Number 5 - Another Birthday for My Daughter
Kylie is really blossoming into a lovely little lady. She may cause me to want to pull my hair our, but at the end of each day, I am glad she is a part of my life. A big part of it.
December 31st, roughly 9:00 PM, 2009: a life was born, and my life changed forever.
The one story I have told to several people recently is about everything that happened after my daughter’s birth. I am sure it is one that a lot, if not all, fathers go through. There is the shared enjoyment of seeing your child for the first time, weighing it, trying to capture the moment with your camera and get some pictures of the doctor holding the baby with the mom. After the room has cleared out for the most part, there is that quiet moment with the mom.
A few words from the mom along the lines of, “I’m tired. I’m hungry. Get me something to eat while I rest.”
Of course she’s hungry.
Normally, this wouldn’t be quite as challenging to find something for her. If birth had been given earlier in the day, the cafeteria would have been open at the hospital, grocery stores, fast food restaurants, and so on. But my daughter was born late at night, on the biggest party night of the year. Making it even more challenging was how cold it felt and the amounts of snow piled up on the roadway as the wind blew it around.
Walking through the hallways to get to my vehicle, my mind kept thinking about all the options of where I could get food at this hour for the mom. I was pretty lost as to where I should go because I had just moved to the city six weeks prior, and had hardly ventured into Kelowna from across the lake at this time. I knew how to get to the hospital and that was about it. I was thinking about this when I opened the door to my Jeep and hopped inside.
Then it hit me: I am a father.
Second thought: I need to call my parents.
So, there I sat, in the minus 10C weather, inside a cold Jeep, calling my parents who were congregating in Regina with my brother and sister. After 5-10 minutes of telling them the details about my daughter’s size, I had to pull myself together so I could drive around the city and not crash my vehicle.
I remember stopping at the Tim Horton’s quite a ways from the hospital after stopping at several other places in hopes of them being open. The trip to the Tim Horton’s and back was a bit of a blur. The only thing I remember is that there were half a dozen police cars parked out front when I pulled in.
When I returned to the hospital nearly an hour later after I had left the mother and daughter, it was pretty quiet. She was pretty wiped (partly due to the drugs still escaping her system), so we ate in silence. Wandered over to look at our daughter in the other room, looked at some of the other babies that were born earlier that day, and then she retired to her bedroom while I made the drive home.
Of course, since it was 2010, I had to make the obligatory Facebook status update:
Est-ce que je peux aller à la toilette?
Over this past year, my daughter has grown even more than she did the year prior. In September 2013, she started her Montessori preschool, and finished in June of 2014. By the end of June, she knew the continents, the planets, her alphabet and could count higher than I could imagine. In September 2014, she started Kindergarten - French Immersion.
French Immersion was a calculated risk. My daughter has incredible memory. When she was a toddler, I thought it had to do more with things that mattered to her, but after preschool, I realized her memory was useful for basically everything- routines at school, phrases, numbers, and so forth. I thought maybe French Immersion would be a good challenge for her since it would be a different environment for her and she would have to learn a lot of new things that she didn’t learn in Montessori.
It has gone much better than expected. Her vocabulary grows on a daily basis, and the common phrases roll right off her tongue. She did amazingly well at her Christmas concert singing a song in English and French. Couldn’t be more proud of her.
Apart from schooling, she had another adventurous year. A trip to Edmonton in August to visit friends and family with her mother. Her trip there in 2013 left quite an impression on her. She could easily tell me what happened and what she wanted to do again on this next trip. Her second plane trip in her short life nearly matches the number of flights I took in my first 18 years.
Another trip with her mom to Vancouver for a weekend was also a lot of fun for her. Another trip to the Aquarium, ride the SkyTrain, and to see the Christmas light display in Stanley Park had her talking quite a bit.
No trips outside of Kelowna with me for her, but she did go through two levels of swimming lessons over six weeks with me, several Kelowna Rockets games, trips to see the kokanee salmon run, and several mini-adventures downtown to explore. One of her favourite things to do has been getting hot chocolate with me, comparing the various flavours between coffee shops.
A hot chocolate connoisseur.
All in all, it has been a fun year for her. A year of growth in all areas of her life, especially her confidence level with talking with people. She will approach anyone if she feels it is safe to do so. The number of times she has walked up to a bench and struck up a conversation with someone has been staggering this year. I certainly love seeing the smiles the other people have when she starts talking to them.
She leaves a lasting impression on their lives in that short amount of time like she has done with me on a nearly daily basis the past five years. I could not be happier and prouder.
Happy 5th birthday, Kylie.
Kylie’s Favourites 2014:
Song: Sia - ‘Chandelier’
Show: Bubble Guppies
Book: Pat le Chat - en français!
iOS game: Number Quiz - tracing numbers and counting