1. what did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?
had a baby!
breastfed a baby.
wore a baby.
had major surgery (a cesarean…to get the baby out).
took my cat in for dental surgery.
took my baby in for dental surgery.
was informed that my cat has untreatable cancer.
i really wish i could write “rode a camel” here, but i opted not to ride the camel because i was pregnant at the time. someday!
wore maternity clothes.
found a $10 bill on the ground, even though i was in the company of other people. i am so unobservant, it’s usually my companions that spot the cash littering the streets.
2. did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
i did make several resolutions, & i did a fairly decent job of honoring them. i decided some of them were irrelevant to my life & i scrapped them partway through the year. others were simply too ambitious to be realistic. & others became such an elemental part of my life that i didn’t even remember they were resolutions until just now when i revisited the list. i will of course make more for 2013.
3. did anyone close to you give birth?
no one is closer to me than me & i gave birth! i am also acquainted with several other people who gave birth this year. i feel like 2012 was a big year for babies, but i am of course somewhat biased in my perception.
4. did anyone close to you die?
not that i’m aware of, but the day is young. charlotte was diagnosed with a malignant tumor that kills most cats within a few months. she had surgery to remove it, but she seems to be wasting away & i don’t expect her to live to see 2014. which is completely devastating to me.
5. what countries did you visit?
i just stayed in the states. i still don’t have a passport!
6. what would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
more quality time with jared & with ramona (our baby). obviously we couldn’t get a ton of quality time with ramona this year because she was only born a month ago, but i could have lived without the 24 days she spent in the NICU, when we only got to see her for a few hours a day. but i honestly don’t feel that i particularly wanted for anything important in 2012.
7. what dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
november 30! the day ramona was born! & maybe november 25, the day i was suddenly admitted to the hospital with pre-eclampsia. it was pretty dramatic. & may 2, the day i discovered i was pregnant.
8. what was your biggest achievement of the year?
ramona. um, are we noticing a theme here?
9. what was your biggest failure?
well, i occasionally feel shitty about being a “failure” at pregnancy. i didn’t even make it to 33 weeks before ramona was born, thanks to pre-eclampsia. sometimes i think, “wow, i am never doing that again,” & sometimes i think, “i really want to have another kid so i can do pregnancy right this time.” even though no one knows what causes pre-eclampsia & there’s no indication that it is caused by poor diet or lack of exercise or anything else i could remedy.
i also sometimes feel like a failure at breastfeeding, but ramona is still very young & maybe we’ll get there. or maybe i’ll make my peace with it.
10. did you suffer illness or injury?
the pre-eclampsia was pretty major. & while we were visiting ramona in the NICU, we had to scrub in everyday with this super-intense antispetic gel. never in my life have i managed to get more weird cuts & scrapes on my hands, which then of course burned with the fire of a thousand suns when the gel got into them. other than that, & the odd bout with the flu, nothing really stands out.
11. what was the best thing you bought?
ramona’s bouncy chair. all hail the bouncy chair! i know i made fun of bouncy chairs when i was pregnant & insisted i wouldn’t get one & that they weren’t necessities & that they were just a crutch for people who don’t love their babies or something, but i was SO WRONG. god, it’s such a relief to have somewhere to stash that little baby when i need to pump or use the bathroom or just have full use of both arms.
12. whose behavior merited celebration?
jared has been pretty amazing all year. he took over the lion’s share of the cooking & cleaning (which we ordinarily try to split equally) after i got pregnant & started having weird food aversions & a major lack of energy. & he almost never complained about it or made pointed little comments. he attended most of my prenatals with me when i was in town & humored a lot of ridiculous conversations in which i panicked about the possibility of our child growing up to be a sociopath or a musical theatre nerd. when i was admitted to the hospital, he visited me everyday & gave me back rubs & brought me dinner. after ramona was born, he drove us to the hospital everyday to see her, & he has been beyond amazing with her. he took my mental image of a good dad & multiplied it by like a thousand. he talks to her all the time & reads her stories & changes her diapers & gives her baths & makes her bottles & gives her silly nicknames & is just 100% involved & present for her. especially after seeing so much relationship dysfunction among other parents at the NICU (kind of par for the course, in such a stressful environment), i am beyond grateful for what an incredibly partner & parent he has been.
13. whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
mostly just people who made annoying little comments about my pregnancy or birth or parenting strategies. like all the people that got on my case for buying a convertible car seat for ramona, saying that she was sure to die in a tragic car accident & that it would be all my fault for not loving her enough to get her a proper infant seat. or the nurse who observed my poor reaction to being put on a magnesium heplock & catheter & snidely asked if i would be having an epidural. or the other nurse who asked if i’d be paying my doula her full fee, considering that i was going to have a premature baby instead of a full pregnancy. & all the nurses in the NICU who wouldn’t let us hold ramona because she was “chilly,” or who insisted that she wasn’t breastfeeding well, or who treated me like history’s greatest monster for suggesting we use breast milk instead of desitin to treat her diaper rash.
i was also appalled by my mother’s behavior when she thought it would be a really awesome idea to get in touch with me after no significant communication for nearly two years & castigate me for claiming to be “estranged” from her while my baby was in the NICU. as if speaking to your child maybe like five times over the course of ten years is symbolic of a really close & healthy relationship, & as if sick baby time is really the best time to make something all about you.
