Walking?

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Robbie isn’t really walking yet, but he sure is trying. We went swimming at the reservoir today, and the little man kept forgetting that he didn’t know how to walk. He would let go of the railing and lunge toward me in a Frankenstein-like gait. It absolutely melted my heart. This guy wanted to be next to me so badly that he was willing to propel himself away from the safe railing and through the water to me. And then, when he got to me, he needed a big hug to comfort him after his scary experience. It’s the moments motherhood are made of.

I needed a few of those moments after the last two days Robbie and I have had (apparently I wasn’t able to fully forget!). We needed a little out of the house fun. And boy did we have fun! Robbie enjoys the water, but that’s not his passion at the beach. He lives for the sand, for shoveling handfuls of it into his mouth. He crawled all the way down the beach today, making friends and irritating younger children who were trying to dig holes. Robbie befriended a woman who was building a sandcastle; she let him destroy everything she had made, reveling in the fun of sand castle demolition. After all, as she reminded me, isn’t that what making sand castles is for?

While playing in the water, I witnessed an interesting phenomenon. Even now I’m still not sure exactly what it was that I saw. A Brazilian woman carried a heavy duty shovel and a large laundry bag of beach toys to the water’s edge and she was followed by three children (one of them was Lorenzo, and I think he was in trouble the entire afternoon — all I heard was, “Lorenzo! Lor-EN-zo! LORENZO!”). The woman dug a huge hole, making sure to build up the sides. She then placed her children inside the hole and lined all the toys up around the edges. She finished by digging some water toys into the sand to make sure they didn’t float away. And thirty minutes later, they’d packed everything up to go home. It took almost as long to set up as it did to actually play.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for kids being entertained at the beach, but isn’t this a bit much? Isn’t part of the reason we take our kids to the beach for them to experience the fun of digging their own holes and making up uses for the obscure tools in the beach toy kit? Doesn’t digging for our children and lining up their toys take away the imagination and fun that the beach is supposed to be? Or am I just one of those moms who wants to read a book while her kid digs his own holes in hopes of reaching China? Because, you know, he’ll be able to speak the language…

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