Pediatrician: "Go ahead."
Me: "How much sand is too much sand for a baby to eat?"
Pediatrician: "Well, it would be best if you didn't feed your child any sand."
Me: "Yeah, that is no longer an option. I think they each took down quite a bit of sand at the beach today..."
Pediatrician: "Quite a bit?"
Me: "Yeah, like, roughly equivalent to the size of a quarter-pounder hamburger. I mean, many handfuls of the stuff."
Pediatrician: "OK, well that is probably not good."
All right, fine, that is not a real conversation. But several times I have replayed in my head how this chat would turn out since we took the kids to the beach for the first time on Monday. Both kids had a good time at the beach, but I would say that Mal had a better time than Micah. That's because Micah spent quite a bit of time crying and trying to fish sand out of his mouth. He cried every time we tried to stop him from eating the sand, and then cried as soon as he got his hand to his mouth. Eventually the sand would dissipate and he would cheer up, but then he would shovel another handful of grit into his mouth. Malorie also ate her fair share of sand, but eventually we figured out that if we gave her the pacifier she would keep that in her mouth instead of eating sand. After that, she kept happy and busy playing in the sand, surf and sun.
The trip to the beach was prompted by my brother Tom's visit to Jacksonville, his first while I have been here. Unfortunately for Tommy, most of his trip reminded me of a late nineties song by the British band Travis called, "Why Does It Always Rain on Me?" Tommy attended a toddler birthday party with us, but it was pouring buckets outside so about thirty two-year-old and younger kids packed into a crowded living room. Tommy was thrilled and terrified simultaneously. We went to the pool once, but it rained on us. Then on Sunday, Tommy and I went to a local bar to watch a Cubs game. This was my Father's Day present from Rachel, and was a very thoughtful gift. Tommy and I were having a great time until a rain storm knocked out the television at the bar, and we had to come home without seeing the last two innings of the game. We went to the beach on Monday morning because it rained all afternoon. On his final day in Florida, I took Tommy to do a P-3 flight simulator at work. Unbelievably, in the simulation it was raining and windy, and I could not figure out how to modify the weather. Luckily for Tommy, though, the actual weather that night was fine, and The Rain King and I spent a nice evening at the NAS Jacksonville T-Bar, watching the sun set over the St. John's River and watching planes and helicopters land at the field.
Back at the beach, Micah and Mal spent that morning lathered up in the highest SPF lotion we could find while Tommy laid out and got some sun. Micah and Mal got to eat at the beach, and also definitely ate some of the beach too. We know this because they both pooped sand that night. I didn't feel too bad for Micah, because he fed me two handfuls of sand at the beach too. It didn't taste good. In all honesty, eating sand is not good for kids (probably not good for me either). The Internet tells me that they could get strep throat, staph infections or internal parasites from eating it, but so far Micah and Mal seem fine.
All in all, the kids made some great new friends, were vastly intrigued by the seagulls, and kept me and Rachel on our toes the whole time. The experience was trying but fun, and made me wonder why people don't just wear helmets with face masks covering their mouths while they are at the beach. I mean, it would stop the kids from eating their body weight in sand, prevent them from feeding sand to their parents, and would also keep Tommy's hair from getting messed up when it rains. It's a win-win if you ask me!