Sometimes Resolutions Need a Back Up Plan
by Kathleen Wooton M.D.
(Why I'll Be the First Mom With a V-Chip)
January first, the first day of a
brand spanking New Year, is upon us. Once again, I
am faced with the choice of vices to forswear, in
the spirit of turning over a new leaf. There are so
many vices from which to choose, yet I intend to
make the same resolution I've made, unsuccessfully,
for the last three New Years running.
I should just make it easy on myself and go on a diet. Sure, weight loss hurts, but it is a pain that leaves me lighter and healthier. Okay, so my family members might suffer the tiniest bit when I deprive them of any food or beverage that has any hint of taste, calories, or fat grams, but this would be war and collateral damage happens.
Luckily for my family, I've never been one to take the easy, even obvious, resolution to usher in the New 365 and 1/4 day terrestrial tango around our solar energy generator. I intend 2007 to be the year that I forswear swearing. No more verbal napalm for me. At the precise moment that 2006 utters its last breath and the Baby New Year 2007 shrieks for her first nappy change, I will be sporting a new, family friendly vocabulary.
I'm worried, though. How on earth will I communicate without my arsenal of verbal incendiary devices? Sometimes, the only things that stand between me and total familial meltdown are a few strategically hoisted verbal grenades. Geez, when someone, like a resident adolescent packing serious hormones, p****s me off, no, bull****s me, ah heck, annoys me, I start dropping those f-bombs, s-bombs and a-bombs like a sailor just before the rum fits hit.
Before I had children, I feared spontaneous combustion would be my fate if I did not find an outlet for my anger. Of course, being childless, I really didn't experience the triple distilled, red-eyed fury that only parenting teens seems to produce. Hence, there was no real threat of violence, therefore, no need for the shouted fireworks that constituted my oral weaponry.
When I became a parent, I learned that my offspring, as individuals as well as a fully functional duo, were fully capable of fabricating stunts so diabolical that they could only be seen as declarations of war. I'll admit, it didn't start that way. The first time they left a trail of those blasted hard plastic, ubiquitous green, yellow, white, blue and green building blocks on the floor, exposing my unclad feet to surprisingly nasty puncture wounds, I knew it wasn't intentional. The f-bomb that flew from my mouth was a primal utterance, something akin to the 'fire, fire' grunt of the first cave person as he singed his hair getting too close to his flammable discovery.
That f-bomb was a discovery of sorts for my children. Cause Mom pain, and she'll say fascinating words that Dad doesn't want her to say, or us to hear. What they failed to realize, at first, was that dropping verbal napalm was a physical violence substitute. A raised voice spewing colorful language was all they needed to hear, to know that Mom was going to erupt, and that the aftermath would involve unpleasant consequences.
This system was working, until my kids hit
adolescence. Whereas before, one colorful phrase
brought almost instant acquiescence, for fear of the
dreaded 'quiet time', now these little fruits of the
family tree were answering back, in ways that made
it obvious that their little ears had been listening
while Mom was sparing the physical rod while
yielding the verbal one.
Obviously, they weren't going to stop unless I did so. So I tried. Three times, I've resolved to forswear swearing. Yet, each New Years, by 12:20 a.m., I'd uttered enough bombs to make my resolution null and void. Two young adolescents, hyped up on sugar, up after midnight, jumping on my bed, screaming 'Happy New Year' - yeah, like that was going to work.
I have tried, three years running, to give up cussing for Lent. A husband and two young teens, grumpy over their observances, blaming me for being the alpha Catholic - you can guess how long those Lenten observances lasted.
Thus, I endeavor to sanitize my language, if only to keep my kids from having a vocabulary that will keep them out of the college of their choice and have them asking 'you want f***ing fries with that, dumba**?'. If you're wondering why I'm resolute for 2007 to be the year I give up my colorful verbiage, it's a threefold deal.
1. I'm terrified I'm going to slip up and ask my Mother in law ; 'Hi Mom, how the F*** are you?'.
2. I'm ever more terrified my kids will do the same ( 'Hi, Grandma, how the F*** are you?')
3. I live in fear that one day, my husband will duct tape my mouth shut when I ask him : 'Hi, hon, how the F*** are you'.
I'm fervently hoping that, as far as New Year's resolutions are concerned, the third time is the charm, for an implantable V chip is the logical next step should this fail. And for sure, that's gonna effin' HURT!
'2006 Kathleen M. Wooton, M.D.
Discover more of Kathy's delightful humor here...