We managed to squeeze in one final trip this summer—we spent last week in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, in a rented beach house with Andrew’s family. We were there to meet Andrew’s sister Katherine’s new baby, Thomas, as well as get in some beach time with the girls.
The trip down was rocky. As Lucia will probably be glad to recount for the next ten years, she got sick five times on the two flights that took us from Newark to Daytona Beach—at least two of those times, she threw up on Andrew. (Greta was on my lap; we were spared.) It was terrible. It’s Dramamine for her from here on out.
Lucia was so sick she didn’t even get to have the bag o’ fun I made for each girl, full of stickers and markers and stamps and notepads and Littlest Pet Shop sea creatures. Greta was silent the entire second flight, covering a Littlest Pet Shop shark with sparkly fish stickers.
The girls adored the beach. A pile of beach toys from Andrew’s parents made things even better. Getting the girls ready for the beach was a feat, though. We went out twice each day—in the morning till lunchtime, and then after nap/quiet time until dinner. Each time required long chases and whining protests as we slathered them with sunscreen; and then, on our return, much protesting as we hosed the sand off of them and maneuvered everyone, dripping and still somewhat sandy, inside. Still, it was worth it. Both girls loved the water, and it was interesting to see how their age difference played out—Greta was reckless, running at top speed into the water, heedless of how little she is and how strong the waves were. Lucia understood (mostly) the danger and was much warier; she never went in very far and dashed out when she saw a wave approach. She was actually very hesitant on the second day to get into the water at all, admitting finally that the water made her dizzy and she didn’t want to be knocked over by a wave. She got past it, luckily, and from then on had a great time.
Greta’s favorite thing to do was to wade into the water just where it was washing up onto the sand; as soon as she felt it cover her feet, she’d dramatically lie down and lean all the way back to trail her hair in the water, lifting one leg up daintily, as though posing for a movie-star spread. She also liked having us make dinosaurs and other animals with sand-molds from Andrew’s parents; she’d admire them and then stomp on them.
Lucia most loved dancing and singing in the water, as well as digging large “swimming pools” at the edge of the water and making witches’ castles with the wet sand. I was always the mean witch demanding more shells to decorate my castle; with enough shells, I became nice. Lucia was totally into the game, addressing me as Witch and adding her own narration. Whenever I spoke, Lucia would add, “…said the witch.” “Lucia, my pretty, what a lovely shell!” “…said the witch.” I’m not sure exactly what was going on here—was she in a storybook? was I? was she reading it?—but she was fully absorbed.
Thomas, at seven weeks old, was too little to be on the beach, but since Katherine’s still home she spent most of each day at the beach house with us, so we got lots of baby time. The girls seemed mildly interested in the baby but Lucia was definitely more enamored with her aunt. And Greta, when she awoke from her nap one afternoon to find me on the couch with a napping baby on my chest, looked at me with a heartbroken expression on her face, her lower lip sticking out and quivering, and began to cry as she lurched over, arms extended, and more or less forced Thomas onto someone else so she could take her rightful place on my lap.
The low point of the week: my evening spent on the couch, dizzy and nauseous, from dehydration and/or heatstroke. After lots of water and Gatorade and a 10pm bedtime, I was fine by the next day.
A lovely week all in all, and no sickness from Lucia on the way back thanks to the miracle of Dramamine. And finally our summer draws to a close.