Lavallette

This is our third year at this house on the Jersey Shore. We are at the beach end of New Jersey Avenue, just two houses from the boardwalk. At the street end is Salty’s Ice Cream store, where we go almost every evening after dinner. It’s just one of a few traditions we’ve already developed.

Jeeps and I and the kids are in the “main” house with Mil. At the end of the driveway behind us is a tiny one-bedroom cottage where my seester’s family are. It’s safe for the kids to run between the two houses, but for the most part we hang out here. Usually Mil’s sister D (Auntie D!) is in the cottage, but D became a grandmother this year and so opted out of coming to the shore for a week.

D is a grandma – our cousin Westcott just had her first baby a week ago. She’s reached that time when the stream of visitors dwindles down and your spouse goes back to work and you are now alone…in the house…with…a…baby.

America must be the only culture where newborn mothers retreat (voluntarily or not) alone to figure things out. Juxtapose Westcott’s current situation with how we are living at the beach house: communally with five adults (six if D is here) taking care of four children ages 3-6. There’s no division of labor or family lines drawn – we take turns making dinner for nine, my Seester has Redman sitting on the potty and I’m clipping all the girls’ toenails. Things run so smoothly with five pairs of hands. A mother of a newborn ought to have four additional pairs in her house for a month and no responsibility other than resting and feeding. This concept is built into other cultures. In America, we pay for it. Why is that?

Anyway, we’ve been busy at the beach and stuffing our faces – ever notice how ocean air revs up your appetite? The days have a sameness to them that’s very relaxing. The kids are getting along really well. Of course there’s never been any issue between Panda and the twins, they are three peas in a pod.

Redman is the youngest and only boy but he’s been holding his own. He loooooves his Uncle Stu. They have this little catch-phrase of “Guys stick together!”

We’ve had three days of nice weather, however today is cloudy, rainy and windswept. Panda and I are home alone and the others have gone to Freehold to visit great-grandpa. We took a walk to Ben Franklin’s variety store to get some coloring books. We stopped on the way back to get some cans of soup. It’s a good soup-and-grilled-cheese day.

I’d love to have my own beach house someday.

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