Beach bummin’

Sister suggested we take our little ones to Rockport for day 1 of the scorching heat wave settling upon the Boston area.  Now, I love summer, I love hot weather, and more importantly, I love the beach, but when she suggested this idea Sunday evening, I talked her out of it.

Two toddlers, two babies and only two adults on a hot, humid day, plus beach toys, chairs, coolers, and everything else that you need to lug to and from your car – Are you kidding me? It sounded just about as bad as being stuck in traffic with a screaming infant.

“Let’s wait to do this for a day mom isn’t working,” I suggested. “I really think it will be easier with at least one person who doesn’t have a baby with them. And I know she’ll want to come with us.”

You see, we both have two kids: a toddler girl and a baby boy. (Freaky deaky to be twins and have our children even be the same order and ages).

She agreed with me, until 7 the next morning, when she called me with a new twist to convince me her beach excursion was the way to beat the heat.

“How about we head to Rockport, put the kids in the double strollers and just let Gianna and Ella splash in the water for a little bit and then we’ll walk to get an ice cream?”

She called it “not a full-out beach day” (whatever that is!) and I was convinced. Just a little splashing and a trip to the ice cream parlor sounded manageable. Now, keep in mind she did spend her pre-mommy years in advertising, so it shouldn’t come as such a surprise that she’s able to spin her ideas into something that sounds enticing.

I hung up the phone and proceeded to round up the troops. But even “not a full-out beach day” required work. I still packed a cooler with waters, my beach chair, beach umbrella, and sand toys. And ya know what? It wasn’t that difficult! In less than an hour’s time, we were out the door and on our way.

We arrived in Rockport and I said my little prayer to St. Anthony that I learned from my elementary school music teacher (I attended parochial school): “St. Anthony, St. Anthony, please look around, for two parking spots to be found (and make them next to each other too).”

St. Anthony came to the rescue, as he always does, and we scored two spots side by side, right in front of the beach.

And then fumbles began: Between the two of us, we each had enough quarters to give us about 30 minutes of beach time.  And aside from those quarters, I had no cash. Sister had about $3 in cash.

OK, we’ll secure a spot on the beach then head to a store for change.

By the time we got to the water, Vinny was in full-out panic mode. I set up the umbrella and chair to nurse, but umbrellas and wind just don’t go together. So the umbrella was put away, lest the end of it poke someone out as it tumbles down the shoreline.

Once settled, Vinny was placed in the double stroller with Nathan and Sister took the two boys to find more change for the meters.

I watched the girls splash and play in the water, while continuously moving our beach paraphernalia away from the incoming tide. Next time, I will check the tides and if it’s on its way to high tide, we’ll park most of our belongings farther up the beach.

What seemed like eons passed before Sister came back with the quarters for the meters. She settled in and I was able to capture these two gems before Vinny entered panic mode once again:




Now, maybe it’s because I’m nursing or maybe it’s because he’s only 2-months-old, but when my son enters panic mode, the hormones in my body do so as well. Wouldn’t it make sense, though, if the opposite happened? If, when your infant is really upset, rather than causing the mother fear and anxiety, she was able to relax and approach the situation calmly? Well, that’s not how I felt.  Once this happened, I had a one track mind – get Vinny to the car and turn on the AC. Thank God I wasn’t at the beach alone.

With a screaming baby in my arms and my toddler trailing after me, I hightailed it to the car. I know I must have looked panic-stricken, because a nice mom with two older kids asked me if I needed help. Fortunately, my car was close.  With the cold air blowing on his face, Vinny relaxed and my nerves also subsided.

Sister arrived with most of the beach stuff, and with the kids safely in the car and my sister standing next to it, I retrieved my double stroller from its spot in the sand.

When it feels like you spent most of your time at the beach unloading your car and then packing it back up, you might think the day’s trip was an epic failure. But I am going to suggest otherwise. I’d actually do it again. But next time, we’ll bring lots of quarters, I’ll check the tide schedule, and maybe go on a day when it’s not quite so humid!



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