I turned my back on Carson the other day on the beach and I learned a painful lesson.
Fortunately, this is not a story of a lost kid or anything as rattling as that, but is memorable for other reasons.
While a friend and I were sitting on the beach watching our older kids play in the ocean last weekend, Carson wandered behind us to play with some sand toys.
He never strayed too far away and it he reminded me he was immediately behind me by continuously tossing sand on my back with a shovel. I figured if shoveling sand on my back and down my bathing suit was keeping him entertained that he could go ahead and knock himself out with that activity as long as he wanted.
That continued for 15 minutes or so until he apparently got bored with it. Instead, he decided it was time to slam me atop the head with that same shovel.
Fortunately, it was plastic and no major damage was done. Nonetheless, that shovel was immediately removed from his play options for the rest of the day.
I had pretty much forgotten about it until a fellow beach-goer walked by on his way to the beach laughing. He asked, “Hey dad, when’s the kid get his shovel back?” He proceeded to fill me in on Carson’s exact stance and swing.
Apparently, this guy, an older father of five, and his wife were enjoying observing my buddy and I keep track of our four kids, all 5 years old and younger, from the comfort of their nearby beach chairs.
As the scenes played out before them, they got quite a kick out of watching Carson pull the shovel back over his head like he was swinging a hammer to ring a bell in one of those old-time carnival games, only to land one squarely on my head.
Although not funny to me in the least bit, I could see how it would be hilarious to others.
It was no surprise to see that Carson, too, found it amusing, but he didn’t think too much of it once he learned he had lost that shovel for the day.
Like so many others around here, my kids have been going to the beach since they were born, but last weekend Beckett for the first time made a “beach friend”.
Beach friends are those little relationships with strangers that last for a couple hours and involve playing in the sand and ocean and laughing and goofing around.
In Beckett’s case on Saturday, it was more like an hour or so.
Since he’s just 4 years old, I stand by him in the water to make sure he’s alright most of the time. It used to be I always held his hand, but now that’s not an option as he will have none of that. He’s too big for that now.
While in the water the other day, he quickly wandered away me and I soon found out what had his eye.
It was a little girl who was jumping waves. I stood back just to observe and was able to hear him ask, “do you want to be my ocean friend?” I don’t know what she said, if anything, but they went about jumping waves together for about an hour.
Every once in a while they would say something to each other, but I was unable to decipher what exactly was said. They would look at each, laugh and keep on jumping.
When I insisted on a couple occasions that he move down closer to where we were set up, he would reluctantly, so long as his little girlfriend came as well. At one point, she would not come and he grabbed her hand (actually it was her wrist) and forced her to come along.
The situation repeated itself several times until it was time to pack up and head home.
I asked Beckett if he wanted to say bye to his friend and he quickly turned and waved and that was that. She didn’t even wave, as another little boy had sidled up next to her to start a new wave jumping game.
Both my boys love little babies.
That’s a good thing, but it can be troubling at times.
Beckett thinks every baby deserves some of his kisses and hugs, while Carson wants every little one to come run with him.
It’s a tricky situation sometimes because it’s great for the kids to be nice, but it can be a bit too much for some folks to accept, particularly the new parents who worry over germs and every other little thing that could possibly cause any harm to the new love of their life.
In most cases, the situations can be monitored, but the beach is a little different.
Obviously, Carson has to be restrained because we don’t want him pulling a baby into the sand or knocking over a car seat or something to get the child out and running. I would not put either of those past him.
While on the beach last weekend, Beckett repeatedly approached babies and attempted to kiss them. Some parents were okay with it, but others were understandably a little hesitant. It usually depended on how young the babies were.
In one memorable case, after being told repeatedly not to touch babies we don’t know, he ran over to a baby who I’m guessing was about six months old. As I did my best to order him to stop, he turned to me while pointing to the bottom of the little girl’s foot and asked, “can I kiss the bottom of her foot?”
I said it was up to her mother, who politely smiled and said, “sure, that will be okay.”