Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Smell and Memory

Today Jackson is exactly 5 weeks old. Maxfield is becoming an exceptional big brother and has been really great. Wyatt... not so much. Wyatt is adjusting, not only to having a little brother, but also to having to share a room with Max. Wyatt also made the transition from crib to twin bed. Almost every night over the past five weeks I have ended up sleeping with Wyatt in his bed. He claims he is scared but I know he just needs a friend. As soon as I lay down to comfort him he throws his arm around my neck and instantly he falls back to sleep. When I try to get up, he wakes up and fusses. It is nice to know that I bring him some comfort and peace in this trying time for him. The nights have been long. Or short. Depending on your definition and how much sleep is required.

From the day we brought Jackson home I have been conducting an experiment which I will not know the results for another 10 years or so. I have read various articles that claim smell and memory are closely linked because the olfactory nerve is part of the brains system that is closely associated with memory. When Jackson is just fed and content lying in my arms, I hold various sweet smelling things in front of his nose. I have used Strawberries, Kiwis, Bananas, Ginger and Cinnamon spiced tea, Oranges, Blueberry and Pomegranate teas, candy canes and other mint candies.

I hope that when Jackson is older and he smells these various smells he will remember a peaceful and calm time and, for purely selfish reasons, he will remember his dad as a calming and happy person. Then, when he is 3 and he throwing a temper tantrum I can spray a Citrus scented air freshener, which will trigger the calming memory and he will immediately settle down. Or say when he is 15 and he becoming a bitter and angry teenager, I will simply hang Ginger scented car air fresheners in his room and he will change his attitude.

Like I said I won't know the results for a few years.

I am going to have to reprogram Wyatt. Now that I spend most nights in his bed, he is going to associate the smells of garlic morning breath and farts with being comforted.

What smells remind you of happy times?

41 comments:

Bogart in P Towne said...

I can come over and fart for you...I am sure Claire would appreciate it.

Patience said...

Chocolate. I like the smell of chocolate!

No_Newz said...

Break the habit. Wyatt will only get needy if you sleep in his bed. There's other ways to comfort him. Try making a trip to the store and only taking him. Work with him on making something out of Legos. Draw together. Anything. One on one bonding is important, but everyone needs to be able to fall asleep on their own. You'll turn into his Tylenol PM. LOL!

Comfort smells for me are weird... my kids when they've been playing outside and smell like dirt and fresh air is probably my favorite.

Wow is right. Enjoy that 5 week old baby. They grow up so fast. As hard as we try to shield them from bad, douchebags somehow find a way to ruin all our hard work. I hit the angry stage of the latest development, can you tell?

sari said...

We use music. Our youngest was born right before Christmas and I think when he's older he will like the Christmas music (the OLD SCHOOL Christmas music though, not the "let's drag everyone in off the street to sing some song" Christmas music. I'm kind of an old-school Christmas music snob, I can't help it. I think it's from when I was a kid. You can't compare Nat King Cole singing A Christmas Song with what's going on today, that's for sure.

And the middle son, we had the same problem. He would be dead asleep, but as soon as you flexed a finger to get up, he would instantly be sitting up and awake.

Nicole said...

I don't usually comment, but this post made me laugh out loud!!
Very funny!!!

Meegs said...

Baking cookies always remind me of my mom and home. Such a good feeling.

Fulton Quads said...

I would have to say my "smell" would have to be one of the following: Turkey with all the fixings baking in the oven on Thanksgiving morning or just baked Chocolate Chip cookies. Oh I can smell them now! YUM! Re: Wyatt, I too agree with No_News, break the habit. He can fall asleep on his own but you are his "crutch". Having his brother in his room should eventually make him feel good. Hopefully Max will agree too! (= I also LOVE the comment ref the ginger scented air freshener, I will remember this when my kids get older & start driving! hahah!

Love, Cathy & the quads

creative breathing said...

William, Thank goodness Bogart in P Towne leaves "pretty" comments on my blog! This must be a brother! I once took a test the National Geographic Society conducted about smell. I missed my calling! My nose is where I could have made my fortune. I was in the uncommon percentage that could identify every single smell. As descriptive as I am about my memories, I could just as well describe the smells of my childhood. Every single smell, every single memory. I control my own behaviors now with smell; so it will definitely work! The smell of orange juice instantly refortifies my energy. Great story! Elizabeth

Stephanie said...

honeysuckle, rain on cool days, and chili while its cooking

iheartchocolate said...

only a dad could have put it so eloquently. Poor Wyatt.

Melinda said...

I love the smell of toasted marshmallows. It such a 'zoom' into the happy memory of the summer months as a child and those evening BBQ's.
I also love the smell of pencils that are freshly sharpened. That smell reminds me of autumn and starting back to school, which I looked forward to, until I knew better not to!

gigglepotamus said...

