Oy. I think I need a vacation to recover from my vacation.
We got home around 8 p.m. or so last night. We unloaded the car and plunked the little guy into the bathtub and then in the crib before we collapsed. I think we were more exhausted than he was, though...running up and down the beach for a week didn't seem to put even a tiny dent in his energy reserves. If there was a sand castle to be found, William found it and wanted to play there. If there were "friends" to play with, William was there in the middle of them. Sure, William was sometimes content to sit next to us under the umbrella and dig with his toys...but not if there was action elsewhere. He could smell it. Like sharks can detect a drop of blood in a mile of ocean, William could sense when there were people building a giant sand castle nearby. The Toddler Sixth Sense.
And God love him, poor David had to chaperone most of these forays up and down the beach.
But I think David and I are finally getting good at this travelling-with-a-small-child thing. Well, maybe not good, per se. But better. Definitely better.
For example, we have learned how and what to pack to make a road trip with a small child as painless as possible. That is: snacks, snacks, more snacks, books, Sesame Street CDs, and snacks. Put sunscreen on the kiddo, stack a bunch of fun books up next to his carseat, add in a Magnadoodle, and hand over the snacks. Play the Sesame Street CD a lot, sing along, and pass some more snacks around.
We also gave in and borrowed Leland's portable DVD player with a batch of DVDS. So when William got really whiny (which blessedly was not often) and we were just done with the whole singing-of-songs and looking-out-the-window, we just stuck an Arthur DVD or "Finding Nemo" in the player and let him bliss out in front of the tube. Actually, we only resorted to using the DVD player for about an hour on the way to Holden Beach and maybe two and a half hours total on the way home. Considering that it's about a ten hour drive, that's not too bad, I don't think.
And in anticipation of ending up in a fast food joint or gas station without a changing table (which, grrr, happens more often that it should), I packed plenty of Pull-Ups so I wouldn't have to sprawl my child out on his back on some grungy floor. Dear McDonalds Corporation: Why are you letting people open franchises with huge spectactular plastic playgrounds and Happy Meals full of Star Wars toys but no changing tables? Don't you know that if kids eat all those Happy Meals, there's going to be an end result eventually?
We made it home without any bloodshed. Hurrah! Of course, William did a spectacular running faceplant into the sidewalk in front of our house this evening, so anyone who sees us will undoubtedly think our vacation was a terrible disaster, judging by the goose egg on his forehead. It's a beauty. He looks like a very small extra from a made-for-TV horror movie.
But seriously, we had a good time. And aside from the little matter of the lockout (ahem), it was relatively drama-free and fun for all of us. One of the highlights for William was getting to walk down the beach to "the ice cream cone store" twice during our week in Holden Beach. He managed to devour a huge cup of ice cream during each visit. It made such an impression on him that when the little boy next door stuck his head over the porch railing to say hello the next day, William called out to him, "You go to the ice cream cone store? You get toclat?" Forget more important little-boy issues. Ice cream. That's where it's at.
As for David and me, we had been looking forward to fresh seafood. David took a field trip....somewhere...and come back with shrimp, which we boiled and devoured on our last night. That was a great meal, I have to say, not just because of the food but the entertainment. Out of nowhere, William busted out with his best imitation ever of his father during dinner--"William! I tell you! Go to bed!" said in a very deep, mock serious voice. David and I almost choked to death on our shrimp, we were laughing that hard. We already knew we needed to pay attention to what we are saying, but I don't think we realized that our own words were going to be parroted back to us quite this soon...
Another highlight isn't really a highlight, but it's something that I always enjoy. We got to sit and enjoy the ocean breezes from our little patio. There's just something about that endless rhythm of the waves washing over the sand and back out to sea. A glass of white wine, a chair on the patio, and the ocean air. It's so relaxing that it should come with a prescription.
But David and I...dare I say it?...were even pretty much ready to come home by the time Saturday morning rolled around. We had a lovely, lovely time, but all the beach-walking and the sunscreen-applying begins to take its toll after awhile. At least on us. And giving a sand-encrusted William two baths a day? Yeah, not one of the things that I will remember fondly. We had to give him two baths a day...he managed to get himself evenly coated all over with sand, almost like a piece of battered chicken ready for the fryer. And to think that we actually worried at the start of the trip that he was going to hate the sand! So, after six days of that, we were happy but ready to come home. And I think that's par for the course, don't you?