‘Lil Whale Watcher


It seemed like a good idea, this whole whale watching thing. Rob likes boats. And, well, who doesn’t want to see whales on a gorgeous June afternoon?

The event started out smoothly enough: Robbie loved exploring the boat, cup of Dunkin in hand. He waved to all the boats as we passed them, stared at the rushing water, and said, “Holy cow! Moo!” about a dozen times. And then the first thirty minutes passed. And the second. And the third. And nothing was exciting for my child, who was, at this point, two hours past his nap time and declaring his extreme hunger and thirst while expressing his disdain for everything offered him.

After two hours of seemingly aimless sailing, we finally came upon a humpback whale! We all ran outside to keep our eyes peeled for the next spouting. Rob leaned up against the railing, saying, “Here, whale, whale, whale. Come play,” over and over. And, suddenly, there one was! I was looking to the right when I heard Robbie yell, “Whale!” and point to the left. Sure enough, there was a whale breeching! Robbie actually spotted his first whale, one named Gondola.

We were fortunate to have the opportunity to see another whale, Pinball, about twenty yards from the boat. It was absolutely incredible to see this huge animal glide through the water so seemingly effortlessly. Robbie squealed with delight every time he saw the whale, pointing and exclaiming, “Whale!” Although Justin was taking a nap to recover from seasickness, I really enjoyed the one-on-one time with Robbie, showing him something so incredible. After all, there’s only one first time to see something as incredible as a humpback whale.

During our hour trip back to Newburyport, Robbie continued to deteriorate. The only thing he put into his body all day was a medium coffee, 32 ounces of water, some Diet Coke, three pieces of orange, seven pretzels, and two mini cookies. I was calculating all the liquid the cherub consumed and the number of diapers we had used (at that point, two). And then I felt it. And it was warm. And wet. Soaking wet, actually.

Yes, as I was comforting my tantruming, exhausted toddler, he peed on me. A lot. I’d like to say I calmly moved Robbie, but I more tossed him aside, only to see a pool of liquid being absorbed into my shirt. Thankful that Robbie at least hadn’t hit my shorts, I sent Justin to find a t-shirt. After all, what whale watch would be complete without commemorative shirts? But my dutiful husband came back empty-handed. He assured me that it was funny and that my shirt would dry. Unconvinced, I took my urine-soaked self and found where they were selling t-shirts.

Dry, and much happier, we docked and headed to New Hampshire for dinner at Markey’s. Robbie hung in pretty well, eating his grilled cheese and sampling lobster. True to tradition, we headed to Dunlap’s for ice cream afterwards. Not in the mood to share with Robbie, we ordered a baby ice cream cone for him. He ran around the field, enjoying his own ice cream.

The sheer joy of this lasted for only a minute. You know, until the whole thing toppled to the ground. Robbie screamed like he’d lost his best friend, crying, “Dirty! Mess!” for the next ten minutes. Rob was inconsolable for the next ten minutes, refusing any ice cream at all until MPaPa (Grandpa) offered him his vanilla cone. Then, they were best buds, sharing a cone.

The ride home was complete with MPaPa asleep and snoring in the backseat and young Robert imitating him and snoring from his car seat. There’s nothing like trying to be just like MPaPa.


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