I used to write unpublished treatises to the year gone, just before it slipped away. Catalogues of major events - real and internal - to ponder over, learn from and laugh at before starting anew. And of course to snap-freeze my memories as the years elapse. I'd spend days trawling through my mental archives. Post-child, I've got about an hour. So the following may not be truly reflective of the year that was, but it's what I can retrieve right now.
So much of my 2012 is about the boy. In this short year, he has gone from a babe in arms to sitting, crawling, walking and now running and talking up a storm. He is now quite the conversationalist. Sits at the window taking in the walking track and commenting 'People? Nooo!'. Has mastered the possessive: 'Daddy's bee-ya' as well as his name: 'Ew-ewy' and home address: 'light---house'. His vocabulary is pretty impressive for a 17-month-old who should be 15 months.
And his personality shines. He is an observer, a sensitive little comedian. Just like his 'Daddy-hahaha' - what he often calls K. He is quite worried lately - about people that hurt, large noises and the three little ducks song (because the ducks go away, presumably). He is spirited and loves a joke. Still loves eating bark and cardboard ('yum--mmeee') and at some point chipped his front tooth (again, presumably) chewing on a rock. He is obsessed with tractors and things that go. He is thoroughly his Daddy's boy. He can blow bubbles in the water. And oh and the messes he can make!
Today there is no hint he was born early. He is done with the follow-up group sessions at the Children's Hospital to check his development, though I think we have one paediatric follow-up left, just so they can officially close their file.
In other realms, my return to work this year has been so much better than I ever imagined. I always thought I'd want to be a stay-at-home mum. (And maybe I would if I had the time, free hands and proximity to do the things I imagined I'd be able to do - creative kid stuff, going places, play dates, etc.) Aside from the financial imperative, I badly needed to reclaim something for myself. Although there has been some flailing in unfamiliar waters as I work alone to remake a piece of legislation, it has mostly been good. I also managed to hang on to my job when thousands of public servants didn't. I have totally appreciated that I have an amazing arrangement and feel continually grateful for this. Without it, there would be no work for me.
The year has not been without qualms. I have battled somewhat to just feel OK. I got over PND. But the endless picking up / carrying / feeding a seriously heavy baby-now-toddler has made my neck and shoulders perpetually sore. I have the upper body of a swimmer and the lower body of a small bowl of trifle (I can hear - yes hear - K rolling his eyes about now -- nevertheless this is how I feel after 17 months of not much exercise). Despite prioritising yoga and walking in any snippets of free time I have,
I have really not had much social interaction at all this year. I have never been someone who needs a lot of contact with friends, but the little interaction I did have pre-baby has dropped to almost nothing. And I miss it! It has just been too difficult to manage visits during our crazy-hectic mainland trips and my terrible-ness on the phone has deteriorated thanks to virtually no real solo free time. I even managed to make Christmas cards and then lose the stamps in our stuff-everywhere scenario on return from the mainland. Sigh.
Realisations. Life with kid is hard. Or maybe it is just our life, this crazy life remote we lead. Which is HARD, although we have become logistical ninjas. Often can be heard in our house the refrain 'why is it so stressful?' I don't know why we imagined it would be anything other. I hope it gets less so. It has really taken its toll on us. How do other people do this? I guess I also realise that it will continue to be hard. It just is. Contemporary families, life and work make it much more difficult than it ever was meant to be for anyone. I am grateful for these realisations. And the perspective I seem to have gained. It wasn't so easy to see in the baby bubble that we were making a family. Duh. But y'know, massive sleep deprivation and vomit will blind you to the bigger picture. I'm also utterly grateful for the help we have in the form of our au pair. I often wonder what we'd do without her (the answer is probably not a lot of housework, in which case I'd go quietly-at-first-but-then-loudly-screamingly-mad).
So yeah, year. In many ways you kicked our heads. But it was equally mind blowing watching our boy grow. And to live at the beach, despite its challenges!
For next year, I wish for myself to be more laid back about everything generally. And better to him. The less said about that the better.
I also wish to somehow manage to return to writing. Which will take a correction of our fantastically-abysmal-for-the-last-parts-of-2012 internet (now renamed in this house as 'the cobwebs'), and some gentle restructuring. I think I need to tweak our night routines to get some regular decent free time. Of course this is all completely hypothetical, what with some massive sleep refusals and super-clingy-moodiness going on in the past week, with bedtimes around 11pm, and one cracker at 2am. (I'm talking about the boy of course, though naturally it follows that these are our bedtimes (and moodiness!).)
I'll try less to look at other bloggers who are doing ridiculously creative projects - on top of their blogging - whilst toting equally small children, and wonder why the hell I can't even get through breakfast unscathed. I'll still create – I'd really love to do this – but try not to beat myself up if it goes to slush.
I plan to sleep more and relax more. I've frittered away untold hours just bumbling about because I am too tired to do anything purposeful despite my insistence to try.
I'll try to find ways to reconnect with friends. Eat better. Stress less.
And now I'm sounding like a broadcast ad for nicotine gum.
I would like to try to think with a fresh head (see 'sleep more').
And be more positive.
I can do that.
I hope the new year is good to you.