Never Underestimate A Toddler’s Memory

One of Robert’s favorite teachers at school (actually the assistant at his class) has been absent for the last few days. I was chatting to his teacher when I picked him up today and I commented that he must have forgotten her already because when I mentioned her name to him he ignored it and just uttered another teacher’s name.

I guess the little tyke wanted to prove me wrong today. We got off the minibus taxi and started our walk home up the long hill. This is normally a very hard walk because I carry Robert most of the way, while trying to dodge the piles of dirt (and droppings). I also struggle to dissuade him from wanting to “wok” until we get to a cleaner part of the street. When I set him down, he usually walks quickly for a few metres then starts exploring sidewalks, walls, trees, fences and whatever else we pass (That is why I never set him down on the dirtiest part of our street).

I have a rule that whenever he starts touching the dirty street, he gets carried again (no walk , in his language), which inevitably leads to arguments and crying. He was having one of his fits when an African lady came towards us down the streets. She must have been a nanny or domestic worker finishing her day at work, and those women are usually very sweet to young babies, but this one came straight to me and took him in her arms, pretending to take him with her. She started saying: “bye mummy” and I played along for a few seconds. Of course, in the face of this new calamity Robert forgot his distress about wanting to (wok) and his bottom lip stretched forward as he looked at the “intruder” with distrust. Soon the woman set him down and said goodbye and went on her own way. Robert watched after her, a little puzzled, then blurted out “Woosie” (Lucy)… Waoo, the boy still remembers his nanny Lucy, even though it has been almost two months since we last saw her. She would be impressed if she knew.

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