With three kids under the age of 8, it’s easy for Powerwoman and me to get caught up in planning trips around the bigger girls and not the baby.
Earlier this week, however, 15-month-old Baby G made sure I saw a family daytrip to our favorite Sonoma County beach from her point of view. The experience made me a better traveler, a better dad, and a better man. It also made me laugh.
The specifics are almost irrelevant—the big kids had off from school so I took the three of them out to Goat Rock State Beach, our favorite (despite its tendency to receive rogue waves). Because it was windy and the waves were big, I carried Baby G in the backpack while I monitored the whereabouts of her bigger sisters up the beach. After about an hour, however, the baby wanted out.
I obliged at lunch, when we set up a picnic blanket near the dunes and ate while we watched the waves.
That’s when it happened. After lunch, the big kids were clamoring to head down the beach to look for beach glass, but I didn’t want to go. I gave Baby G the option of getting back into the backpack or just hanging with me on the blanket. She very clearly slapped the blanket and grunted. She wanted to stay.
So we stayed. I sat her on my lap. We marveled at waves. We pointed at gulls. We played with sand. All told the two of us probably sat there, just enjoying the beach, for the better part of 45 minutes. She didn’t fuss or whine once. She didn’t complain about the wind. She didn’t even insist on peas, which she usually does at picnic lunches. In short, the baby was completely enraptured. As was I.
I’ve probably written about it 100 times, but this particular experience was yet another in the litany of experiences that taught me to slow down even more and take the time to appreciate life on the road.
Travel isn’t always easy—especially with kids. But I do know that in this case a little bit of extra effort went incredibly far with our baby, which is always a good scenario to cultivate.