Yes, I’m still talking about vacation.
People find it hard to believe that I rarely fall asleep on the beach. On a recent day trip to the shore with my roommates, I actually did doze for a bit, which led me to a bit of a revelation. It’s not that I never fall asleep on the beach, it’s that I hardly ever sleep when Dude is present.
Now that Dude isn’t as big of a flight risk as he once was (picture 5 year old Dude unable to sit still and constantly chasing seagulls), our parents relax more on the beach. They put in their earbuds, recline their chairs, and close their eyes.
While Dude isn’t as likely to pop up and run away, he still has the randomly occurring angry outburst that results in some good old-fashioned sprinting. Awhile back (ok, 2.5 years ago), I wrote about Dude having one of those “incidents” at the beach.
On this vacation, we spent many long days on the beach. Our favorite times are either first thing in the morning or the late afternoon. The sun is warm, but not unbearable. The beach is much less crowded. It’s just lovely.
This was a late afternoon. Dad’s chair was completely reclined and he was asleep in it. Mom was listening to music and in the partially asleep state of sleep. Dude and I sat next to each other. I was engrossed in a book, and he was halfheartedly holding onto some brochures while looking around.
Suddenly, he popped out of his chair, made his angry noise, and took off running down the beach.
“Crap,” I muttered. I jumped out of my chair, threw down my Kindle, and sprinted after him.
I heard a confused, “Oh” behind me as Mom startled awake and pulled out an earbud to see what was going on.
Dude ran about 30 yards down the beach before slowing his pace as he approached the water. The ocean was very calm, so I didn’t have to worry about him getting knocked over by a wave. He went in the water up to his shins and stopped. He turned as I came up behind him. Dude was rubbing his thumb, index, and middle fingers together on each of his hands. You can judge how perturbed he is by how frantically he’s rubbing his fingers.
“What’s up, man?” I asked.
“Not yet,” Dude answered.
“Are you upset?”
“Yes yes yes.”
“Are you happy?”
Sigh. Sometimes it’s so frustrating that Dude doesn’t have the expressive language skills to be like, “Hey, we didn’t take a walk today and I would really like to take a walk but you all were sleeping and that annoyed me.” (I have no idea if that was the cause of this particular meltdown, but it was my best guess at the time.)
“Alright, bud. How about we do a lap in-between the jetties on this beach?”
By this point, Dad had made his way down to where we were standing to assess the situation.
“Everything ok?” he asked.
“Yep. We’re gonna walk it out,” I responded.
“Hey, at least you can tell your trainer you got in some sprint work!” Dad smirked. (I did one of those crazy Tough Mudders back in June and worked with a trainer to get ready for it because I didn’t want to injure myself. I decided to continue seeing him once a week after the race because I learned a lot from him and wanted to keep progressing.)
So Dude and I walked back and forth on our beach. I went through the entirety of the Maryland Truck and the Mighty Sound of Maryland’s pre-game show. By the time I reached the Fight Song, he was smiling broadly.
No idea what caused the outburst, but at least he regulated himself quickly afterwards! Dude is such an enigma sometimes.