My best friend has (atleast) 3 shirts.

My son came home from preschool last week to announce that he has a new best friend and he wears a yellow shirt.  When I asked what his name was, he said he did not know.  When I asked him to describe him, he went into great detail describing his shirt.  "He wears a yellow shirt with a soccer ball going into a net."  Over and over again over the weekend, my son referred to his friend as the boy with the yellow soccer ball going-in-the-net shirt.  Finally, he returned the other day from preschool to report that his friend wore a grey shirt that day.  "He was not wearing the yellow shirt with the soccer ball going in the net today."  This morning, he exclaimed brightly as soon as he saw his friend, "there he is Mama, can you see him? He has a squid (an octopus) on his shirt." So, my son has made a friend, which is wonderful.  What we know about him is that he has at least three shirts.

My daughter is much more straightforward about such matters.  Even from a very young age, she would regale us with tales of her childcare adventures and all the children she met complete with their names.  Last names got added after she started primary because that's when they start being regularly identified this way. She often will correct me when I mis-name one of her school or preschool friends.

As for me, I have practically an encyclopedic knowledge of tiny, obscure facts from people's lives, I'm sure they would be surprised that I can remember. I have creeped out more than one person by sidling up to them years later and identifying them as the girl in grade 1 who I caught eating glue, and the boy who threw up in grade two and the little girl who "did a belly flop".  Names and clothing do not stick in my brain, defining moments do.

I have heard that when people have had their sight restored, it can be a very challenging time.  Apparently, we all learn to see and recognize faces piece by piece.  As little children, we slowly build up knowledge of a millions pieces of data that add up to recognizing a face, a person.  Some of us start with a smile and a name, some with a shirt and others with "a time".

How about you?


  1. ah, definitely a time and a place... and now, the kids... identifying grownups by the little ones...


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