So we were at my brother’s yesterday having some New Year’s time with the family. Original Banshee, now 8, has been hooked on making New Year’s resolutions since she was just 4 — an obsession for which I have only myself to blame since I introduced her to the idea — and now, since she’s a very ducks-in-a-row kind of girl, it’s a yearly ritual we must do together. She took it a little hard that we weren’t going to be there exactly on January 1st, since we were trapped in the deep dark middle of nowhere, but she miraculously survived the disappointment and we did her resolutions yesterday. Last year, she made 8 resolutions — because she turned 8 that year — and completed 6, which is pretty darn good if you ask me. One of them was “Get along better with (little sis)” and while I, as an impartial observer, couldn’t necessarily say she achieved that goal, she thought differently and nevertheless crossed it off the list as done. “I now get along beautifully with my little sister — done!”
This year, it’s 9 resolutions because she turns 9 next month, and while I see this trend becoming increasingly onerous for her as the years pile on, she remains fiercely undeterred and makes her number of resolutions match her number of years.
Woe to my future 93-year-old niece!
Doing resolutions with Original Banshee is a very specific process. She gets out a piece of paper and a certain Sharpie she likes. No wimpy-inked resolutions for this kid. Oh, no. If a Sharpie is good enough for John Travolta’s entire hairline, it’s good enough for OB’s New Year’s resolutions. She places a newspaper underneath the paper so she won’t get Sharpie marks on the table, which I think is pretty considerate for an 8-year-old girl. Then, with a furrowed brow, she spends approximately the next 57 minutes writing the word R E S O L U T I O N S at the top of the page with thick underlining, including the date and the age she will be for most of the year. If you’re hearing Pomp and Circumstance pounding through your head right now, let me assure you that’s entirely appropriate.
After this slow-motion preamble that’s almost unendurable for scattershot types like me, she looks at me with wide blue eyes and asks me what her resolutions should be.
I ain’t kidding. All that focus and deliberation and then, “Tee Tee, what should I put??”
I blink at her. I don’t know. How do I know? I don’t even do resolutions, kid.
But there’s what I think and what I say and sometimes — only occasionally — they don’t match and so I don’t say those things to her.
Because I know Original Banshee has a hard time deciding what to do and, since I know that’s the case, I start rambling an elaborate list of stupid things she will not want to do in any way, shape, or form just to get her mental juices flowing.
“Well, hm. Do you want to dress like a rainbow clown for a month?”
“No, Tee Tee!”
“Okay. Well, cross off that option. See? It’s good to know this stuff. Original Banshee does not want to dress like a rainbow clown for a month.”
From across the room Banshee Girl chimes in. “I do!!”
“Okay, sweetie. Well, you can write that down as one of yours, if you want.”
Original Banshee puts on her big sister hat. Truth be told, she never takes off her big sister hat.
“Sissy, you can’t dress like a rainbow clown for a month!”
“Yes, I can!”
“No, you can’t.”
“Yes, I CAN!”
And that whole getting along better dealio goes all to pot, you see.
It’s worth noting here that that was not one of her resolutions this year.
“Okay, sweetie. Let’s think. Uhm ……. do you want to ……. find people with smelly feet and smell them every day?”
“Tee Tee! EW. That’s icky. Plus, it would be awkward!”
“Awkward” has been her favorite, most-used word for at least a year now and that wasn’t even a resolution either.
“Okay. But see how we’re getting closer to what you do want to do?”
“Well, now we know two things you don’t want to do.”
“Nobody wants to do those things, Tee Tee.”
“Well, you can’t know that for sure, can you? Maybe someone somewhere is smelling smelly feet right now.”
She giggles and shakes and holds her stomach until her blue eyes pop huge with a sudden idea.
“Oh, wait! I know one! Go to Hawaii!”
Her mom chimes in drily from the kitchen.
“Yeah. Start saving your money, honey.”
She giggles even more but writes it down anyway, spelling Hawaii correctly with no assistance.
As she finishes that, I mention a sketch of a fruit bracelet she’d drawn and shown me earlier. “That was really good, sweetie. I love it. So let’s make that happen. Make that bracelet. I’d wear it.”
“Really, Tee Tee??”
She writes it down, words fairly bursting now from her adamant Sharpie. From there on out, she’s rolling downhill. There are cupcakes lessons with Tee Tee, finishing her novel, making a music video, singing for people in a nursing home, reading a book a week, creating a picture book, arranging a day camp for younger kids, and, phhhhew, I think that’s 9, isn’t it?
She then clears her throat, stands up, and announces to the room that it’s time for The Reading of the Resolutions which she does in a clear proud voice.
The kid is a force of nature, I tell you.
All I know is that she will be a very busy little girl this year and, frankly, I’m tired already.