Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Question 18

1. What is your earliest memory from childhood? How old were you?

2. Nature or Nurture?

24 Comments:

At 2:41 PM , Blogger Sarah O. said...

My mother was spoon-feeding me canned pears in heavy syrup. I was sitting in my high chair in front of the dining room window. My father came down the stairs and glared at my mother. My mother sighed. I got another bite of pears.

I talked to my mother many years later about this memory. She didn't remember the exact situation but she confirmed the high chair placement and the house's layout. And that I adored canned pears in heavy syrup.

We moved out of that house when I was 2 and I never saw it again.

 
At 2:43 PM , Blogger Sarah O. said...

And by the way, the pears, NOT my mother, were in heavy syrup. Stupid English grammar. :-)

 
At 2:45 PM , Blogger Sarah O. said...

Oh, yeah, question 2.

Since I've had kids I've changed my mind on the nature/nurture thing. Now I'd say 75% nature, 25% nurture. I used to think it was the other way around.

 
At 3:14 PM , Blogger Tamara said...

1.) Nearly drowning in a crowded public swimming pool. Age 3 or 4. Was sitting on the edge with my feet in the water, fell forward. Was rescued by my dad.

1b.) It never ever occured to me until just now, but: Where the F*CK were my FLOATIES, DAD?!

2.) Nurture. Definitely.

 
At 3:15 PM , Blogger Tamara said...

PS Still terrified of water even though I love to swim.

 
At 3:17 PM , Blogger Higgy said...

1. Falling off my tricycle into the gutter, crying and seeing my mother run towards me. This was on our old street in Wales, and I think I was 3 or 4.

2. Can't decide between the two. If you asked me for the choice for something like sexuality or right-left handedness, I'd say Nature. If you say something like friendly or mean-spirited, I'm more likely to say Nurture. I guess my answer is context-dependent.

 
At 3:49 PM , Anonymous insomniac said...

I remember going to the school with my parents on my older sister's 'Parents' Night' they had a metal board with the plastic letters with the magnets in them that I was fascinated with. What I don't remember but my mom never fails to remind me of, is how I pitched a tantrum when it was time to go. The teacher reportedly said,"There's someone ready for school."

And I've never left!

2.Nurture

 
At 4:20 PM , Anonymous southerngirl said...

1. Neil Armstrong landed on the moon on my 4th birthday, and I remember watching him on TV, although I didn't really understand what was going on at the time.

2. both, but mainly nurture.

 
At 5:28 PM , Blogger punky said...

1. Laying on the couch and having my mom stick a thermometer up my bottom ... I was about 2 or so. I remember being annoyed because I was cold .. oh and because there was something stuck up my butt. Didn't they have ear thermometers back then?! Caaarist!

2. Nature. I think nurture brings out or diminishes that with which we are born ... but nature determines our core personality and natural tendencies and reactions. My sister and I were raised by the same parents, in the same way and we are as different as night and day. Different in speech, action, beliefs, personality, views, movement, appearance, intelligence, etc.

 
At 8:18 PM , Anonymous Bismuth said...

I remember the floors in my old house really well: the den was burnt orange and my bedroom was sorta shag-like, mostly yellow with some orange and black fibers.

I don't remember not having a brother, so that means I was at least 19 months old.

2. THe jury's still out.

 
At 9:06 PM , Blogger Graz said...

Earliest thing I remember is opening the door on my dad's Ford Falcon and swinging out holding on to the armrest on the door. Only problem was, the car was moving and making a left turn. My mother, who was driving, reached across the front seat, grabbed my shirt and pulled me back into the car. I wasn'r wearing a seatbelt because car accidents weren't invented back then, I'm quite sure. Otherwise, why would I also have memories of laying on the back window dash and sticking my tongue out at the car behind us if that was a dangerous place for a kid to ride?

Nauture....combo of both.

 
At 12:52 AM , Anonymous Sallyacious said...

1. I was 2-ish. I remember my great-grandmother's hands. I must have been sitting on her lap. I remember "helping" her refill a snowman-shaped candy jar. With Smarties (or whatever the ancient equivalent of that was, it was 36 years ago). I only met her the one time; I was born in Arizona and she lived in Pennsylvania and we went back there so I could meet her. She died when I was 6. She was 90 years older than I was.

2. I think it has to be both. My brother and I share the same parents and upbringing, and therefore have many similar beliefs about what does and doesn't constitute happiness. We're both artists, for instance, because our mother focused on the wonder of being alive and the joy of being creative.

On the other hand, the way we approach those things are totally different. I have many more insecurities and emotional infirmities than he has. That has to be nature, because we were both raised to be confident, assertive, self-aware people.

 
At 12:56 AM , Anonymous Sallyacious said...

And by the way, thank you, Punky, for posting these questions. Thinking out my own answers and reading the responses of others is a nice break in my crazybusy life.

