>Come the new year, you can always find me making resolutions. I love them. Love the chance to wipe the slate clean, to make a clean break from bad habits. In the past few years, the resolutions have shifted from one type of self improvement (run faster, read more in French, juice more vegetables..) to another: parental self improvement. I’m working on my list right now — not having to celebrate Christmas, and with a long stretch this year between Hanukkah and New Year’s Eve, I’ve had plenty of time to get my list together. I plan on asking the kids if they have any resolutions, and possibly planting a few in of my own in their little minds (I resolve to flush the toilet, stop hiding apple cores all over the house, stop leaving gum stuck to the kitchen counter, and stop stashing half my uneaten breakfast under the tabletop.)
Some of mine, at least for now:
1. I resolve to yell less. I know, I know.. But I couldn’t resist the clean slate. I resolve to banish the Voldemort voice, or at the very least, only use it clear emergencies. I hate the sound of my screaming voice, far more than the children do.. and this year (yet again), I resolve to use it less.
2. I resolve to block out the whining. There are few things that send me into a rage faster than incessant whining. The boys can (and do) pull some of the most repulsive stunts (peeing into their sister’s underwear draw, and just about anywhere else), and I manage to stay calmer than I do after 5 minutes of a girly whine. (I know some boys whine, and some girls don’t, but in this house, so far, whining falls straight down gender lines.) This year, I resolve to hum right through the whine, to hear it less, or not at all, and therefore, avoid breaking my first resolution five minutes into the new year.
3. I resolve to let you sort out your own problems. I’m actually quite good at this, but I could always use a bit more help. I know how to make you settle your own disputes, but sometimes, out of sheer impatience, I’ll take over when you’re aren’t doing something well. One of you in particular (you know who you are): I resolve to let you pour your own cereal, even if it means having to step on errant Cheerios for the rest of the day. I resolve to let you button your own shirt, even if it means knowing you’ll be going out into the world slightly askew. I resolve, in general, to let you look like the mad scientist you’ll probably become.
4. I resolve to care less: That’s right. Wear your pajamas to school Frances, and while you’re at it, skip breakfast for the rest of your life. Hey Bennett, you never have to wear a sweatshirt to school, even in the winter, and if you want to spend the rest of your life eating your own boogers, I’m game. And Efram, you hair – it never has to be brushed. Ever. And you can pee wherever the hell you like, as long as it’s not my bed. Fiona, if you want to start using a pacifier at two, only because your new baby sister has one, GO FOR IT. And don’t think I haven’t noticed you snacking on snot as well. I have. And I don’t care.
I care whether or not you’re good to each other, respectful to yourselves, your peers, and your elders. I care whether you brush your teeth, and take your vitamins, sometimes, at least. But if you want to go out looking like you grew up in a trailer with an absentee mother, — it’s just fine with me. Really, it is.
Happy New Year. If I make it to January 7th with these resolutions still in tact, somebody award me a medal. Please.