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April 11, 2022 / JustinKays Porter

Baby’s First Sand

Babies and sand: not a combination that I looked forward to as a first time mom. At all. Millie was a very tactile baby and I knew it would be a mess when we finally plopped her down onto the sand and let her go to town. She loved to play with her food, she loved finger painting, she loved to touch and squish and feel all the things. At the beach, I knew the sand would end up in her hair, her mouth, her clothes, probably her eyes if I wasn’t paying attention! But I also knew she would love it. Even if it only lasted five minutes, it would be five minutes of pure joy.

We went to Morro Bay for a few days shortly after Millie’s first birthday. By this time we already knew she loved the coast, but it was the first time we were planning to take a blanket out onto the sand and stay for as long as she would let us. We had typical California summer beach weather: foggy and freezing in the morning, with the sun making an attempt to emerge in the early afternoon. We, being seasoned Californians, made appropriate plans to arrive in said early afternoon. We even brought an umbrella for good measure, but I’m not sure why: when the sun finally makes its appearance at the coast in the summer, nobody wants to be under an umbrella. You soak up that sun and thaw out from the morning chill!

I digress. The beach was mostly empty and the long stretch of sand between the parking lot and the ocean was a pure, powdery white: the best kind of beach sand. I walked across the breezy, fog-shrouded beach with Millie in the sling, following Justin with the umbrella, blanket, and beach bag. We chose a spot at random, set up beach camp, and sat down. We put Millie right on the edge of the blanket and showed her the sand.

Millie didn’t hesitate. She reached forward and grabbed two handfuls of sand and then froze. She looked at the soft white stuff closely, then rolled it between her fingers. She studiously watched with a furrowed brow as she opened her hand and let the sand fall back to the earth, a slow trail of tiny white particles cascading through the salty air. Millie turned to Justin and me and grinned. She proceeded to scoop up handfuls of sand and dump them out anywhere she could reach: back on the beach, on the blanket, over her toes, in her hair, on my legs. I’m guessing this lasted about ten minutes, and then she scooped a handful of sand right into her mouth. And was very disappointed that the beautiful white stuff did not feel beautiful in her mouth!

After a few minutes of disgust and mouth-cleaning, Millie would not be deterred. She went right back to scooping and pouring. Millie had a surprisingly long attention span as a baby. At this age, this kind of activity was her jam, and I remember being happy that the sand at the beach fit right into what I knew about her. She loved it, but I think we lasted about half an hour (maybe less?) before the sand accumulating in her clothes, under her fingernails, in her hair, in her baby neck rolls, got to be too much. So we packed up and left, her first sand experience a good one. As far as I can remember, she only shoveled sand into her mouth once.

I’m not sure why I remember this so clearly. It might be because of the sand and the sea and the salt, things I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. But it might also be because I saw a photo of it last week. Or it might be because that night we saw one of the most incredible sunsets I’ve ever seen, and it burned all the details of that day permanently into my mind.

Future trips to the beach with Millie were a delight. Santa Cruz, Lake Tahoe, Hawaii… she didn’t discriminate. Millie loved the water, and it will always remind me of her.

I also have to throw this in here: Nate absolutely hates the sand. Won’t touch it, refuses to set foot in it. Unless it’s hard packed and the activity involves playing in the waves, then he’s into it. Pretty crazy how different our kids can be, isn’t it?

One Comment

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  1. Chelsey R. Perry / Apr 12 2022 8:28 am

    So many sandy memories!

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