A Rant About Sandy Bottoms

Bob on The Beach

Or lack thereof. I rarely rant here, but I think I will today. After all, what’s the point in having a personal blog if you can’t off load the odd bug bear now and again? Especially if its on topic. Sort of. I am desperate to get out in the boat but remain hindered by matters of moving and real estate so as usual a local beach with the kids for a few hours is the next best thing. Well actually its equally good and logistically easier. I wrote about this here , last autumn and today headed down to the same spot. We hadn’t really planned for an actual beach day so we were ill equipped; a few wipes, some suncream and one clean nappy. After a coffee and a rumble on the constructed stuff we headed for the little beach with the intention of giving the kids a quick play in the sand before heading home. Within seconds Miss four was down to her daks and Miss 15 months was speed crawling to the waters edge fully clothed. Not for long. I let them have at least ten minutes sans suncream to absorb some Vitamin D and then slapped on some factor 30 and a hat each. Bad mummy. They had an absolute ball with my friend’s kids and we got some time out from swing pushing and incessant questions. When I next looked up Miss four had scaled the low sea wall and was practising balancing skills by scaling the railings, above about a foot of water. She was safe. I was watching. A small child on the grass on the other side of the railings spied her and came over. He begged to be allowed on the sand but was told several times over they had not bought spare clothes. I respect his mums choice to keep him off the sand but it did make me a bit sad. After all taking a child within a few metres of a beach but not letting them on it is like taking a labrador into a butchers shop. Was the water too cold? The sun too strong? Sand harbouring dangerous rubbish? People, it doesn’t get much better than spring in Sydney. I grew up in the UK and while you may be surprised to know there are beautiful beaches there, the water is still fricking cold. People actually have babies in Siberia and they survive! Before we know it the Australian summer will be on us and we’ll be snatching beach time before the mercury hits 30 and the sun hits the yard arm and making a dash for the aircon. And how many cities have these kind of spaces within striking distance of the CBD?

We seem to have reached a point where even play outdoors has become very orchestrated. We’re inadvertently encouraging in our children an intolerance of the slightest discomfort at the expense of truly natural experiences. It really struck me that my children and the little boy were within feet of each other in the same beautiful spot but having an entirely different kind of day. After drying Miss 15 months with a spare nappy I sat her on my lap and wished I had my proper camera to capture a macro shot of her salt encrusted downy cheek and wet eye lashes. A little chunk of beachy baby to take home. My friends three year old squeezed into his baby brothers spare dry clothes and gave us all a good laugh.

As much as it annoys me to see children completely reigned in by their parents my issue is as much, perhaps more so, with the minority of horrible humans who have made it taboo for children to run naked on the sand. I’m interested to know what others think about letting the kids get naked on the beach.  And indeed sand. Is it just me or is a sandy bottomed baby a nightmare scenario? What about the suncream; is my ten minutes without it neglectful?

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13 Responses

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  1. No CB, altho we do usually try to get sunscreen on asap – it rarely happens immediately and, as you, i grew up with sand in every crevice and that crunchy feeling of sand between teeth from the sandwiches, it may be a little inconvenient to throw a sandy child back in the car but like you i completely agree that its part of the deal of life experiences when raising children within easy distance of the shore and being naked at the beach and splashing in the shallows should be some kind of right. However i am not naive enough to think that the sun wont harm and that there are not people out there who see small children naked at the beach as something different entirely. We are blessed to have one of natures biggest playgrounds on our doorstep and to be able to appreciate the experiences that can be gained from it. XXX

    1. Brings new meaning to the word “sandwich! By the way I am still hunting down that sandcastle kit you mentioned. Where did you get it?

    2. ive seen them in Toys r us and Kmart i think… remind me and ill show you when your next up :) (ive also since since a bigger version than the one i have!) if i find them again ill grab you one

  2. I have already let Theo explore the sand fully clothed here in Canada and recently on the beach in Cornwall UK and it wasn’t even summer. A bit of sand and sea water won’t hurt a child or young baby. Children don’t feel the discomfort of being wet or sandy as much as adults do and anyway you can always brush sand away. And if its a fine day you can dry off quickly. When we return to Sydney i fully intend to let Theo run naked (or at least semi naked, but sun protected) on the beaches, with or without spare clothes. He hates wearing clothes anyway so i think he will fit right in, with Aussie life.

    1. Can’t wait to meet Theo. He sounds like a hard core Canadian outdoor type? I reckon we might get along!

  3. You’ve inspired me to let head down to the beach on the weekend with Little T (it is only a short walk from our house now!)…. I have such great memories as a kid playing in the sand and need to remind myself of those any time I find myself wanting to reign Little T in from enjoying nature at it’s finest.

    1. Would love to see some sandy photos on Muddledup Mumma? x Have fun.

  4. Hi Charley, nice to meet you, via Inner Pickle. I’ll have to look into those dishwashers…
    We’ve just moved house in South London, and my 3-year-old is toilet training himself by being allowed to run around delightfully naked in our (first, exciting) back garden. Comedy, as we back onto a slightly busy train line! I’m very proud of my somewhat reserved British husband for being okay with this- I think little kids should just live naked.
    Though it is starting to get a little chilly.
    And they do have some very cute clothes.
    And, yeah, sunburn, cancer, etc.
    Take care,

    1. Hi Sue, thanks for dropping by! Inner Pickle is one of my favourite blogs and I’ll pop by and visit yours in a min. It would be getting a little chilly over there although a few weeks back we saw news images of the Brits sunbaking in London in an October heat wave?!

  5. I’m with you. So many mums don’t let their kids freely experience the natural world.
    And on the sunscreen, I actually made my Mr 3 vitamin D deficient by being too heavy on the sunscreen. His paediatrician told me 10 mins was fine, then the sunscreen.
    When our boys go to the beach, they always go in the water, always come back ‘crumbed’ in sand, and always have a ball. Before we go home they strip off in my boot, shake the sand off, then go back home in their jocks or in the nude. Everybody happy.

    1. You can’t beat taking a cold dip, shivering your way back to the car and riding home sans jocks in the sun warmed car! And as for the sand, thats what the servo super sucker is for!

  6. salt encrusted downy cheek and wet eyelashes….. what a perfect day.

    Charley I love your writing and your observations and go for you to do with only one nappy!! xxx

    1. There all sorts of uses for nappies!

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