We took the children to the beach on Sunday. And what did Mommy learn? I learned that there are few things which will make me as neurotic as having four little children running around on the beach. Seriously. If there was ever a time I wished I had four eyestalks each with a dozen rotating eyeballs and forty-seven hands each with a twenty-foot reach? It was on the beach with the Denizens.
I never thought I’d be the ‘paranoid’ parental type. I always thought I’d be one of the types who would let my children learn about things the way I often did – by being bitten. Oh, yeah, those jelly-like things on the beach? They sting. Sucks, huh?
But no. I’m the sort who runs around behind them like an over-anxious hen, clucking away. “Now don’t go too far in the water…watch out for broken glass…don’t touch that, you don’t know where it’s been…for heaven’s sake, STAY RIGHT HERE, don’t go running off like that…WATCH OUT, THAT BUG STINGS!!!”
Ack. At least I let them get good and dirty and resisted the urge to continually wash their faces.
It was Captain Adventure’s first trip to the beach, ever. His impression?
The boy had sand in his hair, mouth, under each and every wee little nail, down his diaper and up his nose.
So yeah. He enjoyed himself, greatly.
I took him down to the surf and held him as the waves came in until one made it up to his little toes. His eyes got HUGE, and he giggled madly. He waited with breathless anticipation for the next wave…his eyes would get bigger and bigger as they got closer and closer…and then one would be making a sure approach and he’d encourage it with a loud, “aaaaaAAAAAAAAAAH!” and then swooosh! Over the toesies!!!
But it didn’t last long. The ocean is c-c-c-c-cold this time of year up here in Northern California, so after about half a dozen toesies-dips, he was ready to head back to the nice, warm, toss-able sand. Oh sand, how I love thee, let me count the ways…(up my nose, down my diaper, between my toes, on mommy’s head, in mommy’s pockets…)
Meanwhile, the sisters were becoming Wave Chasing Experts. Eldest had the best blend of caution and daring, while Danger Mouse got the award for Most Times Being Knocked Over Because You Were Too Busy Trying To Make Sure Nobody Else Was Getting A Better Ride Than You.
Boo Bug, typically, was tentative at first. She got knocked over a couple times and was about ready to give the whole thing up for a lost cause. The water, as I said, was extremely cold, so falling over in it was not a bit pleasant, really.
I took her little hand in mine and we waited, bravely, as the water gathered itself and swept toward us. I held her up as the sand shifted beneath her feet and the water sucked at her toes, trying to tease her feet out from under her again.
The first couple times, she clung to me like a barnacle. She fretted. She worried. “I can feel myself falling down again!” she’d shriek.
And then suddenly, she got it. How to brace herself, how to both stand firm and go with the waves, how to enjoy the ocean’s playful tug without falling over and enduring the ocean’s not-so-playful ice bath.
A few moments later, she was right in there with her sisters, up to their ankles in water and screaming with laughter.
Now, seeing as how we knew we were going to the beach, you’d think we might have been prepared with any of the following:
Flip-flops or sandals
But you know what?
YOU’D BE WRONG!
See, I had spent the night at a hotel after a day with friends, and my husband met me at the hotel.
The children were wearing:
Tights, jeans, and a turtleneck (Eldest)
Jeans and a wool sweater (Danger Mouse)
Jeans and a turtleneck (Boo Bug)
Jeans and a long-sleeved shirt (Captain Adventure)
But he calmly informed me that he had a change of clothes for them packed.
No towels, no sandals or other ‘beach worthy’ shoes, the camera may or may not have been along for the ride, and definitely no bathing suits. But hey, you know, whatever. Certainly not going to go all the way back home from halfway there, and besides, as long as there’s clean clothes to get into, well shoot. Getting wet and sandy in your street clothes isn’t all that bad.
So we trundled out through the extremely warm day to the beach. And the children ran around in said clothing, fell in the surf in said clothing, and otherwise wrecked said clothing.
We returned to Homer the Odyssey thoroughly filthy, wet and sandy.
I began digging out the spare clothes Daddy had brought.
We had…jeans and a shirt for Eldest.
We had…jeans and a shirt for Danger Mouse.
We had…a shirt and…a shirt…and…that’s it…for Boo Bug…
So she’s standing there, shivering like crazy, wet to her underpants, and no nice, warm, dry pants to put on.
I checked about fifty times, as if the pants were going to leap out of the bag yelling, “SURPRISE!!”
No. Boo Bug. Pants.
Finally, I dug up a pair of Captain Adventure’s sweatpants from the darkest recess of the diaper bag and contemplated the waistband on them. Hmm. Nice and stretchy. I looked at her, shivering in pink socks, Disney princess underwear and pink shirt, holding up the steel gray and dark blue sweatpants, size 24 months…
“Oh mommy, no,” she gasped. “That’s Captain Adventure’s!”
“It’s this, or nothing,” I told her firmly. Sniffling and sobbing and sure she’s going to die of sheer fashion deprivation, she shivered to the side of the van and put them on. They did not in any way fit her, really; the hems came up to just below her knees and the waistband was strained to its limit – but it did go on her body and it didn’t crush the breath from her, so it was a go, people.
Thank $DEITY for the stretchiness of sweatpants, hallelujah, amen.
Being warm and dry improved her mood considerably, and pretty soon she was giggling and showing off: Lookit me, I’m wearing BABY PANTS!
Upon inquiring, I learned that Daddy had instructed the girls to fetch their own clothes and put them into the bag – and Daddy, trusting soul that he is, hadn’t double checked their work.
Soooooooo, what did Daddy learn? Maybe something about five year olds and their fashion choices?
Pretty pink socks with the lacy tops: Check
Pretty pink shirt to match the pretty pink socks with the lacy tops: Check
Coordinating Princess Underwear: Check-a-roo
Pants: Uuuuuuuh…oh yeah…
Always, always, always double check the work of your five year old. Because when you ask her, “Did you put your clothes into the bag?” she is going to envision the Disney princess underwear and say, “Yes”, even if she has forgotten everything else that should be going on over it.
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