While a number of my previous Lifescouts badges have been acquired from things that happened when I was a kid, this month is definitely the most badges I've been able to claim in a single month (in fact there were only two I didn't get this month, roller skating and baking cookies... and the cookie one might be something I address sometime soon) and all but one of the stories are directly related to my childhood.
So behold, the Early Years of Yani...
I'm sure that I had more than a few birthday parties, but as with a number of these badges, there's always that one strong birthday party image that leaps straight into my mind. Possibly because I have photos of it.
I'm not sure how old I was... possibly around 7 or 8... it's definitely a single digit birthday. It was also something of an atypical birthday for me in that, going from the photos at least, I only invited boys. Not sure what the hell that was about given that for my whole life my best friends have almost always been female. Maybe it was only boys in that particular photo. Maybe I was going through a phase that birthday, who knows.
And it looks like the majority of the party took place in the backyard, which is always the advantage of having a birthday in March in Australia.
Just before my birthday we must have gotten a new refridgerator, and I'd saved the box or been given it to play with, which was awesome because the box was MASSIVE. Not really surprising given what it contained.
At some point during the party me and the half dozen or so other little boys all piled into said box and had our photo taken. You can kind of tell which one's me in the photo since I'm the one who doesn't look happy about the situation since I'd been really, really careful with the box, making sure I didn't damage it. But as you can imagine 6 little boys hyped up on sugar weren't all that careful and while the box didn't get completely trashed, it was in much worse shape after the party than before it.
It's also weird that I remember that more than I remember anything else about the party.
I don't know that I really did much kite flying as a kid beyond the odd paper bag kite we may have made in school.
And I've documented all my kite flying experiences in the blog already.
I'm just a little bit sad that the kite shops all seemed to have gone out of business, or else gone to an online only version. There isn't even a proper kite shop presence at the Kite Festivals anymore. I would have thought they would have done a ton of business at those things.
Just thinking about it makes me want to fly a kite again... and maybe investigate one of those ones that's really simple to put together... the one I have at present it really beautiful but a pain to construct every time.
I'm not one for The Great Outdoors.
I would much, much, much rather enjoy myself in the Great Indoors... I don't mind the odd excursion, but I never really saw the point in sleeping outside in a full body straight jacket under a flimsy bit of nylon when there are places with roofs and beds and hot and cold running everything.
Essentially the only time that I've ever been camping in my life was through school.
And I can only think of four instances of that... three involving tents and one involving a big cabin divided up into individual rooms.
Basically all my camping memories revolve around rain, cold, putting up tents which takes forever, unappealing food and being glad to be home again.
When I was young there was a kid who lived down the street and around the corner from me who had a tramampoline (Simpsons reference). I guess I must have known him from school... although all the memories I have of him are trampoline based so it's possible he was just a neighbourhood kid.
I think that may have been the only reason I was really friends with him... like you do when you're a kid. He has a trampoline, you don't... ergo he's your friend for as long as he stays in the neighbourhood and lets you play on his trampoline.
Or, in this case, he was my trampoline friend until La Cousina came over to his place to tell me it was time to come home and he was really nasty to her and sent her away without me even knowing she'd been there. After Ma came to get me and told me, I didn't have a trampoline friend any more. Not because she made me, but as much as La Cousina may have annoyed me, she was still my cousin and while I could complain about her, as soon as anyone else said anything it becomes about family and that's more important.
I don't actually remember how old I was when I learned to ride a bike... but I do know that it had one of those banana seats popular in the early 80's which was dark blue and had a slight glitter effect if it caught the light.
Somewhere around the place there's a photo of me learning to ride the thing, assisted by our across the road neighbour, I'm guessing while Ma was taking the picture.
I would ride that thing all the time, especially in summer. And a certain points I had some of those things you attach to the spokes, the little bead things... and I may have done that "put a card in the back spokes so it makes a cool noise" trick.
The bike that replaced it when I was 12, almost 13, was a big black multi-geared mountain bike type arrangement. It was also the reason that I broke the only bone I've ever broken in my life.
I was riding through a ditch at an angle, the back wheel took on a wobble... suddenly the bike went left and I went right and I fell off and snapped my arm clean through just above the wrist.
I don't think I really spent all that much time on bikes after that.
I was a kid in the late seventies and early eighties... so of course I had a bunch of yo-yos... although the one I remember most was an orange one with the Fanta logo on the sides.
Unfortunately I was never particularly great at doing tricks... I think I managed the occasional instance of "walking the dog" but for the most part I was happy if I could just make it go all the way down and then all the way up again without getting it all twisted.
In the house we lived in when I was a kid we had a giant apricot tree in the corner of the back yard. And one of the branches came out from the main trunk parallel to the ground and was big and thick enough to support my weight.
Granted the bark of the tree wasn't all that comfortable for long periods of time... it's a really rough bark... but I spent a lot of time up in that tree during the summer months.
I'm not going to lie... I spent the majority of my childhood spending time and being friends with girls much more than boys.
So naturally enough, it's not really surprising that I've partaken in the ritual of skipping. In all likelihood I did a bunch of skipping with La Cousina, since that seems plausible, and I have no doubt that they made us do some sort of skipping related activity in primary school as part of PE.
But my major skipping related memory is spending time with my other female cousin (the one from Second Christmas, who isn't actually my biological cousin at all, she just happens to have the same father as one my actual cousins) with a skipping rope tied onto the side of the carport so we could recreate the effect of having two people working the rope while one was skipping even though there was only the two of us.