Days on the beach are always interesting.
Last weekend we were re-introduced to the perfect recipe to give us a pleasant and happy beach day with the kids — simply seek reinforcements in the form of another child.
With my kids, the beach can be a roll of the proverbial dice. Most of the time all is fine, particularly when we drive on at Assateague with a truck full of beach toys and food and drinks, but there have been times when it’s challenging and no fun at all, mostly a result of Beckett taking us on a roller coaster of emotions.
Carson is fine and usually no trouble. If we sit him in the sand with a few toys, he can keep himself entertained, and he doesn’t even try to eat the sand anymore.
Beckett is traditionally not so easy and has ruined at least a few beautiful beach days in his time with some erratic and moody behavior.
However, last Sunday the stars aligned to produce for me the best beach day of the summer, and a little lady named Molly Berman deserves the recognition.
Molly, 4, of Severna Park, spent the week in Ocean City with her family, and she and Beckett, 3, are buddies, having spent a couple weeks together on vacation in previous years in North Carolina.
On this particular day on the beach, I once again discovered the joys of having another little one to keep my bundle of energy entertained.
There’s something about two kids of similar ages playing together that warms the heart. It also makes life a lot easier for all parents involved because they keep each other’s attention.
Soon enough, Carson will be big enough for Beckett to play with on the beach, but at this point he’s just not interesting enough to keep his attention for more than a couple minutes.
After all, he doesn’t slide backwards down a body board into the sand like Molly.
He doesn’t find sand crabs like Molly.
He doesn’t offer him part of a banana out of the blue like Molly.
He doesn’t enjoy a game of chase as much as Molly. He doesn’t squeal like Molly.
He doesn’t do these things just yet, but soon enough he will and that will be a huge change for us.
In the meantime, we relished the difference a colleague in fun had on Beckett.
Molly did a masterful job of keeping Beckett entertained and is basically to credit for making the day so enjoyable.
For hours, Beckett and Molly played together without a care in the world. Every once in a while, they stopped for a bite of this or a sip of that, but for the most part they were independently at play for hours and oblivious to whether we were around or not.
For most of the day, there were covered in sand from head to toe. I even found some sand in Beckett’s eyebrows and behind his ears before we called it a day.
I know it’s been a great summer day when the entire family is exhausted, and both kids are fast asleep by 7 in the evening.
On this particular night, Beckett didn’t make it through our first book and neither did I.
You know it’s been a marvelous day when the dad falls asleep reading a 12-page book about a llama and his mama to his kid.
Beckett likes to call Carson a troublemaker.
That always gives Pam and me a good laugh because on one hand it’s the most ridiculous thing ever but on the other there’s a little truth to it.
Surely, that sounds confusing, so let me explain.
A consistent battle around my house involves Beckett being too rough with Carson. It’s the typical big brother beating up on his little brother thing, and there are many times when we feel we have to protect Carson.
However, the problem is Carson, just 18 months younger than his big brother, doesn’t always make that easy.
Of late, Carson has been giving us more and more of a glimpse into his personality — he’s a bit of a goofball and Beckett is absolutely right that he does have a little bit of troublemaker in him. I find that charming.
There is no question Carson intentionally picks fights with his older brother. I don’t think he sees it that way. He is just having fun and interacting, but I understand why Beckett sometimes reacts aggressively to Carson’s actions. The problem is the ends do not justify the means.
When Carson walks up to Beckett, who is quietly sitting in his chair reading a book, and throws himself atop him, Beckett should not try to drive an elbow into his back out of frustration.
When Carson head butts Beckett, it’s not appropriate for the older brother to knock him down and then sit on his head until a parent intervenes.
When Carson repeatedly rubs his naked bottom against Beckett’s back in the bathtub (one of the funniest things I have ever seen), Beckett should not respond by smacking his little brother’s butt with all his might.
It’s these types of situations that make disciplining a little tricky and I find myself once again saying things I never thought I would say, such as, “Carson, stop rubbing your butt on your brother, and Beckett do not smack his bottom.”
It’s these instances when I have to get a grip on reality before I start laughing at how ridiculous I sound.