We just returned from a week at Sunset Beach, North Carolina. Both girls thoroughly loved the sand and the ocean. C had no fear at all of the waves resulting in many cries of “Baby in the ocean” as we ran to get her.
When she wasn’t running into the waves. C sat at the water’s edge with her red bucket and a shovel or two slowly filling the bucket with sand. She could sit there for most of the morning as long as no one touched the bucket thus setting off a classic toddler tantrum. Our motto became “Don’t touch the red bucket.”
M grew braver about the water as the week went on, but from the very first day she was thrilled to run and jump and play in the tide pools looking for fish, hermit crabs, periwinkles, and any other creatures that might be skittering about or burrowing in the sand.
I was glad that I read Mary Ellen’s Barrett’s essay, Are We There Yet?, which I found via Karen Edmisten. Mary Ellen’s explanation of the difference between a family trip and a vacation helped me go on this trip with the mentality that this wasn’t a vacation for me but rather an excursion to strengthen our family ties and allow our girls experiences they cannot have at home. The joy on their faces as we played on the beach each day made the struggles of life with a sixteen-month-old in a non-babyproofed beach house well worth it even when simultaneously restraining her from falling down the stairs while negotiating with a four-year-old who’d had too little sleep and too much junk food.