Nathan (vovat) wrote,

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Remembrance of Things Past

rockinlibrarian made a post about memories from childhood, both of dreams and real life. This post is mostly going to be stuff I said in a comment on that entry, but with a few things added for the purposes of clarity, or just because I thought of some other points.

Amy said she'd read in a book that dreams of kids prior to age seven or so are usually just static images, and don't really have narratives. I can't really buy that, because I can remember some from before that age. Granted, I don't know how much narrative there was in them, but I'm pretty sure they weren't just still images. The earliest one I can actually remember having was from when I was five or younger (I know because I was living in the house that I moved out of when I was five), and it involved reading a poem that ended with the line, "And he slept so fast, he slept right into midnight." I also remember telling my mom about a dream in which my baby sister was struck by lightning, but I can't actually recall having the dream itself, which kind of makes me wonder whether that was an actual dream from when I was asleep, or just a scary thought I had. I know I was terrified of lightning when I was a kid. Another fear-related dream that I can sort of remember involved being bitten by a dog, except I think the dog actually ate me in the dream. I also feel I should mention the dream where Grimace (from the McDonald's commercials) wanted to eat me (being devoured was a recurring theme in my childhood dreams, I guess), but I think that was well into the age when I was supposed to be having narrative dreams.

As for real-life memories, the earliest ones I know of were from around when my sister was born, which was not long before I turned four. Most of them are just brief memories without any real context, though. I remember a birthday cake with a Matchbox bulldozer on top, getting Pac-Man popsicles at a local convenience store, eating fish cakes with my mom and deciding they were terrible, and various other things. (And no, they don't all involve food, even though those three I mentioned do. {g}) On the other hand, my parents also mention things from my childhood of which I have absolutely no recollection. I think three might be my cut-off for remembering anything, but there might be earlier stuff in the recesses of my mind, probably without context.

As for whether being read to has anything to do with the vividness of dreams (which is something that Amy suggested in her post), I think that's possible. Granted, a lot of kids are read to, but I don't think they're all equally interested in what they're hearing. I know my parents said I started reading at three, so I was probably already thinking in narrative structure by then.
Tags: dreams

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