22 July 2010

Shark Attack

Isaac loves ocean life: sharks, whales, dolphins, various types of fish. He loves them all. We have non-fiction books about sea animals, counting books with fish and various other sea creatures, stories about sea otters and sharks. His library is filled with books about things that live in the ocean. He does not, however, actually love the ocean. Being from Florida, this stresses Matt and I out a bit. We like to visit the beach when we can, but have not planned to spend a vacation at the shore for the last few years because we know that Isaac will be miserable.

On my annual summer visit to see family in FL, I decided that I wanted to spend at least one day at the beach. Mom and I decided to keep the trip short, leaving early and spending the morning at Anastasia State Park, then venturing into St. Augustine for lunch and shopping. The perfect beach day, or so I hoped.

I am not exactly sure what it is about the beach that Isaac dislikes so much. He is a cautious child and the sheer immensity of the ocean and the myriad of sensations that accompany it may just be too much for him to process all at once. Whatever the problem is, he was having none of it Monday morning. He spent the first 30 minutes sitting on the towel while I watched him from the water. The next 30 minutes were spent crying and begging to leave. I finally convinced him to just walk down to the water with me. Then he agreed to take a walk toward the pier. The next step was getting him to sit on my lap as the waves crawled toward us. Finally, while I ran back to grab the camera to take pictures of my success, Grandma and Isaac started a splashing contest. It was a long tear-filled process, but I think Isaac is on his way to being a convert.

Matt would have handled the morning much better than I did, teasing Isaac out of his mood and effectively avoiding the tantrum. I tend to take the "suck it up and get over it" approach, which is infinitely more aggravating and difficult, but for some reason I stick to it. It was easy, though, to forget the wailing and the constant "I want to go's" that I heard all morning when Isaac was sitting in my lap and we were being rocked by the waves. It was one of those rare times when I could be in the moment, focused on my son, not worried about anything but enjoying having my arms wrapped around him and knowing that right then I was the most important person in his world.

After hearing me relate our misadventure, Matt has decided that we need to spend more time at the beach. Just a short trip here and there so Isaac has more opportunities to become comfortable with it. I think in preparation we will keep reading about all of the animals that live in the ocean. Although, now that I think about it, that may not be the best idea. We will also search the library for books about visiting the beach and all of the FUN things that you can do there. But, when we do go, if all Isaac is willing to do is sit in my lap and watch the waves, I won't complain. I will just enjoy.

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