Note: Multiple entries ARE allowed as long as you tag a different friend in a SEPARATE comment.
Contest closes on Tuesday, January 2nd, 2017 at 11:59PM EST.
1 Royal Ontario Museum Family/Dual membership (Approximate Market Value $149.00). This contest is open to legal residents of Canada only, excluding Quebec. Contacted Contest Prize Winners must answer a skill testing question in order to claim their prize. No purchase necessary. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associate with, Instagram, nor is Instagram liable for any actions of this contest.
My wife and I are big fans of museums. From learning about Thor in Reykjavik, to re-living the Night At The Museum in New York, we always plan a trip to head to the museum, whenever we visit a city.
This is why when The ROM invited my family and I to go see the Chihuly exhibition, I jumped at the opportunity.
When we arrived at ROM yesterday, we quickly made our way to the Chihuly exhibit. It’s on the level B-2, so if you get there early and plan accordingly you can just beeline down there to beat some of the crowd.
I didn’t know what to expect, but the moment I saw the first display, I knew I was in for a treat.
As we progressed through the exhibition, each display became more impressive than the next. My favourite one was this one which looked like something straight out of an anime.
The crowd pleaser was probably this one where we were treated to a lightshow colours and patterns.
As a photography hobbyist and fanatic, it was truly a treat to see amazing photography on display. The exceptional timing and composition of the photos were breathtaking. I know there’s a debate of “what makes a great photo?” After seeing the works of the finalists, there’s no question in my mind that their really can be a separation between a good shot, from a great shot.
As photos were not allowed at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibit I can’t post anything here. But this is all the more reason to head to the ROM and check out the display With a Family/Dual membership, access to the CHIHULY and Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibitions are free with membership.
In the meantime, if you’ve somehow stumbled upon this post, you’re probably looking for coupon code for a ROM membership. Well you can use the code: ‘HOLIDAY’ before December 31st and save $20 on the Family/Dual Membership (Visit rom.on.ca/membership and enter the code.)
Stay tuned as I will be running a contest for a FREE Family/Dual Membership!
With my daughter just turning one yesterday, I had some time to reflect back on what a crazy first night it was when she came into this world. Behind this confident looking dad constantly posting Instagram photosof how wonderful being a dad is – lies a memory of a traumatic, life changing first night at the hospital. A night that has forever shaped this dad, and is now in the back of his mind whenever the inkling of having a second child comes into conversation.
You know when you buy Ikea furniture and before you build, you go through the instructions and feel a little overwhelmed? That’s kind of like becoming a parent. You know what the end product looks like, but the process of getting there is what’s confusing and intimidating.
You realize that the end goal is you becoming a competent and loving parent, but in order to become that, you need to go through so many confusing and trying steps.
That is what I realized that first night when she arrived.
I remember that the first night after she came out, when her mom was recovering and I was lying with her skin to skin on a makeshift couch bed, she was so tiny and so delicate.
I thought to myself:
“Oh sh*t, I have a daughter. Oh sh*t, I’m a dad now.”
That moment, I felt like everything that I had prepared myself for was useless.
I envisioned how I would be as a dad, and I envisioned how it would be like to have a baby. But when it finally happened, I never actually thought about process of become a dad.
Basically, for those first early moments, I just did stuff I saw on TV and movies.
Seriously, at one point in my hysterical mindset I thought, “Oh I must sing this song to her so that she’ll have an emotional attachment to it and be calm in the future whenever I sing”
I talked to her and told her how everything was going to be fine and life is going fantastic.
That was all a lie of course.
I mean can you imagine sleeping peacefully in a warm toasty bed only to be forced out to the cold winter streets – wet and naked?
I’d be pissed and freaked out.
For the rest of the night I remember her waking up and crying every one and a half hours. And I remember getting up each interval changing her diaper and bringing her to mom for feeding.
After the feeding I would put her in a loose swaddle and rock her so that she would fall asleep.
All that crying.
It sounded like they cross-bred one of those rubber chickens with a pterodactyl.
What a truly terrible sound.
I felt bad that she was crying and disturbing her mom, so I just started walking around the maternity ward shoeless with a tiny baby in circles.
At one point I even thought, maybe if I walk her over to the nurses desk, they’ll see how distraught I look and help me hold her for a bit.
They just politely smiled and gave me a “your-wife-just-went-through-labour-and-you-better-hold-on-to-that-newborn-look.”
Basically I was so tired and overwhelmed, and I thought:
“Shhhhhhh*t I have a daughter now, and thiiiis is how it’s going to be?
I really didn’t think it would be that hard.
But it was.
And it’s something that I’ll never forget.
Of course things got better little by little as each day passed. And when we finally were discharged from the hospital, we felt relatively confident that we were able to do this.
And we were right.
As the weeks turned into months, and the months now became a year life is pretty sweet.
As I write this, my daughter is quietly taking a morning nap, and last night I even slept for 7 hours!
Life is good right now.
Yes, there still are tough days and tough nights. But nothing can measure up to that first night.
I think the experience I gained on that first night was exactly what I needed to prepare me as a dad.
And that’s the thing about becoming a parent, you can read all the books, go to the pre-natal classes, or talk to seasoned parents about their experiences. But when the moment comes and a life is gifted to you, you forget everything just learn on the fly.
I would categorize my wife and I as hermits. Sure we used to go on spontaneous trips (hello Iceland), go see the occasional show, and we were pretty big on food. But when it came to maximizing our weekends, we normally preferred the lazy route by donning our PJs and staying in.
But since our daughter coming into our lives, we’ve been shockingly meticulous in planning out our weekends. It reminds me of when we had our dog and frequently forced ourselves to plan excursions to pet festivals and dog parks.
The inner-hermit in me initially didn’t like it at first, but ever since going to the Toronto Islands last week, a switch just came on inside.
To us it’s just another visit to a place, but to her it’s a completely new experience. She’s basically a life-experience sponge right now, and if we don’t fill it up with a variety of things, I feel like it’s a wasted opportunity.
The moment I realized this was when we finally arrived and sat under a tree to feed her. And by looking at her, I was able to see the reflection of trees and clouds in her eyes as she was trying to process what she was seeing.
That made me realize that this was the first time I fed her in a park on a sunny day, and this was the first time she was able to look up at the clouds and the sky and process what she was seeing.
By how distracted she was, I could also tell that she was trying to take it all in.
That was kind of incredible for me, and her look is something that I will never forget or take for granted.
A while back, while cleaning, I found some faded photos of my parents in the 70s taking my brother to a park when he was a few months old. To me it was a shock to see my parents so young, and it immediately made me wonder what was going on in their mind back then.
So if Charlie ever wonders the same one day, this is what I was going on in my head:
Prior to having a kid, I knew that it would be up to us parents to teach and show her what life has to offer. But this kid, at just over six months just proved to me that I have just as much to learn as a parent too.
After eight hours, three bottles, two ferry rides, two miniature horses sightings, and one carousel ride later, she and both her mom and dad had a crazy day of firsts.
And this hermit of a father, is looking forward to the next adventure.