At fifteen minutes after six o'clock on a Saturday morning, I discovered one of the most effective alarm clocks in the world: my then four month old daughter's hand whacking me on the back of my head.
Sleep is, I now know, impossible when a four month old daughter wants her dad to wake up. I also picked up that it's quite possible that Elodie can tell the difference between those days when she sleeps in (week days) and those when she gets to go on early morning Fremantle adventures (weekends). On weekends, she generally wakes up fifteen minutes after my alarm normally sounds and positions herself within convenient whacking distance of me. She then proceeds to whack me unceremoniously. This all happens while her mum watches on.
I could have done with a couple of more hours sleep. But the Elodie alarm had sounded. It was no use pretending to be asleep. Elodie has the kind of persistence that would make Napoleon Hill proud. Once I had sufficiently collected myself from my slumber, I turned to face my little whacker. Elodie was lying on her back facing me with her arm outstretched. Her gummy grin immediately put me in a good mood. I thought to myself that there were worse ways to wake up. All the while Elodie whacked on unperturbed. She was ready for her early morning Freo adventure.
Elodie's seven months old now. She's moved on from early morning whacking to just whacking in general, beard grabbing and snacking on noses. She still enjoys her Freo adventures but at a more civilised hour. I thought that seeing as I'm making my slow and rather disorganised return to blogging, I'd open with a blog post about some of my favourite times over the past seven months being the very proud dad of Elodie.
Number 1: Early morning adventures
Taking Elodie out on an early weekend morning adventure around Fremantle is one of my favourite parts of the week. Our adventures normally kick off with Elodie doing a poo exactly five seconds after she's been buckled into her pram. After a nappy change that generally degenerates, much to Elodie's chagrin, into raspberries being given out left right and centre by yours truly we're normally on our way a good forty five minutes later.
The early morning adventure has its genesis in the almost simultaneous moment when Elodie discovered that she could whack me and my wife deciding that having a couple of hours decent sleep without my snoring was best for our little family unit. We're normally out an about for a good couple of hours. So far Elodie's three favourite places to visit are the Esplanade, the markets and the old Myer building. Lately New Edition with its resident Irish Wolfhound at Velvet Sushi, cooling watermelon juices from the Grumpy Sailor and lots and lots of books for Elodie to grab has been added to the list.
Number 2: The great poo explosion of 2013
When I talked about this favourite moment with my wife, she asked: Which poo explosion? Yep, there's been a few. Elodie's Christmas present to us was possibly her biggest explosion yet, which was immediately diagnosed as requiring a bath. There was also the explosion when I was playing with Elodie in the bath. One minute she was happily playing. Then, in an instant she stopped and I saw her 'concentration' face. I heard a low rumble emanate from her tummy and a couple of bubbles rose to the surface before I realised with horror what was about to happen. That poo made both of our eyes water. My wife laughed so hard she cried tears of laughter. My favourite poo explosion was the time Elodie sneezed in the middle of a nappy change and sprayed my wife AK47 style. I walked in to the sight of my wife frozen in shock at Elodie's ability to turn her white top into a Jackson Pollock painting. In a millisecond.
Number 3: Elodie's first midnight play
The old Myer building hosting it's first rooftop bar gig also coincided with Elodie's first midnight play. That night I came to bed around midnight and was surprised to see Elodie awake. I quietly snuck into bed. A couple of seconds passed before a little hand started whacking my head. I pretended to ignore the whacking but to no avail. Elodie, keen for a play, rolled over to face me. She outstretched her arms and smiled a cheeky smile. I tried to hold out, but gave in and returned her smile. My wife, who could see what was going on from a mile away hissed at me: "No play for you." But Elodie was nothing if persistent. She wanted a play and if she wasn't going to get it from her mum she was definitely going to get a play from her unsuspecting dad. So with the music blaring in the background, Elodie chuckling to herself wormed her way over to my side of the bed for her first ever midnight play. Fifteen minutes later she was fast asleep.
Number 4: The great avocado and banana shower
Elodie is now onto solids. Kind of. We've begun introducing solids using a strategy that my wife calls baby-led weaning, but which should really be known as the time of the day when Mum, Dad and Elodie sit together and shower each other with food. Elodie loves it! After some initial misgivings, I'm on board as well. It gives me a chance to fling some mashed up banana and avocado at my wife. Speaking of banana and avocado, last week I returned home from work and witnessed the end of one seriously fun looking banana and avocado shower. Elodie and my wife were covered in banana and avocado! I've never seen Elodie smile as much and laugh as long and loud as those five minutes. Since then we've moved onto sweet potato, baby carrot and Granny Smith apple mash baths.
Number 5: Bath time with Elodie
Bath time with Elodie is hands down the best time of my day. Elodie loves water. When I say she loves water, I say it in the same way that my wife may describe the way I love attacking a breakfast buffet on a cruise ship. Elodie graduated to the big bath soon after she outgrew the laundry sink. My wife had read somewhere that it was nice for a parent to spend bath time with their baby and suggested that I give it a whirl. Man, I'm glad she did. It's great! I get to hang out with Elodie when I get home from work. I also get to relive my childhood by playing in the bath with Elodie. It's a win-win. Sometimes, Elodie and I will be in the bath playing for ages and ages. Sure it has it's foibles like the time Elodie did a poo explosion but all of the smiles, laughs and shenanigans have been worth it.
Well, that's about all folks. I'm off to test out some more purée's for Elodie, my wife and I to chuck around the living room.