Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Beach boy

On days like today, when the clouds block out the feeble sunlight between the city skyscrapers, the rain smears the ink of the tabloids littering the sidewalks, and the taxi cabs spray pedestrians with water, mud, trash, and whatever radioactive material oozed into the street puddles, it's hard to believe that Jennifer, Kyle and I live in a coastal paradise. But it's true, and this past weekend our family and a couple of friends went to one of New York's most popular tropical beaches, known as Coney Island.

Labor day may have been the unofficial end of summer, but you wouldn't know it walking around Coney Island. The sun was bright in a cloudless sky, and the air was hot. People who shouldn't be wearing speedos were wearing speedos. Muggers were stealing sunglasses and beach towels instead of watches and jewelry. Even the city rats were wearing sunblock. It was a perfect day to take the family out on a stroll.

Kyle probably would have enjoyed the surf and sun himself, had we let him anywhere near it. We figured he'd probably end up screaming for days at any hint of a sunburn, and we know he thinks it's gauche to get a suntan after Labor Day. So, whenever we weren't taking pictures, we covered him from head to toe with blankets and made sure the stroller canopy was fully opened to put him almost entirely in darkness. We would block the wind whenever possible, and use a sophisticated fan to blow away any salt air that may touch his baby skin (see picture below). We also didn't put him in the ocean... but that's because had forgotten his bathing suit at home. Fortunately he didn't miss much, since the water was off-limits to everyone that day because a sea creature was eating tourists.

Even though his parents had a great time, it might not have been the perfect outing for Kyle. At least he slept through most of it. Besides, Kyle wouldn't have remembered the trip, even if he was awake all day... and that's a good thing, since those speedo-wearing sunbathers probably would have scarred him for life.

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