So it turns out my children didn’t make New Year’s resolutions. Everyone else has: everyone is starting afresh, discarding 2016 like a used nappy and embracing 2017 like a spontaneous night out with a free bar.
I first thought I didn’t have high expectations of today; but in hindsight I did. By not drinking much last night and going to bed before 1am, I was pretty certain that I’d be able to grab whatever “new start, new year feeling” was coming my way, from the moment that I opened my fresh eyelids in the morning. As it happens, my children were carrying on like it was any other day.
Our day started to the familiar sound of the baby wailing as she woke up, lifting her head to stretch a candlestick bogey between her and her reindeer comfort blanket. The toddler storming into our room proclaiming in the world’s longest whinge “I’mmmmm hunnnnngrrryyyyyyyyy……….” before disappearing to “way (wake) up my sister” : cue laughter from the baby followed by screams seconds later, when her elder sibling clumsily landed in her cot.
As I stumbled out of bed, ignoring the urge to pee to grab my tiny child so that she could survive a second year as the youngest sibling; my husband opened the curtains. A single magpie was on the branch of a tree outside, staring at him. “Oh that’s a great omen!” he said to me as I walked in with my soggy faced child.
I think from that moment we knew what sort of day it would be. A challenging one, a striving one, a frustrating one, a funny one, a normal one. A normal day as parents of two small people.
The thing is, children don’t know it’s New Years. They don’t know and they don’t care. They still want chocolate biscuits and still don’t want to eat spinach. They still want to run around naked instead of wearing clothes. They still want to be covered in dried snot and bolognese sauce rather than have their face wiped. They still don’t know right from wrong and they still can’t help themselves.
This means, if the day is dominated by your little darlings; then their ways will totally outweigh your good intentions:
“I think I’ll have have a lovely avocado on buckwheat toast for lunch followed by a natural yogurt”….
Suddenly everyone is wandering or crawling into the kitchen STARVING, bloody STARVING and you are forced to make lunch whilst hurriedly squirting an Ella’s veggie feast into the most impatient one’s demanding mouth. By the time everyone has ungratefully exited the kitchen again and the washing-up is cleared, you just think “sod it I’ll just stuff one of those Fox’s Christmas biscuits into my mouth they need eating up”.
And through to the afternoon. Changing nappies, breaking up fights, dispersing drinks and snacks, shuttling back and forth to the potty, whilst mundanely cleaning baby bottles, washing clothes, drying clothes, folding clothes.
Halfway through the first day of this marvellous new year I sat down with hot tea. Ten minutes later the moment was gone: it was back to parental & household maintenance. “Guess what?” I said to my husband. “Soon it will be f-ing teatime!!! Can you believe it?! Then cleaning up, bath time, bedtime then we have to cook our own dinner!!!” And with that I stormed upstairs with an unravelling washing pile and a toddler round my ankles.
This is not the positive mindset I thought I would be graced with in 2017.
But let’s face it; I’m realistic if anything.
And I somehow think that my cynicism will make tomorrow much better. The pressure’s off: between myself and my family, we’ve already screwed up the perfect new start – by continuing to be normal. And what’s wrong with that? I didn’t eat gluten free but at least I’ve got clean washing.
Happy New Year!