2013: the year in review

1.what did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before? parented a baby. which included three big traveling experiences (detroit, portland, & boston) during which we continued to cloth diaper & exclusively pump. i’m pretty proud of that! i also learned how to make my own clothes & make quilts. & i threw caution to the wind & joined a mom’s group i found on the internet without getting all anxiety-ridden about it. i also learned how to make swedish pancakes. & i started using the “hide posts” feature on FB instead of just unfriending people who annoy me.

2. did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? i always make resolutions. i did okay on my 2013 resolutions. i stopped being enslaved by my to-do lists, i took a lot of photos of ramona, & i spruced up my wardrobe by learning how to make my own clothes. but i just didn’t have the energy to write as much as i wanted to, & i often did what was easy & bought things that i thought i needed instead of trying to find solutions in things i already had.

3. did anyone close to you give birth? a few zine/internet bros, but no one to whom i am super-close.

4. did anyone close to you die? apparently my grandma dot died. she was my last living grandparent. but i didn’t even know that until after she died & i googled my grandpa bernie & found he died in 2011. needless to say, i was not close to either of them. an old zine friend from when i was a teenager died in october, which was really sad. i had last seen her in 2009 & she seemed so peaceful & balanced, even though she was pretty sick.

5. what countries did you visit? i was going to go to canada (toronto), but…then i didn’t. i decided (for some reason that is now unclear) that it would be less work to go to detroit instead.

6. what would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013? sleep! a regular pool schedule! more energy for writing! a healthier savings account! more quality time with jared! a sewing machine with enough throat space to quilt a queen-size quilt without breaking my arms!

7. what dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? …literally nothing comes to mind. i mean, we did cool stuff this year, but it’s all such a hazy blur.

8. what was your biggest achievement of the year? i made it through the first full year of parenthood without becoming a don draper-style alcoholic. actually, i am pretty proud of all the stuff i have learned about sewing, & i am proud that i have been able to jump into this whole parenting thing & get to know other parents without getting all wrapped up in judging them or worrying that they are judging me.

9. what was your biggest failure? having a kid sucks up so much energy that it’s hard to have any left over for other important things. as the year wore on, i found myself reverting to some behaviors i thought i was over, like snapping at people the very first second they piss me off, using “always/never” language during arguments, etc. i think a universal truth of being a new parent, & one that people don’t really discuss, is that you will argue with your partner more after you have a baby than you ever have before. it’s kind of amazing that any couple makes it through. all the new responsibilities & the sleep deprivation & the huge changes to your life…i thought jared & i would be more insulated from it all because i already didn’t work, so it’s not like i’d be dealing with the whole “loss of identity” thing a lot of moms deal with. but…i was wrong.

10. did you suffer illness or injury? i got the stomach flu a couple of times.

11. what was the best thing you bought? my sewing machine!

12. whose behavior merited celebration? well, to hear other moms say it, jared is like the dad of the year because he changes poop diapers & gets up with ramona in the night. not saying i don’t appreciate this stuff. i just don’t necessarily think a dad should be feted for parenting his own child. so i’m torn on this one.

13. whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? some other moms who got weirdly obsessed with me & started internet-stalking me so they could talk amongst themselves about what a terrible mom i apparently am. really, ladies? don’t you have babies to look after?

14. where did most of your money go? purchasing fabric & renting a breast pump.

15. what did you get really, really, really excited about? learning to sew! &…parenting a baby! i guess.

16. what song will always remind you of 2013? i listen to a lot of top 40 in the car, so…”22″ by taylor swift, “beauty & a beat” by justin bieber & nicki minaj, “roar” by katy perry, “wrecking ball” by miley cyrus, & how could we ever forget, “blurred lines” by robin thicke.

17. compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? probably happier, but that’s mostly just because i had a bit of post-partum depression last year.

b) thinner or fatter? compared to this time last year, probably thinner because at this time last year i had just had a baby. but by the time ramona was like three months old, i was actually 20 pounds under my pre-baby weight, which is the thinnest i’ve been in a few years. then i gained it all back over the holiday season by drinking a gallon of egg nog a day.

c) richer or poorer? probably poorer because i spent such an ungodly amount of money on fabric over the course of the year.

18. what do you wish you’d done more of? cuddled with ramona. gone to the pool. wrote in my journal. stayed in touch with pre-baby friends.

19. what do you wish you’d done less of? gotten mad at jared for stuff that wasn’t really his fault, or for things that maybe were his fault but not that big of a deal. dicked around on facebook. gave any kind of a shit about how other parents parent their kids. purchased fabric before comparison-shopping for a good price.

