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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