Children in their first few years are unable to articulate clearly through speech. Yet they are able to communicate through their actions (particularly crying) to show us what they want. Yet we have never truly known what they were thinking, feeling or comprehending.
Most of us cannot remember prior to around four years old. Well, Rebecca Sharrock is different and can remember every day of her life since she was just 12 days old.
"As a newborn child I was curious to what the seat cover and steering wheel above me were. Though at that age I hadn't yet developed the ability to want to get up and explore what such curious objects could be," she wrote in a post on Omni.
Rebecca has shed some light on what and how children think in those years that most of us forget. As you could guess she "would spend a lot of time in my crib looking at surrounding toys and the stand-up fan".
Yet some things you would never guess, such as her understanding of dreams. "At that age I thought I was really leaving home each night, so I'd always want my mum with me while I was sleeping."
Or her concept of having a sibling. "I didn't understand what a sister was back then and was far more interested in playing with my toy train. Though I did get up to some mischief over the next year or so, when it dawned on me that I wasn't an only child anymore, and I had to share everything with a sister, as well as give away my old clothes and toys."
Rebecca is just one of around 60 people in the world who have a Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory (HSAM). We have different kinds of memory, so Rebecca cannot remember every single thing she has ever seen, like those with photographic memory. Rather, she remembers things she has personally experienced.
Whether you think this is a blessing or a curse is up for debate. As she says, "I am constantly reliving my past (emotionally) in clear-cut detail."
Rebecca's incredible memory makes researchers question whether we ever do truly forget.
She is currently involved in two studies with the University of California and the University of Queensland in the hope of discovering a little more about how memory works.
Rebecca is one of those rare cases that show us how little we know, and how much we are yet to learn, about our own bodies.