The Beach Is Nature’s Child-Proofing

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family vacationBeach vacations are the best. Sure, you’ve got the sun and ocean and bright blue skies (I hope). But for me – the mother of a 2-year-old boy who is out-of-control wild – the beach is like a giant bouncy castle. It’s the one place in the world where he can run free and not kill himself. And when I say run free, I mean he can literally run for hours without his dad or me having to worry about him wiping out and cracking his head open, or bashing into a wall, or climbing onto something way too high and leaping off onto the pavement below. Of course, there’s the ocean to worry about, but my son’s kind of afraid of the ocean right now, and that’s just fine by me. (In fact, I hope he remains petrified of the ocean until he’s old enough to swim.)

Moms of wild ones will know what I mean. They’ll understand that the playground can be a scary place. Sure, I take my kids there daily, but it kind of ruins my life. My 6-year-old isn’t a problem, but my 2-year-old will jump from the highest point of a jungle gym onto the concrete below and find it hilarious. I try not to hover – I don’t want to be one of those moms – but there’s a fine line between letting your child hurt himself and learn vs. letting him leap to his death (or at least to a broken bone or two).

Open fields are my friend, but those will only capture my little one’s attention for a moment or two. Sooner or later he’ll try and escape – usually to the nearest road – and then I’ll have to chase him so that he doesn’t run into traffic (good times). Then there’s the basketball court near my house. We’ll head there – my boys and I – basketball in hand but inevitably, within minutes, the little one lands face-first onto the pavement (this happens a lot on sidewalks, too).

Which brings me to the beach – or, as I like to call it, nature’s child-proofing. We’re headed there next week for a little family vacation, and I am most excited for the sand. Miles upon miles of sand. Soft, injury-free sand. My guy can wipe out all he wants on the sand and guess what? No bloody lip, no nasty bruises, no broken bones. No minor scrapes! It may sound silly but hey, when you have fearless kid to consider, there is nothing more heavenly (besides maybe leaving your kid at home and replacing him with a fancy umbrella drink).

(Photo: iStockphoto)