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'Normal' memory?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
DS (almost 3yo) has an absolutely amazing memory -- for anything, really, random facts, things he's heard, life experiences, etc. He remembers things like the color of the truck driven by the guy who took our piano away 2 years ago, or the name of a guy who stopped by for a few minutes to talk to my in-laws when we visited 6 months ago, or what a friend was wearing when he came over to play last summer, totally random things... His memory is especially strong for auditory input. He memorizes his books (pretty long books with lots of 'big' words) and several times lately after hearing a new book just ONCE he was able to recite it with 95% accuracy. He remembers songs he's only heard once. I don't know how he does it, he doesn't even seem to be paying attention sometimes but STILL remembers everything. He often can decode words I spell out loud to DH -- I don't think he can read or spell yet, I think it's a memory thing, though they aren't words I spell frequently so who knows. He also can recognize whether a book he's never seen is in English or Spanish (we only speak English but they have Spanish books at the library) so maybe he has some very very basic pre-reading skills or something & it's not all memory? But he also remembers things like the colors of buildings he's been to just once, or can reproduce hand motions after watching someone do a craft or play an instrument or whatever. I think his memory is better than mine (and I've always been told I have a really good memory) and sometimes he seems to get frustrated with me & DH when we don't remember things.

I guess I'm just curious whether this kind of memory is common in toddlers? IDK why I'm even asking lol, just bored right now & want to hear people's stories! I saw a "things your child remembers" thread but it was a few years old so figured I'd start a new one!
post #2 of 10

My ds is the same way, he remembers EVERYTHING.  He also knows where everything is, if I've lost something, he can tell me exactly where it is, even if I lost it weeks ago.    He remembers stuff from when he was a year old (he is 4.5 now).   Its weird.  But I have a very good memory too, I remember "pictures" of things from the time I was tiny (the first thing I remember was learning to walk, and its weird b/c I remember everything from the point of view of a 1yr old looking up at everything, and I remember what the floor/bottom of chairs/plants looked like.  

post #3 of 10

Well, my first and only verifiably-gifted kid can't remember a darn thing when it comes to where she left stuff, what she was supposed to be doing next, or how much trouble she's going to get in if she harasses the cat again.  She does have excellent recall of random facts gleaned from books, though, and still says stuff about the first house she lived in--which we moved out of when she was about 28 months old.  So her memory's pretty good if she's paying attention, and non-existent if she isn't.  (She's getting evaluated for ADHD this month.) A couple weeks ago she brought home a reading paper that, on the back, asked her to retell the text on the front.  She wrote out the first 4 sentences (complex ones!) word for word before I sat her down and explained what "retelling" was.

 

My toddler, on the other hand, can find pretty much anything he's played with, including sometimes finding stuff his sister lost. He is better than his sister and my husband COMBINED. I've started asking him first whenever someone can't find anything, because half the time he knows where it is, even if he wasn't the one that put it there. Normal?  I have no idea.

post #4 of 10

I had a good memory, until I had a kid -haha!  DS's memory is far better than mine.  I often ask him things that I've forgotten.  Some things he remembers just shock me, like books we borrowed from the library 6 month ago, he'll recite them word for word if he sees the book again.  It takes only 1 reading for him to memorize a 15 page book with a couple of sentences per page.  I don't know if it's normal or not for a toddler, but I really never have to tell him something twice.  Even if he doesn't heed my advice, he does remember it eyesroll.gif

post #5 of 10

This is an interesting one.  DD1 remembers facts while DD2 remembers everything else.  EVERYTHING!  You can ask DD1 about something she and her dad talked about a year ago and she'll give you the full conversation.  It's usually about physics or history.  DD2 knows what shoes you wore on a Wednesday during a rainstorm in march a year ago.  Together they have one amazing brain. 

post #6 of 10

That is exactly how my DS is and always has been.  He is only just now 5, but we have been told by his teacher this year that she thinks he's gifted.  His two year old teacher told me he was "very, very smart."  His three-year-old teacher told me he "was extremely smart and marched to the beat of his own drum."  It was this year that the pre-k teacher finally told me that he was gifted in her opinion.  

