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What is your earliest memory?

How early in life do you remember?

  • Birth

    Votes: 4 7.1%
  • 2-3 years old

    Votes: 34 60.7%
  • later than three years

    Votes: 18 32.1%

  • Total voters


Well-Known Member
For me, my earliest memory was when I was four years old.

The day was 25th March 1996 and I remember myself staggering around in circles and giggling in my family's living room - presumably lost in my thoughts like many Aspie children.
However, I then remember feeling what I can only describe as been a 'brain-shock' as I felt what I could best describe as an electric shock inside my head (like someone flicking an 'On' switch).
Feeling that, I 'woke up' to the world around me - actually looking at it for the first time as I looked at my hands and the room around me. I then started walking (which felt rather odd in a way I can't describe) and walked into the kitchen where my Mum was washing the pots. I then remember asking her if it was my birthday, to which she said it wasn't and that I was four years old (my birthday had been a few weeks back).

Looking back at it now, I find it strange how I'd had that 'awakening' moment where I opened my eyes to reality, whereas before then, I was essentially on 'auto-pilot' for the first four years of my life.

I have looked a bit more into it, and even read stories from Auties and Aspies who claim to even remember their birth - including describing what the room was like, what the people were wearing and what was said.
As such, I felt curious to ask the community here the question about what was your earliest memory - whether it was from birth or afterwards.
I look forward to hearing your responses.
My earliest memory is of the candy dish ( filled with M&M's) and sofa cushions in my grandmother's apartment. I was three when she died, so this setting disappeared from my life. The fact that I remember them tells me that they are in fact from memory, as opposed to my memory of the house we lived in at the time. I can probably remember other things from that time, but they are muddled with things and events that were common until I was 7, when we moved to another house.

I also have memories from a time just before my grandmother died. We were at our family lake cabin when a tornado ripped through the area. There were several people killed, buildings destroyed, trees ripped out of the ground. We lost our boat house, one small boat and a tree fell on our old Model T Ford.

But I question how much of this is memory and how much is imagined visualization of the stories told ad infinitum of this spectacular occurrence. Since the setting was and is so familiar to me, and these stories are a big part of our family lore, it is easy to have doubts of what I visualized and what I actually remember. I also had dreams about this event and its aftermath for years afterwards, so there is another reason to doubt. In any case, these visions are so very real to me that I consider them memories.

There are other visions that I have that could be earlier memories, but I just have my doubts. I am a powerful visualizer, and I also have always had very vivid, detailed dreams which I retain in memory. This makes me skeptical.

I guess I have a basic distrust of my memory. ;) I like proven facts.

Fascinating thread, will be interesting to hear other's stories.
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My earliest memory must be from before I was two years old because I wasn't speaking at the time and I only started to communicate verbally after I was two.

I had my closest friend round my home, and I remember that we'd been playing on a plastic ladder and slide in the living room. My mum was scolding me. She was sitting on the right hand side of the sofa which sat beneath the windows and her hair was tied back in a ponytail. She was scolding me by saying, "Did you knock that cup over?" with a stern look on her face.

I remember not quite knowing how to answer her, and feeling nervous. I had knocked the cup over but was too nervous to answer. I just continued to look down at the floor.
I don't know if I can so clearly locate specific interactions in time like your story of knocking the cup over. At least that early in life. After 4 or 5 years old, I can be more certain.

That is remarkable.

But then, I have nearly five decades of things bouncing around in my head.
Like another poster above, before I was two years old. By three years old I have numerous memories.

Since they were photographic I have described to my mom the setting, such as stairwell and its location and other rooms that branch, etc.

I can add an item that may or may not have a relation, but my mom said I did not talk, as in sentences, until I was three. The very few times I did say something it was just a word, no string of words. She said she wondered about me until "one day" I just started talking like a normal kid from that point in time.

When we say "memory" I wonder about differences in recall: words verses visual impressions in the brain. How different parts of the brain develop over time is interesting, and appears individual (complex spectrum).
How different parts of the brain develop over time is interesting, and appears individual (complex spectrum).

My earliest memories are of OCD! I was unattended in my family's garden. (My mom was probably inside with my baby sister.) (My dad is at work or always outside working in the garden.) I was playing alone. My father was surprised to find that I had removed every last flower petal of the daisies ! In my mind, I was thinking "he loves me, He loves me not....." OCD anxiety I "HAD" to end on "he loves me". I am not sure who "he" was, a lover, future husband, a boyfriend or God.

I also remember was these stacking/nesting boxes for children, thick, heavy duty, quality from the old fashioned days. It was strong enough to form stools when a person stands on them. The boxes had stickers of cartoons on them. OCD, I HAD to put my rear end inside the box. I would always play this way, but OCD impulse said I "HAD" to do it, over and over. I think I also enjoyed the sensation of the smooth plastic. There was static energy to learn as well. new stuff to a kid brain. In, Out, play, OCD, play, .... Well. I got stuck! I did not fear. I was really calm. I guess I just kinda planned on living in this box for the rest of my life? My mom panicked. She's really super duper good at panicking!!!!! So, My dad had to get this GIANT huge (think of Crocodile Dundee hunting Australian in NY) butcher knife to free me! YIKES! I was scared when I saw that knife!

