Beach trips last year involved lots of supervising a very wobbly toddler - stopping him from eating sand, picking him up when he got too tired, and generally being very over-protective. It's all change this year - I sat with the lovely Hannah and her gorgeous 4-month-old Finn while J-cub ran to the sea and back to paddle, collected shells in his bucket, shouted at seagulls and generally had a fab time.
The tide was on its way out and he loved standing ankle deep in the sea, while the retreating waves sucked the sand away until his feet disappeared, and plunging his splayed fingers into the wet sand, then pulling them out to see his handprints instantly disappear.
The sea was bitterly cold, but he had no qualms about it at all, happily standing knee deep and shrieking with laughter as the tiny waves crashed over his bum, until he lost his footing and went completely under.
After I'd hoiked him out, stripped him off and wrapped him in a towel, we sat and cuddled til he was warm and dry, and I dressed him in the spare clothes all sensible mummies take with them everywhere. It hadn't crossed my mind to pack any for myself, and having had to plunge into the sea to get him, then carry his soaking-wet body back to our bags, then sit cuddling him til he warmed up; I was completely soaked through to my pants.
And of course I couldn't just go straight home, I had to go into the Civic Centre first to get some replacement garden recycling bags (which some chancer pinched when we last put them out for collection) in all my dripping glory.
I'll know for next time ;)