The scent of memory

Last week was our son’s birthday and we celebrated with a dinner for the extended family. I was thrilled to find a ham on the bone on special which fed everybody, and only needed to be glazed and finished off in the oven. The best part of the deal was it filled the kitchen with the most delicious smell as it cooked – in fact the house smelled like Christmas! The connection between scent and nostalgia never ceases to amaze me, and I’ve noticed it even more since I’ve become a mother

While there are certainly some less than delightful aromas connected with parenthood, there are others that take me straight back to delightful times in my children’s lives. Here is just a selection –

Baby shampoo

The smell instantly takes me back to those first few squirmy baths and the times I’d pop toddlers in the bath and fill it with bubbles to banish their grumpiness.

Vicks vapour rub

It’s never fun when children are sick, but the routine of applying Vicks certainly seems to help bring them back to health.

Play doh

Even though my mother made her own play dough for me, and I usually made my own for my children, there’s something about the smell of the bought stuff that makes me think of fun afternoons creating monsters, bugs and strange six-legged animals.

Fresh cut grass

Cut grass smells like summer, and that means playing outside  after dinner and staying late at the playground.

Eau d’classroom

I don’t know what it is, but walk into a classroom and you’re instantly transported back to childhood. It’s paint smell mixed with book smell mixed water from the fish tank smell mixed with sandwiches. It’s not likely to ever feature in a perfume bottle but it certainly sums up childhood.