my real new year’s resolution

Fergus had a particularly difficult 2008. Or, perhaps I should say I did, based on his trying behavior. This past summer, as he raged through a tantrum, I laid down in his bed with him and held him as he thrashed. I started whispering in his ear about how he had a “Good Fergus” who lived on one shoulder, and a “Bold Fergus” on the other, and how sometimes it was hard to know which one to listen to.

(I have to stop here and say that “bold” was my mother’s word for “naughty,” and I have completely adopted it, but I didn’t fully understand that pretty much no one else uses it that way until fairly recently. However, according to Webster’s Ninth, “bold” can mean “impudent, presumptuous.” So I’m sticking with it.)

Fergus really responded to this notion, and will still sometimes ask me which Fergus he is being. I tell him that we are certainly seeing less of “Bold Fergus” these days, and for that we are all sincerely thankful.

A few nights ago, I was having a little “mommy time” with Cooper, working on Star Wars Legos.

COOPER: Mommy. You know how there are two Ferguses?


COOPER: Well, there are kind of two Mommies too.

MOMMY: There are?

COOPER: Uh huh. There’s the nice mommy…

(He hesitates.)

MOMMY: …and?

COOPER: and, the, other one.

(He knows better than to finish that sentence.)

MOMMY: The impatient mommy?


MOMMY: The one who yells?


So I’ve been living with that conversation for the past week or two, and examining myself, and basically feeling pretty bad about it, although I guess it’s better than if I were One Mommy who is not nice, all the time. That would be worse.

But my REAL resolution, for 2009, beyond the muffin top and vitamins and whatever, is to stop yelling at my kids, no matter how nuts they’re driving me, no matter how late we are for the bus in the morning, and to be the patient, loving mother that I want them to remember when they grow up. The mother that they deserve.

It’s really hard. But I’m trying. Next time I’ll tell you how. Wish me luck.