Picture this……stretched out relaxing on a towel, toes wriggling in the warm sand, evenly tanned body adorned in a tiny bikini, cocktail in one hand, book in the other, listening to the waves lap gently at your feet. Pondering life with not a care in the world (apart from when you need to turn to tan the other side). Breathing in the summer beach breeze, at one with yourself and nature.
Well that’s not you……that’s the lady next to you.
Maybe that was you a few years ago pre children, but this is you now……….
A trip to the beach is a totally different experience for me these days. Still fun, but different, oh so very different. Here are some “trouble” areas to be mindful of now you have a baby/ toddler in tow:
Why have you got a small van full of stuff for one afternoon at the beach?? Now you have to figure out a way to carry 5 bags, tent, towels, beach blanket, toys, lunch box ….AND TODDLER (who refuses to walk in a straight line) down to the beach. Everything is perfectly balanced around your body, god forbid if you drop anything. Must even leave nipple that has accidentally popped out the side of your bikini top, sure no ones looking anyway.
Picking a Good Spot
Important. As close to the car as possible, far enough away from the sea so your toddler doesnt feel the need to go skinny dipping, close enough to other families so you don’t feel alone, but far enough away so your toddler isn’t constantly trying to become part of another family. Not next to volley ball pitch, not close to rock pools so you have to go crabbing allllll day, not next to “lads on tour” gang or young/ fit/ business lady peering disapprovingly through her dark sunglasses as you turn a blind eye to your toddler bashing seagulls with a spade (you get ’em boy).
Pre baby, LOVED it, couldn’t understand why people found it annoying. Now I understand. Literally gets everywhere, sure i’ll still be finding 2016 sand in 2020. At least when it’s just you, you can control the sand, but when its down to your free-spirited toddler, the sand knows no bounds. It gets into every orifice, yours and theirs. I found a sandcastle in his nappy and a crab disguised as sand in my bag. Also, due to the sand, Thomas The Tank was sent to an early grave. RIP. As if chucking him in the paddling pool the day before wasn’t enough.
Someone told me that a baby will try to eat sand once and then never again. Not true. In my experience so far, babies/ toddlers LOVE eating sand, over and over again. If you take a picnic to the beach, they even like to use sand as salt to season everything. In fact, sand can even make a lovely alternative to a peanut butter SANDwhich. Note to self, don’t take any “sticky” food to the beach.
Good for their immune system?!! That old chestnut
Following on from the sand theme, I would recommend applying suncream BEFORE you get to the beach. We had an unfortunate/ funny- wished id taken a photo- incident at the beach. A healthy layer of suncream was applied to my sons face, he then wished to exfoliate by falling face first into the sand. On the plus his face looked extremely brown! On the minus, it made him very unhappy and he was totally embarrassed in front of his mates. Poor lad.
NB. Don’t forget to put suncream on yourself too, easy to miss when you are chasing your toddler around with the bottle.
How on earth do you keep these on for more than 1 minute (enough time to get a pic of course)? Cue ridiculous suncream styled hairdo if cute striped beach hat has failed.
Great fun game to play with the little ones. Hours of entertainment. But then totally backfires when you start loosing stuff: phone, purse, Thomas The Tank (was he actually digging his grave??!), sunnies and even a tampon (Mummas special sweet in a wrapper!!!)
Ps. Can bury child to keep in one place
Another good game to play, but then you’ve given them the “addiction” that they have to pick up EVERY SINGLE SHELL. Takes ages to get anywhere. Small shells always seem to find their way into their mouths.
“Small white round thing, that’s not a human, must be a dog, i’ll feed it my lunch”. Now whole family of Seagulls have come visit our spot as they think it’s a free sunday roast.
Would you like sand with that??!
Not interested in going in it when you want them to (don’t blame you, its bloody freezing), but love throwing things into it and trying to run out to sea when you’re not looking. Pretty funny when Mumma has to wade half way to France to retrieve a flip-flop huh?!
Due to the english weather, there is a chance you may get caught in a downpour. Two choices here……..quickly get sand off EVERTHING, dry/ dress toddler, pack 5 bags, roll towels/ beach blanket, retrive floating flip-flops, un-bury phone/ purse/ sunnies/ Thomas/ tampon, empty crab/ sticks/ a billion shells from bag, fend off seagulls tucking into left over food, put nipple back in bikini top (oopse forgot about that) and remember how on earth you managed to carry everything to get down here in the first place (why have you got more stuff now??!)…..OR sack it all off and put a towel over your baby/ toddlers head and beach blanket over yourself and wait for the rain to pass.
So once you have changed your mindset and realised that beach time now is less about relaxing and more about exploring/ building/ burying/ eating/ catching/ collecting sh*t, the experience becomes a lot more enjoyable and somewhat more adventurous. I actually feel so lucky that we live so close to the beach and my son can grow up loving the beach life and all it has to offer, including sand eating!
Can also experiment with pebble beaches.