I don't know why I thought of my early childhood as ideal. Possibly because I remembered little of my entire childhood. Possibly because I was told by so many people that my parents, and especially father, doted on me, especially because they got me so late in life, an only child, spoiled rotten. Possibly because I believed and was taught that early childhood was such an important formative period and, naturally, I wanted it to have been good; I didn't want to be messed up for life.
One story my father told me, a story of a successful parenting action: they woke me up from afternoon naps early every day so I wouldn't go to bed too late and so they'd have their evenings free of me. (I always had a ridiculously early bedtime that no one believed). I dropped naps just after I turned 1, so I can't have been much older than 1. Every time they woke me up from a nap, I cried and cried (which is what a tired baby does when you force her to wake up, duh.) This irritated my father, so he spanked me. I never cried again when woken up from a nap. He told me this with an air of triumph.
I remember being utterly shocked when he told me that! Spank a baby because she's crying when you wake her up!? What sick person does that?! I told him I think that's horrible, and now I wish I hadn't, because he hasn't shared any parenting gems with me since, and I'd like to know more.
And still I somehow made myself think I was treated so gently and wonderfully as a baby!
Oh, I'm a better mom than that. I don't know why that matters, but it does.