Is it vacation or is it OT?
We spent last week at the beach and Lila LOVED it. Overall, the vacation was probably as successful as we’ve had in awhile - we rented a full sized crib and so we didn’t have issues with naptime or bedtime. We stayed at Sea Colony, a community in Bethany Beach, DE that has 12 heated outdoor pools and a private beach. My sister and I have been there before and this time we came with our Dad. My cousin happened to be there as well, which meant we had an additional set of grownups and teenagers to hang out with our kids.
My nephews all think Lila is pretty cool, and were so interested in her talker and in playing with her. The youngest is now at an age where the two of them get along great (or not so great, depending on who has the cool toy.)
The beach gave us a lot of great opportunities to work on skills from OT and physical therapy. The uneven surface of the sand was hard for Lila to navigate, and she definitely couldn’t have managed as well as she did even a few months ago. It was so great to see her jumping around, marching down to the water to demand the nearest grownup / big kid get her water, and digging in the sand. She carefully poured sand or water from one container to another, rolled trucks in the sand, and made tiny ice cream cones.
She loved splashing in the waves as well and by the end of the week was demanding an adult take her in the water pretty much constantly. Splashing in the water, standing on wet sand, moving from wet sand to dry sand, etc. are all great ways to work on mobility and developing her core and stabilizing muscles while providing excellent sensory input and not getting sand in our house. Plus, she was so tired by naptime that she went right to sleep and napped for 2+ hours.
We also managed to hit Funland in Rehoboth and Lila got to ride a bunch of their rides. I was surprised by how toddler-friendly it was, and it was quite reasonably priced for toddler rides - Lila got to ride boats, fire engines, trucks, and basically anything else with a steering wheel. Everything was between 1-3 tickets, (tickets were $0.60 apiece), lines were very short - pretty much everything was walk on, and she loved it. She would sign “more” when she got off each ride. When I offered her her talker to decide between boats and fire engines for her last ride, she picked fire engines.
We closed out the week with a beach smores night and kite flying. Lila might be doing really great and meeting tons of physical milestones…but she still cannot hold a kite. Right after I took this, the kite flew out of her hands and I had to sprint down the beach to get it back. Oh well, gives us a goal for next year!
She also loved playing with the cool sports equipment her cousins brought.
Then her cousin Maeve won her over and Lila only wanted to hang out with her for the rest of the night.
Overall, it was a great vacation and felt easy and repeatable, and made me feel better about our future travel options as a family. It’s hard to tell how much of it was because Lila is a little bit easier these days - she’s communicating better, her receptive language is excellent, her physical abilities have increased so she doesn’t have to be carried everywhere, and she can play well with other kids - and how much of it is because the vacation itself was easier than some others we have tried. Clearly the answer is to lower our expectations, drop any ambitions we have, and just head for the sand and the ocean.