Indian Expat Parent: Her Solutions to My Resolutions
'New year resolution' is a new concept for DD. We’ve never really made any resolutions because I have a very bad record of following them through. Our discussion last year was more to do with the connotation and significance of the usage of new vs. old year. So this year, I decided we could graduate to resolutions. Just because I can’t keep my resolutions does not mean my daughter won’t.
I told her that resolutions are promises you make, mostly to yourself, which are intended to make you and your loved ones happy.
“Will you make them too?” she asked. So of course, I made mine too. I knew she would follow my lead, so I had to be really prudent in my choice of resolutions.
I started with an easy one. DD and I are used to having our names slaughtered. So:
1. Me: "I am no longer going to accept any variation of my name. I am Padmaja. If people can’t pronounce my name at all, then I’ll settle for Paddy. Padmaha, Pajama, Paadmaja will just not work anymore. You either say it right, or don’t say my full name at all."
DD: "And I will call you Ma, Mamma or Amma. I will not call you Mom, Mommy or Pudmija (yeah, that’s how she spells my name — my own blood!). I know this will make you happy."
This wasn’t exactly going the way I wanted, but she was right, this would make me happy, so we continued.
2. Me: "I will spend at least half an hour a day dancing with you."
DD: "And I will choose only the songs that will make me happy, and some of them will make you happy, too."
I was losing this one. Are these resolutions? I began to wonder. Maybe I can trick her into making meaningful ones — at least meaningful for me.
3. Me: "I will not run behind you, asking you to eat your food. I will just serve you your food, and you will be responsible to finish it."
DD: "And I will tell you what to cook for me."
Me: "But how would that make me happy?"
DD: "That would make me happy. And you told me that if I’m happy, you’ll be happy too!"
Darn, those philosophical statements I make!
Me: "But I can’t make the food you like every day?"
DD: "So shall we make that another ‘relosution’?"
Me: "No, we just can’t eat mac-n-cheese or curd rice every day."
DD: "OK, I’ll add applesauce, tamarind rice, mango rice, lemon rice and desserts, too."
4. Me: "I will listen to everything my parents say."
DD: "And I’ll help you."
There was definitely a ‘lost in translation’ thing happening here.
Me: "How would you help me?"
DD: "You tell me what Thata and Paati tell you, and I will tell them if you don’t listen to them."
Me: "No, baby, it’s not like that … they didn’t say that I should listen to everything they say, I just know they’ll be happy if I do."
DD: "Even if they say things you don’t like?"
Me: "Yeah, I know they only want what’s best for me."
DD: "How do you know?"
Me: "They are my parents. They love me."
DD: "My parents also love me."
Pretty sure that was not a question.
Me: "Yeah. So?"
After a brief pause …
DD: "I will listen to what my parents say, too."
Bingo! Finally … this is going somewhere.
DD: But sometimes it does not make me happy.
Me: "Like when I ask you not to eat chocolates before dinner?"
DD: "Yeah, and like when you ask me not to bounce on the steps."
Me: "But that’s for your own safety."
DD nodded her head reluctantly.
DD: "But this resolution does not make me happy."
Me: "But it makes you safe. And if you’re safe, all of us will be happy."
I had a point. So she agreed half-heartedly. But I couldn’t bear to see her sullen face.
5. Me: "Let’s make one more resolution. The last one."
DD was still sad.
Me: "How about, we discuss if you do not want to listen to us."
DD: "What is discuss?"
Me: "We can have a conversation. You convince me or I’ll convince you. I talk till what I say makes sense to you, or you talk till what you say makes sense to me. Is that OK?"
Now she was all excited.
Me: "It’s fair?"
Me: "I am glad you’re happy."
And I got back to my checklist:
• Explain what resolutions are
• Make resolutions
• Follow through???