Monday, May 29, 2006

Fear Factor at the Beach

We went down to Jenkinson's Boardwalk yesterday for a day of family fun at the beach. Apparently, so did everyone else in the entire state of New Jersey. Traffic was backed up for miles on the Garden State Parkway and then it took us about two hours just to find parking. While trying to pass the time in the car I looked out the window and tried to see what kind of people were going down to the beach this particular day. The shore has many different kinds of beaches for different kinds of people. There's the beach that caters to the young people, the old people, the nude people (Section H, you Jersey people know what I'm talking about), and the family people. Obviously, we were headed towards the family oriented beach, quite unlike some of the other people on the road who were spending their time stuck in traffic making out in their cars. Dayum people, if you're that hot for each other why don't you head to a motel or something, I've got kids in my car and they don't need to see that! Luckily the kids were napping and didn't see the sex shows and woke up when we finally parked our car at Jenkinson's.

When we got inside, we were all starving so we hit the food stands first. The food on the boardwalk was fabulous. My husband and I had fresh grilled burgers and fries and the kids had pizza and hot dogs. I remembered the 20/20 report of rat poo in hot dogs so didn't eat it but my son insisted on eating one so I let him. I'll ruin it for him when he's older. After we ate, we hit the beach. Now this was a surprise, the only child who had any fun at the beach was my four year old son. The twins were terrified of not only the Atlantic Ocean, but also....THE SAND! They've seen it in the sandbox at the park before, but at the beach, they didn't know how to walk in it and didn't like it touching them. They kept saying their hands were dirty and I needed to clean them up. I hope I didn't foster this behavior by insisting they wash their hands before and after they eat or after they play in the mud outside, every mom does that right? I don't want them to turn obsessive-compulsive about cleanliness, I want them to be okay with getting dirty without freaking out. After spending a good 10 minutes trying to convince two 2 year olds that sand is okay and won't hurt them I had to carry two 20 lb. girls to our mat my husband and son set up and planted them on it. They stayed on the mat the entire time while my son and I tried to convince them to play with shovel and pail and build something with the sand.

We needed some water to make the sand sculptures stick so I decided to let my son go with his father to get some water from the ocean. My son had a fear of the ocean when he was about 14 months old and I was hoping it was gone by now. I watched as the two of them walked towards the ocean, each holding a brightly colored plastic pail. Then I returned to trying to take the fear factor of the sand out of the twins, and was successful in getting them to play with it while they were still sitting on the safety of their mat. Two minutes later, I hear my husband screaming my son's name. I turn around and see my son running back up the coastline with my husband running after him, both of them without pails. Apparently, my son is still afraid of the ocean and he ran away the minute the water touched his feet. My son said he doesn't like the water and just wants to play in the sand, which was fine with me. He'll like the ocean when he's ready. I personally enjoy the water very much and became the water fetcher for the day. I don't go swimming in the ocean, but I do like the feeling of the waves crashing against my feet. Besides, my whole beach fantasy was already going the wrong way. I had imagined a more relaxing afternoon where my husband and I could just chill and watch the kids play together, but the twins fear of the sand didn't help and my son really didn't want to play all alone, so I played with him while my husband entertained the twins. I'm hoping it will get better the older they get and the more exposure they get to the beach. But next time we go, we've decided we'll stick to the boardwalk and the amusement park rides for the majority of our trip. The food was the best part of the trip, I'm still thinking about that burger. The burger alone made the entire trip worth the headache.


Veeeva said...

i remember being afraid of the beach too when i was like 5 or 6 years old...but constant trials made me get over it gradually.

so don't give up on ur kids! they'll be grateful later :)

keda said...

yeah. my girls were both disgusted by sand too at the beginning of that age! we spend a month by the sea every summer so the first week was agony!
the more you go the easier it will get. don't worry. despite finding it dirty then, they love getting grubby now. did you see our camping pics?!

what a shame though that the day didn't quite 'go to plan'. still, the fresh air and the experience is good. you may have a few more days like that but very soon it will turn around and be the easiest day out ever. now my girls play on the beach for hours with the bare minimum of input from me.
good for you sweetie. they will so appreciate your efforts soon!

Leilouta said...

Chic mommy, I have it worse than you. My husband is disgusted by sand :)

August Sunshine said...

Haha, I liked the part about the twins thinking their hands were dirty w/ sand. I can just imagine two little people thinking, "Hmph! You just told us to keep our hands clean, now you bring us here?!? Parents are so dumb!" :-)