So, this happened recently: a birthday! The first one, actually. Inevitably, through the predictable passage of time, my child has reached the milestone that I looked forward to and dreaded: his first birthday. It all seems to have happened so suddenly! On his birthday, I remember looking up at the clock at random intervals and reminiscing on what I had been doing a year prior (oh, look! At this time, I was starting my contractions! Oh, look! At this time, I was pushing!). Baby Mermy, on the other hand, did not care at all. I thought that rather unfair: how could he not see how important this day was?! But that’s exactly the reason why we chose not to have a birthday party for him. He was simply unaware of the significance of this day; for him, it was just another day when he could go to the community centre for a drop-in play group. He ran around (on his knees, of course. Why attempt to walk slowly when one can move so much faster while crawling?), visited all his “friends” and giggled at the joy of seeing beings like him (I.e. Tiny in height and moving about similarly). He attempted to play with these friends by sitting and observing them; some mothers weren’t inviting, but many more were and he enjoyed their company. To his curious little mind, this was a great opportunity to explore and learn about how this massive world works. He sat and watched facial expressions, how moms played with their little ones, how the little ones themselves played, and the types of playful activity that he could potentially mimic. He had a wonderful time!
In the evening, I made him a special dinner, which he promptly threw all over the floor; I convinced myself that it wasn’t personal. He engaged in play time with Papa Mermy, and went to bed earlier than expected. He did have a busy day after all! Because Papa Mermy had been at work during the day, we decided to have Baby Mermy’s birthday outing of a visit to the Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto on his day-off.
It was a rainy day when we visited the Aquarium. Baby Mermy loved getting splashes of rain on him through the carrier when the umbrella accidentally shifted. In fact, he would try to angle himself out of the carrier in such a way that he could get more rain on himself! As soon as we arrived at the Aquarium, Baby Mermy promptly fell asleep and slept for an unexpectedly long time. Papa Mermy and I enjoyed exploring the aquarium and learning about the myriad of sea creatures, while Baby Mermy napped in the carrier. Once he awoke, he thoroughly enjoyed crawling around, meeting new people, singing to the fish and other sea creatures through the glass, and sitting in clear crawl-through tunnels while sharks and other fish swam all around him. It was a wonderful experience, made better by having gone on a week-day when the Aquarium was less crowded than it would have been on a weekend. All-in-all, a great birthday celebration for our little man.
To us who knew what Baby Mermy’s birthday meant, these two days were filled with reminiscences and attempts to create opportunities for new memories. We tried to engage him in different ways to “make” these memories but when Baby Mermy wasn’t cooperating, we asked ourselves why we felt the need. Memories of this special occasion were being created naturally regardless of our efforts; to attempt to “make” them would just leave them feeling forced. Since that day, much upheaval has occurred in our lives that has forced us to re-examine how we live and re-evaluate our priorities; but, in that moment, we simply enjoyed each other’s company, ate a lot of cake, and snuggled in for hugs, kisses, and cuddles. All in all, a sweet couple of days to celebrate the arrival of a sweet boy and pray for many more such happy days throughout his, God-willing, long life.
United in diapering,