What do you do when you vacation at the beach? You swim. In the 95 degree heat. And the tarbally water. Or not.
Here's how our typical morning went down in Sea Grove:
me: Want to go to the beach?
(aside: I'm not sure where she picked up the habit, but lately L's "Yeth" and "Yeah" have been replaced by a quiet "Thur")
me: Ok. We have to change into our bathing suits.
L: Our bathing thuits?
L: And thwim diaper.
me: Yup. For you. Not for me.
L (grinning): Because you don't wear a thwim diaper!
Approximately 8.40a, now finally dressed
me: We've gotta do sunscreen.
L: Thun thcream?
L (pouting): I don't like it.
me: Me either, but if you don't wear it you'll end up looking like me.
(aside: I find this is a useful general purpose threat, whether for brushing teeth, eating broccoli, or wearing thun thcream. It'll probably generate years worth of therapy after I'm gone.)
Approximately 9.15a, now relatively screened and looking like vampires or other undead, we begin the wander down the quiet road, up a small hill past something that smells like bad standing water, across a busy road (here we wait for someone to stop for us, and when they do, L says "They wath nithe. They thopped" and I agree), along a short block and to the top of the steps leading down to the sand. This walk takes a normal person somewhere between 5 and 6 minutes. With L ambling along in her orange Crocs, it takes us somewhere close to 15. At the top of the steps we leave our Crocs/slippers, remark on the dog poop we saw one morning at this same spot, and slowly begin our climb down to the white sand.
Below us are the beach, the green waters of the Gulf, and several hundred men (and women? I never noted any women) dressed in long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and wearing rubber gloves, all walking along the edge of the water (in regular shoes), picking up tar balls when then find them, adding them to plastic bags they carry. There are also periodic shade awnings set up in the sand so these same people can recover from walking in the sun and 90+ degree heat in long pants, shirts and shoes. And we're here in our swim suits and Seattle-white skin. And we're paying to be here!
Once down on the sand, we make our way to the water where L stands in front of me, holding on to both my hands, while small waves push past us, splashing her to her chest and me to my calves. I lift her when bigger swells come in, and she laughs until she notices sea weed.
L (squirming): Theaweed! I don't like theaweed!!
me: What do you mean? There's no seaweed!
me (wondering where I got this kid): There's nothing wrong with it. And there's almost none!
L: Ith on my hand. Daddy!
(I take a tiny strand off her pudgy finger and let it drift away behind us. At one point I put a bit into my mouth, stunning her into a moment of silence.)
L: It good theaweed?
me (feeling the need to be honest): No, not really. Just salty. (pause) We used to play in seaweed when I was a kid. Dig in it, throw it at each other. This is nothing.
My "argument" does nothing, and eventually she'll tire of the salt water and be ready to get out. If she's in a good mood we splash for up to 10 or 15 minutes before she gets her fill. After which, on a good day, she plays in the sand for 10 minutes before announcing that she's done, she wants to go.
So, for approximately 30 minutes of walking, we get up to 30 minutes of beach time. More or less. But I don't mind. I've never been one to just hang out on the sand.
When we leave,we retreat to the pool next to our house where we spend anywhere from 10 minutes to over an hour, L holding onto my hands and jumping from the wall and going all the way under to come up with a wide-eyed smile of accomplishment, putting her "whole big face in!"
And I'm happy.