20. how did you spend christmas? we took ramona to newton to spend the day with jared’s parents & david & alana. we opened presents & ramona actually seemed to grasp the concept to some degree. we ate a turkey dinner & i may have kind of hogged all the stuffing. put some raisins & some walnuts together & i am helpless before the plate. then ramona fell asleep for perhaps the first time since we arrived in boston two days earlier. all of jared’s extended family came over & we all gorged on pie. i literally ate six slices of pie. no shame. then ramona woke up & charmed everyone with how adorable & social she is. then everyone left & we gave ramona a bath & put her in her pajamas with the hope that she would fall asleep on the drive back to jamaica plain & we’d be able to transfer her into the pack n’ play, but instead she screamed for the entire drive & for a solid hour after. it was horrifying. i had to go outside & smoke because i was so traumatized.

21. did you fall in love in 2013? sure. with ramona. awwwwwww…*puke*

22. how many one-night stands? zero, duh. i barely even had the energy to actually have sex with my long-term partner. after wrangling a baby all day, the last thing you want to do when you finally have some time for yourself is go to all the trouble of taking off your pants.

23. what was your favorite TV program? i started watching “parks & recreation” after charlotte died. i like it. jared & i also spent the year slogging through “breaking bad”. i don’t think we loved it as much as everyone else does. it was okay?

24. do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? there are plenty of people i do not care for, but i really don’t have the energy for hate.

25. what was the best book you read? um…i liked “where’d you go, bernadette”. just like everyone else who read it. i didn’t read as much this year as i have in years past (shocker), & i was usually so fried by the time i got around to sitting down with a book that i just grabbed whatever seemed the least mentally taxing. so i read a lot of books in the genre of “humorous parenting essays,” which are usually not that funny, & often seem to have been composed by semi-literate orangutans. so not a lot of great stuff is springing to mind here.

26. what was your greatest musical discovery? i discovered that those rockabye baby lullaby things that are “cool music” like nirvana or metallica turned into lullaby music are nightmare fuel. & i discovered that babies will just listen to what you listen to, so you don’t have to make yourself crazy listening to “the wheels on the bus” or whatever. now when ramona rides in a car, she cries if top 40 isn’t playing.

27. what did you want and get? baby baby baby! i mean, she was born in 2012, but not released from the NICU until a week before 2013 started. so 2013 was the first full year of baby times at home. i also wanted to meet some other moms, & i did.

28. what did you want and not get? more time for myself, to sew or write or read. or sleep. but i can’t even really say i “wanted” that, because i knew it just wasn’t realistic with a new baby in the house. but it would have been really nice not to argue with jared so much about this stuff.

29. what was your favorite film? people with babies don’t get to see a lot of movies. the only movie i remember watching is “at world’s end,” which we got from amazon instant viewing.

30. what did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? i turned 34. we had brunch & then we took ramona to the kansas city zoo. we splashed out on the ticket that includes the sky safari & unlimited boat rides. i know we got home at like 6pm but i have no recollection of what we did after that. ate food & fell asleep, i assume.

31. what one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? more sleep? less baby poop? oh, i know! it would have been AWESOME if ramona had her own bedroom. it made sense to share a room with her for the first several months, but once she was sleeping through the night, it would have been great if her usual 5am happy babbling could have happened far away from where i’m trying to sleep.

32. how would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013? i got really into making my own skirts, which i wore with black t-shirts, because the fabric i used for my skirts was generally pretty loud. when it was too cold for skirts, it was either jeans or cords with a black hoodie. no yoga pants here! i also had to get into the habit of wearing my hair up all the time, because ramona pulls it. i bought these hair coil things so i could put my hair in a bun with no visible fastening. a big improvement over my previous method of using an old newspaper rubber band.

33. what kept you sane? finding a playgroup for ramona. sewing. splashing out on a netflix subscription. but it was such a hectic year, i think we are playing fast & loose with the definition of “sane”.

34. which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? none? i really tried to think of someone but no one came to mind.

35. what political issue stirred you the most? probably reproductive choice stuff, as usual. i was especially stirred by all the nincompoops who got really mad about the arizona 20-week abortion ban that defined pregnancy as beginning with the start of the last menstrual period & were like, “that’s fucked up! they just added two non-pregnant weeks to the definition of pregnancy!” hey dudes, the fact that you’ve never been pregnant is showing. that’s how it’s defined. not that i support that bill in any way. just stop being dumb.

also upset about all the cuts to public education. how on earth are kids today supposed to compete in a global economy when they are not getting any primary education at all? i really don’t want to have to send my kid to a private school.

36. who did you miss? pre-baby ciara. boston. all the friends i used to have before i had a baby.

37. who was the best new person you met? probably the moms from playgroup. we don’t all necessarily have a lot in common aside from having babies around the same age, but it’s a good group. i always enjoy seeing them & we’ve never had any weird arguments about parenting styles, which is kind of a miracle.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

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