When I was a kid, I was a total beach babe.
With our girls now three and one, I have been keen to help them create some beach holiday memories of their own.
When friends of the family invited us to stay with them up the coast recently, we jumped at the chance to have our FIRST EVER mini-holiday as a family of four.
Miss Three was beyond excited and spent almost the entire day before we left making up songs about the beach as she gathered together her Dora ‘surfboard’ and bucket and spade.
With no less than a million, ‘Are we there yets?’ we finally made it to our destination, slapped on some sunscreen, and headed to the beach. This however, is where the fun ended and the fear began.
Miss Three is terrified of waves.
There was screaming. High-pitched, ear piercing screaming that makes people wonder what you are doing to torture your child.
We persisted in the blistering heat over the roar of the ocean, ‘C’mon, it’s okay, you’re safe. We won’t let anything hurt you. It will be fun’. The best we could do was to convince her to sit down on her towel.
So there we were on the first day of our long awaited holiday sitting on the hot sand a million miles from the ocean with Miss Three whimpering and Miss One getting cranky. We were definitely creating memories that day, but not the ones I was hoping for.
Desperate to cool down, we took the kids to a shallow creek. Finally, success. There were smiles and splashing … until an overzealous dog jumped into the creek with us, ball in mouth, eager to play. In his haste, he knocked over Miss Three who drank some creek water. Cue more screaming.
To top off a challenging first day, that night consisted of tag team screaming between Miss Three and Miss One out of sorts in their new environment. If there was an award for the worst holidaymakers in the world, it would be ours.
The next day Dave and I soldiered on.
I convinced Miss Three to let me carry her as I walked with her to the water’s edge. I could feel her trembling in my arms. There was no denying it, her fear was real.
Yet again we retired to the towel on the hot sand as I moaned to Dave, ‘I just want them to have a good time, why can’t they have fun like all of the other kids?’
Later that day, exhausted from the sleepless night before and somewhat depressed, we took a walk on the beach.
The waves were quieter and smaller, the breeze cooler, and the sun lower.
We showed Miss Three crab holes and how to draw in the sand. Before we knew it she was enjoying herself writing her name in the sand and running under colourful kites flying high in the sky. She then surprised us squealing in excitement as she played a game of chase with the ocean.
And this, my friends, was the highlight of our first ever holiday as a family of four.
Perhaps our expectations were too high for our first holiday with two little people. We now know that the slowly slowly approach is best with our girls and that we need to be considerate of how unsettling it can be for them out of their comfort zones.
There is no denying though, that our first holiday had moments of real happiness, of time spent just being, eating ice cream, breathing in the fresh air, and enjoying good food and company.
We’d like to extend a massive thank you to our friends for being so kind as to open up their home to us to give us a much needed getaway.
What are your experiences holidaying with kids?
Linking up today with the awesome Jess of Essentially Jess for IBOT!