Yesterday we took Leo to see the ocean for the first time. It was amazing. I love the ocean, and haven't been for a few years now. Between living further from the shore in Pittsburgh and having the cafe - there just wasn't an opportunity, and I'd been missing it sorely. It was so nice to be back - but it was definitely a whole new experience with a baby in tow.
It was intense being on the parent side of a beach trip - packing snacks, shade, changes of clothes, sunscreen, toys, water, diapers, towels, and spending the day chasing after a munchkin rather than laying in the sun and reading or jumping in the waves. Still, I had a great time. Of course that is in large part to my totally awesome partner and my totally awesome sister and her totally awesome best friend who were beyond helpful. I absolutely recommend a 4:1 ratio of adults to babies for a beach trip ;)
Leo's first sight (and smell, and sound) of the ocean:
Before we even got near the water, Leo was impressed. The sand was a big hit. Like, a mega big hit. It was hard to get him to look up for even a few moments for a picture!
Maddie and Larissa had the great idea of setting up our tent on the beach. Honestly, I thought it was strange and not-at-all appealing idea - but ended up being a lifesaver. It was great to have shade to retreat to and I don't think we could have gotten him to eat any lunch with sand in sight!
It made it super easy to find our spot on the beach when we wandered down the shore.
It was a shady place to lay down for a nap, private place to nurse, and limited distraction to allow for both nursing and sleeping.
I was worried that the water and the waves would be too much at first and that we'd have to ease Leo into the surf - but he was all in from the get-go. He loved the waves and signed "more please" between each one. If they didn't come back quickly enough for his taste he would crawl or run after them. I'm pretty sure he would have toddled in up to his neck if we would have allowed it.
I was in complete awe of how fearless he was. Every time the waves splashed his face or knocked him over he just squealed with delight. I hope this love of the ocean is lifelong.
It's so nice being less than two hours away from the beach - I hope we are able to take advantage of it often. We just went to Atlantic City because it is close and cheap even though we worried it would be dirty and crowded - but I was pleasantly surprised. We went to a beach a little removed from the hotels/casinos and it was quite lovely. I'll leave you with my favorite picture of the day. I just love how well I was able to capture the look of joy on his face one of the few times he actually looked right at the camera...