Today Mom, Liev, and I took off for a little seaside excursion. We left early this morning despite the overcast and windy weather. Mom sat back with Liev, entertaining him with travel toys, noises, and general silliness. She was such a good feel for interacting with him, that I envy her.
Mom also entertained me on the drive to Hampton Beach since she knew the name of every tree, shrub, flower, and plant we passed on the roadway. I know nothing about local flora except that some trees are oaks, and others are pines. At forty-something, I just discovered the connection between acorns and oaks. Duh.
Anyway, Liev spent the last bit of our drive gasping dramatically, saying, “Ooooooohh!” and “O-cye!” pointing out the window to the sea. Mom encouraged his enthusiasm, with her own Ooos and ahhs. How his little eyes glowed with wonder! We arrived at Hampton Beach, which was deserted, except for a few hearty senior citizens and a smattering of skinny joggers. Beach season is over.
We didn’t park at Hampton because I forgot to bring quarters to feed the very hungry meters. So we left then for our ultimate destination, Wallace Beach (which was also closed for the season!). Although the beach and parking lots were still accessible, the facilities were all locked, making bathroom planning a must. This solitude was fortunate since Liev struggled.
He loved the ocean, but the size and newness of it blew the circuits in his brain. Fit after fit seized him, purpling his face and filling his lungs with piercing shrieks. Holding my hand incensed him. He wanted to, needed to, go. Go, without me, into the sea, off to England or the Canary Islands powered by a megaton of wails. As the weather was too blustery for a walk in the waves, I struggled with him as he tried to drag me into the surf. Mom leaned on her cane as I wrangled his thrashing body into his stroller, securing him firmly.
After fifteen minutes of exertion, we returned to the SUV. Poor Liev looked so tragic, clutching onto his baa and sucking frantically on his souska as I wheeled him to the car. We tried another recreation area by the sea with a modest grassy park. A small group of mothers and a few Liev-sized toddlers picnicked over to one side.
I said a silent prayer and set Liev free. To his credit, he did well until he caught sight of the waves at a corner of the park. Another tussle ensued, this time with me trying to prevent him from scaling the boulders and rocks that blocked the sea. My efforts were met with more howls and tears, and the stares of everyone at the park.
Embarrassed, I put on my best, “I know what I am doing” face. I worried Mom would think I was a terrible parent and that our seaside adventure was a fail. Well, third time is a charm, right? We packed up and went out for lunch. Would Liev throw an alarming and unprecedented fit that would humiliate us in front of the restaurant staff?
No! He was a total sweetie who charmed everyone. “Oh, what an adorable little boy!” cooed our waitress with an unnerving little-girl voice. She fussed over him, and he dared to giggle as if to say, “See, I am a reasonable child. I just needed some love and understanding!” Sheesh!
The three of us had a perfect lunch. Mom and I each ordered a mega-plate of fried clams, with tartar sauce, fried potatoes, coleslaw, and a tumbler of peanut oil to guarantee a caloric content of 10,000. Liev ate fried chicken, fruit, and French fries. He discovered that lemons were splendid and chomped on a dish of them as Mom and I scarfed down seafood. Despite all the overstimulation today, he did his best. Congratulations to my good little boy. I am proud of the progress he made!