In our house the first signs of summer mean one thing – beach time!
With the temperature hovering around 30 degrees (Celsius) we decided it was as good a time as any to introduce Hannah to one of our fine local beaches.
It was mid-afternoon when we arrived. There was a buzz in the air and it became obvious that many other people were taking advantage of the warmer weather. Hannah seemed to tune in to the buzz. She became excited from the moment I removed her from her car seat. As I carried her through the park, she looked around in wide-eyed amazement. She loudly exclaimed with ga’s and da’s as she took in the scene.
We found a suitable spot on the sand, near to the water’s edge. We had chosen to visit one of the sheltered beaches on the Pork Hacking River, so the water was fairly calm.
I held Hannah so that she was outward-facing as I walked into the shallows. She looked down with some interest as my feet entered the water and stirred up the sand. I found a suitable spot and gently lowered Hannah so that her feet were just above the water. She seemed curious enough, so I gently lowered her some more. Her feet entered the water and they found the sand a few centimetres below the surface. Hannah stood for a while, soaking in her new surroundings. A grin slowly crept across her face until it burst into a big smile and a squeal of delight.
I pulled Hannah back out and took a few more steps into deeper water. Again, I gently lowered her until she was just above the water. This time, I could feel her anticipation. As we drew near to the surface of the water, her little legs kicked out. I lowered her again until her feet were in the water, but not touching the bottom. Gleefully Hannah kicked her legs and splashed about. She began to bend over with her hands outstretched, so I lowered her some more until both her hands and legs were in the water.
Noises of pure delight echoed across the bay as Hannah experienced her first “swim”. She thrashed all four limbs about in an effort to interact with the water as much as possible. Emma was not far behind. She had the camera and was taking the obligatory “First Swim” video. As she came nearer, Hannah looked at her and unleased a string of sounds in an effort to explain to her mother the new joy she’d just discovered.
Emma and I switched and I took some photos while Hannah played with her mum in the shallows. She stood in the water and held Emma’s hands while she looked around, thoroughly enjoying herself. Some older kids played in and around the water close by and Hannah watched intently.
We returned to our towels, where Hannah entertained herself by trying to grab handfuls of sand (she became familiar with sand on our recent trip to the Central Coast). We all soaked up the warmth of the afternoon sun and enjoyed the carefree atmosphere around us.
I have no doubt this was just the first of many days that we will spend together at the beach.