Packing suitcases for the seaside recently got me thinking a lot. As usual, before going on a trip I don’t have time to pack things the day before. I get to work the worst shift and overtime, which is the reason why I start two weeks in advance by slowly selecting a pile of my clothes and adding the rest to the list. It ́s not the first time we are going on a trip with a child, but it ́s the first time going to the seaside. My hubby and I talked about what we would need to bring for a little one, because that ́s always the biggest issue. When it comes to us, we can both travel with a backpack only.
At first I was thinking about all the stuff people usually carry to the beach; like air beds, plastic boats, all kind of toys for children, etc. The more I kept thinking about it, the more nervous it made me feel. In the end, we agreed not to take any toys, a bear (which is a must for a sleep), a plastic ball we bought for 1.49 euro on sale,vand a book with songs he likes us to sing. There will be enough junk in the apartment that he can play with like plastic bottles and similar stuff which are his fave. Also, we are flying which is great motivation for limiting unnecessary luggage! I remember many people with children saying you need a huge car for this and that, you can ́t leave home without millions of gadgets, otherwise it won ́t be a holiday, as kids need to play and be entertained and whoever knows what. And adding to it: „You ́ll see!“ And I saw some of those full cars, which scared me, as someone needs to pack and unpack all that stuff. And who is it going to be that person in my case?
Maybe that ́s the truth for most people and their children, but to be honest, too many things make me stressed. The more things I have to bring, the more stress they create. Why? I don ́t really see it as a holiday if I can ́t just get out of the apartment without packing for an hour, collecting numerous things around the room, hoping they will make my child more comfortable, and he ́ll play while I suntan. Yeah right! The longest interest he has in any toy is a week, and if I really think about it, at home he plays with the vacuum cleaner, plastic plates and forks, the colorful paper I always try to hide from him (which I use for wrapping gifts), and any of the other things we use on a daily basis. I don ́t remember him playing with his current toys more than five minutes. So why do I need them? Every time we’re in the park, he has more interest in other kids ́ toys than his own. It ́s not going to be any different if we change location. Good thing is he loves water and can play with it for hours and there ́s a plenty of sea! Depending on to many things does not make me free as I need to think about them as well and I do not want to think a lot. Thinking doesn ́t really relaxes me.
I remember going to the beach as a child. Every year we spent a month along the coast. Going to the beach was as simple as carrying a towel and some fruit for a snack. We could carry anything else we wanted, but under the condition that we carry it, not our parents. On the first day, I would take extra things but later on, not really. Many times I lost interest, as I didn ́t feel like walking loaded down with all that stuff. And there was nooo way we ́d go to the beach by car. You ́re on vacation: you need to walk and breathe fresh air. A car was for lazy people, as my parents used to say. When I look back, I cannot honestly remember that I was ever bored without those toys or without air mattresses. We laid on the pebble beach, as this was healthier (like a massage!). We never wore plastic shoes for the water (because they would give you flat feet). We were chasing each other barefoot on the stones, played volleyball, football, or simply spent as much time as possible in the water. We always found humor in seeing tourists in plastic sandals in various colors trying to get into the sea; all insecure tiptoeing on those small rocks they considered to be sharp. And what did we do? Just ran into the sea without worrying about rocks, and threw ourselves into the water, spraying everyone around. Who ever found pebble beaches not walkable? I don ́t remember wearing shoes. We found our own entertainment, never needed other things to be entertained, because our creative minds did their jobs. If I was fine back then, I am sure my child will be too.
After we finalized what (not) to bring, the best idea of all came to our minds: we invited grandma to join us! A good friend of mine told me about this little trick, and I was wondering how I hadn ́t come up with such a brilliant idea on my own! My hubby says he never thought he ́d be that happy seeing his motherinlaw. I wonder why. We believe the benefits will be felt on both sides. She doesn ́t get to see her grandchild that often, but loves to spend time with him. At the same time, she ́s at the seaside. She’s more enthusiastic than we are when needing to repeat the same song 100 times a day, loves to talk to him, teaches him new things, etc. And we get to go out in the evening for a drink or to the movies without needing to hire a babysitter while he ́s asleep. Grandma happily accepted the offer. And I don ́t remember the last time we went out on our own. It ́s gonna be strange, but I ́m sure we ́ll manage after couple of drinks. LOL!
Author: Bojana Bilić
In the eternal quest to bring order to chaos.