Just in case you’ve never been to the beach with small children, I thought I’d take advantage of my vast experience (which, yes, consists entirely of yesterday’s trip) and provide you with a detailed tutorial of just how to do it.
Here’s my list of the top 10 supplies you’ll need:
1. Grandparents (preferably the kind that actually, genuinely like your children and will therefore do things like help the cranky, missed-her-morning-nap toddler with her sandals no matter how many mixed signals of, “Shooooooee,” then, “Nooooooooo,” she wails)
P.S. My mom is 61. I’m hoping I look as good as she does now when I’m 40.
2. Proper headgear (if it happens to come with the world’s cutest chubby cheeks, so be it).
3. SNACKS—preferably the variety with lots of artificial orange “cheese” dust, the better to make streaky marks all down your white cover-up (because if you’re going to the beach with small children, you don’t want to come out looking too pristine, or no one will think you really worked for it).
4. Patience. (and strong neck muscles). Bring extra of each.
5. Sunscreen (SPF 1,000)—because when you buy a “new” (okay, Goodwill) set of swim-trunks for your middle child, and they actually sit on his hips, whereas the tan line from his last set seems to indicate that they were a tad Urkelesque, it’s going to take that much SPF power to keep him from turning into a little walking Neapolitan Sundae.
(This point would be so much better illustrated with a shot of his back since that’s where the line was most obvious).
6. Pacifiers—either for the aforementioned nap-less toddler or, perhaps, for you if you get desperate.
7. A decent pedicure—because when you’re the ONLY pregnant person for miles and you’ve already got three little critters running around, you need something to prove that you sometimes do get out of the house and are not, therefore, entirely to be pitied (just don’t expect pretty toes to completely quell the, “Poor woman. She obviously has no clue how she keeps ending up in this state“ glances).
8. A camera—so you can be sure to capture such priceless moments as the following:
(And no, I don’t have a clue what’s happening here, exactly, but I laugh every time I look at this picture)
9. At least 6 pair of goggles—because the first 3 will be the wrong color, and the straps on at least two more will break
10. Lots of sand tools—because after she’s spent the first three hours doing this:
(That would be huddling under the umbrella and gazing distrustfully out at the big, bad 6 inch waves)
…and reacting like this at even the prospect of walking on hot sand:
…the toddler will suddenly decide, in the last 1/2 hour, that the beach is her favorite place on the planet and not want to leave when it’s time.
(I realize that in this pic, it looks like her little arms are fricasseed, but it’s an optical illusion because she barely got out from under the umbrella and was wearing SPF 1,000 the whole time).
And that concludes my detailed tutorial on how to survive and, yes, thrive on your next foray into the land of sun and sand with small children in tow.
Do share if you feel I’ve left any essential supplies off the list.
P.S. We had an absolute blast, and I was totally surprised by how easy the trip was. (That whole “grandparents” thing being first on the list was not an accident, though!)
P.P.S. Try not to hate me for my oh-so-glamorous beach hair. : \
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