So yesterday, after Ellie woke up, I realized it was darn stinkin' warm outside, the sun was shining, and we needed to go to the beach. The girls were sick this last weekend so we hunkered down inside, letting them sleep and watch princess movies while their little bodies healed and the spring sunshine lit up the world. It passed us by. I didn't want yesterday's sunshine to pass us by too. So I packed the diaper bag, got Ellie ready and anxiously awaited the end of Kate's nap. And waited. And waited. Isn't it always the way? When you have somewhere to go, the kids sleep and sleep. How dare they not be respectors of my schedule? So after 2 1/2 hrs of sleeping, I decided to see if she was "awake." Bottom line--waking Kate from her nap is like encountering an angry bear. All you want to do is cover your head and run in the opposite direction. But the sunshine was calling! The perfect afternoon was wasting!
I peeked into her bedroom (the door squeaks like crazy so there's no sneaking up on her) and she was awake. (I don't know how LONG she had been awake but nonetheless, she was awake now.) I went in and said "Guess what? We're going to go to the beach this afternoon!" She looked at me and said "I want to stay home." I responded with "Oh no, let's get outside and build some sand castles." This perked her up so we went out to the living room. I started to put Ellie in the carseat and Kate says "Let's go in a few minutes. Why don't you set the timer?" (We have been using a timer lately to move things like dinner and bedtime along.) I was thrilled because she responds very well to the timer. So three minutes later, DING! We were off to the beach.
Now, picture us: the parking lot. Needing to walk down the fairly big hill to the beach. Carrying Ellie in front in the BabyBjorn, diaper bag hanging on my back, sand toys clutched in one hand, Kate's hand in the other. Kate says "I want to stay here. I don't want to go down the hill." She plants her feet. I cajole, coax, ask nicely...to no avail. She will not let me pull her down the hill. So my only option? Carry her. And I do. She was not happy, but thankfully, Ellie was right next to Kate, so I asked Kate to not kick or hurt Ellie. She complied.
We make it down the hill and I spread out our towel (which was hanging from the diaper bag, strapped to my back). A fervent argument begins when Kate absolutely DOES NOT want me to take my shoes off. Your feet will get sandy! Don't do it, Mommy! No no no! I tell her she does not have to take her shoes off, but Mommy will. Kate plops down next to me on the towel and asks for her snack. I am ready for this, so I hand it to her. She is happy for a moment--then discovers she doesn't like the new goldfish she picked out at the store. I realize poor Ellie is dying to get out of the Baby Bjorn and explore the sand. OH no--will she eat the sand? She'll cover herself in sand! She'll crawl around in it! Finally, I decide (as she's pulling and pushing to get away from me) it's time to let her down and see what she does. The instant she was free of me, her hand grabbed sand and shoved it in her mouth. I watched, video in hand, shook my head and shrugged. "How does the sand taste, Ellie?"
We had a lovely hour at the beach. Ellie ate a few handfulls of sand, crawled over towards the water, I chased her, Kate told me she was going to go back to the car and she'd be right back; I responded with no, please stay here now. I jumped around, trying to take pictures and videos of the kids while keeping track of both. Kate and I built a sandcastle, I chased Ellie down and brought her back. Kate finished her snack and wanted to feed the birds, I dragged Ellie back to our towel. Ellie ate more sand and had a ball. Kate "Katezilla-ed" the sandcastle. The sunshine was glorious! Finally, I realized we needed to head back, and I began to pack up our things. Once reloaded (just as before, except I was holding Kate's hand this time, not carrying her), I said to Kate, "Ok, let's find our car!" She took one look at that hill and said "Mommy, carry me." I knew there was no way I could carry all the stuff, Ellie and her up the hill, so I said "No, I need you to walk. We'll just go slow and take our time." And we did. I can't imagine the sight we must have been to those around us. We'd walk two or three steps then stop and rest. Kate would ask me to carry her and I'd say no, let's go a little bit at a time. And she did it! Though it took about twenty minutes, she persevered up the hill. I was so proud (and relieved!).
Today, I keep saying to Kate, "Didn't we have fun at the beach?" She says "Yes." I don't know whether I'm trying to convince her or myself. But both of them did great--Ellie loved exploring the sand and crawling around. Kate wasn't the happiest camper, but she hung in there and went with the spontaneous outing. And you'd be so proud of me--I didn't bother brushing anyone off until we got back to the car.