‘Guess what kind of doggie I am,’ yapped the smaller child, before lying down on the floor and throwing some kind of fit.
‘A rabid one?’ I ventured, as she tried to bite my feet.
It wasn’t the right answer. She was actually being a Chihuahua. One without a sense of humour, apparently.
Poor child. We’ve never owned a dog, so she has nothing to model her canine-behaviour on but a) a fluffy pink battery-operated toy poodle that does backflips and barks hysterically and b) a friend’s lovable but frequently psychotic Jack Russell.
I have to find her some better (quieter! Calmer!) examples because the child’s one New Year’s resolution is, ‘to be a doggie, more’. I’m fully behind this: as a dog, the child is obedient, friendly and eager-to-please; as a little girl … well, not so much.
In any case, I am always fully behind any New Year’s resolution that anyone makes, just on principle. (Just a quick note here, to my husband … I’m always fully behind any New Year’s resolutions that anyone makes for themselves. I am not behind resolutions that people make for other people. A husband, for his wife, for example. That is just Not On).
As I was saying. I’m a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions. I love them so much that I have some on my current list that have been with me for over 20 years: things like, Lose 10 kgs and Run a marathon. I put these resolutions on my list in the mid-80s and I’ve never had reason to take them off.
Also on the list are a bunch of things that are so old I don’t even want to do them anymore (Go skydiving again; finish knitting the beige pullover I started in 1979) but I can’t take them off because I haven’t done them.
In truth, like many people who make resolutions, I don’t stick to most of them. But I like making them. It shows willingness. And there have been some happy successes: my main resolution on New Year’s day 2007 was Have a baby, and I definitely followed through on that one. True, I was already nine months pregnant and due to give birth in a few days time but still …
My husband thinks that all this is crazy and refuses to participate (except to offer helpful suggestions to my list), but this year the little girls just threw themselves into the spirit of the thing.
While the smaller one was howling at the moon and eating her dinner off the floor, the bigger one disappeared up to her room, emerging half an hour later with a sheaf of papers.
‘My list of resolutions,’ she said, thrusting it at me. I was very impressed at first, but when I read it, I realised that it was actually more of a to-do list for me: Have breakfast in bed (Mom to make); Visit Pompeii (Mom to take); Go on safari in South Africa with my twenty best friends (Mom to organise).
And, because I am such a fan of New Year’s resolutions – and such a fan of the child – of course I will make, take and organise. I’ll get right onto it … just as soon as I’ve lost 10 kgs and run a marathon.
Robyn Goss is a South African writer, recently moved to Switzerland. You can read her blogs at www.robyngoss.com