I thought Bridget loved the beach. She did, but that was so summer of 2015.
We have gone to the beach exactly twice this summer. The first time was a pond. I will excuse her a bit because it was windy. BUT IT WAS A FREAKING POND. Not a wave in sight.
We went to my happy place in Deluxbury. House here, beach 30 feet away, ocean just 10 feet more. When I say this is my happy place, I mean this is MY happy place. Who doesn’t love a friend’s beach house?
We pulled in the drive, I hear a whisper: I no like beach. I ignore it. I take her out of the car, place her in the sand and make her walk the plank (literally, there were planks) to the beach house. She whimpered and complained the whole time. I forced her to go to the actual beach. She cried when I placed her on the sand. She refused to go into the water. She spent the entire time on my lap.
My arm is freaking killing me from holding her.
Yet I hold her. I am unwilling to give up my beach. Selfish, probably (but I own it). Mother who tortures her daughter, definitely (hell, we are surrounded by sand she has to get use to it). I know it’s sensory. I understand she cannot help the panic and anxiety. I see it manifest in ways you cannot imagine.
Yet I persist.
I am frustrated that every year it is Groundhog day. That we start from scratch on the first day and build to her acceptance to the last.
I am worried that I am doing more harm than good because I need the sand in my toes (and margarita in my hand).
I am confused and wish I understood her fear, because it is fear.
I am sad that I am causing her mental pain.
I am conflicted if I should continue to desensitize her or allow her to have this one thing she doesn’t have to fight.
I am wishing I had the answers.
We went back to the beach and success! No, she would not step on the sand. Nor would she get off my lap. But she didn’t have a panic attack. Bridget did not cry or hide. She just enjoyed it on her own terms.
She is the Jekyll & Hyde of the beach.
I just wish she could be the Coppertone baby of the beach.