I also, very vividly remember my parents adventure hiking in the forest. My baby sister was smaller, so, she was in the backpack. I was left to my toddler feet to run to catch up to the grown ups. There was this tree/2 trees. I Had this very real feeling that I would Die/and/or/go to Hell if I went around Left, so, I look right, The same thought comes to my head, I would Die/and/or/go to Hell if I went right. The only option was to go through the V of the tree. I got left behind! My parents kept walking further away from me! Very scary!!!!! ! Panic! Eventually, the noticed and helped me.

I don't recall OCD in my life again until later. OCD plagued me again when I was a teenager. My family did not notice. (they had other mental health issues to keep them busy!) I kept the OCD rituals a secret. I felt Great SHAME. Like, I was somehow weaker than the other humans. I "knew" it was "wrong" but I could not stop......brain stuck.... Panic, Fears, so real.......... Then, One day, I decided, I was already in Hell. Hell was the rituals. So, agonizing, I stop the rituals. I did not die. I did not go to further worse Hell. Later, as an adult, I read books about this. I believe it is called Cognitive Behavior Therapy. But as a teen, I did not know this big word.

When I describe my "youngest" memory to my parents, they say I was "too young" to remember that! "It's not possible!" then, my mom adds "well, It was very traumatic to have someone come at you with that HUGE knife!" I guess I was about 2 1/2 or 3 yrs old. (Leaning towards 2 1/2, Daisies bloom, hmmm, summer , I was born in October..... I can find out the location of those daisies. We moved a lot. camping in the summer. As hippies do......)

My earliest memories do not include any words at all. I was NOT told that my words were delayed or any such thing. (not that they would even notice me, with the new baby sister with way too much crazy fierce colic....) However, as an older child, My mom told me that I would invite friends over to my house. Then, I would wander off and be alone some where!!!!!!! A child in my family did not walk until the child was 15 months old. This girl child had long strings of words, maybe even small sentences, then, regressed, a bit! (This is documented on video.) Another (red flag sign, hand flapping) boy child in my immediate family was *almost* diagnosed as Aspergers, but the Doctors said he has empathy!! ! (hand flapping? in sheer joy?) Oh Well. I am not a Doctor...... I am not even sure how Aspie I am. I just believe my family shares SOME Aspie traits........ I am excellent with art, decent enough at math, even managed to struggle to pass algebra up til trigonometry. My sister is angry, runs fast, is very very very talented at math. (These fantastic skills placed her on the "who's who" President's list for academics for college bound.) Rambles. sorry..............
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I remember a time when I was either 3 or 4, and my mum and dad were taking me to the movies to see a pokemon movie. :)
As we were going up the stairs into the theatre, I had trouble going up them, so I think it was either my mum or my dad who had to carry me up them. :p
I was really un-coordinated back in those days.
Then there was that time where I soiled myself (literally) during my first year of primary school. :p Lol.
When I describe my "youngest" memory to my parents, they say I was "too young" to remember that! "It's not possible!" then, my mom adds "well, It was very traumatic to have someone come at you with that HUGE knife!" I guess I was about 2 1/2 or 3 yrs old. (Leaning towards 2 1/2, Daisies bloom, hmmm, summer , I was born in October..... I can find out the location of those daisies. We moved a lot. camping in the summer. As hippies do......)

I find your recounting of early memories quite interesting, they even convey the sense of surprise, panic, and wonder a young child would feel in such moments.

"you were too young to remember".

Why do people say this? There are certainly things that we might not have understood, or wouldn't understand in the adult sense, but we would still retain some impression of the emotions, and a visual recollection of events, especially dramatic ones.. But to say flat out you were too young is dismissing any and all memories one might have of being so young, that seems tragic.

When do we become old enough to remember? And who gets to decide?

There are lots of things have recollection of, (finding a hammer in the crook of a tree in the park across the street, I must have been three or four, still have the hammer), and I would like to reclaim the right to say "I was not too young, I remember!"
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I have a few memories from around the age of 3 or 4. One of them was when I was running in my backyard barefoot and I stepped in a pile of my dogs poop. I remember I wouldn't take another step or put my foot with the poop on it back on the ground until my dad sprayed it off with the hose.
My mum carrying me over to a metal bowl with a white towel in it in oder to weigh me. I don't know how old I was, I think 18 months to two years old - certain small enough to go into a metal bowl. I don't think I was talking.
Was just talking about early memories with my mother. Most of mine are from around four years old, but she did say one was from when I was about two.
I have memories of activities at home, Plunket, speech therapist and kindergarten.
I was 4 years old, watching a loved one wash dishes at the kitchen sink. I remember trying to fathom how I existed and not really understanding. I remember thinking that washing dishes looked fun. The memory is really fuzzy and distorted over time but that is the general idea of my earliest memory that I can still recall.
My earliest memory, I guess was when I was around 4 or 5 (perhaps). My absolute clearest memory was from 6 onwards and I can even see myself at that age. It is like I can relive when I was a child, over and over again; my husband likes to argue that it is quite impossible to know what I was thinking back then, but actually, I can lol and especially now understand why I was even different then! You would not find me glued to the tv watching cartoons (they have never attracted me) but when I finally learned to read and write at 9 ( I know believe it was due to a lack of understanding from those around me) because, once I grasped how to read, there was absolutely no stopping me and I devoured books.

