It’s summer. On the East Coast. More specifically, an island surrounded by an abundance of great beaches. I adore the beach. I love everything about it; the grit of sand between my toes as I dig them in, the smell of the salt misting the fresh air, the crash of the waves against the shore.
So how many times have I been to the beach this summer, you ask?
None. Not once.
Dare you even ask why??
Oh, I used to go. Especially before I had children. I’d throw my tanning oil (yeah. that’s right!), a spare towel, the latest People magazine, and my Walkman (I TOLD YOU. Before kids. A long time ago) into my bag and hit the beach.
I’d stay all day. Listen to music. Lie on my belly in my cute lil bikini. Maybe even nap a little…
Then I had a baby. I’m the adventurous sort, though, so I’d still go, and it just required a little more preparation. I’d pack a diaper bag with some spare wipes, clothes, etc. Sunhat for her teeny little head. Strong sunblock for her pale teeny arms. A bottle. Pacifier. But no matter. Daughter 1 traveled well; my friends and I took a few pleasant trips that summer. I was tan. And satisfied.
Then daughter #2 arrived, and summer came around. Now packing for Irish twins, both babies. Double the amount of diaper bag supply. Include an umbrella. Snacks for the eldest. Bottle for the younger. Pail and shovel for #1. Chew toys for #2. Off we went. There was more packing involved. There was more… movement involved. My own, that is.
Not much sitting.
No more napping.
Now I needed to be the sand monitor. As in, “Stop eating the sand.” “Don’t take your bathing suit off in the sand.” “Don’t throw Mommy’s magazine in the sand.”
(Yes, I still brought a magazine. Because I’m also the optimistic sort.)
Child #3 arrived. Three times the amount of diaper bag supplies were required, plus a surplus of sand toys. Extra towels. And a cooler for juice boxes and sandwiches. Of course, the umbrella. Get the picture?
But I still didn’t give up. Child #4 came, and dammit, I was still going to the beach. Even if I had to lug all of the above equipment, plus an outdoor playpen, complete with canopy. Because when there’s a flaming hot sun overhead at the beach, there is nothing I like better than…
Standing. In the hot sun. Watching tiny people:
- Eat sand
- Throw sand
- Cry when hit with thrown sand
- Eat more sand
- Eat sandwiches dropped in sand
- Cry through bites of sand-coated sandwiches
- Cry about sand in their bathing suits
- Roll around in the sand, getting more sand in their bathing suits
At this point, I finally met my match.
Not because I was frustrated, sweaty and hungry (because every sandwich is coated with sand).
Not even because only the front of my body was blistering while I stood served as a child sentry, like a side of bacon that’s never flipped.
But because despite my eagle’s eye of observation, I…. kind of… lost a kid.
Well, not technically. I didn’t lose her, so much as she lost herself. Or rather, she felt that our fellow beachgoers’ food was far less sandy, and decided to sample their goods along her trek across the sand, digging into open coolers.
My friend was busy frolicking in the water with my other kids as I changed a sand-crusted toddler diaper; supervision signals were crossed.
#2’s culinary journey led her to be deposited at the lifeguard bench by a baffled elderly lady. A nice Italian lady, who gave #2 a bag of Goldfish first.
#2 was very excited to talk to the lifeguards about her mom, the one in the black bathing suit.
The one she could no longer find because there were, say, a billion moms there that day in black bathing suits.
But I managed to retrieve Child #2 from the amused lifeguards, and slunk off to my towel compound in embarrassed silence.
Suffice to say, our beach days ended before #5 arrived. Or #6.
These days, our waterworks are confined to the community pool.
And they love it, because they really don’t grasp what they’re missing. And I now get to..
Stand. In the hot sun. Watching tiny people:
- Splash water
- Cry when hit with splashed water
- Run around the pool
- Cry when told to stop running around the pool
- Throw siblings into the pool
- Sulk when punished for throwing siblings in the pool
At least the drive home is quicker. And cleaner.
© Copyright 2013 Six Pack Mom, All rights Reserved. Written For: Six Pack Mom