If the boy wakes up early, the only way to keep him happy is to take him on a long walk to the beach and at 6.30am by the time he’s had breakfast and started climbing up the wall, there’s not many people down there so he can run around without causing too many problems. There were just a few dog walkers and a couple of Detectorists around at that time. One of the metal detector guys was concentrating on the sand outside the beach huts. I thought he was unlikely to find any treasure there as it was up a bank and would get no jetsam reaching that far and surely it would have been well investigated before. Then I realised he was probably just looking for coins dropped by the people who’d been using the huts. I mean we all have to make a living and maybe he can clear three quid for an hour’s work like that (tax free), but I wasn’t sure that was the spirit of it. Having said that I don’t have a metal detector but just yesterday Ernie found a worn down and brown 50p under the climbing frame at the park and I found another 50p on the floor by the path down to the beach. So maybe holidaymakers just chuck their half-quids around and you can become a millionaire this way.
We went to breakfast with the family at the hotel before my parents and sister left. The balloon was still up in the ceiling and I hope it stays there for a good while. We had arrived at 9am, as had everyone in the hotel and it was not a very pleasant experience. Also my son was awake and so most of my time was spent chasing him around as I had for the previous couple of hours.
My body was stiff from the Park Run and my legs stinging from sun burn from our one decent day of sunshine and my heart dipped a little when Catie suggested going back to the beach post-breakfast. But I am happy for the work out of dragging a pram over sand and we headed up to the rocks halfway up the beach. Phoebe climbed them like a pro and afterwards declared that when she grew up she wanted to be a mummy, a climbing teacher (I don’t know why she’d set her sights on that, rather than being a climber, but there was a degree of arrogance to it, that she thought she already had tactics to pass on to others) a song-writer and have blue hair. Let’s see how many of those she manages.
Catie dug two holes in the sand and connected them down deep so there was a little sand bridge between them. Ernie slid down into one hole and so we buried him up to his middle and were then able to reach through the other hole and tickle his feet. It was fun. And that’s the happy memory from today. I will forget how drained I was and how much walking I had to do.
We wended our way home for lunch, stopping at a mini supermarket for milk and bananas. Once we were out we found Ernie had a packet of fruit pastilles in his hand and had managed to pick off the tin foil on the end. It is good to see he is following in the family trade of shoplifting, but he has yet to learn that you must be a Robin Hood and only steal from those who are stealing from the public via exorbitant prices (ie Ian Pick n Ian Mix). I took the pastilles back into the shop and apologised. The lady seemed surprised that we’d bothered and said she hadn’t seen him take them. Nor had we, I replied. I don’t know if she thought I was just returning them, but I am an honourable thief and as Ernie had made them unsaleable I was naturally going to pay for them. I’ve never seen a shopkeeper look more confused. Once she understood what was happening she thanked us for our honesty. But I think she thought we were crazy for not making off with our bounty. I refuse to do a joke about making off with a Bounty. It’s beneath me. Though Catie had coincidentally bought one, so I could have pretended.
I managed a snooze whilst Ernie had his nap and then the remaining grandparents took the kids for a couple of hours and Catie and me went to the hotel to escape the rain and had cocktails or coffee depending on our tastes.
We watched a little bit of TV before bed at 9.30pm and by then I was out like a light. We’re both being pushed to our limits, but the kids are having a great time. And that is what parenting is about. It’s hard to push down your ego and your own desire to have fun, especially when you’re had over four decades of putting yourself first. I may have Stockholm syndrome after this first week, but there’s a purity in the exhaustion and it’s rather lovely to be devoting our time to their happiness. Plus it makes those two hour windows of time for ourselves feel like diamond encrusted gold dust. So maybe it’s the best holiday ever. Even if I want to cry for most of it.