Much of the first week was spent catching up with household jobs - or at least those that would be tolerated by a baby in a box somewhere nearby. Notice this doesn't happen much a couple of weeks later, since Elodie had learned how to tip up the box and escape by then. The activities included plum picking, mulching, tidying the garage and a huge amount of cutting back of the garden. I also took her to a baby swimming on Monday and baby sensory session on Wednesday. Towards the end of the week we did a final clearout of our old house before it got sold and we went for a pub lunch with mummy who was off work for a day. Elodie also picked up a bad cold on the way that we needed to get checked by the doctor.
Each day there is the usual dressing, changing, feeding, napping,
etc which takes up most of our time, but that's what I'm here for
This week we started with a walk into town in the pouring rain, which made us late for swimming. I collected the apples from one of our trees and made apple juice which will hopefully turn into cider (and a lot of apple puree for Elodie) and we did more baby sensory. The highlight however, was our ramble over the hill to Harlton and back. This was partly in practice for our forthcoming trip to Scotland and to make sure Elodie was happy in the backpack. It was a great success! She was basically happy from the moment she went in to the moment she came out of the pack. We also had a visit from Darrell on Friday and Elodie learned to clap, though I don't think that was due to any tuition on the part of Darrell.
After the success of the last walk, this week we went further - to Meldreth, Whaddon and Orwell. Again a success, but an unfriendly dog had woken her up after only 10 minutes of sleeping, so after 3 hours of walking she did get a bit grumpy. We supervised the arrival of a clock for the hall and Elodie went to more sensory (which she loves by the way - it's basically singing songs in a big room full of toys). On Thursday we visited my cousin Heather and Elodie's two second cousins Sammy and Toby. They were staying at her in-laws' lovely house whilst theirs was still being built, so we enjoyed exploring the grounds.
Elodie also practiced her standing this week and began to bang things together in her hands, showing her musical talent. I constructed a sand-pit (mainly for Hamish at this stage) and did the packing for our Scotland trip.
Elodie and Daddy went off for an adventure in the far north of Scotland! We had a great time and the landscape is arguably the most stunning in the coutry. I rented a tiny cottage in Lochinver for nearly a week and was joined for a couple of days by a friend Chris and my brother Oliver.
Elodie was quite happy with long walks (we did 2hr, 7hr, 4hr, 5hr and 5hr hikes and collected 2 Grahams, 3 Munros and nearly a Corbett), but she was slightly less happy with long car journeys - there was one meltdown on the way back from Inverness on day 4. She travelled quite well on the plane too, although I'm glad I had sympathetic people sitting next to me.
She had also become quite speedy at crawling by now and practiced this in the cottage, glad to be free of the various restraining forms of transport.
The journey back was extended due to a 3 hour flight delay which meant we had to get innovative with entertaining Elodie, but she loved the freedom to crawl around the airport and most people didn't mind getting their shoelaces chewed. When we returned, we had a visit from Uncle Henrik who had come over from Norway.
Hilde was off on Monday, so I took the opportunity to treat Hamish to a trip to grandad's farm and a ride in the combine harvester. This was a great success, although actually the tractor and trailer combination was probably even more exciting. Mummy also accompanied Elodie and me on a walk to Shepreth, Fowlmere and Foxton, since Elodie still had the walking bug.
For the rest of the week I managed to get a few things done around the garden including starting the splitting of wood for the winter (yes a bit late, I know). We also went to the final baby sensory session - it was sensational. On Friday we set off for my parents' cottage in Wales together with Hamish, Hilde and grandma.
Mummy went back on the Sunday night to get to work, but the rest of us stayed on in Wales to enjoy the trains, beaches, hills and country fair of this corner of Snowdonia. Hamish and Elodie played quite well together. Elodie also learned how to operate her button books, which was actually quite an impressive skill and was achieved many months earlier than her brother.
Once back in Barrington on Thursday, I did a session of wood splitting with Rob, the latter part of which Elodie watched with great interest. I also managed to pick the roughly 60 cooking apples and make the blemished ones into chutney before they went off during our forthcoming holiday to Norway.
This week was our family holiday to Norway. Elodie was a bit of a handful on the flights, but apart from that the journey went well. We were picked up from the airport and stayed with Hilde's parents in Oslo before heading down the fjord to Husoey. Here we stayed in the cabin where Hilde had visited her grandparents frequently as a child and which her parents had recently done up. We had great weather and were able to rent a car for a couple of days to explore the area. We also went to the beach, swam (ok dipped!) in the sea and spent ages doing jigsaws and playing 'hide the animals' with Hamish.
On Friday we went back up to Oslo to meet up with some of Hilde's friends and spend some time relaxing with her parents before flying back on Sunday.
Back in Barrington for my final week of paternity leave. Elodie had three introductory sessions at the nursery, which went fairly well. There were a couple of teary moments, but probably fewer than expected - the real test will be when she has to start full days next week. I was also pleased to see Elodie eating much better this week - it has taken her ages to eat anything other than puree, but finally she seems happy munching her way through small bits of toast and other finger food, which is a big step forward!
I picked 150 apples from the final tree and put some in the freezer, we had a visit from a tree surgeon to inspect our trees and I took Elodie for another walk to Harlton, Little Eversden and Orwell. I also spent some time writing this diary. We've had a great time and whilst it has been tiring physically, I also hope the slight mental break will mean I can go back to work next week refreshed and focused.