Johnny recently posted about early memories, wondering just how likely it was that children adopted from China have specific memories.
As I understand it, the consensus is that there are emotional memories, subconscious memories, but not "snapshots" the way adults have memories. That said, I can safely say that OmegaDotter (almost 5) has memories from when she was two, specific memories that she can describe in words ("Remember when we went to that party...?" "Remember my friend Miss K., she has two boys and animal heads on the walls and a horse you can ride..."). This always surprises me, because it seems like so long ago in childhood lifespan.
On the other hand, she hasn't described anything from when she was 1, so it's not likely she has "memories" (of the snapshot type) from her time in the orphanage. Limbic memories, emotional memories--that I'm sure of, because she is so terribly afraid of being alone.
The earliest memory I have is some time when I was three. OmegaGranny, Uncle Grump and I were in an airplane, flying to see the grandparents in Florida. OmegaGranny can chime in in the comments, because I may have the year incorrect, but I think it made an impression on me because Uncle Grump never came down to Florida with us.
Another very early memory: OmegaGranny and I taking the train down to Florida. Mom made a bed for me on top of her suitcase, and I thought it was way cool. Four years old? Five? I'm not sure.
Then, from when I was five: watching the other kids "graduating" from my church preschool. They got to carry the crepe paper streamers as they walked down the aisle in church side by side; I didn't. (I couldn't--I was "too young".) Waaahhhh! I'm sure all my quirks and neuroses stem from this one incident of feeling Left Out. Hah!
These are all snapshots, vignettes of life. There's no real context, no memories of "before" the memory or "after" the memory, just little still life pictures with some information attached as to what was going on.
From that point on, the memories grow.
It makes me wonder what little snippets of OmegaDotter's early life will stay with her. For us, as adults, her life is a continuum; we have memories of meeting her, of wandering through Nanning and Gaungzhou, of coming home, of her learning to walk, to talk, dancing, growing. Most of that will disappear from her memories as she grows older, with only little tidbits sticking.
What are your earliest memories?