It was overcast, but warm. The waves were perfect. We could watch the surfers and boogie boarders easily. The sand was soft and cool enough to walk on barefoot.
We had one full morning to spend at the beach. My kids and I had tagged along on my husband’s work trip and I was hell bent on making the most of the few hours we had before we needed to pick up my husband from work and get on the road again.
I loaded up the baby in her carrier, swung the sand toys, our towel, and the diaper bag over one shoulder, and grabbed my two year old with my other hand. We made it down the 50+ steps to the beach, spread out our towel, and got to work on our sand castle.
Then the day went sideways.
The baby pooped. One of those poops that use up half your wipes and makes you wonder how a kid that hasn’t had solids yet could possibly produce a diaper that soiled.
We got her cleaned, grabbed a bottle for her, and proceeded to play. We checked out the water, but my toddler proclaimed it “too cold and too scary” and so we kept to the sand.
And then my toddler pooped. Now, she is mostly potty trained, but number twos are harder for her, and when she has an accident she gets so flustered, and so embarrassed that her mood goes downhill quickly. So we proceeded to clean up, change our swim diaper, try to start over.
At this point we had been at the beach for a grand total of 20 minutes. Less time than it had taken to drive there and park. Usually my motto is to work through the hiccups of the day. Figure out a way to reboot our attitudes (mine included). Take a snack break. Hug it out. Start over.
But try as I might, I could not salvage the morning. The baby was inconsolable. The toddler was in tears asking, begging me to go home.
And so I packed it all up. I hauled my 35 pounds of children and stuff back up those steps. Clicked two screaming kids into their car seats, and drove us back to the hotel, all while urging myself not to lose my temper-especially in an unfamiliar city.
I once read that when the day doesn’t go as planned, to plop your kids in water. So that’s what I did. I sprayed the sand off of the kids and then filled up the hotel bathtub. I quietly washed the baby’s hair (which she loves), dressed her in jammies and a warm blanket, and put her down for a nap. After letting her play for a bit, I wrapped my toddler up in one of the hotel’s fluffy towels, and we both changed into comfy clothes and cuddled on the bed to watch TV.
The reboot didn’t happen the way I wanted it to, but it happened. We spent more time in the hotel then enjoying the beach (my happy place). We had done this a million times at home-this bath time ritual. I was bummed it wasn’t special. It wasn’t very vacation-y.
But the first thing my toddler tells my husband about our day? “Daddy we played in the sand and I touched the water and it was so cool. And then I got to take a BATH.”
That right there.. My toddler’s perspective? I’ll take it.