 

So while I really don't know if he's gifted (no IQ test yet), we've been told he is and we've always seen differences that have amazed us thus far, beginning with a crazy keen memory.  Wacky, wacky details that amaze me.  Today if I ask him things he sometimes says, "I don't have a good memory anymore."  It makes me laugh--I don't think I ever told him he had a good one in the first place, but apparently he thinks he no longer does!  


Regardless, what a fun skill for your son to have!  That's how I look at.  

post #7 of 10

I was that way as a child, and I am gifted. My DS is also the same way. The biggest thing about his memory that gets me is that he remembers places... he remembers every place we've ever been. He's 3.5. If we drive to a park for the first time, he gives it a name (based on his favorite feature - i.e. blue playground) and the next time we drive there, regardless of how long it's been, he will say "Oh, we're going to the blue playground. We'll make a right and then we pass a red house and we turn right in between the two trees." We moved 3 hours away from his first home a year ago, and when we go back to visit our families, he can navigate to grandma and grandpas, our old house, the parks, the stores, all of it. He remembers every person he's ever met. He tells me he misses his friends, and then he'll describe them in detail including their physical features and where he met them and what they like and their names, and then I realize he's talking about the children of an acquaintance, someone we've met once. dizzy.gif

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
So interesting to hear these stories!

I realized one of the reasons his memory often throws me a bit though -- and I'm wondering if any of your kids do/did this -- is that he'll just recite things as part of his conversations or while he's talking to himself. Like today, we were driving to a friend's house, and he was chatting & singing to himself, and repeated a whole conversation he had with DH, verbatim. Or he'll be talking to me & use quotes from his books as he's talking. The way he uses language has always struck me as a little odd (though not in a way that's noticeable to most people). Any of your kids do this? Not sure if it's a toddler thing or a memory thing or just an idiosyncrasy of his.
post #9 of 10

My DS does a lot of scripting from tv and books when he's pretending (or more like reenacting the show/book).  He will repeat my explanations for things verbatim when encountering a similar situation.  Or sometimes he will apply what he's heard to a different situation, like calling our stairs down to the basement a pyramid, but he's repeating something else he's heard about pyramids.  I don't know if it's normal or not.  This is part of why ASD has been mentioned by others.  He is so social and gets non-verbal communication too well for that though. 

post #10 of 10

Yes.  DD memorizes books.  I knew she could remember simple books but was surprised to hear her 'read' the "Nutcracker" to her stuffed animals the other day.  She also 'read' "Outside Over There" upside down when pretending to lead story time.  She won't do it if we ask her to so I have no idea how many of her books she knows word for word.  When she is playing she will often borrow language from the books and sometimes gets upset if we don't use the correct language to act out a scene as well.  I think when she gets upset it's because it's language that she doesn't quite understand.  And she will sometimes use phrases or sentences borrowed from books in conversation as well.  She also will string together random words in nonsensical ways (though the grammar is always correct) and makes up silly words for concepts that she doesn't have a word for. She is very social and I don't think she presents even as slightly eccentric. Most people just guess that she is 4.

 

Language is leaned through both analytical (one word then two word then three word utterances) and gestalt (whole sentences first with general idea of what it means then break into more specific understanding of component words) processes.  It's a continuum - so some learn primarily by analytical and others primarily by gestalt processing and most somewhere in between.  Although gestalt processing tends to be strongly associated with ASD, if I remember correctly, approximately 5% of the non-ASD population learns primarily through gestalt processing.  
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

So interesting to hear these stories!
I realized one of the reasons his memory often throws me a bit though -- and I'm wondering if any of your kids do/did this -- is that he'll just recite things as part of his conversations or while he's talking to himself. Like today, we were driving to a friend's house, and he was chatting & singing to himself, and repeated a whole conversation he had with DH, verbatim. Or he'll be talking to me & use quotes from his books as he's talking. The way he uses language has always struck me as a little odd (though not in a way that's noticeable to most people). Any of your kids do this? Not sure if it's a toddler thing or a memory thing or just an idiosyncrasy of his.


 

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