We had a very full weekend--too full, really. It's been unseasonably hot the past few days. It warmed up 30+ degrees from one day to the next last week (no exaggeration) so we were looking for fun hot-weather things to do. The most obvious and easiest, we used the "pool" for the first time this year.
Later we went to a BBQ with friends who have two boys about the same ages as the girls, and one very patient large doggie.
And in retrospect we should have considered ourselves fortunate in having spent a fun saturday and left sunday alone as a non-eventful, good old fashioned, boring day at home, and been happy with that. We didn't have any plans on sunday so *I* thought it sure would be nice to take the kids to the beach. The five of us haven't been to a beach together since Hawaii in '06. The girls and I have been with friends or family a couple of times since then. Basically, practically, we never go to the beach and normally I wouldn't have considered it in May with normal May weather.
And I ignored the warning signs. As we were driving home from the BBQ yesterday this is the conversation we had in the car.
"So would anyone like to go to the beach tomorrow?"
"Yeah!" said Allison
"Yeah!" said Kate
"Um, no." said Erin.
"What? You don't want to go to the beach? The...BEACH?"
"Not really." she said.
"What do you think about going, John?"
"Well, nevermind then."
"Oh, I'll go, and I think Erin will have a good time once she's there."
Of course she'll have a good time. What 5 year-old doesn't like the beach? What kid doesn't like to sit in the sand and dig and make castles and walls and moats and wade in the water and run from the waves. I mean, when you're 5, the beach is like fun central. I thought.
So I chose a beach that even had tide pools we could explore, and we set off.
When we arrived the morning fog was still burning off so it was a little chilly, but not bad and the forecast was for sunny skies. Kate and Allison rushed out to the water almost immediately and filled their buckets to start preparing the dry sand for castle making, then they went back for a second trip and Kate lost her balance in the waves as they receded. (I was actually surprised to see that I had a picture of this, I thought that picture was taken just before the fall.) And from here Kate, definitely cold and very wet and with sand up her nose and in her mouth, had a radical change of disposition that lasted over an hour.
Erin, even without a sudden loss of balance to blame it on, lost all enthusiasm for the location at about the same time. It seems this beach just "had too much sand!"
"Sand is everywhere!" she mustered, in the second most annoying whiny voice possible.
"Sand is on my feet!" she lamented, in the most annoying whiny voice possible.
"So put your sandals back on, Erin."
"Then there will be sand on my sandals!" so distraught that the words could barely come together.
"Erin, you play in the sand, with your shoes on or off, at the park, all the time. What is the difference today?"
"But here there is just TOO MUCH SAND."
At a loss for what we were supposed to do about this abundance of sand mystery, she was mostly ignored by me and by John, so she sobbed and whined while sitting in a beach chair for the next hour, stopping only because she decided to start eating lunch.
The rest of the fog burned off and we had beautiful blue skies and suddenly a strong wind picked up. Now Erin was hopelessly sandy-footed, whiny, and cold, Kate was thoroughly tired out from whimpering on and off for the past hour, and only Allison was left having a reasonable time.
"You wanna pack it up?" John asked after we were there for about an hour and a half.
"Well, not yet." I thought, having put too much effort into this to bail now, though the wind was only getting worse, it really was cold, and I didn't bring jackets for us.
So pack up we did, a few minutes later. We never even made it over to the tide pools.
With everyone changed and mostly de-sanded and in the car I thought, what the hell, "What do you think about going to the boardwalk? It's so early." I said.
"No way, they're already in meltdown mode, let's just go."
I thought, we'd already come all this way, and maybe in a new scene they'd have some fun. So we drove over to the boardwalk and I found a spot at a meter and had enough quarters for 2 hours. The girls had never been here and I hadn't been to the boardwalk in at least 10 years. They were very excited to see the rides and fortunately there were many fun rides for small kids--more than we had time for in the 2 hours we had to spend.
Kate, still in somewhat whiny mode from the beach, lost almost all willingness to walk anywhere and needed to be carried, and she got very offended if she had to share a ride on this or that with a sibling or didn't get her pick of color of whatever she was riding on.
It was much, much warmer on the boardwalk, and without any wind at all. Warm enough for some ice cream for sure.
Overall, the boardwalk was a much bigger hit than the beach, but their experience and attitude today still perplexing. And I wonder if I'll ever make it back to Hawaii with Miss sand-hater around, until she's old enough to move out.