Thursday, July 5, 2007

A Kamikaze Crab Beatin' Mommy

My first day to wake up by the ocean. It is quite extraordinary to sit here and look out the window at the sugar white beach, hilly dunes and sea grass waving in the breeze. The water is that amazing blue-green of dreams. The drive out yesterday went well. Only 2 or 3 bathroom stops. The kids had a great nap on the drive and that was much preferable to a late afternoon melt-down.

Boy couldn't wait to get in the ocean. He lives for water. He was in it within seconds of his flying feet hitting the beach. He went out into the ocean with his grandfather, who told me later that Boy said Pops, I'm soooo happy! Boy is very upfront about his feelings. He is also known to say I'm soooo mad at 'choo, Mommy, sooo mad at 'choo!

Girl was petrified. As soon as she saw the sand from the walkway, she wanted to go back to the house. She wouldn't even let me walk down the steps to the sand. We finally made it down the steps after tons of reassurances, but as soon as I tried to put her down on the sand, she started wailing and clinging to me like a little monkey. We walked back up the steps and took a pause to look out at everyone below. When she still wasn't comfortable, we went back up to the house. Of course, I was really frustrated as I wanted nothing more than a dip in the ocean which is warm...like bath water. And of course, I had to take the time for her because girl is a person of gradual adjustments to new things. And pushing her to do something she doesn't want to do or something that scares her is just not the way to go. Not if we both want to get through it and arrive intact on the other side. So.....I took some deep breaths and really started to talk to her and figure out what she was so frightened of. At first I thought it was the ocean itself. But, that wasn't it. She was afraid of CRABS! I can only blame myself and of course, her mind which is like an elephant and seems to never forget. I blame myself because.... the tale of Boy being bitten by a crab last summer has become something we talk about fairly frequently and although Boy has put it behind him and moved on... obviously Girl has not.

So, I have one child who lives for the beach and one child who thinks it is a treacherous land of wild crabs lusting for children's fingers and toes. Polar Opposites!! GREAT.... We are gone for over 3 weeks and where are we??? At the BEACH! There goes the vacation! God, I miss E... Daddy would make it all better in a minute. Daddy is the hero. He can fix anything a little girl or boy is afraid of...anything. And that is how it should be.

That was yesterday.

So, today is a new day!We talked a lot and I told her that all the crabs have run away to another beach. They are scared of people and especially scared of her cousin's surfboard. No crabs. Anywhere. I have lied blatantly to my daughter. If I see a crab, or worse if she sees one....Well, I will just have to become a KAMIKAZE crab beatin' mommy.

Something worked. My lies or her sheer determination. Probably more of the latter. This morning Girl was able to go with me down the walkway, down the steps out onto the beach and sit in a chair about 20 feet from the ocean. PROGRESS! It was very hard for her. She did it though. She stayed under the sun tarp for quite a while. She didn't want me to venture far. Most of the time I sat beside her. She watched all the kids playing in the ocean, and digging in the sand. From time to time one of them would come over and check on her, ask her to join them. She wanted to, but she just wasn't there yet. Boy came over to her, You don't have to be afwaid, Girl. They're no crabbies. She looked like she was going to buy it for a minute, but NO... Then she was ready to go back inside. She didn't like the sand on her skin and wanted to rinse off. Rinsing off in the ocean was not an option. Hey, I'll take it. We're moving forward. Today the sand chair, maybe soon a toe in the ocean. I told her as we were walking back up to the house how proud I was of her going out with me onto the sand.

None of this could be managed without the many willing hands who are here. There are so many kids! Lucky for us, wonderful family by marriage. So many new cousins. 8 kids 5 and under and a few older. It's good to be a kid. And it's great to be a big kid.


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1 comment:

tara_tinique said...

Sorry to hear about your frustrating experience. My daughter is sometimes seized by irrational fear, and you do just have to grit your teeth and guide them through it. Glad to hear you're making progress - actually quite a lot for 1 day. It took me about a year to get DD over her fear of leaves!

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