Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Beach Day with Toddlers

how to go to the beach with your kids
All this stuff for an hour at the beach?
Ah, summer vacation.  The perfect time to go to the beach and enjoy some fun in the sun and sand.  Unless, of course, you have children.

While the idea of taking your kids to the beach may initially seem fantastic, the reality of actually going there is an entirely different animal.  Unless you live literally on the beach, taking two little kids to the beach in LA looks something like this:

1. Decide several weeks in advance when you will go to the beach.

Two days before:
2. Locate all the beach gear.  This includes beach towels for every member of your family (two for each child because, kids), beach blankets, swimsuits, rash guards, hats, beach chairs, beach umbrella, cooler, and beach toys.  This takes about four hours because you constantly get interrupted by your children, and because you cannot find your son's swim trunks anywhere in the house.  In desperation, you order your son a new swimsuit on Amazon to be delivered the next day.

One day before:
3. Go to Costco.  Buy juice boxes, bottled water, snacks, baby wipes and sunscreen.  You probably also buy a bunch of other sh*t you don't need because it's Costco and that's how it works. 

4. Pack up the car.  This is done under the cover of darkness because trying to do it while your children are awake is nigh on impossible.  Of course, on the one night you have something to do other than watch Game of Thrones, your children stay up until 9pm and you are basically a zombie.  It takes over an hour to drag all the stuff out of the house and figure out how to fit it in your stupid eco-friendly vehicle.  You curse yourself for listening to your spouse who thought it would be a great idea to trade in your SUV for something more environmentally conscious.  You actually give your spouse the finger halfway through struggling to shove all the crap into your hatchback.

5. Prep the food.  Make sandwiches, slice fruits and veggies, and put everything in separate baggies because your children are assholes who refuse to share.  Yes, plastic bags are terrible for the Earth, but your kids throwing a tantrum about having to share cucumber slices is terrible for your sanity, so screw Mother Earth.

Beach Day:
6. Get up at 5:30am because your kids think this is an acceptable time to get up.  You park your children in front of TV while you wait for the caffeine from your first coffee to hit your bloodstream.

7. Load the cooler.  Feed your kids breakfast while you simultaneously load up the cooler with all the sandwiches and snacks you prepared the night before.  Your children help with this task by opening all of the snacks and eating sandwiches as their second breakfast.  You prepare a second round of sandwiches, and pick up all the pretzels and crunchy dried fruit your children have strewn all over the floor.  There's so much stuff in your cooler that you can barely lift it into your car, and you are sweating profusely by the time you get it loaded. 

8. Get dressed.  You haven't bought a bathing suit since before you gave birth to your first child, and you can't even remember the name of your waxer let alone the last time you attended to the situation happening at your bikini line.  You have to improvise a strap on the top of your swimsuit because you have no boobs anymore, the top won't stay up, and you don't really feel like flashing all of Malibu with your pancake boobies.  Try not to look at yourself in the mirror before you throw on some shorts with an elastic waist band and a t-shirt that's very possibly a maternity top.

9. Get kids dressed.  Spend another hour convincing your children to get dressed.  This mostly involves chasing them around the house begging them to put their clothes on.  Bribe, threaten, and cajole them and finally succeed by changing them while they are mesmerized by TV.

10. Slather everyone with non-toxic sunscreen that probably doesn't even work.

11. Get kids loaded into the car and actually pull out of your driveway.

12. Sit in traffic on the way to the highway.

13. Sit in traffic on the highway while your children ask, "are we there yet?"

14. Sit in more traffic once you get off the highway while your children scream for snacks and punch each other.

15. Finally arrive at the beach.  Or rather, the parking lot for the beach.

16. Pay $20 for parking.

17. Park.  Drive around the parking lot at least six times looking for a spot closest to the sand until your son says he needs to go to the bathroom.  Screech into the nearest parking spot, unbuckle both your kids as fast as possible, and sprint to the bathroom.

18. Go potty.  Attempt to hold your 35-pound son over the toilet while carrying your 22-pound daughter in the other arm.  This results in your pulling a muscle in your neck and no longer being able to turn your head to the right.

19. Go back to the car and unload all the crap.  Try to get your kids to help carry something (anything!) but they refuse.  You end up carrying both your children and all the gear, while rolling the cooler behind you.

20. Find a spot on the sand on which to set-up camp.  Spend 30 minutes laying down blankets and towels, unfolding chairs, and setting up the umbrella while your children throw sand at you.

21. Two minutes after you finally get a chance to sit down, your kids say they are hungry.  You dole out sandwiches, snacks, and drinks from the cooler.

22. As soon as you take a bite of your own food, your kids declare that they are finished and want to go in the water.

23. You take your kids in the water, which they hate.  The older one says it's too cold, and the younger one is scared and won't stop screaming and/or clinging to you.  You adjourn to the blankets for more sand play.

24. You attempt to take a couple of cute photos of your kids playing in the sand, but mostly they just make weird faces or throw sand at you and each other.

25. You realize that it's time to leave in order to get home for naps.

26. You rush to pack everything up while your kids scream that they don't want to leave.

27. You carry everything (and everyone) back to the car.

28. No matter what you do, you cannot get everything to fit in your trunk.  You decide to abandon the cooler because you saw them on sale at Costco yesterday.

29. You get your kids loaded into their seats.  You get into the drivers seat, shut the door, turn on the engine, and smell poop. 

30. You unstrap your youngest kid from her seat and quickly change her diaper on the pavement in the parking lot because your trunk is too full of stuff to use it as a changing table.  Your older child screams "let's go" over and over and over at the top of his lungs.

31. You finally get loaded up again.  You make sure your kids have books and snacks and ipads to keep them occupied for the ride home because you do not want them to fall asleep.

32. Sit in traffic on the way to the highway.

33. Sit in traffic on the highway while blasting the Toddler Tunes station in an attempt to keep your kids awake.

34. Sit in more traffic once you get off the highway while you tickle your children in the backseat in order to stop them from nodding off.  You very possibly dislocate your arm while doing this.

35. Finally arrive home.

36. Race your kids upstairs to put them down for their naps.

37. Pass out from exhaustion in the hallway outside their room and swear to yourself that you will never, ever take your kids to the beach again.

At least until next summer.

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