This summer I planned a 2-day trip to Ocean City but unfortunately had to cancel due to Aden and Alex fighting ear infections. I rescheduled for the second weekend in September. It was the only weekend we had open. I didn’t think to check OC’s calendar of events…turns out the second weekend in September is OC Bike Fest, an event which attracts over 150,000 motorcycling enthusiasts – YAY! Luckily Aden and Alex don’t have any issues with loud noises but if your child does have noise sensitivities, I recommend staying away because it is LOUD!
The last time Aden and Alex visited a beach they were 10 months old (see below) and pretty much immobile (ah, the good ole days).
Overall it wasn’t a pleasant experience. Carrying a load of stuff, trying to take pictures and capture a “first”, sunscreen in their eyes, and sand in their mouths…yeah that’s probably why it took me years to return. This year, I was ready. Both had learned about the beach during their summer session at CARD and I was ready to give them the full experience.
We left on Friday afternoon, stopped for lunch and bathroom breaks at Wendy’s. Both did fantastic. Aden does have issues with toilets flushing in restrooms and Alex has issues with the automatic hand dryers but we manage. Get in, get out!
We headed straight for the beach. It was a gorgeous day. I couldn’t have ordered better weather. Both were super excited about seeing the ocean, although Alex was much more apprehensive about the waves. He kept his distance and was happier building sand castles, looking for seashells, or his favorite activity- chasing seagulls: http://youtu.be/-hDyoSQFKl0
He stalked them the way a cheetah would stalk a gazelle in the wild. Although I felt bad he was annoying the rats with wings, it was hilarious to watch. Aden loved the waves…a little too much. On this particular day the waves were rough and he is fearless…not a good combination. Jon stayed close by and was ready to jump in after him at any moment. I definitely had some anxiety. A pool is one thing, the ocean, a whole different story. Take a look: http://youtu.be/_gKqb3sfEAcAfter 2 hours at the beach, we headed to our hotel for check-in. We stayed at the Francis Scott Key Hotel right over the bridge. This was our first experience staying overnight in a hotel room with the boys. Usually we stay in houses or condos, both allowing ample space for them to run and play…and for us to escape for a few minutes of peace and quiet. Not here. Not this time.
The indoor pool was amazing. I wish the water was a little warmer but the boys didn’t seem to mind.For dinner we went to Pizza Tugos. When we arrived the boys seemed antsy. That is until our server brought them each a big pile of pizza dough to play with. Score! This kept them busy until our pizza arrived. We called ahead and asked if we could order, but they assured us our pizza (once ordered) would be out in 10 minutes and they kept their word. We had excellent service and the boys had yet another pleasant dining experience.After dinner we headed to Northside Park on 125th. It has a well-paved walking path (perfect for a wagon ride) around the lagoons and a decent size playground. Aden and Alex had a great time running around and attempting to make new friends. Alex approached a little boy about his size; the two started chasing each other. I overheard the boy ask, “What is your name?” Alex responded, “Alex” but he didn’t reciprocate the question. Then the boy asked, “How old are you?” Alex held up 4 fingers and said, “Four”. The boy looked disgusted and said “I thought you were five!” and then ran away. Apparently a 4 and 5 year-old can’t play together. Alex didn’t seem to care about being rejected. I’m sure it won’t always be this easy. But hey, it’s a part of life. Saturday morning we headed to the boardwalk and rented a surrey for an hour. Jon and I peddled while the boys sat up front honking an annoying horn. After our hour bike ride, we took the boys to an arcade: Fun City. Up until this point, Aden and Alex had been fine with pushing buttons and hearing the “free” sights and sounds coming from the rides and games. Then we took the plunge, we put money into the rides and games. There is no going back. Within the hour both were asking us for “more money”…how typical. Both loved a video game called “Deadstorm Pirates”…appropriate for all ages so it says…yeah right! Out of all the rides and games the pirate game was their favorite and you didn’t even get tickets. They played other games (bowling, throwing balls, and whacking dinosaurs) and earned tickets which later they cashed in for prizes aka junk. You couldn’t pay me enough to work behind one of those prize counters. Here come the two most obsessive-compulsive indecisive little boys. “No, the blue one, no, green. No, the smiley…It’s messed up…wahhhhhh!” TORTURE! Time for a drink…After the boardwalk we went back to the hotel and indoor pool before lunchtime. We had a late lunch at Tequila Mockingbird, a Mexican restaurant on 130th. Then back to the park on 125th. While at the park Aden had to go to the bathroom. Of course we’re a mile away from the car. Closet restroom = portable restroom. I even have issues using these contraptions. Oh and of course he couldn’t just pee, he had to poop. Aden has done something not even I have attempted = pooped in a port-o-potty. EW! But it was better than in his pants. Go Aden, my fearless son!Afterwards we went back to our hotel for some R&R…or so we thought. After our long busy morning we thought the boys would chill out, have a snack, and watch a movie. NOPE. They drove us crazy for 2 hours. I even tried to escape and go shopping but Jon wouldn’t let me leave him alone. I can understand why. Finally, we headed back to the boardwalk for a bite to eat. We shared our first funnel cake. Alex did a great job defending it from the ravenous seagulls. Again, hilarious!
We walked on the beach and I regretted not bringing my camera. Watching them play, seeing how happy they were was something worth capturing. Not to mention the beautiful sunset and pink sky as the backdrop. Alex continued to harass the roosting gulls. Aden walked fearlessly towards the edge of the surf. It was a perfect night.
Sunday morning we headed back to the beach but when we arrived Alex didn’t want to go. He wanted to go to the arcade. Jon and I split up- he took Aden to the beach and I took Alex to the arcade. As a family with more than one child, it’s difficult to keep everyone happy. In this case, it wasn’t a big deal to split up. Whenever possible, I try to allow the boys to choose what they want to do and not force them to do otherwise. If it prevents an epic meltdown, I’m all for it.
After about an hour, we switched. Aden and Jon headed to the arcade and me and Alex to the beach. We built a sandcastle; he decorated with shells and a feather. I brought some “pirate treasure” which I hid in the sand. Alex’s face lit up when he found the buried treasure. He also wrote his name in the sand. We ate lunch on the boardwalk at Tony’s pizza. This pizza took much longer than 10 minutes. Jon and I could have kicked ourselves for not calling ahead. Even with our experience, we still sometimes make rookie mistakes.
Our final stop before heading home: The Candy Store. Both were allowed to pick out one treat. Aden chose a piece of M&M bark and Alex, a lollypop. Aden chose immediately- the kid loves his chocolate. But Alex had a difficult time choosing and was definitely acting like “a kid in a candy store”. I wish this was my hardest decision in life.
Overall our second beach trip was a HUGE success. I can’t tell you how many times I was impressed with their behavior: in restaurants, in the arcade, on the boardwalk, not to mention, no accidents, and no major meltdowns. The best part- both seemed to really enjoy themselves which makes me extremely happy. It’s safe to say they both love the beach and we will be returning next year…but NOT during bike fest.