Two Years Later: Still the Nutter on the Beach
Two years ago, I took Eli to play on the beach with McKenzie’s kids. She was living in the apartment that we currently live in, so we took a bus and met her on the beach closet to the apartment. That beach is known as Shilaoren. This is a quote from the blog post that I did from that day…
“Elijah has been to the beach many times, here in Qingdao, in South Africa, and of course, in the Philippines. Up until now, we couldn’t really let him play in the sand because he wasn’t crawling or able to enjoy it properly. Although he has always loved being in the water with us, finally the time has arrived for him to enjoy playing with toys in the sand.”
That very same day, he ended up sticking his face into the sand. Why? I have no idea, but he seemed to want to eat the sand. I assumed back then that he was just being a baby, and he would grow out of it. Last summer we were away for the entire duration of summer and we didn’t go down to the beach in Qingdao too much. The times that we did attempt to, Eli would go absolutely NUTS! He would run towards the water, like a prisoner on the loose. It almost seemed like he planned to swim away. Whenever we took him to the beach, we would leave saying, “We are not doing that anytime soon again”.
He seems pretty happy though, doesn’t he!?
Check out that post here: Eli’s First Taste of Sand
Fast forward to 2017. The weather is getting really nice now, and it seems like “beach days” are just around the corner. By beach days, I mean hours spent relaxing on the beach. I know, I know… I’m the mother of a toddler. Why on earth would I imagine going to the beach and RELAXING? Well, I have been to the beach many times, with many different moms and their little ones (kids Eli’s age, younger, and older) and every single time, they all sit on their beach mats while their kids play in the sand. My child is the ONLY ONE running towards the ocean, and diving into the waves, with absolutely no fear at all.
So basically a beach visit consists of me constantly running after my son, and pulling him towards the shore. As each wave moves out, he goes further and further into the sea. And trust me, I’m not a helicopter parent. I have even let him get knocked over by a wave or two… but honestly, he doesn’t care!
He just keeps going in for more.
Last Friday, my late afternoon class was cancelled. I always work during the hour when I MOST want to be outside. Yes, sure, I could go out in the morning, but I love the late afternoon when the temperature starts cooling, and the light is soft and orange. Eli naps from about 1-4pm, so I would also love to get out as he is waking from his nap. This is, however, the prime time for after-school lessons, and everyone wants to be taught from 4:30-5:30pm. Perhaps one day I will be able to drop all of my afternoon classes, but for now… this money enables us to travel, so I am prepared to make the sacrifice!
Since I had last Friday afternoon off, I decided to take Eli to the beach. I couldn’t let the opportunity pass. And seeing as it had been two years since the sand-eating stage and, more importantly, a year since the ridiculous running into the water stage – I thought “He’s almost three, this is going to the THE summer”. I keep imagining us going down to the beach, with our little tent for shade, some buckets and tools for making sandcastles, a few snacks for a picnic… and who knows, maybe even a book for me. You know, so I can read while Eli plays in the sand.
I almost want to cry at how stupid that sounds now.
So anyway, we go to the beach and lo and behold….
Eli sees the water and runs towards it like his life depends on it. He doesn’t look back, and he doesn’t care that I’m shouting his name. Next thing I know he’s in the water, up to his thighs! Fully clothed! Every single Chinese person on the beach is ALREADY looking at us – and here comes a little white kid, running directly into the ocean. I catch up to him and fish him out of the water. As I walk with him up the shore, EVERY SINGLE person is just staring at us.
The next 40 minutes were spent simply running in and out of the water. I had actually taken my camera along. What a joke! Camera, reflector, and a bag of shoes were swung over my shoulder as I repeatedly went in and out of the water. It was a bit frustrating, but nevertheless, I tried to have fun. I allowed him some space to go in the water, but ran in when he didn’t seem to be aware that he was going in too far. Chinese people had formed a crowd around us (because that’s what they do) so each time I DIDN’T run in, they would all making gasping noises. I could feel the judgmental stares stabbing the back of my head like daggers.
I never did take out my camera, so I don’t have pictures of him in the water. Maybe next time… pfffftttt, haha.
Notice how quickly my blind optimism returns! HAHA!
By the time Justin had finished worked, and joined us at the beach, I had taken Eli’s pants off. He was absolutely soaked and that just made them heavy. I managed to SOMEHOW drag him from the waters-edge. He then saw the sand…. Ummmm, yes, we had been at the beach the whole time, but suddenly he went all googley-eyed for the sand. LIKE IT WAS GOLD!
Look at him… he was moving it around like he was in awe!
Then he lay down in it, and started flapping his arms up and down.
I was just happy that he was not diving into the waves!
What… the…. heck… Eli?
Are you kidding me?
Thankfully, daddy was there with some warm clothes and the Ergo carrier!
It was Friday and we had no obligations so we walked toward our apartment slowly, enjoying the beautiful blossoms along the way. This is the perfect time of the year for evening walks. I really did hope that beach visits would be a little more “civilized” this year, but apparently not.
Justin thinks that Eli will get used to the beach and the “nutter” effect will wear off. I am not 100% convinced, but I am willing to keep trying. Perhaps I will go a few times with no expectations of walking along the beach with him, or sitting and playing in the sand. Maybe over time he get used to it, and someday we will have my dream beach days.
Someday people…. SOMEDAY!