Think of your earliest memory. Next, ask your child to tell you the first thing they remember. If they are able to tell you, the ages of your first memories probably coincide!
In grad school we learned what a strange thing memory can be. People remember events incorrectly, and remember some things that never even occurred! They may have read it, heard it from someone else, even dreamed it! This does not mean memory is not useful. Learning occurs alongside memory, after all.
Although our memories are imperfect, they are useful and some can be fun! Parents take pictures, make albums, and write in books to remember those first fleeting aspects of a baby’s life. Why? To remember, of course. We have an awareness of the limitations of memory. So we accommodate for that by keeping reminders of that time.
What are some ways you keep reminders of the past? I have small boxes for certain ages and keep memory items from those ages (0-1, 2-3, preschool, etc.) There is also an album on my desk of the first year or so, the remaining years on digital albums.
What do you keep when there is so much from these times? Well, keep those items attached to a strong memory or with which you have an attachment. Do you love your little girl’s baby clothing but not really those old rattle toys? Keep a favorite of yours, and a favorite of your child’s. And finally, keep in mind that memory is associated with emotion, so an item associated with a wonderful (or awful) event will evoke more of the memory later.