Our Sunday Beach Trip and the Mommy-Guilt that Resulted.

Ever had an idea and thought to yourself “MY KID WOULD LOVE THAT!” and then either did said-thought-of-activity?

Ever had major regret during and then felt awful for subjecting your child to that plan that didn’t work out the way you pictured?

 

It happened this past weekend for me.
(On a plus side, there’s one item off my bucket list of things to do this summer! Lol!)

On Sunday morning, we had plans of going to my in-laws for dinner but then learned that dinner would be around bedtime so we wouldn’t be able to go. It was just before 4pm and I was wracking my brain to think of something to do that evening to get out of the house.

And suddenly, the idea of the beach came to me! I swung into gear, packing up our bag, tossing shovels, buckets, sunscreen, hats and snacks into a pile while my husband got our son changed and ready to go. We loaded up in the car for the half-hour drive to White Rock.

Well, the drive there was fine. Dean fussed a bit in the car seat after tossing his shovel to the seat beside him and not being able to reach it (I wish he would learn….) but for the most part, he was happy as a clam.

We arrived at the beach and drove past the park we intended to go to – only to learn that it was gone. UGH! Well, that’s okay. There’s still the pier and the boardwalk and the tide was out so we could play in the sand and splash in the water. Once we find parking….

We drove up and down the strip for half an hour trying to find parking. Everyone, and their dog (which, by the way, people, you aren’t actually allowed dogs on the boardwalk, as we learned two years ago when we brought our dog for a walk only to learn they aren’t welcome!) was at the beach so there was no parking. ANYWHERE.

Dean was getting antsy when he looked and saw the beach but we weren’t stopping to get out. He wanted to play – not sit in the car driving around! We promised him a park and beach the whole way there – and he wasn’t getting either of them, We played “I Spy” (his favourite out and about activity lately) and found plenty of dogs, motorcycles, bikes, babies and water – but NO PARKING SPOTS! We finally gave up and went to Crescent Beach, which isn’t too bad but it’s not as nice and it’s limited in its dinner options – which we would need soon as it was already 5:00pm!

We found parking at Crescent Beach and walked over to the water. Dean LOVED the beach. He was so excited to see the boats, the sand and the people playing. The second we set him loose on the sand, he was gone. My husband and I, on the other hand, were totally disgusted by the mucky sand and the fact that we forgot the sand is not like Sunset Beach and definitely NOT like Hawaii. Dean dug, splashed and at one point ended up falling down onto his bum in the water after getting too distracted and trying to look in every. direction. at. once.

Scooping the sand into his bucket
Scooping the sand into his bucket

We started walking along the boardwalk with Dean firmly holding his shovel and bucket… But gravel paths are really not your friend when your son has a rock obsession. And he was soaking wet and covered in gritty sand so neither of us wanted to carry him!

So we ended up deciding that due to timing and the fact that the restaurants were another ten minute adult-without-toddler-walk down the beach, we would just grab some take-out and head home. Jason went to grab the car to meet us where we were while I changed Dean into some dry clothes (and non-soggy diaper) and sent him on his way with shovel and bucket in hand while we waited for Jason.

Splish Splash!
Splish Splash!

 

While it wasn’t a terrible outing, it didn’t go as I had thought it would in my head. I pictured being able to sit on the beach while he dug in the sand and played in the water. And no problems finding parking. A nice family dinner out. And then heading home with a worn out and ready for bed toddler. But instead we ended up with gross feet because of the sand and lack of foot-washing station, a baby with sand in his diaper, unfed bellies and a bucket full of gravel that I stashed into the trunk with hopes that it wouldn’t topple over and spill everywhere on our way home (good news – it didn’t!) We only got to play (aka watch Dean while trying to not lose a sandal in the mucky sand and still keep close enough to him when he was in the water) for forty minutes, after a thirty minute drive there, thirty minute parking search and a ten minute drive to a new location.

On the bright side, Dean did enjoy himself and he would be excited if we told him we were going back to the beach again. But I felt the time to get there and find parking just wasn’t worth it. I feel guilty that he was stuck in the car for over an hour and a half and only got about forty minutes of play time out of it…

Next time, we will be heading to Stanley Park. The beaches are more “picky-people friendly” and it’s easy to spend an entire day there between the Aquarium, seawall, beaches, playgrounds and water parks!

Have you ever had a brilliant plan for a fun activity with your kids, only to have it turn into a flop (in your eyes, at least)?

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