It went so quickly, really. By age 10, I no longer felt like a child in many ways. Being a child was difficult for me. I am a very independent person and I hate being told what to do. I remember at age 7 when my parents told me that it was my bedtime. I had this thought of, “So…you guys get to go to bed at 10pm and I have to go to bed at 7pm? That is SO not fair!”
Why did I have to go to bed earlier? And more to the point, who were they to tell me what to do? I know, outrageous, right? I remember feeling a strong sense of injustice early on that I was not in control of the basic functions of my being. I was told when to sleep, what to eat, what to wear and how to do things. It used to drive me crazy.
Of course, the answer a child gets when they ask, “Why do I have to go to bed when you say?” is, “Because I am the adult and I work very hard. This is my house and I pay the bills. When you have your own job and your own house, then you can go to bed whenever you want. Until then, you go to bed when I say.”
This is totally fair, but it never seemed fair to me.
From age 7 or 8, I became obsessed with collecting my own money. I was probably given a few rupees a week as pocket money (at the time our Australian family was living in New Delhi) and I would collect extra money from my parents for doing small chores and things like that. I remember how proud I was once I had collected 100 rupees. That’s about $1.75 in Australian money today. Back in the 80s, it was probably a decent amount.
So, thinking back to my childhood, here are some of my favourite things.
1. A new Barbie, fresh out of the pack
When Barbie arrives at your house, she comes in a plastic packet, tethered to her ‘scene’ by countless cable ties that are tricky even for an adult to remove. Within the first hour, I would normally have lost Barbie’s shoe, or her little mirror or comb. Years later, this would appear under a couch or table and by then Barbie was usually relegated to the back of the cupboard.
2. White bread, butter and Kraft cheese singles
Nothing beats a cheese sandwich, particularly one made on fluffy, white bread. Back in the 80s, kids could eat all sorts of great stuff without having to deal with ‘red light/green light’ nutritional guidelines and their parents being fined for giving them Ritz crackers. I loved cheese sandwiches, and I still eat them when I need comforting.
3. Wearing shorts and thongs
In Australia, a thong is a flip-flop, not a piece of underwear. As a little kid, I loved getting around in thongs and shorts and I hated having to wear itchy, stuffy, woollen clothes. I prefer wearing as little as possible at most times and uncomfortable footwear makes me depressed. I love the way heels make my legs look but I value my ability to get away quickly too much.
4. Being excited at Christmas and Easter
OK, I am still excited by these holidays but it’s nothing like the emotions I felt as a kid. I tended to like Easter more than Christmas as in Sydney there is a big event every year called The Royal Easter Show. It’s basically a huge community fair and you go there to see farm animals, arts and crafts and go on rides. I loved this as a kid. Read about The Royal Easter Show here.
5. Running without wearing a bra
Sigh. I practically have to wear two of them now! As a kid I loved running and I was quite active and I enjoyed climbing, building, playing, swinging and swimming. Once puberty hit, my hormones changed and I did NOT ever want to move. Luckily now I have changed this and I am active again but I miss the carefree days of going fast without having to strap myself into an uncomfortable over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder!
6. Watching cartoons
I used to love cartoons. Now I hate them. HATE them. I don’t care how good your next Pixar movie is, it’s still a cartoon to me? The movie Avatar? A cartoon. Didn’t like it. My mum said to me when I was a kid, “I don’t like cartoons,” and I was amazed. How could someone not like cartoons? By age 10, I had completely gone off them. B-o-o-o-o-ring.
7. Treats from grandma
What was better than a treat from grandma? My grandmother would let me eat fried Spam for breakfast and butter Morning Coffee biscuits for me. Grandmothers always let you do what your mother will not. That’s why grandmothers are really awesome.
8. Days that went forever
Time flies. The days go so fast! I remember being a kid and the days seemed to stretch out forever! A weekend would seem like a lifetime, now my weekends are sandwiched as full of activities as the weekdays, and if they’re not, I’m usually comatose on the couch. I miss being a kid and having that feeling of infinite time. My Great Uncle says that the older you get, the faster the time flies.
What do you remember about your childhood? Tell me!