Vivian Katherine's Second Birthday


After the end of Vivian’s first birthday, during which Vivian had her first experience with cake, I went out to Shoppers’ Drug Mart to pick up a few supplies while Erin and her mother, rather optimistically, set about putting Vivian to bed. When I came back, a half-hour later, my mother-in-law and Erin were sprawled on the floor in Vivian’s bedroom, while Vivian, laughing hysterically, scooted around the entire second floor on all fours. It was another half hour before the sugar crash occurred and we were finally able to get Vivian to bed.

This year wasn’t as spectacular, but there was a lot of sugar involved. We had over a dozen friends and family members show up and, of course, Vivian was the star of the show (although visiting toddlers Issac and Samuel attracted a lot of attention too). We took lots of pictures, and Vivian enjoyed it all, although there was a moment of explosive shyness when we all started singing “Happy Birthday” to her.

We’d like to thank everybody who showed up, and everybody who wished Vivian well. Vivian took the sugar rush pretty well and fell asleep on her own after I read to her The Cat in the Hat.

I’ve been looking back at her photographs from when she was born, and it’s already amazing seeing how much she has changed. And, of course, the changes are only seen through hindsight. There is a difference between how an infant looks and how a toddler looks. Who knew? Day by day, all I saw was just Vivian. But now I’m the father of a little girl. How did that happen?

To illustrate, last night we’d all been having trouble sleeping. Erin woke up at 4 and couldn’t get back to sleep because of my snoring. Look, I know I do it, and I know that I have no memory of having done it. I’ve already heard tapes, and I know that whenever I’m called upon it, quite often I don’t even have the memory of having fallen asleep. Clearly my ears fall asleep at the same time as my brain.

Anyway, to try and give Erin some peace early on a Monday morning, with work looming and all, I retired to the couch, and then I heard Vivian waking up early. She’s restless due to a minor cold, and the switch from daylight savings time to standard time hasn’t helped. My response is the usual: sometimes she sleeps comfortably if she has someone in her room, so I take up residence in the big easy chair beside her crib. That works, eventually, and I also fall asleep. I wake up two hours later with sunlight filtering past the blinds and drool on my t-shirt.

A few minutes later, I’m changing Vivian’s diaper and getting her dressed for the day, and she looks up at me, gives me a big smile, and then says, “Daddy zzzzzzznorrrrrrk!”

My daughter, everyone. The blond hair comes from my mother and Erin’s father. I don’t know where her love of pink and other girly-girl stuff came from, but she one individual who knows she’ll never have to take me seriously, because she knows exactly who I am. Her Dad.

We nipped into Toronto on Thursday so that Erin could read The Mongoose Diaries at Another Story Bookstore on Roncesvalles Avenue, and we stayed overnight at the Radisson Admiralty hotel on Queen’s Quay. So, for Vivian’s actual birthday, we got to see the sun rise over Lake Ontario in the morning, and Vivian fed pigeons at the Music Garden a few blocks over.

And may I say, yet again, how how much of a treasure Toronto’s Music Garden is? The city really lucked out when Boston turned down YoYo Ma’s proposal to create an urban greenspace based on one of Bach’s cello pieces. Ten years later, the garden has filled in and has become quite a retreat from the very built-up concrete surroundings, and the design of the park makes it an accessible but extremely interesting walk. If you haven’t visited, go (it’s on the south side of Queen’s Quay, just west of Spadina Avenue). Even in winter, it’s a wonderful place.

Here are some photographs of the past few days:

Vivian with the pidgeons

Vivian feeds the pigeons in the Music Garden.

Don't mess with the Birthday Queen

Don’t mess with the birthday queen!

Cake!  With Fire!

Preparing the cake!

Sunrise!  I got Mom-Mom up so she could see it.

Sunrise in Toronto.

More photographs here.

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