FAMILY & PARENTING · Uncategorized

Children of the Sea

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What happens when parents and their children holiday together! By children I mean toddlers only. By holiday I mean a vacation with like-minded friends (friends having similar aged children as yours, is the icing on the cake). Lets get the obvious out of the way – Its joyous for everyone.

We recently embarked on such a vacation and decided to get some much-needed Vitamin D. A beach holiday it was. Sun- Sand- Sea – are recipe enough for a perfect holiday and ours went a notch better with 2 other couple friends and their children vacationing with us.

Without really comparing with any other type of destination, I would highly recommend a beach holiday, especially if you have toddlers crawling all over you and your house.

Increase their playing field and let them loose on Mother Nature’s soft sands and warm waters. You will find them building their dream castles (in our case Peanut and the boys were busy saving a plant and potting it in their bucket with sand). The girls were only too happy to surrender to the waves and with each wave that pushed their tiny bodies in different directions we heard squeals of laughter. The shell collecting is akin to some treasure hunt and with each beautiful shell that was collected, Peanut would press his ear to it and hope to hear the ocean from it. My fearless lass – Buttercup was literally caught on camera, throwing her body high up and then crashing into the sandy water with a huge smile and sand all over her face.

As parents we yo-yoed between joining them in this revelry and enjoying some of our own downtime by sunbathing and generally lounging.

All the children fearlessly ran amok on the beach and splashed in the pool and all the parents sat back and smiled in this stress free environment. It’s that kind of satisfaction where other than keeping an eye open (cant lose that part of being a parent) you could let them wander about for hours.

Another strong recommendation – go to such destinations during non-peak time(in our case it was the Monsoon season. The rain is hardly a deterrent if you are already soaking wet from the sea). You don’t want the beach to be crawling with people as that will only add further stress in keeping a watch and keeping up with your ‘always on the move toddlers’.

So let me do what I do best – analyze the important bits of this holiday. 🙂

The first component of a beach destination is Sun (atleast in India that would be true. We went in the monsoon season and still got sunburnt!!). Sun is the powerhouse for every living being. There is something about sunshine that puts an immediate smile on everyone’s face, almost like the warmth of the sun penetrates deep into us and warms up our souls. We instantly become happier. Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD as it commonly called is caused by a lack of light. Maybe that’s why beachy destinations that have a lot of sunlight also have an easy and chilled out pace about them. So clearly the Sun brings out the ‘happy’ in us and in our children. Sun=happy parent=happy child=sun.

The next is the sand. If the Sun is the powerhouse, then the beach is the creative house. From making sand castles to writing alphabet letters (don’t blame the parent, Peanut was only too happy to revise his knowledge by penning it on the sand), the children experiment and explore the vastness of the sand. The sand has the ability to really bring out the imagination. Take a bucket of sand toys or take nothing at all and still there will be so much to explore and play with on the sand. The sand also provides enough of Peanut’s first love – the creepy crawlies and in this case tiny little crabs dashing in and out of their holes. Peanut was ecstatically chasing the crabs up and down the beach under our watchful eyes ofcourse.

And then the Sea. There is possibly nothing better (for me) than the sun shining bright, lounging on the sand with the warm waves lapping at the feet. Moving away from the point here but I really think Indian beaches have more than enough to offer without really looking out of the country. Unless the water is warm enough to dive into, half the charm of the beach is lost. Some exotic white sand beaches have shivering cold water, that us warm bodied Indians just cant get into. So again, if you are travelling with children, think of that. Cause they will want to jump in and you wont want them to, if the water is cold. Stress. They will jump in nevertheless and then catch a cold. Stress. Yes the brown sand is not as appealing as the white sands and if you can have both white sands and warm water then that’s great. But again picturesque scenarios don’t really appeal to the children especially in the face of some wild antics that can be performed in the water. And that is what these crazy monkeys will do. Literally you can leave them in the water for hours and they will not get tired. Contrary to tired, they would be beaming with excitement and with truckloads of energy. I have seen the tamest of children become these crazy fearless kiddos on contact with water. So Sea to me is the Magic house. Some children take time to get themselves familiar with the waves and water, but familiar they do! In our case all the 5 children were already at their fearless best and in they dived. One kiddo had to be held back from going too deep (rough water in the monsoon – not that he cared. He thought he could conquer it all. What a lovely feeling to possess! This same kiddo who is going to be 6 yrs is already quite a beach veteran and when asked what’s your favorite holiday –pat came the reply – naming the beach destination. No prizes for guessing why 🙂 ).

Eventually each child finds his place amongst these 3 houses. Peanut turned many shades darker basking in the sun and playing on the beach just near the water. Buttercup’s choice was loud and clear – water, water and only water. And not the periphery kind but water upto her chest kind. She loved every bit of the water, from getting pushed around by the waves, to jumping silly & unfettered over each wave. Pure unimaginable joy.

As I read somewhere, I wish and hope that these kiddos always have a seashell in their pocket and sand in their shoes.

‘Smell the sea, and feel the sky

Let your soul and spirit fly’

-Van Morrison

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