The word vacation changes meanings when you become a parent.
Getting ready for the beach is like playing the amazing race. Sun blocking my children is like trying to baptize a cat. Taking your kids to the beach is the best! They are happy and stimulated. It is quite wonderful. But now that you have babies there are some extra tasks added to your beach day.
Let me illustrate this for you.
How 25 year old me had a beer at Sandy Neck beach:
“Hey honey, can you grab me a beer.”
Check that the mountains are blue. (That’s how you know the beer is cold. If you don’t have any mountains on your beer you can also use your sense of touch to know if the beer is cold. Both are efficient.) Haha. No, no. I’m not drinking Coors. I just like to make fun of the mountains.
How 29 year old me drinks a beer at Sandy Neck beach:
It’s 4th of July weekend. Husband is the driver of our ship. So therefore you decide to enjoy an adult beverage at the beach. But finishing a beer now seems like a daunting quest. It usually goes a little something like this.
“Hey honey, can you get me a beer.”
You then walk in the complete opposite direction to follow your 2 year old down the beach. Scoop him up.
Realize every one needs lunch.
Feed the monsters.
Go to put the baby in the outdoor high chair.
Realize he has crapped his pants. Pull him back out of the high chair. 2 year old continuously repeats. “P-U Jack! Dirty. Dirty.” This always makes you laugh. Okay, so you aren’t the most mature mom. So you say back to him, “Oh man dirty baby is right!” You both laugh.
The baby hates laying on his back. He continues to buck and wiggle as much as he possible can. His butt needs diaper cream. The wet bathing suit/poop combo is rough. Your 2 year old tries to pick up the dirty diaper. You lunge at him and set the baby free in the process. He starts crawling as fast as he can away from you down the beach.
You throw away the diaper. Go capture your naked baby.
Husband says, “okay let’s divide and conquer.” He takes the 2 year old down to the water. As he is walking away you say, “Hey? Where’s my beer.” Husband dear had put it in my beach chair cup holder. It was warm.
That was disappointing, but not as disappointing as the warm sensation you start to feel run down your side because your naked baby is peeing on you.
Fast forward, you know the drill. Dunk him in the ocean with you. Clean that bum up. Dry him. Powder that butt. Judge yourself the whole time you use baby powder because while you were pregnant you read on babycenter.com that you shouldn’t use it on babies anymore. And I am all about the healthy living for my homies, but has baby center ever hung out with a baby with diaper rash?
How would you feel if your butt was raw from sitting in your sandy poop.
My oldest actually doesn’t care if he poops and just continues sleeping at night. Which, don’t get me wrong, I love that he is so considerate to not wake me with a mound of feces at 1 AM. But com’on kid, have some self respect!
Luckily, a little diaper cream and he heals up quick. Anyways, you get what I’m saying.
So with my Mom guilt running high, I did what any good mother would do. I held up a towel shield halfway across his body. I think to myself, “good compromise. I try and make sure he doesn’t breathe it in, and he gets to have a delightful feeling butt. Win-win. “
Well actually, I didn’t say that to myself. I said it out loud to my baby. Because that’s my life now. I’m always chatting it up with small humans who either can’t speak back to me yet or rambling random strings of words at me. But that doesn’t stop me from chatting it up with them. That’s how they learn! Duh. Listening to you use words. I did used to read books out loud to Ben when he was a baby. When I got tired of having a one sided conversation.
I know. I know. Your like “Uhhh ya Britt, I read books to my kids every day too.
Big deal. It’s 2015.
It’s common knowledge that reading to your kids is the best possible thing you can do for them. To make their adult life easier.” But I didn’t mean it like that.
Of course, I read books to Ben of his liking. Brown bear, brown bear what do you see? He sees a red bird. We know. Ben used to demand Brown bear all day, everyday day.
What I meant by reading out loud to him is that sometimes I would read out loud whatever I felt like reading, to him. We would just lay on a blanket in the yard. Four month old Ben LOVED Bossy Pants by Tina Fey.
Alas, times change. If I tried to read a book that I wanted to read out loud to Ben now he would try and pull it out of my hand and shove whatever book he is obsessed with that week at me. Turn, plop right down on my lap and say, “read.” Haha. He’s so demanding.
Now back to the beer at hand.
Once you get everyone situated again. You walk over to that cooler and say, This Mom is going to have a beer God Damnit. You aren’t even sure if you want one, but you’ve told yourself that you need to relax. I feel like I’m always on high alert 24/7 these days.
This is my 10 month old.
He 24 lbs of mischief.
