Wednesday, 26 September 2007


We live about half a mile from the beach, and I've taken Berry there exactly once.

If you asked me why we'd never been in the four months we've lived here, I would've said it was because this particular beach wasn't good enough. (I'm a beach snob, I'll admit it. Australia will spoil you that way. "That's not a beach," I tell myself, "It's just where the land meets the Gulf of Mexico.")

But Berry showed me the real reason: beaches are fraught with danger and distress.

"Uh-oh!" she said as soon as I set her down on the sand. "Uh-oh! Uh-oh! Shoooooes."

Sand in her shoes. Right. She hopped from foot to foot.

Did she want to take off her shoes? No.
Did she want to brush the sand off her shoes? No.
Did she want mummy to take her shoes off and empty out the sand and brush off her feet and put them back on? Of course.

Berry's not a beach veteran. Although she's half-Australian, and although she's two years old, she's only been to two beaches in her whole life. Two. Polar opposites: beautiful but freezing Cannon Beach in Oregon, and the blindingly gorgeous Currumbin Beach in Australia.

So the beach down here was still a new and unsettling experience for her.
"Uh-oh!" The wind was blowing.

"Uh-oh!" There were bugs.

"Uh-oh!" A small breeze peppered us with sand.

"Uh-oh! Juuuuuuuice!" The ocean was juice. And it was very worrisome. She preferred not to walk in it.

We repeated the uh-oh about shoes and sand several times until I persuaded (cajoled, convinced) her to take them off altogether – an unprecedented step for my finicky toddler. She walked on careful tiptoes.

Eventually we sat in the sand (imagine!) and talked about Hello Kitty and birdies and juice, and made some very tiny sand castles with a very tiny bucket and spade, and pretended the bugs weren't there.

I think – I like to think – that by the time we left, I had a marginally less uptight two-year-old than the one I arrived with.

I guess time will tell.


  1. That's funny!! The beach with a toddler. I remember it well. A lot of fun but also a lot of work.

  2. That is very funny. I remember how finicky toddlers can be. You described it perfectly. Does she want to go back?

  3. Very adorable. I am a bit picky about beaches as well. I love the fresh water of the Great Lakes as opposed to the ocean... plus no sharks or other bitey/stingy things.

  4. Sure she'll learn what it is to be half Australian at some point soon - you got some beautiful little photos pf her out of it anyway!

  5. you cracked me up with this one. But of course, I'm right there with you one this one. Emma was terrified of her flip flops. And now she won't wear anything else. Just in time for Fall.

  6. Marmalade in her armpits. That's the only way to deal with a finicky toddler. Everything's a breeze after you've worn marmalade in your armpits... I have it on good advice.

    Sorry, Berry... yet another black mark against Uncle Az

  7. I love it. The tip-toes, the uh-ohs - all of it. Exactly the way a lot of toddlers react and it is SO funny!

  8. she'll grow to love it, I'm sure. You just keep on going to the beach, you'll see, she's ask for it later on.

  9. How cute! Don't you just love the "uh oh's"?! Too adorable :)