At the Beach, Now and Then

Charlie in the only place to be on a 100 degree July day At one point yesterday, all three of us were in the ocean. 

Jim was the farthest out where there was a sudden mountain of waves—it was low tide and there was a long stretch of shallow cool water—Charlie was a bit further in (though he'd been out where Jim was or past it when we'd first got to the beach and he'd run into the waves on his own), and I was nowhere near the more challenging waves, though in deep enough to get splashed up to my chin.

Lovely. Especially as, it was 100 degrees at times yesterday but felt more like 104 to 106 with the humidity. Today there's a 'cold front,' as NJ.com is referring to the lower 90 degree-ish weather coming in. 

(I guess 'cold front' is a technical term but reading those words in reference to 90 degree temperatures does make one feel that the heat is addling more brains than just mine.)

After that initial boogie board ride and a long, luscious swim, Charlie had gotten out and wanted—as he often does—to leave. We'd just been on the beach for a half-hour and it was the best place to be Saturday. Charlie isn't one for flip-flops and usually wears his usual black slip-ons and socks at the beach; he takes them off just as walk onto the sand. We bring his flip-flops in the beach bag. Saturday, after a few steps, Charlie told us he wanted them, and even flip-flopp'd we could still feel the hot hot sand. 

So Jim and I were not inclined to leave after a mere half-hour, and after a long drive. I went in for a swim and turned around to see Charlie and Jim standing a few feet apart on the sand. When I came out, Charlie was standing by the beach bag and saying 'I want' and turning to leave. 'Swim once more,' I said. I walked back to stand on the wet, cool sand and watcedh Jim, who was making his way out into the waves; quite far out. Charlie poked at the sand and I walked a little more into the water and gradually Charlie went back in, and stayed in—venturing out to just short of where Jim was, laying himself flat so he went head-first into the bottom of a crashing wave, splashing the water around—for another half-hour. Jim stayed in too and I figured, why not, and ventured out too, and so we were all in the water, albeit in different spots.

It would have been nice to stay longer with it being so hot. We've never been beach-sitters: Not wise for Jim to stay too long out under the sun (I keep his hat and two tubes of sunscreen in my ever-packed beach bag). And Charlie has always been one for intense bouts of swimming after which he's ready to go. When he was much younger, we used to try to get him to dig in the sand with a bucket and make sandcastles and pools but Charlie's interest in such was very short. Too, there was a period when one of the main attractions of the sand was Charlie putting it in his mouth (I'll never forget the tone of alarm and horror in one girls' voice when she ran up to tell me 'your son is eating sand!'). Not to mention the days when Charlie ran to check every CD player, lest it might contain a coveted cassette tape (iPods have done away with anyone having boomboxes, fortunately), and guzzled other people's open cans of diet Coke.

Saturday, he picked his way (as he always does now) carefully among the beach towels and chairs, the umbrellas and the sunbathers. We usually get him some sushi first thing but yesterday we got Jim and me sandwiches first; Charlie asked to get a soda and waited patiently for his California rolls. 

As we drove off, the effects of the hot sunshine (even on a half-southern Chinese boy well-smeared with sunscreen), a hot but still cooling off car-in-motion, carbonated beverages (Charlie has discovered that unfortunate creation, Mountain Dew), and who knows what else led to a momentarily unwell boy in the backseat. I am happy to report that the white car (which isn't even a year old and has accrued way too many miles and been subjected to quite an 'exciting' life so far) and Charlie's collection of favorite things were not 'subjected' to anything undue, thanks to my handing Charlie an open paper bag and him doing what he had to do, before handing the bag back to me.

Jim kept driving, Charlie said 'yes' to a sip of water, we stopped for gas and drove home in no traffic, just in time for the day's second bike ride, a walk in the dusk (still hot as ever, but at least the sun was going down), and nice cooling showers for all. 

And a lot of sand all over the floor which, I think, is earning the title of Beachhouse, however far it actually is from the shore.

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