Wednesday, September 05, 2007

LABOR day...

...what a fitting name for a long weekend vacation with a 2 year old and a 6 week old.

First, a shout out to my hometown of Jersey, and specifically Long Beach Island, which I highly recommend to tri-staters looking for a tropical experience. I found myself regretting that the only time I had been to the Jersey shore was after the prom, when my highschool friends and I could have had some serious fun there when we were young enough to not care about SPF or hearing damage from the bar DJ.

I also found myself thinking about beaches. Being a mother at the beach is a surreal experience, kind of like being a mother at the pediatrician, or at new parents night at school (tonight!) These are times when I can't help but feel like I am just playing a part -- that the name "Mom" still does not fit quite right, I keep searching behind me for my own.

I have a multitude of beach memories -- as a child, my father flipping me into the waves with his hands in a tight and painful grasp under my bony a teenager, writing the name of the boy I liked in the sand and watching my secret get washed away...standing under a waterfall in the Galilee as a 16 year old, surrounded by friends, totally ignorant of how we had it all for just a 24, watching my then boyfriend now husband kneel in the sand on a perfect beach in Antigua, offering a promise of limitless happiness...

And now I was watching my daughter frolic with her father, my husband of six years, against a glittering ocean that I could not believe was reached via the Garden State parkway. My son, who continues to amaze me with his angelic quality of complete complaceny, lay in a netted sun dome beside me under an umbrella. While I had moments of missing -- the romantic quality of the beach, the time to smooth scented lotion on sunkissed skin -- I am now a mother, whose fun very much comes last. And yet, I finally truly understood the meaning of living vicariously.

And now, a few important lessons learned for those of you who are yet to embark on such a journey:

1. Always bring pool toys that are as cool as the other kids will have.
2. Do be surprised when your exhausted toddler happily sleeps in the hotel pack and play.
3. Newborns and sand do not mix.
4. Nursing and sunscreen do not mix.
5. Get a wax -- you will have no time to shave while on the trip if a toddler is busy washing your feet with her filthy washcloth.
6. Your car can fit more than you ever imagined.
7. Expect to have a totally separate vacation from your spouse. The one with the toddler will be frolicking on the beach and collecting shells. The one with the newborn will be worrying about biting flies while reading In Style under multiple umbrellas.
8. Splurge on the suite unless you enjoy taking naps all together and going to sleep by 9:00 (we have never been so well rested!)
9. Dine early -- kids eat free before 6 PM!
10. Saying "I won't order anything, I will just share (kids)" is the surest way to gain 10 pounds. Leftover fried nuggets, the end of an ice cream cone and soggy fries do actually have calories.
11. Nothing is grosser than #2 in a wet swim diaper.
12. Don't pack anything nice...for anyone...
13. You do need that many diapers and wipes.
14. There is no good way to bring a newborn to the beach -- stick poolside.
15. Don't buy that huge sand shovel unless you are prepared for it to become a weapon at any moment.
16. Try and find a hotel with an elevator. You'll have lots to lug.
17. If you only have stairs, it is a great opportunity to teach someone to count!
18. Find a wonderful friend with a gorgeous beach house to stop at on the way to your destination. Bonus points if she makes her own cookies.
19. Expect many a boo boo.
20. Allow for multiple ice cream cones in one day. It's worth it.


At 11:58 AM PDT, Anonymous Leigh said...

Yay to multiple ice cream cones!!!! (This from the grown woman just standing at her kitchen counter forking leftover birthday cake into her mouth like it was her last meal, who was once a darling baby who ate sand at the beach. Charming.)

Suite - good advice!

At 3:30 PM PDT, Blogger Janya said...


now where's that baby picture? or does he still look like mr. wendell?

At 10:13 AM PDT, Blogger Jill said...

You should write the sequel to "what to expect when you're expecting." Something like, "things you never expect once you're not expecting anymore."


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