In which our reluctant hero resolves things. Probably.
Twenty seventeen. Or 2017 if you prefer. Or 1720 if you are from America. Yes, it’s time to take a deep breath and pop the humbugs back in the drawer until Christmas 2017 begins next September. We, the parents, made it to January. Go us! Happy New Year!
Today being Epiphany, most of us will have taken the decorations down by now. The hand-me-down Woolworths genuine plastic fir tree circa 1983 (a fine vintage, I think that you’ll agree) will have been crammed back into the loft. The Christmas tablecloth is on its tenth boil wash to finally remove Christmas from it. Many of us will be back to work. The little people may be back at playgroup, nursery, school, Auntie Doreen’s or wherever. Despite finally dragging the Hoover round, the house still looks like a glitter bomb has been detonated at a tip. Everything is back to normal.
Earlier in the week, you may even have made New Year resolutions…
Resolution (noun) – A firm decision to do or not to do something, bang on about it for a few days on Facebook before promptly sacking it off while penning through “The Bumper Book of Lousy Excuses” to justify said sacking.
It’s January 6th today, so I’m guessing that I’m probably right, yes?
I’ve never really seen the point in making New Year’s Resolutions and resolved not to make any one new year some time back. To my mind, how they work goes something like this.
“Yeah, I’m definitely (starting/ giving up/ doing)* [insert name of thing, hobby or person] after Christmas. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for ages.” etc..
“Well done you. Have you tried before?”
“Errr… Yes. Last New Year.”
“Oh, yes. How did that go?”
“No. Not really. I really stuck to it at first. It was going so well. But then (my budgie died/ Waitrose ran out of quinoa/ my laces snapped/ the batteries ran out/ I tweaked something/ the dog ate it)* and I had to stop. There was nothing I could do. Such a shame. I was gutted.”
“Never mind. It’s the thought that counts. There’s always next year.”
(*) delete as appropriate
If you’re going to do something, just get on and do it. Preferably quietly, and preferably not starting on January 1st if you intend to stick to it. That’s what I always do. Probably.
Rewind to January 1st.
10:30 – “I’m going to try to have more patience with the children this year.”
11:45 – “AAAAARRRRGGHHH!”
19:05 – *Pours ginger beer*
19:06 – “Stupid Dry January.”
What a daft thing to have come out with so early on a morning shift. Doubly so with two whole days of babysitting to negotiate before going back to work for a well earned rest.
I can’t remember what the children had done to drag me kicking and screaming from my zen like state. I’ll guess at something not worth getting upset about, on top of another dozen or so things not worth getting upset about over a couple of hours. (Top tip: Tolerance levels drop exponentially with time. Pass the baton within three hours if you can.)
Pointless resolutions asides, such an early parenting fail got me thinking about things that I could maybe do better as a Dad in 2017. Accepting that I would still be typing come next Christmas if I were to list everything, here’s a select few that stick out as hopefully achievable. More New Year’s “aspirations” than resolutions.
Be more tolerant
Yes, really. My D- on New Year’s Day wasn’t a good start, granted. But there’s something to work with as long as I remember the golden rule that there’s no point in trying to achieve anything, be it having a wash, making a cuppa or finishing building a house of cards, while left in charge. If they suspect that you’re not paying enough attention you’ve had it.
Make some photo albums
I covered this in an earlier blog but, unsurprisingly, haven’t done anything abut it. I plan to start simply, selecting a photo for every month since birth, and see what that looks like. A couple of hours spent browsing Google Photos and a trip to Boots the Chemists is all that’s needed. How hard can that be?
Do more musical things
I can play quite a lot of instruments (mostly badly) and the kids love music if our attempts to write a Christmas song for Eric the Elf are an indicator. Re-string the little guitar, get the shakers, Bontempi organ, plastic trombone, mouthorgan and Early Learning Centre Orchestra out and make some noise. That’s the odd half an afternoon killed even if no Christmas number one at the end.
Work on a new bedtime teeth, toilet and tales strategy
I’m a trained analyst. A simple brainstorm, project plan, terms of reference, report, recommendations and implementation plan, and I *should* be able to outsmart a four year old at bedtime. Probably.
Try more foods on the plate
I’m not proposing scrapping fish fingers and mash and replacing with inky squid risotto here. But our eldest has happily eaten baked potato skin, parsnip (mistaking for a roast potato) and boiled rice over the past few weeks. Our youngest, raw yellow peppers. A spoonful of something new off our plates with their favourites each day can’t harm, unless vindaloo. Also cut back on their sugar intake. It really isn’t their friend.
Yes, it has been colder. Yes, it has been Christmas. But being inside for long periods just isn’t healthy. Tiredness brings it’s own problems, granted, but tiring the little people out physically as well as mentally makes things so much more manageable. It may also help me shift a couple of pounds of dry roasted peanuts and After Eights that have congregated under the layer under my t-shirt over the last couple of weeks.
See, that wasn’t so bad was it? Not being resolutions, it doesn’t matter when I start them either. And if I forget or give up, there’s always next year.