First Time at the Seaside!

6

I grew up by the sea­side and spent all my hol­i­days at the fam­ily house close to the Atlantic Coast, a short one-hour drive from Nantes. I can’t remem­ber learn­ing to swim—it came nat­u­rally to me, I have been com­fort­able with water for as long as I can remember.

As a tod­dler, I spent hours “fish­ing” small grey­ish shrimps at low tide. For some rea­son, I was ter­ri­fied of crabs and my older friends love throw­ing them at me. I still have night­mares about the huge sea spi­der on dis­play at the Nat­ural His­tory Museum in Nantes and I was con­vinced this species may hide inside the cracks of the rocks—very unlikely but still, I wasn’t going to take a chance. I’d wear my plas­tic beach san­dals when fish­ing, merci beau­coup.

As a kid, I took up sail­ing and I would wake up every morn­ing eager to climb into a small boat, along with ten other “stu­dents” and a bored twenty-something instruc­tor invari­ably hangover.

As a teen, I picked up wind­surf­ing. I loved speed­ing, glid­ing on the sea, jump­ing the waves and pre­tend­ing for a minute that I was in Hawaii or some remote exotic loca­tion instead of the “bor­ing” Atlantic Coast.

And then I left home, went trav­el­ing and even­tu­ally set­tled in Ottawa—far from the sea and its culture.

I miss liv­ing by the sea­side. I love the smell of sea­weed, the muddy sand when the tide is low and the huge waves when the tide is up. I miss wash­ing my swim­suit in the sink after a day at the beach, I miss the smell of the sticky sun­screen we rarely thought of bring­ing along with us, I miss brush­ing my hair and find­ing sand just about everywhere.

Mark will not grow up by the seaside—well, unless global warm­ing really speeds up  and Ottawa’s Par­lia­ment is swal­lowed by a huge wave—but I wanted him to see the sea. So we brought him to Saint Michel Chef Chef, where I had spent all my summers.

I wasn’t sure how he would react to the sand, the water and all the beach things that are so nat­ural to me. Mark doesn’t mind water but he is not a huge fan of it. He didn’t cry when bathed in the sink when he was tiny but get­ting him used to the baby bath­tub at home took some time. At first, he hated the shower hose, and was gen­uinely scared by the tub—it must have looked huge to him. When we first arrived at my par­ents’ place, it took a few days for him to get used to a new bathtub—at first, he screamed on top of his lungs.

But he ended up enjoy­ing the beach. Go fig­ure. I stripped him naked—what? This is France!—and let him play with the sand and crawl every­where. Then I took him to a small pud­dle of water at low tide. He liked it and played with wet sand. So I moved on to the big ocean. The water was very cold but he loves that (a true Cana­dian!). I walked in, deeper and deeper, until I had water up to my chest, and we played for about half an hour. He even put his head under the water, briefly, while I was hold­ing him.

Oper­a­tion beach was a success!

You can see the com­plete set of pic­tures of France here.

The Fisheries

The Fish­eries

Seashells

Seashells

Saint Michel Beach

Saint Michel Beach

Flying a Kite

Fly­ing a Kite

Mark at the Beach

Mark at the Beach

Mark at the Beach

Mark at the Beach

Mark at the Beach

Mark at the Beach

Mark at the Beach

Mark at the Beach

Mark at the Beach

Mark at the Beach

Mark at the Beach

Mark at the Beach

Mark at the Beach

Mark at the Beach

Reading a Magazine With Mark... Impossible!

Read­ing a Mag­a­zine With Mark… Impossible!

Reading a Magazine With Mark... Impossible!

Read­ing a Mag­a­zine With Mark… Impossible!

Reading a Magazine With Mark... Impossible!

Read­ing a Mag­a­zine With Mark… Impossible!

Fisheries

Fish­eries

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

6 Comments

  1. Oh I see a happy baby at the beach! Come to think of it, even though I was born in the Philip­pines, I don’t think I saw the beach until I was 6, when I was in Hawaii. I never saw any beach pho­tos from the Philip­pines from before that time, plus there’s the two years we spent in Col­orado, which was quite far from the ocean…

    And now that you men­tioned it, I remem­ber slip­ping and going under the water and pan­ick­ing in Ala Moana Beach in Hon­olulu. Maybe that’s the rea­son why I am not a beach per­son at all! :-P

    • Reall? That’s funny, con­sid­er­ing The Philip­pines are islands! But SE Asia doesn’t really have a beach cul­ture I find, unlike Aus­tralia, Brazil, etc;

  2. Wow, you both look superb! I think you enjoyed a lot and just look at Mark he looks super cute. I just love Mark– You are a sweet baby. Muah. :)

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