Beautiful Spring afternoons at the beach are awesome. Even if a developing north-westerly causes us to keep the long-sleeved layers firmly in place.
Whenever we go to the beach, there's a comfortable kind of pattern we always follow. Guy Smiley jabbers away in super-excited tones while pointing out even the smallest of things in gushing awe, the Lily Bug decides to make sand angels after we've rinsed the sand off her for the journey home, J pulls a finger every time I try to take a photo of him - unless I can nab a pic when his hands are full of jumping wriggling children - and my attempts at a self-portrait are quickly deleted as soon as they're reviewed. Stupid camera. I don't really look that haggard do I? Oh gods...
It's a given, that all of these things will happen when we go to the beach. But there's always a slight shift in the way that they're carried out. A bit of Universal tweaking here and there. Guy Smiley's exclaimations have changed from "oooh!" to "wow!" to "wow cool!" and "ooh dook!" and as of last week, "there-eh-zizz!" which means "there it is" and he exclaims it every time someone familiar appears, or a lost toy/remote for the TV is found, or in the case of our day at the beach; he spots a man cruising the sky on a motorised paraglider.
Once upon a time, the Lily Bug ran from the shoreline; fearful of the ocean. Then as her confidence and familiarity with the beach grew, she ran to the whitewash. Eventually she reached a point where she'd splash through the shallows at low tide. Wade in a little deeper while holding our hands. Now she lunges into the water, high tide, with only a passing concern for jelly fish and monsters of the deep. A reminder to wait for us keeps her in line a little, but she feels she's a big girl now. Just the other week she realised she's not merely three years old; she's three and a half! That's nearly four! Which is, as far as she's concerned, old enough to swim with taniwha and wrestle kraken.
Times are a changing.
But the Lily Bug isn't one to throw all caution to the wind yet. She was the first person to spy the jellyfish in the water even as we were stretching towels across the sand. And when I went closer to have a look, she warned "don't let it sting you mum!" I didn't even realise she knew jellyfish could sting.
That's my ever-cautious girl. Always looking out for the possible dangers. I wish Guy Smiley was half as tentative. He's happy to tear off in any direction.
Oh, and before you think I've forgotten all about the Teen... She doesn't tend to go to the beach with us these days. I mean, she's a teen. And sadly this means hanging out with her family is really really not at all cool. If she is dragged with us to the beach, she sits on a towel flicking away grains of sand while she texts her friends - no doubt sending out some kind of plea for help. Although in saying that, I do have photographic evidence of her involvement in a sandfight with the Lily Bug last summer...
So, I've said this before, oh so recently, but I just have to say it again...
Roll on Summer. :)