Year three, age two: September 1984-1985.
I don't really know where to start reflecting on this year. I think I may have one or two memories from that time, but sometimes I question whether those are actual memories or if I just attached mental images to stories that I had heard growing up.
I always heard about this car accident that my mom and the four of us kids were in during the winter time that year, in which some of us incurred minor injuries. Apparently my car seat was basically collapsed, but I had been sitting on my sister's lap-- a sign of the times-- so I only suffered from a scratched up face and swollen eye (I still have a scar on my left eyebrow). My mom wrote a letter of outrage to the car seat company for their poor craftsmanship, and did end up receiving compensation. Again, this is just a story I have heard a hundred times but I do have one memory of looking at myself in the mirror at my Aunt Lora's house and seeing my face looking back at me, scraped and swollen. That is my earliest memory, but it is just a flash.
I also have one memory of going upstairs to bed with my sister (we shared a room) and being stopped by my dad who asked if we wanted some popcorn. We looked at Mom-- who seemed annoyed at the question, having just brushed our teeth-- for permission and she reluctantly agreed. I was really excited to stay up a few more minutes and eat popcorn. It is still the littlest pleasures like that, that make me happiest.
Like I said, I don't have too many memories of this early year but when I look at old pictures from that time, it seems like I smiled a lot. I've heard this statistic a couple times that says two year-olds laugh, on average, 400 times a day. This is opposed to adults who laugh about 15 times a day. There was a time when I remember needing to practice smiling for pictures. I was still pretty young then, probably elementary or middle school, and I was anticipating the annual school picture. I remember this clearly so I was surprised recently when I looked back on the pictures from my earlier years and it appears that smiling, either purposefully or candidly, came very naturally. Whether I was riding a bike, posing with my siblings, doing gymnastics in a shirt that read, "it's not easy being a kid," or playing with books and toys in my crib, I was always smiling or laughing. Even though I don't remember why, I must have been happy.