Monday, July 16, 2012

Summer Fun

So far, summer vacation has meant fighting, heat waves, a messy house and day camps. With strategic planning worthy of a four star general, I have enrolled both kids in a variety of day camps. The goal is to keep the warring factions as separated as possible. Swimming is usually a safe choice. Sara prefers to hang in the deep end with the big kids and Christian likes to be able to touch the bottom with his feet. Keeping gallons of water and dozens of feet apart keeps the fighting to a minimum. We've had sleepovers, sprinkler parties, and car washes. Somehow, the more people we have over, the messier the event, the happier the kids are. Inviting friends over is sufficient motivation for Sara to "find her carpet" - clean her room. The irony of cleaning your room so your friends can come over and trash it is not lost on either one of us.
We left Paul to entertain some visiting Chinese professors. They are here on a cultural tour. Since there is very little culture in the cornfields, he sent them to a working Amish farm to do manual labor. Then he took them outlet shopping and golfing. The idea of my husband doing any of these activities is enough to make me giggle. We packed up and headed to the beach with friends. I packed 4 beach towels, 1 beach chair, sand and water toys, snacks, drinks, clothes, swim suits, sunscreen, books, and movies and hit the road. Since we live in the middle of the cornfields, my son has never experienced a "beach". He was horrified to learn that I expected him to walk down a sandy hill to the water. Since I was carry 750 pounds of beach stuff, I had no sympathy for a kid who just had to walk 50 yards on his own steam. It took him a little while to screw up the courage to go into the "pool". There was no convincing him it was a lake. In the meantime, Sara quickly joined hands with her best friend and headed as far out as she was legally allowed. We are still finding sand in her body parts. For "amusement", some people decided to hike up a sand dune. You read that right, folks. Some of my friends have a bizarre sense of fun. They pretend they are homeless and call it "camping". They also think hiking up a pile of sand in 90 degree weather is fun. Luckily, my 4 year old son has more sense. He walked about 10 yards towards the trail of doom and headed back to the "pool". I joined him gladly. After getting sufficiently sunburned, we packed up and headed to the hotel. My son was even more horrified that I expected him to walk UP the sandy staircase. Realizing his choices were to walk uphill or live at the beach with no food or water, he sighed heavily and grudgingly trudged up the beach. Cleaning up myself and 2 very sandy children in a small hotel bathroom was not pleasant. I am not sure there was any sand left at the beach. It is all in my luggage or in the shower. Whoever invented the phrase "a day at the beach" never went to the beach with small children. Between sand fights, reapplying sunscreen on small, squirmy, wet kids, food demands, the parents did not relax much. Mostly we watched to make sure no one drowned, drank lake water or got buried alive in the sand against their will. The next day we took the kids on a dune buggy ride. The bravest of our group? The 1 year old who never stopped grinning. The cowardly lion of the group? My 8 year and the oldest kid of the group. She is still shocked and relieved we made it back alive and in one piece. As we put the kids to bed last night, the both asked when we could go back to the beach. When they are old enough to carry their own stuff and apply their own sunscreen. Then it will be "a day at the beach".

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