Daniel and I have only been to the beach twice so far this year, mostly because the first time we went was about as enjoyable as eating worms. Dude's opinion of all things sandy and salty had vastly changed from that of last year
One word to describe the proceedings? Horrific.
As well as the giant pain in the ass it is to single-handedly lug a toddler to the beach, there were the bonus points of having a lousy time while there.
Daniel clung to me like some kind of multi-limbed climby thing, having seemingly grown several Inspector Gadget type extendor arms, useful for optimal adhesion, increased leverage, and maximum distance between him and that icky sand stuff.
So yes. That first trip back to the dunes this year did not go well, so I was a little hesitant to go through the whole business of getting organised to go again any time soon.
There's so much to remember before you've even left the door. Sunblock? Check. Wipes? Check. Rash vest, dry clothes, pull ups, baby budgie smugglers, a bucket, four spades, and a hat? Check, check, check, check, check. Then once you've packed the fourteen water bottles you need because short folk who poop their pants have a habit for dissing the golden rule, "thou shalt not get sand in the drink bottle", you realise you've forgotten the minimum number of towels it takes to defrost a waterlogged two year old, as well as the fact that you're going too and might need more than that bottle of vodka you've been slugging on for the past half hour to get through the next hour, the one that all this intensive planning relies on.
So you pack another two towels: one to sit on, the other so that hopefully you'll have at least one thing that isn't sand encrusted by the time you leave. Then instead of throwing on some shorts and a t shirt, you don't, because god knows they're only good for collecting more sand once they're off you and crammed into one of the many beach bags you've tossed in the car, so you say "fuck it" and climb in yourself wearing only your bathers and a pair of thongs.
If things go well, you get to spend a a relatively short time there frolicking in the sand and spending at least a quarter of your allotted time manually extracting handfuls of sand from your kid's mouth. Then when you're done, you've got to somehow get him out of the wet and slightly used speedos and into a nappy without getting any more sand up his crack, preferably after you've got to somehow cram the whole amount of everything you brought along with you back in their bags with less that half the beach tagging along for the trip home. Then the trip back to the car is mighty, what with the screaming toddler you've jammed under your arm, but somehow you make it home alive, sandy, salty, and realising that the amount of sand that's now in your car is probably enough to pose a threat to the coastline.
None of which is getting to the point of this entry, the point being it was a beautiful weekend again last weekend, and that my memory is short enough to want to do it all again.
Pretty much the only hitch we had this time was getting there only to discover that the bag containing the nappies and a dry change of clothes had been left at home by the front door, which is where I'd left it so as not to forget it, my reasoning being I'd have to trip over it on the way out. Which I did not do because I stepped neatly over it instead. For I am still harboring a bad case of the pregnancy stupids, despite not having been pregnant for over two years.
We got there and Daniel looked at me as if to say "Riiiight. We're here again because it went so well last time?" before we took down the hill and found a nice nesting spot by the rocks and about thirty meters from the water from the water. Which is a massive guess for I do not do perspective well, but I'm setting a scene here.
Because he was so scared before, we weren't there to do anything more than enjoy what he was able to. If we had a nice time in the sand with his bucket and several versions of spade? Then that was enough. If not, we'd leave toot sweet. It didn't take long though and he was all "Cah'mon mummy!", and my regular Mr Do-NOT-Be-Holding-Mah-Hand, all independent and charging ahead on his own, was waiting for me to take his handbefore leading me down to the water. We stood there a while, my feet in the water, him propped on my hip, and when he'd had enough he asked for "down!", and took me back to the business of buckets and sand.
I don't know how to describe the process of what came next without boring the living shit out of the internet, suffice to say the boy so obviously went through a learning process. It was like he weighed his fears against the experiences of those he'd been watching around him, and so ended up in right in the midst of the waves, squealing with glee as they took control of his balance.
I'm SO proud of him because he
lead the change from being the little boy paralysed by fear to the daredevil laughing out loud each time a wave crashed over his head.
And that's pretty cool.
And the reason there's no photographic documentation of this monumental transition by the sea is that my stupid camera doesn't die a long, drawn out emphysemic death. There's no struggling for breathe while reminding you it needs a recharge. It simply drops down dead *bang* just like that, with barely enough time to clutch its metaphoric chest with its hand.