How friends, monkeys, and period dramas can save your vacation
Last week we had a great trip to Kill Devil Hills, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina with a bunch of old friends. That made the third beach trip this year, which is an awful lot for me. But it isn't exactly the same kind of beach action that you non-parents might be used to. Sit back and allow me to paint a picture.
You walk out onto a pleasant beach with this adorable little six-month old. He's smiling, likes the sound of waves and loves the breeze. You then set him down on a towel. He commences scooting, which involves being on his stomach (sand), grabbing whatever is in front of him (which was the towel he was put on to keep him away from the sand) and then pulling (bye bye towel). So in a matter of moments he is face down in sand, having moved 3 inches which was just enough to get him out from the umbrella, therefore he has the bright sun bearing down on his supple white skin.
You've got an overheating newborn with sand in his face and being roasted in the midday sun. Of course this most definitely causes him to make a sound like a terradactyl. And you haven't even gotten halfway down the first page of your book.
What's a lazy parent in search of a vacation to do?
So, first key to a beach vacation: increase the shear number of hands involved. Pack the house full of friends, all of which do not have children of their own to take care of (key for the "enamored-by-cuteness to sick-of-responsibility" ratio). They will happily enjoy 5-10 minute shifts of playing with Kaden. Get enough of them and you practically avoid parenting, voila! you have a vacation!
Thanks to the whole group pitching in we had a great time last week. Kaden crawled for the first time, albeit in a kind of one, two, bam hit the floor kind of way. He also slept like a champ most of the time. Unfortunately, he also developed his terradactyl scream, which I blame on Chris, and I have caught on camera below for your enjoyment (it is kind of funny.. the first time).
While we've largely solved the issue of who is going to take care of the little drool-bucket while we slack off, that's not everything. His determined need for three naps a day and quickness to heat up mean the kid is just not going to spend all day on the beach. That means several hours a day where someone has to sit inside while watching the rest of the world gleefully playing, flying kites, and enjoying their wonderous freedom while you are trapped unceremoniously in your beach-home hell.
The selfish way to solve this would be to simply call "first dibs" as I ran out onto the beach before Megan got a chance, but that hardly seemed fair considering she has to feed him in the morning.
The solution? Video games and chick-flicks.
If you're going to be inside, might as well suck in friends from otherwise enjoying the outdoors. A video game like Myst (which is so ridiculously difficult that is is impossible to solve alone unless you have the patience of a human who has never played another video game or watched cable television) is perfect for attracting some friends. Of course this only works with geeks, but when it does you get to additionally be the hero to the wife and say something galant like,
"No, go on honey you go out and enjoy the beach, I'll stay here while he takes a nap."
In my experience this "heroism-effect" lasts roughly two days before the wife catches on that you're glued to a video game and perfectly happy about it. At which point the tables are turned.
Then you need to pull yourself away, naturally in the middle of some ridiculously difficult puzzle involving powering up a spaceship by balancing the polarity of energy stones and go to plan B - the chick flicks!
As long as you are headed out to the beach, you'll need to provide amunition for the wife to pull in a group off the beach to keep her company. Pride & Prejudice is a perfect six-hour marathon that every trash-loving + well-educated female can enjoy (thx Elaine). This allows you ample time on the beach reading books, flying kites, or sleeping in the sun and dreaming about how to solve some ridiculously difficult monkey-feces-throwing puzzle in Myst.
All in all, a wonderful way to spend a week.
As always, I've got evidence of our adventures:
- Kaden-only photos from the beach (or view as slideshow)
- All photos from the beach (or view as slideshow)
- and for even more photo goodness see Allen's photos