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Memory Makers

Toddlers seem to live in the moment, but they have far better memories than we often think. Marilyn Cottom, 3, recently rattled off details of who wore what at a family reunion months before. "We were so surprised," said her mom, Susan Illis, of Marietta, GA. "We thought that would have been ancient history to her!"

Actually, when kids are around 2, their brains can retain some memories. What gets filed away might seem insignificant to us, but to a little kid, even spotting a dog on an ice-cream outing can be a special event that stands out in her mind.

Your child's brain may hold on to moments for months, but she can't share them until her speech develops, says Michelle Gross, Ph.D., a psychologist at the University of Miami. The more you talk about your experiences, the better your child will remember them. When she shares a recollection, ask her what else happened that day, and tell her what you recall, too. You'll encourage her memory  -- and hear some cute details you may have forgotten!