This week the weather has been amazing, so we decided to take advantage and head to the beach. On our own. Easy, you might think. I actually felt a bit nervous about whether I’d manage carrying the baby and everything from the car on my own. I’m a bit of a weakling and have a bad back at the moment. (Just seen a physio – turns out my flat feet are to blame. This may mean the end of wearing pretty shoes too – sob! But I digress…)
Anyway, despite feeling a bit ropey myself (I had a sore throat as well), I decided it was too good an opportunity to miss. So I grabbed the bucket and spade, made a picnic and set off nice and early.
North Norfolk has some beautiful beaches and one of my favourites is Wells. As we approached the car park you could see hundreds of people walking from the town to the beach. It was one of those classic moments you get in Britain, once in a blue moon, when the sun shines. There was an air of happiness; everyone was smiling and laughing and generally giving off a ‘life is good’ vibe.
I popped Miss Belle on my back in my Connecta carrier. I’m not a baby wearing guru and don’t use it that often, but a friend I met at a baby group introduced me to it, and it’s a Godsend. I should probably use it more. So with the baby on my back, the bag and Little Tikes parasol in both hands, I staggered up the steps and down the other side to find a nice spot. We stayed close to the huts, as quite frankly, it was blisteringly hot and I was knackered.
The first hour was a sheer delight. Cue sending baby photos to my family WhatsApp group along with “I’m wearing an actual bikini on a UK beach!” etc. etc. comments. I admit it, I was feeling pretty smug – I was lucky to be there and not stuck in an office. Then we went for a splash in the sea. Happy days.
It was all going so well, until lunch time. Miss Belle had rubbed her eyes, her usual signal that she’s getting tired, and she was signing for food, so I cracked open the sandwiches early. I went to the water tap and washed her hands, placing her down on the towel saying “sit still, don’t move!” Yeah right…
We had sandwiches, a few cherry tomatoes and a piece of fruit each. Cheese sandwiches. What 18 month old doesn’t like a cheese sandwich? Bread? Yes. Cheese? Yes. Cheese sandwich? No.
Said sandwich was pulled apart and very quickly became Sand sandwich. Or really, bits of bread and butter dunked in sand. My inner Monica from Friends cringed. But I just had to go with it. The sandwich wasn’t cutting it though. There were just a few bites of bread and butter (and sand) consumed, when she clocked the nectarine. A fatal error. As we were in public and I could see she was starting to get ‘difficult’ I gave her the fruit, hoping we’d go back to the sandwich later and she’d have a proper lunch. I sat there quartering a juicy nectarine, giving her it in segments (one of which got dropped in sand – don’t worry I didn’t let her have that one), thinking, I really should have just stopped and bought some more easily-consumable-on-beach fruit.
This last week we’ve hit a new phase, one where Miss Belle goes into monumental meltdown mode when the tastiest bit of food has all gone. We’ve had it with corn on the cobb, yoghurt, and now nectarine.
The nectarine was all gone – the volcano was about to erupt. The high pitched wail of Waaaaaaah! started. Despite trying to offer more food, I just got lots of shouty ‘No!’s. She whacked the already obliterated sandwich out of my hands and chucked the tub of tomatoes into the sand. My only back up was a few raisins which, yes you guessed it, became sand coated.
I’ve realised I’m not very good at dealing with these moments of sheer rage in public all that well. I just feel everybody’s eyes on me, judging me. The particular highlight was when she crawled away from me screaming, sat having her strop and put her face right into to knees, then into the sand. She looked up at my crying with sand all over her face – wet wipes or my towel couldn’t sort that out.
At this point the parasol had also blown away twice so I gave up, collapsed it, and took her to the sea to wash the sand off and see if she’d cheer up with another dunk. She didn’t. I couldn’t tell if she was laughing or crying at first but I quickly realised she was too tired – she had been pushed over the edge! I packed up muttering “We’re going now, you’ve ruined it,” (sounding just like my mother) and headed to the cafe for a drink, an ice cream for me, and emergency pombears for her.
After a nappy change we got back in the car, her with her vest on backwards and me with broken sunglasses I’d dropped mid nappy change.
Miss Belle fell asleep as soon as she got into her car seat whilst I tried to repair my sun glasses, which I did! Hurrah!
So our first solo beach trip was sort of fun, for about and hour and a half. I knew I shouldn’t have felt smug. Next time we’re taking Daddy, or any extra pair of hands we can find.
And I’m not taking a sodding nectarine.