Friday, August 13, 2004

Surf's Up

For all my trepidation, the trip to the shore was a qualified success. Good weather, fairly decent amounts of sleep (for the kids, at least), no major tantrums. The house was cramped, but everyone got along just fine.

Sean loved the beach. Before the trip, we'd been reading Clifford and the Missing Beach Ball, and apparently he had memorized quite a bit of it: whenever we talked to him about going to the beach, he'd say, "I'm going to build the best sandcastle EVERRRR!" And when we got to the actual beach, he did indeed play in the sand---given his predilection for fastidiousness, I'd had my doubts about how much contact with sand he could handle.

The water fascinated him; he loved to jump in the waves and sit at the water's edge as the waves cascaded around his legs. He also knew when he'd had enough and would head back toward our blanket in search of his towel to warm up.

(Here I go with morbid thoughts again: I was struck by just how vulnerable a child his age is near the water. Without us there to protect him, the pull of the undertow and the force of the waves could easily have ... well, you know.)

Allie proved to be slightly more challenging to entertain and keep happy. We held her in our arms by the water, or sat with her in a beach chair while the waves lapped up. She delighted in watching the waves; she'd wave at them and always had a huge smile on her face.

Back on dry land, though, it seemed as if she was saying, "Um, Mom, I liked hanging out with you and all, but I need some action, man!" She'd struggle to wrench herself out of my arms, and after I placed her on the blanket she'd head straight toward the sand. "Why, what's this stuff? Let me cram a fistful into my mouth to see how it tastes!" Trying to prevent her from meeting her manifest destiny with the sand became a little tiresome after a while. I briefly managed to distract her by filling a small bucket with water and showing her how she could dip her hands in. She'd plunk one hand in, splash it around, lift it out, wave it around, and repeat the process with the other hand. After a few minutes, though, she'd be ready for another sand snack.

After two days of the rather taxing effort involved with Allie Watch, on day 3 Jeff took Sean to the beach with his parents, and Allie and I hung out at the house. I'll admit, in a small voice reserved for voicing bratty opinions, that I miss just sitting on the beach and relaxing. I love to play with the kids, but I have to get used to the reality that beach + kids = exhausted parents.

Sean also got to experience amusement rides for the first time (he went on the carousel last year, but he wasn't big enough for any of the other rides). He had a ball, and Jeff, his mother, and I had nearly as much fun watching him. He went on all the typical go-in-a-circle rides, all pretty much the same except for the vehicle: cars, boats, fire engines, more cars, train. And Allie, whose reaction to being stuck in the stroller is always a wild card, was quite content watching the spectacle of lights and crowds and noise around her.

All in all, glad to have gone, very glad to be home again.

Best line of the trip: Sean woke up from his nap because Allison was crying lustily over something or other. When I went into our room to check on him, he informed me, "Allie's freaking out."

(In case we needed it, more proof that the kid absorbs what we say like a sponge!)