Sunday, June 05, 2005

Pre-mortal memories

How much (or how little) does an infant “remember” about her pre-mortal existence? I’ve heard many opinions on the subject, from no memories at all to memories that fade as the child grows. With a new baby in the house, I’ve been giving this a lot of thought lately. My daughter is a perfectly beautiful two-month old, and as such she is very dependent upon her parents. She responds to our care with long, intense stares, cuddles, and the sweetest smiles and grins you’ll ever hope to see. As I am the primary caregiver (and source of all nutrition!), I get the lion’s share of this love and trust—at least when compared to her father, grandmothers, aunts, etc.

All that makes perfect sense to me. But it is when I observe the relationship between my daughter and her older brother that I start to wonder about pre-mortal memory. My son is 19 months old—still pretty much a baby himself. It took about two weeks for him to accept his little sister and stop trying to push her off Mommy’s lap. And now he loves her—gives her kisses, pats her head (and stomach and back), gets up right next to her face and stares at her. He covers her face with the burp cloth and stops her baby swing from swinging, and generally does big brother type things. The amazing thing is that she loves it. My son gets more smiles and stares, more gape-mouthed grins, and more of this “love” than anyone.

My son doesn’t care for the baby’s needs, he doesn’t bounce her on his knee, he doesn’t sing to her or change her diaper or smooth lotion on her skin. So why does she have this intense fascination with him? I like to think it is because she remembers him, from before, and she is just so happy to be with him again. She just really, really loves him.


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  • When our sons were babies, they would often sit in their swings and stare into a corner of the room and giggle and giggle. I have always felt that they were being "visited" by their friends.

    Now as I work with the dying, they also stare in corners and when I ask them what they are looking at, they will tell me "my husband - he's right there looking at me." Or insert any other close relative.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/14/2005 4:16 PM  

  • Your sweet thoughts brightened my day. I have 4 children, each about a year-and-a-half older than the next one. It has been wonderful watching them interact, teach and entertain each other. Your thoughts brought back a flood of happy memories (and make me baby hungry).

    By Blogger steve u., at 6/16/2005 11:53 AM  

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