We live about a fifteen-minute drive from the beach, which to some people sounds ideal—being only a short drive away from the sandy shore of a popular beach that in-landers flock to once the weather is right – and the waves are big.
But to some of us non-beach lovers (namely me) being so close to the ocean is more a pain in the ass than anything else. Why? Because the kids are old enough to know what the beach is, and we are constantly reminded of how lucky we are to live in a beach town and should spend all our free time “enjoying” one of Mother Nature’s greatest creations.
Nah, I’m good. Sand in my crotch? Sharks, sting rays, jelly fish? The smell of decaying fish? You can keep it!
Unfortunately, my kids love the beach which means I have to give in to their wants from time to time.
How to Take Your Kids to the Beach in 48 Easy Steps
- Give in to your family’s request to go to the beach.
- Sulk through dinner because you know how miserable tomorrow will be.
- Spend 30 minutes in the garage looking for the cooler, beach chairs and umbrella and sand toys.
- Lug everything inside the house while warning the kids to stay away from the umbrella and sand toys.
- Start to pack snacks, drinks, and sandwiches for tomorrow’s lunch. All the while knowing the kids won’t eat anything other than chips.
- Break up a fight over the beach umbrella. Threaten time out.
- Back in the kitchen finish cutting up fruit and throwing in a handful of napkins.
- Search the closets for the large beach bag but find only the storage bin of baby items you meant to take to your sister-in-law’s house … a month ago.
- Locate the beach bag in the girls closet. Empty out the crayons, half-eaten crackers and a naked Barbie.
- Threaten to take away the sand toys if they don’t stop banging them on the floor.
- Stuff five large beach towels in the bag.
- Realize the sunscreen is expired.
- Spend 15 minutes discussing why spray sunscreen is death in a container with my husband before he leaves to Target to buy more.
- Take the sand toys away and bribe them with a movie and popcorn
- Track down hats (including one on a toddler-sized Elsa doll), visors, and sunglasses for the whole family.
- Remember that the youngest grew out of her sandals and water shoes. Call your husband to ask him to find some shoes at Target.
- Spend fifteen minutes arguing your case for why Mary Janes cannot be worn to the beach.
- Find the three-year-old’s bathing suit in her underwear drawer and lay it out next to her water shoes.
- Spend 10 minutes trying to talk her out of “trying on” her Little Mermaid bathing suit and goggles that magically appeared.
- Strike a compromise and let her wear her goggles and a Disney princess nightgown.
- In the baby’s room pull out three different-sized bathing suits (hoping one will fit).
- Remember you ran out of swim diapers.
- Text hubby (still at Target) to pick up a pair of medium little swimmers…and margarita mix
- Pack the beach bag, stroller, cooler, hats, sand toys and kids in the car.
- Spend 20 minutes circling the parking lot.
- Find a spot, load up the stroller with the kids and every single beach item known to man.
- Pick a spot in the sand and begin the setup.
- Fifteen minutes later reapply sunscreen on the kids.
- Run down to the water together and let the cold water hit your feet.
- Build sand castles and dig for sand crabs.
- Threaten timeout when the little one refuses to share the shovel and pail with her sister who starts the whiny cry.
- Gather the sand toys after the little one hits the three-year-old (who retaliates by pushing back).
- Bribe the kids with fruit snacks, water, pretzels, chips, and sandwiches.
- Enjoy five minutes of peace as they munch on chips and use the time to devour a turkey sandwich and some margarita.
- Watch the baby does her poop squat as the toddler announces she has to pee … now!
- Grab the toddler and rush her to the nasty latrines while hubby begins the diaper change process.
- Try now to step in the wet sand at the base of the toilet
- Step in the piss sand, curse silently and quickly hustle your daughter out of the bathroom to the showers.
- Wash your feet off and give in to your daughter’s request to get “all wet”.
- Walk in the hot sand to the towel where the baby is ready to nurse.
- Realize your margarita has been knocked over.
- Try to discretely nurse while the toddler and husband head to the water.
- Give up trying to nurse when the baby keeps pulling off the nursing cover and you’re covered in sweat from the sun bearing down on you.
- The three-year-old cries when the water splashes her face; the baby cries mimicking her older sister.
- Give husband the “I’m out” sign.
- Wrestle the kids to the ground as you dry them off, put on their sandals and get them into the stroller (and no, it was not easy to push in the sand).
- Pack up all the crap you bought to this sandy litter box
- Thirty minutes later, get in the car.
If the above steps are not enough to persuade you to stay away from the beach, then perhaps these two tidbits will help to remind you why the beach sucks: sand in the crotch; alcohol in the sand.
Happy beach trip!
Author: Ambrosia Brody
Ambrosia Brody is a full-time editor, journalist and mother to two spirited daughters. She lives in Southern California in a beach city but hates the sand; enjoys people watching but hates small talk. She started to blog at Random Aspects of (My) Life when she realized everything she knew about parenting was wrong. Go visit her at Random Aspects of (My) Life