In a rare move away from my usual light-hearted silliness, today I want to raise awareness of a serious* issue.
Toddler Amnesia is a devastating condition. It affects one in every one toddler, yet very little is understood about this debilitating disorder.
You probably know a sufferer, your own toddler may even be one. However, far too many Toddler Amnesiacs remain undiagnosed, suffering in, well, not silence so much as extreme noisiness.
Awareness of the symptoms of this condition is woefully low. Below are ten of the most common. Please learn how to identify Toddler Amnesia, and share the information. Together we can ensure this illness does not go unrecognised.
1. Sufferers of Toddler Amnesia are typically unable to retain the word ‘no’. All memory of Mummy having said no to sofa base jumping is immediately erased. Memories of whatever ill-advised bribe Mummy used today to get them to behave in the shops will, however, be retained for days/months/years – essentially until they receive what was promised to them. Doctors are unable to explain this strange discrepancy.
2. Toddler amnesiacs find themselves unwittingly asking the same question over and over again. Sometimes up to fifty times in five seconds.
3. Toddler Amnesia presents sufferers with particular difficulties surrounding issues of possession and ownership. Affected toddlers will find themselves completely unable to remember that a particular object is not theirs, often leading to repeated snatching incidents. Mysteriously, they are able to remember extremely accurately when objects actually are theirs (interestingly, this also often leads to snatching incidents). A related complication to this particular aspect of the illness is frequent forgetting of what was being played with seconds before, combined with the belief that the item the toddler is now playing with is what they have always been playing with. This issue appears to be exacerbated when any other child begins playing with a toy previously being entirely ignored by the toddler. The toddler will immediately experience a ‘false memory’ that they were, in fact, playing with that toy, in conjunction with complete memory loss over what they were actually playing with. Episodes such as these are nearly always accompanied by additional memory loss surrounding the question of it being wrong to hit other children.
4. A particularly concerning aspect of this dreadful illness is seen when the afflicted toddler forgets why they needed help or how they were hurt. The toddler will scream: ‘Mummy! Mummy, HELP! HELP!’ However, upon arriving at the scene, Mummy will find a happily playing toddler, who is completely unable to recall what the emergency was, or indeed to supply any response whatsoever to Mummy’s repeated: ‘What is it? What’s the matter? Why were you screaming?’
5. Toddler amnesiacs are unable to remember where they have put anything. They often become convinced – frequently aggressively so – that these memories have in fact been transferred to Mummy, who MUST know where the missing item is.
6. Sufferers, rather conveniently, tend to forget their own bad behaviour and transgressions instantly, often whilst they are still committing them. In contrast, and despite the memory damage, any infraction committed by a sibling appears to be inexplicably retained for eternity.
7. As a result of this debilitating illness, affected toddlers will often dispute statements made by Mummy, before correcting Mummy with a statement identical to the disputed one: ‘No we didn’t have cheese sandwiches for lunch! We had cheese sandwiches!’
8. A very unfortunate side effect of Toddler Amnesia is the inability to recall which foods were loved mere moments before. Sometimes sufferers will even forget that the food now being so angrily rejected was requested by the toddler themselves just five minutes previously. Tragically, sufferers miss out on many of their once favourite foods because they are simply unable to remember that they did like it last week/ yesterday/ two mouthfuls ago. It is simply heartbreaking to hear their screams of: ‘NO! I don’t like it! No! It’s not my favourite! I didn’t ask for it! NOOOOO!’
9. Toddler amnesiacs are frequently observed to have an unusual number of cuts and bruises. These result from the inability to recall that performing a somersault into the sideboard actually hurt last time as well.
10. Even in sleep there is no rest from this terrible condition. Sufferers become confused, forgetting on a nightly basis what time they go to bed, that they just read that book and, all too often, which bed is theirs.
These poor, forgetful toddlers are everywhere, their plight disgracefully ignored by society and the medical profession (largely because they’re a bit annoying and everyone tuned them out). They wander, confused, searching for missing toys, refusing food they like and forgetting every instruction they are given. Not even the most hard-hearted among us can fail to be moved by the forlorn sight of an affected toddler obliviously watching the same episode of Peppa Pig for the fifty millionth time.
Doctors hope that, in the future, with advancements in medical science, we will achieve the seemingly impossible, and these toddlers may be able to remember that they were told no. It will take years of dedicated research, but wouldn’t it be amazing if one day just one toddler was able to recall that yesterday he liked pasta? Please, help me to raise awareness of this condition: together we can make that day happen.