 
At 4:58 AM , Blogger Kafaleni said...

ummmmm... it's more of an auditory memory and a sense of place. I can't see anything, but I know where and with whom I am. (See me frantically trying to not end my sentence with a preposition, and succeed in making it totally undreadable? Hehehehehe!)

1. It's my sister and I walking up the long driveway to our (maternal) grandparents' flat. I can sense the surroundings, and I can hear my grandfather calling from inside, and I feel a complete sense of being loved and welcomed. Grandpa died when I was 2.5 yrs old, and my sister was 16 months, so it must have been close to the time of his death.

2. Both.. and the weirdest natural things survive the nurturing process. If it was all one or the other, children would be clones of their siblings or the family that raised them. I think the split percentages vary from person to person. For me, probably more nature than nurture. But that's okay, unless you're my mother, who swears I'm my father.. if he'd been a woman. How she knows this, I'm not sure. I don't think I want to know.

 
At 8:56 AM , Blogger Tamara said...

On the sibling-front, y'all are forgetting one crucial element. Siblings affect each other, just as parents affect children.

Nurture.

 
At 10:08 AM , Blogger Leetie said...

It's really vague and only a flash, but I remember being placed on the kitchen table for a diaper change... and the safety pins that were used to pin my diaper.

The sibling experiment would work if you studied identical twins vs. fraternal twins. Siblings still have a few years between them... have different friends, different influences from school, etc. The world changes every day.

I think it's a combo.

 
At 10:09 AM , Blogger Leetie said...

Scat, my favorite was strained pears :)

 
At 10:21 AM , Blogger punky said...

The reason I feel so strongly about nature is the natural personalities present in children from the same family early on. Some cry more than others. Some speak more than others. Some express a form of stress and anxiety, while others are just totally calm and unaffected. And often you see the differences in the same family. My friend Abby has three boys ... each is TOTALLY different and she could tell from the moment they were born. But as I said ... nurture takes what nature gave us and builds upon it or destroys it ... but to what degree is determined by nature. Some people are better able to handle life's stresses ... some a predisposed to emotional disturbances and issues ... others have the ability to withstand very difficult life situations and come out of it far less affected than others. That is why I believe the greatest determining factor is nature. Plus I believe in reincarnation ... so I think you bring with you much of who you are before you even meet your family.

 
At 1:26 PM , Blogger Tamara said...

I do think that personality ("sanguine", "melancholy", "phlegmatic", "choleric") is determined by nature.

The rest, I really do think is nurture.

And, by the way:

Punky, your beliefs are beautiful.

 
At 1:38 PM , Anonymous Boo Augustus said...

1. Gee, I don't know what I remember and what I remember having seen in photographs of those early years. One thing I can distinctly remember without photographs, is discovering a snake on the playground of my pre-school in Florida. I think I only went one day. Between the separation anxiety and the snake, my parents decided I wasn't emotionally able to leave home alone. Sometimes, I think my Mom still thinks that.

Oh, and what are these ear thermometers of which you speak? There's another way?

2. Nature. I have to agree with Punky. Nature probably rules, but the nurturing probably helps develop or curtail certain tendencies.

 
At 6:53 PM , Anonymous kingw said...

I remember a car accident my mother and I were in. Actually I remember the ambulance ride. I got to be in front, mom was on the stretcher. She was pregnant with my sister. So I must have been about 3 1/2. Funny they did not make me wear a seat belt. This was 1962 so maybe it was optional equipment on safety vehicles.

2) Nature determines basic personality in my opinion. Nurture can soften your basic nature but I think you are what you are.

 
At 8:09 PM , Anonymous Jeff Meyerson said...

1. Like Boo said, what I used to believe were my earliest memories were - I'm now sure - things I'd been told many times over the years rather than things I actually remember.

Example: my father was babysitting and fell asleep. He was an incredibly deep sleeper then. I woke up and tried to wake him by shaking him but I couldn't, and eventually I fell asleep myself, falling on the floor by the side of the bed where I wasn't visible.

My mother came home: "Where's my baby!" After hysteria they found me.

I must have been between one and two but I doubt that is a real memory. I wish I could be more precise. I don't remember projectile vomiting when they brought my baby brother home from the hospital either - I was not quite 13 months old.

2. Definitely nature.

 
At 6:12 PM , Blogger Sarah J said...

1. The first thing I can remember is going to my great-uncle Lorin's house. He had a pipe organ in his basement with pipes going up through to the ceiling of the main level. It had two pedal registers. My little brother (age 1-ish) and I (3ish) played with it, then Lorin gave me an ice cream cone- rainbow sherbet, yummy! He died two years later, so that is not only my earliest memory but my only memory of him.
2. Both, in different amounts for different people.

 
At 10:06 AM , Anonymous targetgirl said...

1) The blue/green/black patterned carpet of the first house I lived in. I was between 2-3yrs old.

2) Both, to differing degrees for different people.

 

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