and lack of motor skills renders them incapable of opening whiskey bottles.
It only gets worse from there too. I think one of the worst things about being a baby would be that literally everyone and their mother wants to be in your face and holding you. And I don't blame them, because babies are adorable and squishy and I think it's a stress reliever holding something that squishy. They're like living stress balls (but only when you can return them to their rightful owner when the going gets rough). The problem here is that every baby has a disgusting relative--a person with questionable hygiene and absolutely no capacity for personal space who only seems capable of destroying a baby's personal bubble and going to town with the ridiculous faces.
Thinking about all of this stuff, I can't imagine what it would be like if I remembered every instance I threw something up or had my personal space violated. I'm pretty glad our brains decided to delay this memory forming process, otherwise, I'm pretty sure every single baby on the planet would grow up to have post-traumatic stress disorder.