Babel went to the beach! The caravan park we stayed at was within walking distance from a large public Welsh beach, which is exactly why we rented a caravan there. Babel loves water. He loves bathing, he loves the park’s public pool, he loves splashing. So we were very excited to show Babel the sea and the beach.
In the morning it was just the three of us. When we first got there it was very quiet and the sea was very close to shore. Babel did a bit of exploring and splashing in the water with Yasu, and he liked it! He did not like the taste of the salty water though.
We put on his swimsuit and swim diaper with our backs to the water. When we were done and turned around we were surprised at how much further the water had drained from the shore in just 5 minutes. Apparently, this beach is famous for the big difference in ebb and flow. They’re not lying, wow. By the end of the afternoon the sea was so unbelievably far away. We did not swim in the afternoon.
When Opa, Oma and Akiko arrived at the beach, Babel played with them on the beach for a long time. Yasu and I went for a swim, or mostly me, the water was too cold for Yasu’s Japanese skin. When we came back, Babel was napping in makeshift a towel tent. Babel loved playing in the sand.
I wanted to make sure he also got some swimming time in, as he loves water and he had so much fun in the morning splashing around. The water was far away from the shore and our spot on the beach, so it was a bit of a hike, but we wanted to make sure Babel had the full beach experience.
Once we got to the water though, Babel became extremely unhappy. It was puzzling, because we know he loves water and in the morning he’d enjoyed being in the sea. Maybe the water was too cold, too salty, too wild or too brown. I’m not sure. I ended up breastfeeding him, while sitting in the surf to calm him down. Soon after we were all playing in the mud, and he absolutely loved that!
We helped Babel build a drip castle and dug a moat around him, that magically filled with seawater draining from the wet mud. Babel loved putting the mud everywhere including all over himself. I think this was the moment he enjoyed himself the most during our day on the beach, looking back I wish we could have made that moment last longer.
It was nearing lunch time and I wanted him to enjoy the water before we went back. Also, Babel’s face and body were covered in mud, so a nice rinse in the sea was warranted. I was hoping his sudden dislike for water was forgotten after all that fun in the mud, so we tried swimming with him again. But now touching or being in the sea water made him cry in a way we had never really experienced before. I held him tight and tried sitting down in the water with him to let him acclimate, but he didn’t like it at all. He also seemed to be very cold, so we had to give up.
When we got back to the caravan, we were way too sandy to go inside and have lunch. So we took showers, and again Babel screamed and cried. He had never had a problem with showering or bathing before, but the shower in the caravan terrified him. We wanted to go back to the beach after lunch. This was basically our last chance to let Babel enjoy playing on the beach, we knew the next day the weather was going to be bad. He had loved the sand and the mud, he had hated the sea and the shower. We knew if we took him back to the beach we would have to shower him again afterwards.
We decided to go back, and Babel spent many happy hours on the beach in the afternoon. He enjoyed digging tunnels with his family, he loved the freedom of being able to walk far and wide, he watched Yasu fly the kite, and he even found a large puddle of water where he rediscovered his joy of splashing energetically. Babel had so much fun on the beach that I think even he feels the second traumatizing shower was worth it. Kind of.