Posted by: Hannah | 06/06/2013

beach blanket bingo

This morning dawned clear and warm, not a cloud in the sky. A gentle breeze. My van is finally working well again (Canadian Tire replaced both my rear tires with Goodyears, too). I’m going away this weekend for a girls’ night at a cottage on the ocean.

Clearly all the merriment is going to my head, because I decided to pack up the dayhome and head for the beach.

I had this thought at 9AM.

First I had to get Louis, Pixie, and Ron to take a bathroom break. Then I had to slather all five of them with sunscreen. George and Daisy both needed to be held down for this part. Turns out putting sunscreen on their faces makes them mad. They don’t like having lotion smoothed onto their cheeks. It burns like fire ants, or something.

Then I needed to find hats for everyone, and get sneakers on. And herd them all out to the van, and buckle them all into their seats.

The whole time answering Pixie’s questions, which were as follows:

  1. Why we goin’ to da beach? (Because I thought it might be nice.)
  2. Why can we not go swimmin’ to da beach? (Because it’s June 6th in the North Atlantic.)
  3. Why we need dat sunscween? (Because you’ll get a sunburn.)
  4. Why you puttin’ dat sunscween on you? (See question four.)
  5. Why we goin’ to da beach? (I honestly can’t remember anymore.)

Everyone securely bolted into their respective car seats, I left all the vehicle doors and windows open while I policed up the sand toys. These had migrated to three different locations: the backyard sandbox, the storage bin on the deck, and a bag in the garage. Not too complicated, really, but spiced up with a bit of excitement, as I grabbed a bucket out of the storage bin and OH MY HOLY SHIT THERE ARE WASPS IN IT BUILDING A NEST RIGHT NOW.

I… don’t like wasps. The bucket went airborne with a scream.

Then I rounded up water bottles, and put ice cubes in them. And located cups. And diapers. And wipes. And my wallet. And my cell phone.

Pixie: Han-NAH, why you leave da doors open? And da windows? An’ why we goin’ to da beach?

Finally, we pulled out of the driveway at 10AM.


Arrival! No one else was there, which isn’t surprising – it’s a wee tiny beach, no facilities to speak of, and it was early on a Thursday morning. Three divers showed up right after we did, which was fun for the kids. But otherwise, we had the place to ourselves.

I spread a blanket and took off everyone’s shoes and socks, lining them up neatly.

“There we are!” I said cheerfully. “There’s lots of sand! Here’s the toys!”

Ron grabbed a shovel and started digging. Louis, ditto. George also grabbed a bucket and a shovel, plopped himself down, and started methodically filling the bucket, pausing every so often to taste the sand.

Pixie and Daisy stood on the blanket with identical looks of terrified horror on their faces.

Pixie: Why I no have sandals? I don’ wanna be in my BARE FEET!!!

Daisy: *sobbing* NOOOOOOO!!!!!!

Eventually I coaxed Pixie off the blanket, although it took some doing. She was not happy about sand between her toes, or little sand bugs, or seaweed, or the sun. It took a solid half hour for her to relax and start enjoying herself, but once she did, she kept saying “I’m havin’ fun!” So that was nice.

Daisy was a tougher nut to crack. She stood on the blanket, sobbing and pointing dramatically at the sand like she was on a raft floating in shark-infested waters. She shook her head a lot. She threw her hat at me. She tried to tattle on George for being on the sand in the first place.

She did stop crying fairly quickly, but she didn’t actually step off the blanket until 45 minutes had gone by. Then, she kept getting sand on her hands, which she didn’t like. So she’d try to lick them clean. Then she’d yell at me because she had sand in her mouth. It was just funny, really, because kids, amirite? They just don’t get it.

There was a boat moored just offshore, and George was fascinated by it. Each time he noticed it again, it was all new and chock-full of awesome. “BOAT! BOOOOAAATT!!!” he yelled. Every time. Then he headed for the water, clearly planning to walk to the boat, and when I stopped him from a) freezing and b) drowning he flung himself on the wet sand and full-on lost his ever-loving mind for a minute or so.

We had a water break and Louis said “thank you” without any prompting from me. When it was time to go they all worked together to pack up the sand toys, and nary a tear was shed. Both toddlers fell asleep on the way home, and by the time everyone was fed and read to, both Louis and Pixie were happy to go for their naps.

All in all, it was a good day.

