Going to the Beach With a Toddler, or Man I Need A Beer When I’m Done

by Ginger on July 25, 2012

in Downtime, Mom Thoughts, The Kid

We went to the beach this weekend, as we do often in these summer days. Wake up, determine the day calls for the beach, and go–that’s bliss.

That being said, the beach is a different beast with a toddler than it was pre-kid. (Hi, understatement).

Before the kiddo, the beach was a restful place for me. It was a promise of a full day of reading, swimming, floating, eating, splashing and resting. It was sitting in the chair with eyes closed listening to the waves crash. It was swimming with my husband. It was a time to recharge and relax.

NOW though, the beach is anything BUT relaxing.

I don’t get to sit and read a book. I don’t get to swim leisurely. I don’t get to veg.

Instead, I get to dig in the sand. I get to run after a toddler intent on running STRAIGHT into the biggest waves he can see. I get to take a few minutes to swim while my husband chases the toddler before we switch out. I get to carry 35 pounds of joyous toddler as far out into the water as he can stand (usually when the waves are splashing us both in the face). Me, the food, the towels, the blanket & everything we brought gets to be covered in sand (oh god the sand the sand there’s just so much SAND everywhere). We get to play hard for 2.5 to 3 hours and then leave, usually with a little man drifting off in the backseat before we’ve even driven half a mile.

I know it will continue to change as he grows older. Even now, he is different at the beach than he was 6 months ago & like a totally different person compared to a year, or two years ago. The changes will have their pros and cons: when he can swim on his own, when he wants to learn to surf, when he’s ready to play more with friends than with us, these things will all have positives and negatives.

For now, it is fun and exhausting work mixed with play. Like all of parenting, just with more water and sand.


Tragic Sandwich July 25, 2012 at 7:00 pm

We took Baguette to the beach a couple of months ago. She has no fear of the ocean, and no concept of how big it is, or how powerful the waves are. We, on the other hand, are now terrified.

Cloud July 25, 2012 at 10:47 pm

I totally know what you mean. In fact, I just wrote about the same thing a couple of days ago! Great minds think a like. Or all San Diego Moms are remembering the pluses and minuses of beach days now that it is warm enough to go….

One idea that I find makes beach time a little more relaxing- organize to go with a group. We go with some day care folks, and the organizing is easy (“we’ll be at X spot at Y time. Come if you want.”) and having more adults there means that there are more eyes to watch the kids and more people to take turns building… so you do get a little relaxing in. Of course, you generally have to talk to the adults instead of vegging out. So definitely not a return to the pre-kid beach days! But having done beach days both ways, I am convinced that they are easier with a group.

melanie jean juneau July 26, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Does this bring back memories!
I was always on high alert at the beach but even that wasn’t always enough.
I ALMOST lost one or two toddlers at the beach- one little one hit a shallow pothole and ended up floating face down for 30 seconds while I put my preschooler down and slooshed over to him. Another time, I turned my back for seconds and the baby crawled passed me into the water and kept going UNDERWATER.
you are right though- at least they sleep well aterwards.

Sorta Southern Single Mom July 27, 2012 at 7:55 am

We lived just 10 minutes from the beach when my children were infants and I loved to go chill with them, but they weren’t mobile yet. We didn’t go much when they were toddlers, but now were are a few hours away and go as much as possible, but even with elementary age, there is no reading… they love it, but with the waves and the undertoe, it’s all eyes on deck all the time!

trina July 27, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Wow that sounds exhausting! For me the ocean has always been about calm and stepping away from the madness of work and every day life. But this sounds like just as much work! Although I’m sure it’s fun and creating fun memories for your little one!

Hope July 28, 2012 at 5:53 am

You’re making me think that I should spend a couple of days at the beach before I push this baby out. :p

Elizabeth July 29, 2012 at 1:22 pm

We haven’t done the beach thing–the pool is exhausting enough for me!

Christa the BabbyMama July 30, 2012 at 7:18 am

I feel exactly the same way about the beach! This past weekend, actually, the P. met a slightly older boy who was very polite and shared and included her in his little sand project and she chased seagulls with him instead of us. It was a little sad, but very cool. And there was still sand everywhere…

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