With a week drenched in sunshine, I decided in my infinite wisdom that it would be an AWESOME idea to take the Tiny Terrorist to the beach for the first time. She is eight months old. Why I thought this would be an awesome idea is totally beyond me but I convinced myself that she needed to see the ocean and so, off we went.
It didn’t start well. To kick the morning off we had to issue a little sleep deprivation torture as we wanted her to nap in the car, but we couldn’t leave until well after her usual nap time. The beach was two hours away and the thought of doing that with a just-napped baby in 30 degrees of heat was as about as appealing as sticking white hot needles into my eyeballs, so sleep torture it was.
Once we got the very grouchy and hot and bothered baby into the car we headed off. Thankfully the traffic gods were rooting for us, so we made it to the beach in record time. The wrong beach. Obviously. We had agreed to meet the grandparents there which was a great idea (share the baby responsibility / many hands make light work blah blah blah) only to discover that they were happily set up on a different beach. So we reinstalled an already grouchy, hot, bothered baby back into the car and continued along the coast.
When we finally got there I understood for the first time why families turn up to the beach with EVERY possible beach accessory. We turned up with towels and suncream. What we should have turned up with was a shade tent, a windbreaker, a parasol, a cool box, a variety of sunscreens (not just the one she was all of a sudden allergic to), lunch, dinner, tea, towels, hats (lots of them) and a six pack (that was solely to calm my already frazzled nerves).
Thankfully the grand-ps were a step ahead of us and had the majority of this stuff. A quick trip to the beach shop later and we were looking like pros. So we sat down, opened a sarnie and tried to shake off the stressful morning.
The she started eating sand. All of it. As much as she could grab in her chubby little fists. She threw it into her gob hole with an accuracy never before seen on the weaning stage. She was far more adept at shoving sand into her gob than chicken. I made a mental note to give her couscous when we got home…how different can it actually be?
After two minutes of trying to arrest this sand-fest, I gave up. I sat there and watched my eight month old eat sand. This was a battle I was not going to win. She would be shitting sandcastles in the morning but until then, she was happy.
The day meandered on and I watched other mothers sunbathing and reading a book and thought, “What magic are these women capable of?” I never got as far as removing a single item of clothing as I spun between putting on sunscreen, chasing hats blown away, keeping her out of the sun by constant but minute adjustments to the parasol, walking down to the sea to get the sand off, walking back to the tent to get the water off (and put the sand back on).
A day at the beach with a baby was an exhausting, emotionally stressful and tiring event but it tasted wonderful.