Sandy Cove Dive


(This picture isn’t great, but that’s our wee beach. Barely 15 minutes from our house!)



  1. I am really, really jealous of you right now.

    • Just when I think I’ll go bonkers if I have to be home with little kids for ONE MORE DAY, I have a time like today that makes me feel like a benevolent volcano Goddess of Awesome Experiences.

  2. Meeeee, too! Also, your description of Daisy`s response made me laugh out loud. Hee. Little dork.

    • I have never known a child to be so completely enraged by nature in all its forms.

  3. This post is probably the most fun read I’ve had in a LONG TIME. I love it, I love all of Pixie’s questions and thinking of her fretting until finally “I’m having fun!” over and over. Poor Daisy and her dislike of the outdoors. She should have been a Victorian woman. She would have been awesome at it, except for the climbing on the table things. And Louis! Saying thank-you and going to the potty!

    FWIW, my kids used to go mental every.single.time I put sunscreen on them. My in-laws witnessed an application and my MIL was sure that I bought sunscreen that was BURNING THEIR SKIN WHAT AM I DOING TO THOSE POOR CHILDREN I’M HURTING THEM DON’T I SEE I’M HURTING THEM? It was the super expensive, ultra gentle Umbrelle for kids. They just don’t like the sensation of lotion, and they still don’t (although they tolerate it because hello? Old enough to know about sunburns.)

    • They hate having it on their faces, and the backs of their necks. Arms and legs are fun! So I think they’re just being weirdos.

  4. Also? G and the boat. G AND THE BOAT. Boooooaaat! Always fun and exciting and new. My kids were like that about buses. Actually, all vehicles (except boats, we have limited access.)

  5. What a gorgeous beach! Maybe a dumb question, but does it get warm enough to swim? Says the girl who can’t go in the water in Maine because its always too cold :O

    • It’s pretty damn cold, to be honest – there are beaches here that get warmer. By late August it’s not too bad, but it’s a wide-open bay with little shelter, so you have to really *want* to go swimming. Never stops the kids, mind you.

  6. I salute your ability to get five children out of the house to go to the beach in an hour. It takes me that long to get two kids out of the house to go to the beach and one of them is 10 years old for god’s sake!

    My niece used to HATE things between her toes – grass, sand, anything. Going to the beach with her was a combination of hilarious and aggravating as hell. Thankfully she’s grown out of that and loves the beach as much as the rest of the family!

    • Well, thank you! I’ve had lots of practice. But I do wish sunscreen could be applied with a paint sprayer. Or perhaps I could just buy a 45-gallon drum and dunk them bodily. The sunscreen application routine takes FOREVER.

      • Agreed, I’d accept either a paint sprayer type applicator or the 45-gallon drum because although both kids are good about sunscreen generally, getting it on them and not on my clothing, all over the bathroom, in everyone’s hair, etc., makes me so aggravated I’m nearly ready to chuck the entire idea of going to the beach by the time we’re done. It’s only the fact that during my childhood I probably managed to burn almost every inch of my body at some point that keeps me from skipping sunscreen forever. Sigh.

  7. Enjoyed this so much! PS – I don’t like sand either.

    • Thank you! I love walking on sand in my bare feet. Exfoliating!

  8. I’m not mad on sand, or suncream, or swimming in cold water, or having people touch my face or neck, so I’m with your whiners on this one, although it sounds like a totally adorable trip! I au paired for a family in Germany once and the 4 year old was fostered; we went to the seaside and the look of awe on her face when she saw the ocean for the first time in her life… I will never forget her shouting “BIG WATER! BIG WATER!”. George’s reaction to the boat reminded me of that 🙂

    • I had no idea so many people didn’t like the feeling of sand on their feet!

  9. Volcano Goddess of Awesome Experience indeed. Angus still isn’t crazy about things (grass or sand) between his toes – he’ll take off his shoes but tries to keep his socks on. And yes, putting sunscreen on their faces is some kind of extreme violation of civil liberties or something – it makes you realize why our parents just let us all burn to shit. Occasionally my husband buys the spray sunscreen for baseball, but it’s killer expensive and lasts for, like, an application and a half. Still, I’m tempted to send you a case just for occasions like this – line em up with blindfolds and give ‘er.

    • Am picturing myself lining them all up against the wall with blindfolds like lawbreakers under military rule and the laughing I’m doing is not holy.

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