14. where did most of your money go?
baby. no surprise there.
15. what did you get really, really, really excited about?
baby! god, this is the most single-minded year in review ever.
16. what song will always remind you of 2012?
17. compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? a little bit of both. i’m delighted to have ramona, but it’s also really hard & i think i have cried more in the last month than i have in the last five years put together.
b) thinner or fatter? fatter, obvs. but i’m only one month post-partum.
c) richer or poorer? poorer, by far. babies are a real money pit. they’re worse than cars. though the car was also a money pit this year.
18. what do you wish you’d done more of?
reading awesome books i really enjoyed. visiting with childless friends, because it is going to be more challenging to maintain those ties now that ramona is here. eating fried chicken from long john silver’s, because i feel like i can never eat fast food again, lest i set a bad example for ramona. going to the pool, because maybe it would have helped my blood pressure. playing with charlotte, because she is getting short shrift now that there’s a baby consuming all our energy, & plus she’s sick & dying. writing. always writing.
19. what do you wish you’d done less of?
reading crappy books i hated. pestering jared to guess the baby’s sex. reading dumb pregnancy/baby blogs that just made me angry & alienated because they were so foreign to my own parenting values. suffering insomnia. panicking about my to-do lists instead of enjoying quality time with people i care about.
20. how did you spend xmas?
that was ramona’s first full day home with us, so we spent it changing diapers, fixing bottles, doing laundry, changing onesies, & generally panicking over her every grunt & squeak because we were still learning that not every little noise she makes really means anything. we also skyped with jared’s family because they all wanted to see ramona. & i had a major talk with jared about post-partum depression.
21. did you fall in love in 2012?
i am going to recycle last year’s answer because i think it;s funny: yeah, but i decided to stick thing out with jared anyway. kidding! we broke up. kidding again!
22. how many one-night stands?
none. i’m trying to imagine staging a one-night stand at six months pregnant. it’s undoubtedly been done, but the concept just cracks me up.
23. what was your favorite TV program?
i watched every episode of “the office” (the american version) & became surprisingly invested.
24. do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
i seriously do not have the energy to go around hating people.
25. what was the best book you read?
i didn’t read a lot of books this year that really blew me away. maybe
where’d you go, bernadette?
by maria semple.
26. what was your greatest musical discovery?
i simply do not listen to music. i bought the newest lovers record this year, but it was released last year & i probably only listened to it like ten times. (it is good though, if you’re the kind of person who listens to music.)
27. what did you want and get?
28. what did you want and not get?
a full-term baby. the only reason ramona was born this year is because she came seven weeks early. it was definitely incredibly stressful having an emergency birth & then having to visit my premature baby in the NICU every day for 24 days.
29. what was your favorite film of this year?
i know i saw some movies this year, but nothing really stands out. or at least, nothing stands out in a good way. the last movie i saw in the theatre was “lincoln,” & i found it to be both abusrd & treacly. i can’t believe it opened with abraham lincoln recounting some dumb dream he had. & the way they filmed him tottering around like the guy from “my giant” who was over eight feet tall. abraham lincoln was only 6’3″. that’s pretty tall, but not really that big a deal. my dad was taller than that & i don’t really think he looked that freakish.
30. what did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
i turned 33. jared took me out for breakfast at milton’s, which has since closed down. kind of shocking, because it was good & always packed. supposedly the owner has teamed up with some other lawrence restaranteurs & they’re opening a new place soon.
then we went to the kansas city zoo, where i especially liked the polar bear, the elephants, & the tigers. i was about 13 weeks pregnant then & it was exhausting to walk around in the hot, hot sun all day while lugging around all that extra baby weight (i gained like half my baby weight in the first trimester), but jared & i had a really nice day together. afterward we went for ice cream with a friend & then drove back to lawrence & had dinner at 715, complete with fancy desserts.
31. what one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
less fatigue. more money.
32. how would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
black maternity tee & jeans. lather, rinse, repeat.
33. what kept you sane?
in the first half of the year, my journal. i wrote constantly & it was beyond awesome. but after i got pregnant & started developing pre-eclampsia, my hands swelled up & i couldn’t really use a pen anymore. instead, i watched a lot of TV on hulu plus. not the most responsible use of time, but whatever. i also went to bingo a lot while jared was on the east coast doing research, & i usually won. that was nice.
34. which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
hate this question. moving on.
35. what political issue stirred you the most?
as a medicare recipient, probably paul ryan’s stupid ideas about reforming medicare.
36. who did you miss?
my kansas city friends, like ellen. i really don’t know how our friendships will change now that i have had a baby.
37. who was the best new person you met?
38. tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012:
when experienced cloth diaperers suggest starting out with at least three dozen cloth diapers–SERIOUSLY. they’re not joking. that’s an arena where you are really not served by scaling back.
also, life is too short to read books you hate.
39. what did you devote most of your energy to?
growing a human being from scratch.
40. quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
“the magic in your pants is making me blush.” that sums up my year inasmuch as a shockingly enormous portion of my year was spent listening to top 40 radio with jared & being scandalized by the lyrics.