One of the longest running jokes in the gender war is that men have “selective hearing.” That is to say we have the ability to turn on or off our ability to hear and recognize things that the fairer sex says to us. Things like “Fix the sink” “Take out the garbage” or “My mother is coming to visit” (I literally just used every cliche in the book there) can go totally unnoticed by us, to the point where it looks like we’ve ignored our beautiful wives. However anything referencing naked time, food, or various sporting events (Never mind, here’s three more.) is picked up with speed that would put the Navy’s radar systems to shame.
It is all, of course a gag. Not true. At all. Usually. I think.
However, what IS a real thing is something called “Selective Memory” and it plagues our children. The Narrator, at five years old is dealing with it in its fullest.
Now, I’ve mentioned his uncanny ability to remember things before, but yesterday he did it again on such a level that its a good thing we were sitting in line at the drive through window and not driving, because I was taken so aback that I might have crashed the car.
We took a last-minute trip to Albany yesterday afternoon so I could get fitted for yet another tuxedo for yet another wedding party that I am in. (Counting my own, this will make #4) When we were all finished with my fitting, we decided it was dinner time. With an hour’s drive home there was no way the boys would survive the trip without resorting to cannibalism, or worse….whining. So we picked a place, and my wife and I decided to call one of our college friends who is local and see if he wanted to meet us for a quick dinner.
Now we haven’t seen our friend who we’ll call “Uncle S” because that’s what the Narrator calls him, in many, many months. He agreed to meet us, and we spent about an hour catching up and goofing around at the restaurant. The Narrator loves Uncle S- he was one of the very few people that the kid was not shy around back when he used to hide under tables when family came to visit.
After we left, we made a quick stop on the road for some drinks and the following exchange happened.
Narrator: “I like Uncle S, and he learned to speak our language.”
Wife: “What? He has always known our language. What do you mean?”
Narrator: “The last time we saw him, he kept saying the wrong words in French.”
– Seeing it in writing doesn’t make the exchange look like much. However, like I said, it has been many months since we have seen Uncle S, and perhaps a YEAR or more since he had come to visit us and had spoken any French. He knows a passing amount of the language, but is not a native speaker. I don’t even remember the conversation we had had where he spoke any french, and by his own admission, he’ll often use the wrong word, or context when speaking it until he remembers and corrects himself.
Somehow or other, The Narrator managed to remember a conversation from well over a year ago where Uncle S. had said something randomly in French, then corrected himself. Not only that, but he remembered WHAT the language was to begin with.
…..I can’t get him to remember what I had said 17 seconds ago about not throwing his toys across the floor, or sitting properly in his chair at dinner, but the little fink can pick out a snippet of a random conversation from a year ago, complete with details.
Every now and then these little instances frighten the hell out of me because I constantly worry that he’s going to recall with vivid detail the instances where I have completely and utterly failed as a parent. I can only hope that if this uncanny ability to recall details remains with him throughout the remainder of his days, that I’ve managed to give him enough POSITIVE instances to remember, such that they outweigh the negatives.
Thus is the entire point of this blog. Detailing not only the struggle to raise children, but raise them in such a manner that when it comes time for them to look back at their childhood and my performance as a father, mathematically I come out on top and I don’t have them blogging somewhere down the line about how I borked up their earliest memories.