I remember at 16, closing my bedroom door and playing with my dolls, because something told me that at 16, it was not really the done thing, but I did not feel like a 16 year old at all.

I have a vague memory of me being in Ireland and so, I would have been 2 at that point, because there are pictures of me picking up daises (no memory of that) but I have a sense of emotional attachment to Ireland. My grandparents were Irish and so I would have been visiting relatives!
I was four or six months old, pushing myself up to sitting after a bad ear infection and knowing I'd be okay from now on even though there was puss on the pillow!

after that about as early as still crawling but talking - don't know what age, in Italy, my mum was talking to Piedro's mum and I asked her if he was my boyfriend and she said yes, so i crawled over and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
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I've read articles that some people can remember all the way back to birth.
Science tells us our brains don't have that capacity and anything before three years old would be almost impossible. That is the age most people I've talked with say also. No earlier than 3 or 4 yrs. really.
I can remember vividly things that do go back to my birth. First memory: Laying on my back scratching my face with my hands in incubator. They put extra long sleeves on me in the hospital and tied the ends so I couldn't scratch at my face. I remember being on the hospital bed with my Mom when she got up to go to the bathroom and the nurse telling her never leave a newborn unattended like that, not even to go to the bathroom. I remember the nurse putting me and Mom into the car to go home. A couple they knew, came to pick us up. Dad was in the back seat. Me and Mom sat up front with Charlie, the driver. His wife and Dad in the back seat. Charlie reached for me and handed me over the seat to Dad and said "Here, want to hold your baby girl?" Back then, Fathers weren't allowed to hold the babies until they left the hospital. We went home and Dad didn't have the crib assembled. Mom was mad. He said we can make her a bed in a drawer of the chest of drawers! And I could draw the layout of the house I was brought home to even now even though I only lived there until I was four and where every piece of furniture was.

My psychologist says she believes it's possible for Aspies and those on the spectrum to remember that far back because we think in pictures. But, what if you were born thinking in words? This may be a savant issue. I was so disgusted as a baby being able to think in English, but, not able to speak in the baby body yet. When I did learn to talk, I had selective mutism but no learning problems. All of these memories I later asked Mom about and she confirms them true. There are many more unique experiences.
I could write a book on this.

Anyone else here have this experience? Or a Savant type oddity that science can't explain?
I can remember as far back as when we lived at 16 Cherry Tree Walk in Chapeltown, Sheffield, because I can remember driving a small red toy car when I was about 2 back in '78, that's when we moved to Walkley, Sheffield.

Back then the area of Walkley was respectable, full of Pensioners, young Families, and students, and it kind of still is.

Some people would point out that some parts of Sheffield are full of Chavs, but they're mostly wrong.
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3 upwards. I have no memory as a baby and if it were not for a photograph of me as a baby, I could easily believe I was not a baby lol

I only know I was around 3, because I was 7 when we moved and I started a school for those who are considered stupid. So, I had to have been 3 with many memories from the hold place we lived.

My most vivid memories, is when I got so sick, I could not cope with white. I would hide myself, because the walls were white and would cry and be sick, but could not explain to anyone, so I did suffer. Another time, was in a party dress and it was my birthday and many from my nursery were there, but I knew none of them and someone else had to blow my candles out, because I was too shy to do it myself.

Another, was when I punched a hole in a door. I have no recognection of what it was that caused such rage, I just knew I was white hot with anger and father refused to speak to me for several months. All this happened in the "old house" and so, I was very very very young.
I can remember a few snippets from around 4/5. Mainly knocking a front tooth out at 4 in nursery and a few small bits of reception in primary school at 5.
I can remember back to a point before I could sit up on my own. I was having my picture taken, though I didn't understand that at the time. I recall being propped up by these humongous hands and being caught as I tipped over. The owner of the hands (who I mistook for my grandfather) appeared a giant blur. A bright light then emanated from beside his head. I rather liked bright lights and would stare at light bulbs at that age (how times change) so that, combined with the experience of sitting up, made for a rather novel and memorable experience.

I can also recall having my diaper changed, escaping from my crib, waiting for my mom to come home, and many other instances going back to infancy. My memories aren't as clear as Susan's though. I find it rather impressive that you can even recall what people said going back to the day you were born.
My oldest memories are from when I was about 7 actually. I'm always surprised when people say they can remember being a toddler. My memory as a whole isn't that great though so that might be part of it.

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