So you’ve got the husband with you. You are going to drink this beer and relax. You crack open the beer and take a sip. Your 2 year old is now shoving your 10 month old away from him with his beach shovel. You hop up. “Hey hey hey. You be nice to your baby. Do you want to go in time out?” He says, “Ya! one! two! free!”
Well this has back fired. That’s his new thing. He is going to be two years old next weekend and he’s outsmarted me already. If I say “Do you want to go in time out?” He says, “Ya! Goes over and sits on the little wooden bench and starts counting.. One. two. free.”
What am I supposed to do with that? He hops up and looks at me like, “slapping my brother was worth having to sit on a wooden bench for 20 seconds. Nice try lady. But he tried to grab my dump truck. No bueno.”
Having the boys so close in age has made me a referee pretty quick. Much quicker than I thought. The baby is now in Ben’s world. Pulling himself up on the play kitchen as well. So about 75% of what big brother has said this week is, “mine!” His two year molars seems to be cutting through. He is… hmm.. how do I say this nicely? Um, basically the last two days he has been acting like satan’s hand puppet. He really is such a great kid. I’ve been so fortunate how mellow he is and happy. But teething has it’s own set of rules. Or lack their of. And sadly, sometimes siblings get caught in the war path.
You defuse the situation.
Now they have both turned and noticed that I am talking. So therefore everyone starts to be clingy to Mom. Which DON’T GET ME WRONG, I would LOVE a group hug. Snuggling is my jam.
The only problem is that they both get pissed that the other one is one my lap too. And they cry and shove each other. Sometimes pull my hair. It’s real and it hurts.
The beach is so fun, but damn, kids get tired.
I think it’s funny how their eyes become so different. When your a Mom, you just know all their faces. When Ben gets tired he gets silly and clumsy. He often hurts himself. Walking into a coffee table or whatever gets in his way. He is a good sleeper, but does not do well operating when his tank is low. Tired is a evil look on him. He gets very demanding. It makes me laugh. Well you gotta laugh or you’d cry!
Welcome to Motherhood.
So back to that delicious beer you are going to drink today. You throw the baby at someone who’s children are 6+. Their memories of babyhood are precious now.
Do they want another baby? Oh heck no. But they gladly will snuggle yours and feel their ovaries give a pump.
Then you send 2 year old with Dad again. Husband dear says, “What should I do with him?” You reply, “Something away from me.” He laughs. You laugh. He and Ben scurry off to go play in their own little world.
You stand there and watch them in the water. Really trying to take in the day. Taking a moment to pause and really enjoy what a great time you are having with your fam.
It dawns on you that you should be reflecting your fortunate life with your cold adult beverage in your hand. You grab your beer from the cup holder on your beach chair. It is warm. Gross. You throw it away. You open a new one.
You say a friendly hello to whoever is sitting on the cooler. The baby hears your voice and perks up and starts grabbing you. He has the best smile. You grab your smudgy baby, your new cold beer, and you snuggle into your beach chair.
The baby has pooped again. Are you kidding me smudge? Is it really necessary to poop this much?
I change him. We start playing around. I’m blowing on his face because we all know that a babies biggest weakness is wind. He’s belly laughing. His laugh is outstanding. No sound has ever made me happy so fast. It’s impossible not to smile. Your loving on your baby is interrupted by him kicking over your beer that you had sat in the sand in order to change him. All pours out. Can covered in sand.
Throw away the full sandy beer. Look at the cooler. Someone interrupts your train of thought to ask for a drink. Of course dude.
“Would you like milk or water?”
Okay then, dealers choice.
Get drinks and snacks for every body. Reapply sun block. Make sarcastic comments to your Mom friends on the beach. Take pictures that you have no idea if they are coming out good or not. It’s all darkness on your phone screen, so you just hit the button a few times and hope for the best. Build a sandcastle. Cover my feet in sand at the edge of the water. Snuggle a teething kid cause he needs extra love this particular day and you are just the Mom for the job.
So the beer goes warm once again.
Ultimately, you just give up the dream of one cold beer. You have now wasted the better part of a six pack in your attempts to drink a beer. Gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, and know when to run. Did you just start singing that song in your head? Haha. The Gambler by Kenny Rodgers! Obviously you should go on youtube right now and play that song. You can’t help but dance around a little bit.
Well I guess I’ll relax when I’m dead. Or when my children enviably become too cool for me and embarrassed by every thing I say. Either way.
Most fun things are a lot of work when you have small babies. But in the end, it’s worth every minute of running up and down your stairs to pack bags for everyone. Because playing on the beach with people that you love best. That’s pure heaven.
Happy 4th of July Every body! Always my favorite holiday. Proud to be an American. Even prouder that I’m able to surround my kids with awesome people who love them and look out for them.
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