This year's resolutions on LittleBear's part were a mixture of endearingly like last year's and also a departure into new territory:
"I will make sure I tell people I love that I love them more often"
"I will cuddle people I love more often"
"I will play fair"He is, it must be said, already enormously good at items 1 and 2. We cuddle a lot. And he has an adorable tendency to inform me and BigBear that he loves us. I'm not entirely convinced by item 3. It was not, after all, that much later that we were playing Everton v Burnley at Balloon-Football**. And on an alarming number of occasions LittleBear required me (a filthy Everton player) to foul him (the noble Sam Vokes of Burnley). Sam Vokes would then roll around on the ground crying "Ref, ref, my leg!" until a penalty was awarded. After the third such occurence, I did have to Have A Little Chat about the fact that pretending to be hurt to persuade the referee to give you a penalty is actually cheating and that if the referee thinks you're lying to him he might give you a yellow card. I think it penetrated, but I'm also not quite sure it was enough to overcome the wild joy to be had in rolling around on the floor and being awarded a chance at goal with a hapless Everton goalkeeper who is guaranteed to dive the wrong way.
Like I said, we might need to work on the "playing fair" aspect of LittleBear's resolution.
And so we move on to my resolutions. Which I find myself embarrassed to admit borrow heavily from both last year, and from LittleBear. When I say "borrow heavily", obviously what I actually mean is "are direct copies". So, this year I resolve that:
"I will try not to shout at LittleBear just because I'm tired, when he hasn't done anything wrong."and
"I will make sure I tell people I love that I love them more often"The first because, despite LittleBear's rather sweet assurance that I'd done "actually quite well" at that resolution last year, I know that actually I didn't. I get stressed, and cross, and exasperated and then snap at LittleBear when he's just being a little boy. And if I want to teach him to react to and express his feelings in an appropriate fashion, the best I can do is at least try and act as a good role model of not totally wigging out for no good reason.
The second resolution is because it seems like a good thing to do. When my dear uncle P was in hospital, the realisation struck me that I'd never done a terribly good job of telling him how much I loved him, or how much of an influence he'd been on my life. And so I wrote to him. And it was in time. But then I realised that waiting until somebody is terminally ill before you tell them you love them is a bit rubbish, and that I really ought to take a leaf out of LittleBear's book and be more open with my loved ones.
However, my aspiration to be more open conflicts directly with my deeply ingrained Britishness and my inate tongue-tied-ness, which together mean I won't actually be rushing up to any of you, throwing my arms around you and telling you that you are dear to my heart. I actually wince slightly at the idea of being quite so forthright. Maybe working on that could be a resolution for next year. Instead, I have re-stocked my supply of nice cards, and I intend to randomly send nice cards with nice thoughts to people. After all, everyone likes getting things in the post, and getting an actual hand-written bit of post is even better. I get things in the post sometimes. But never yet have my bank included a note with the bank statements to tell me they love me.
So there we go for 2017. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
* And, once again, BigBear recused himself from this absurdity, since there are already enough things we both fail to achieve, without failing to live up to publicly made promises to our LittleBear. That's because BigBear is more sensible than me. Again.
** A safe version of football for playing indoors. Even LittleBear's enthusiastic walloping cannot break a window with a balloon.