A Toddler’s New Year’s Resolution
The following was originally published in “The Good Life Men’s Magazine”
Ahh, New Year’s. What a wonderfully two-faced time of year. Sure, we get one more chance to party (if you can find a sitter) with friends and family, but it’s also the end. Literally. Not just the end of the year, but the end of the most joyous, merry-filled time of the year. And to celebrate, we embark on a ruthless examination of our personal failings and character flaws. Cheers!
I’m of course talking about the yearly self-hazing ritual known as the New Year’s resolution. Lose weight, stop smoking, eat a little healthier, transcend time and space, finally write that children’s book you’ve been talking about for the past two years… we all know the obvious ones.
This year, I’m giving up before I start, not even bothering to pick up the towel before throwing it in. But I’m a sucker for tradition and couldn’t stop myself from still making a list. Not for me, however, but for Macklin, my above average three-year-old son. I put together a pretty universal toddler resolutions list I’d like to believe he might choose to tackle in 2019.
I won’t lose my mind every morning when the cartoons get turned off.
Routines are routines because they’re routine, right? My morning routine goes off with atomic clock precision. Mack crawls into “the big bed,” we watch cartoons, I destroy his life by turning the TV off in order to get him dressed for school. I’d like to think he learns to anticipate the inevitable and at some point in 2019 and we make it to school without a fight.
I’ll stop referring to the people I love as “poopy.”
My wife, Emily, is a therapist. A damn good one, too. But it took a psychiatrist coworker of hers to help us put this one into perspective. “Poop is his favorite word,” she said. “It’s therefore a sign of affection.” Sure, but it’s still poop, and the rest of the literate world isn’t going to understand that when he calls me poopy in front of the poor server who’s just trying to take our order at B-dubs that he’s really just saying “I love you, Daddy, I’d like some white milk, please.”
I won’t sprint into the middle of the parking lot.
You only get so many chances to get this one right, so please don’t give me any looks if I happen to lose my cool while strongly supporting my son in achieving this very important resolution.
I’ll remember it’s winter and my wagon’s in the shed.
Time is a tough concept to grasp. I get it. I still get confused about what day it is after a hard night’s sleep. I also get that his favorite thing to do is walk to the park and drag along his wagon in case he’s too tired to make the walk home. But it’s been months since we last took a wagon walk to the park. Months since he’s seen any hint of green grass. Let’s connect the dots in our heads, eh son?
I’ll look down when I pee.
Whether standing up or sitting down. Walking, running or riding. Driving, chipping or putting… watching your aim is a valuable, versatile life skill. He’s pretty much mastered every other aspect of potty training, so here’s hoping he can dial in that midstream focus and keep it all in the pot.
I’ll make friends with the dog, finally.
Just be nice to the dog already. Please? She’s old and was here first. And she’s really pretty awesome, even if she’s got some concerning lumps and blotches of baldness. I’d hate to one day have to blame you for those, son, so please don’t put me in that position. I love you both.
I’ll break the world record for volume of surface area touched in public in a single outing.
It’s amazing to me how infrequently Mack gets sick. I think he’s only had to stay home from daycare twice in his life, which is almost record-breaking by itself. It’s amazing because of the sheer amount of public-facing stuff he touches. He’s put his hands on more goods than a Hornbacher’s stock boy. Considering his strong constitution, I’m quite curious to see how far he can take this one. Surprisingly, he’s got my full support.
As for me, I’ve already succeeded with my New Year’s resolution. Wildly so, in fact. No has has ever given up faster or more effortlessly than I! But with all this free time, I suppose I could resolve to be more patient when morning tantrums delay our departure or when he can’t keep his grubby little hands inside the shopping cart. We only have 15 years before he probably moves out… I really should enjoy them all as much as possible.