I know the smell of farts always makes me think of you, so I guess Wyatt will be the same...

sophstar's mama said...

The smell of the woods in the fall is the best smell ever. I mean the woods here, though - Southeast Alaska. Nothing compares.

SciFi Dad said...

jack daniel's and patchouli (yeah right)

Charity Donovan said...

New room, new bed, new baby...I think it's sweet that your bodily functions are able to give the little guy the peace he needs! As far as the sweet smells...are you sure your not setting yourself up...Jackson might once day feel pretty disappointed when the smell of dad's comfort isn't so flowery & pretty...might as well break the poor baby in now...FART AWAY! lol!

eclectic said...

Can't you just hang pretty-smelling tea bags in your mouth and from the tag in your underwear while you're comforting Wyatt?

Karen said...

I love the smell of bleached sheets.

Wyatt needs a woobie. It could be a blankie, or a bear...one special thing that is his comfort. No Newz is right. He needs to be able to fall asleep on his own.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

New car.

mrtl said...

Love the positive aspect here. I have many negative smell memories.

My husband's soap
Apple pie
Pumpkin spice
Bounce fabric softener
Pine (not bottled, but the real thing)

Ethan, Zach, and Emma's Mom said...

Lilacs. Makes me think of spring.

James said...

Morning Coffee...and Garlic Farts. I wonder if dad slept in my bed when I was young.

shelia said...

How funny, I wish I had tried the smell thing as I now have a moody 15 yr old son. Maybe I should spray the citrus spray directly on him, as spraying it around him would only make him more grumpy lol. My childhood smell is clean sheets and pine sol my mom was a clean freak, she said she could wear pine sol for perfume lol..

kcinnova said...

Darn, too late to try those olfactory experiments on my teens. *shakes head sadly*

Poor Wyatt, feeling lost in the middle. No Newz is right.

Fresh cedar forest, tall pine trees, mountain breezes.

Anonymous said...

The smell of hand sanitizer makes me think of Moon.

Anonymous said...

The smell of Nair makes me think of Mama.

Anonymous said...

The smell of Mr Zogs sex wax reminds me of DP

Anonymous said...

The smell of a hair salon mixed with old ladies reminds me of the eldest and Bradlees

Anonymous said...

The smell of fabric makes me think of gigglepotamus

Anonymous said...

The smell of the ocean reminds me of the strtch of road between the Garden State Parkway and Wildwood when you would look for water towers.

Anonymous said...

The right combination of alcohol, blood, cigarette smoke, urine, and fog juice reminds me of our old work.

Anonymous said...

The smell of two different sneakers makes me think of Primus

Lowa said...

I think it is sweet that you sleep with Wyatt! He will be broken of that in due time, no worries. It is very considerate and loving of you to do this for him and I am sure Lauren appreciates the break as well, dealing with feeding Jackson in the night, etc. He won't sleep with you forever, you can wean him when the time comes.

You are HILARIOUS with the garlic morning breath and farts thing:) How true!

I wish I had thought of your experiment...my 16 year old son is and always has been a breeze...but his 13 year old brother?? Wow...look out! Wyatt will be similar, I am sure. Second child usually is. Jackson will end up being a joker, like you. I predict it now. That is how our third son is and I am projecting our family onto your's. You will also have a girl next...but I am getting off task here...so these bonding and warm fuzzy memories you are forming with Wyatt now will benefit you in the long run, trust me.

Keep up the great work! I can't get over what an awesome father you are!

Ali said...

Avon Skin So Soft lotion takes me back to when I was little because it smells EXACTLY like the little pink chewable Tylenol my parents used to give me when I had a fever.

Anonymous said...

Bad feet smell makes me think back to when Dad would make you leave the family room and go wash your feet in the tub.

They are priceless memories for me!

Katie said...

Hot chocolate always reminds me of my grandma's house after being outside playing in the snow. Wood fires always remind me of home (my parent's house) because they have a wood stove that was always going in the winter.

Hey. Both of my memories are of cold weather. I need to think of some summer smells... Maybe the winter ones are in my head right now because of the season... I can't wait until Spring!

Redhead Mommy said...

the smell of campfires, charcoal grills, sweat and the outdoors (they have to be the right combination on my husband, though!)

Anonymous said...

I love the smell of new golf ball on a "white tees tournament" golf tee right before Mike Merck hits into the water.

Anonymous said...

I wish I could remember the smell of wedding cake.

kalki said...

Every now and then, I'll get a faint whiff of perfume or something and think, MOM. It's almost like a reflex. I also like the smell of certain pine trees because they remind me of Christmases as a kid.

Stepper Motors said...

GOOD WEBSITE

carbide drills said...

hello
God website