This has been a good summer. Michael and Sam are very independent, they love camp, love swimming lessons, love the beach, and have lots of friends. They don’t even like to sit with me on the beach and constantly ask to go hang out by the boardwalk – where they “play superheroes” and make friends.
I haven’t had days like these at the beach since I was in my early twenties. I’ve been reading books and magazines, talking uninterrupted with friends, and sitting on my fat (and growing as we speak) ass more than I have in 6 years.
On top of this luxury, now that I don’t have babies or toddlers to give naps or dinner to – I can essentially stay at the beach as long as I want. I can pull my chair down to the edge of the water – so the waves are licking at my feet and enjoy my book in the late afternoon, the best part of the day.
The sun burns a little less, the air is crisp, the water is gorgeous and the kids play in the waves while the sun starts its descent. It was recently such an afternoon, on one of the most gorgeous days of the summer, when I got caught off guard. I inadvertently was happy – and I should have known that was not possible.
My 5-year-old dropped his hermit crab at the edge of the water and before he could bend down to scoop it up – a wave came in and swept it away, and he went ballistic. This wasn’t a complete sneak attack – I should have seen the signs:
Clue #1 – Red Cheeks =Perhaps a little too much in the sun department
Clue #2 - A day of whining = Perhaps one too many late nights – and a little tired
Clue #3 – I mentioned that I was momentarily happy right?
He burst into tears.
I peered at him over the top of my book.
“Michael this is nothing to cry about – go by the jetty and find a new one.” I said and went back to reading.
“No!!!” he screamed unreasonably, “I want that one!!!”
I tried to ignore him, but the whining and crying was getting worse. I read the same page 5 times.
“If you don’t stop crying and leave me alone right now – then we are leaving.” I threatened.
“NO!!! I’m not leaving!!” he screamed hysterically in my face.
Now at this point – any good mother with a head on her shoulders would pack up and leave, but not Lady Goo Goo Gaga. I tried to read again. He wouldn’t shut up.
I gave one more ultimatum – which he failed miserably and I had no choice. I threw my book down.
“That’s it….we’re leaving.” I started folding my chair.
This is when things really took a frightening turn. I told him to start picking up his toys, and quickly realized this would never happen. The devil doesn’t pick up sand toys.
Resigned I went to pick up buckets and towels and every step of the way I was body blocked by my possessed child.
I tried to remain calm. I called out to poor innocent Sam who was floating on a tube catching some rays.
“Come on – we have to leave now!! Your brother is out of control!” I called out.
He graciously hopped off his tube and said “OK – Mama!” I looked at him with joy and happiness for a quick moment and then turned back to Godzilla.
A toy boat was thrown and narrowly missed my ear, he took his brother’s tube and slammed it down as hard as he could and it bounced off the sand and rolled away.
I frantically filled up my beach cart and was almost ready to go. The only thing left on the beach was the huge bucket of crabs leftover from crabbing earlier in the day. Considering this all started from a lost crab – emptying the bucket was going to be dicey.
“Dump out the bucket, Michael, it’s time to go.” I said calmly.
“NO!” he screamed hovering over the bucket with snot and tears running down his sunburned cheeks. I quickly made a move to grab the bucket – at the same time as he did. I tried to loosen his grip to no avail, and a tug of war ensued.
Anytime I got into position to dump the bucket – he would get in front of it so that I would have to throw a bucket of crabs directly at him (which surprisingly – I wasn’t comfortable with.)
At this point – Sam hopped out of the water.
“Sam! Run for your life!!” I yelled while pulling furiously on the bucket, “I’ll meet you at the boardwalk!”
He scampered away – and I ripped the bucket out of Michael’s hands and dumped out mud and crabs like a maniac.
I was dripping with sweat and my back and arms were killing me from the struggle. Michael collapsed in a heap of tears and I threw the bucket in my cart and turned around to go…..at which point I thought I heard cheering.
Witnesses to this debacle were cheering for me. I looked up and saw a sea of horrified faces.
The beach was silent.
A seagull flew by.
The crabs made their way back to sea.
I stood there sandy and sweaty, staring back at all of the faces judging me.
I was mortified. I headed up to the boardwalk. Some kind woman called out – “Don’t worry – we have all been there!!”
Someone else shouted – “You have a lot of patience!!”
I was dying and on the verge of tears myself. Michael followed me all the way to the car crying and threatening not to come and of course it didn’t end until long after we were home.
Thank God I had just read a blog called Things I Can’t Say, in which the mom blogger, Shell, suggested getting Mike’s Hard Strawberry Lemonade, and I had some chilled waiting for me. The promise of malt liquor was the only thing pushing me through the motions of showers, dinner and bedtime routines.
I think I have neglected the schedules and good parenting for long enough – and it’s biting me in the ass. This little brush with the devil was enough for me.
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xoxox LADY GOO GOO GAGA
ALSO LINKING THIS AWKWARD MOMENT TO MAMA KAT