One of my friends showed me a play ground and beach place in South Haven, Michigan. Aside from the pirate theme, the flat, low traffic park sits across the street from the beach bluff. A helpfully sturdy stairway allows for immediate access down to the sand and shore.
It is April in Michigan, so after consulting the weather forecast, and seeing that the temperature would be high of seventy five, in between two days of rainstorms, and a low wind from the lake, I decided that the selling point of our adventure would be the park. The wood play structure WAS a hit. There were abundant swings, lots of nooks and crannies, and several steel built slides. Several other girls appeared as well, making it the perfect play date for my eldest. It was a treat for me as well, because the extra hands made the new place less daunting.
Then we walked down to the beach.
I know what I was like for my parents at the beach. There is something about a giant sand box and a vast expanse of water that just calls to children. Its a magnetic force. I swear that both children started vibrating when they saw the slow waves lapping at the windless shore. As we neared the bottom of the stairwell, I admonished both children, "take off your shoes but just your toes."
It was a waste of breath. The first wave to hit my sturdy toddlers ankles and her diapered butt wumped in the water. As we attempted to lift her back up, and steady her, she leaned forward and put her face into the next wave. After convincing her that she must hold an adult hand and only get her toes wet, I turned around to check on Cora.
My four year old playing chicken with a wave. The depth of the lake made her feel it was necessary for her to hold up the corners of her shorts. This kept the outside of the leg about one half an inch further out of the water, bringing its total lull clearance to about an inch. The wave soaked her to her neck.
The two elderly people sitting on a bench at the top of the bluff drinking coffee found my frantic search of the car for dry clothes and towel substitutes hilarious. They were kind enough to tell me I was a good parent. I have no idea what they thought of my patient attempts to convince Cora that clothing WAS NOT optional.
I have learned my lesson. Even if the weather forecast says it is going to snow, taking children to the beach requires dry clothes swimsuits and towels for everyone. Now if you excuse me, I need to go vacuum my car.