This morning we scooted down to our North Devon bolt hole by the sea in the hope of some late Autumn sunshine. We weren't disappointed!
The beach was deserted. A far cry from how it looked just a few months earlier, when you could barely see the sand for all the feet and flip flops! Now there wasn't a soul to be seen, except for a few silhouettes in the distant. Jenson and Wren had barely taken two steps on the sand and their shoes and socks were off. A few minutes later, as I was settling our bag on some rocks, I turned around and found them naked and running off sea bound!
There were a few raised eyebrows from parents and grandparents, accompanied I think by children. It was hard to tell what was buried beneath the layers of hats, gloves, scarves, pants, tights, thermals, trousers, t shirts, jumpers, coats and waterproofs. It really did feel quite mild. I was surprised to see the other children so covered up. But then thinking about it, the story was a similar one during the Summer. I don't even know what the outfits are called. All in one swimsuits I think. I understand how important it is to protect our children from the sun, but could we be overprotecting them? A little bit of sensible sun and all that lovely vitamin D does wonders for us human beings. Not to mention the sense of freedom children feel. My kids love stripping off and getting naked. It must give them a real sense of cutting loose.
These days it seems children are so over protected by us parents who think we know what's best for them, but who am I to tell my children that actually, it's November, it's too cold to be running around naked on a beach. That's what's so great about children. They don't care. Not only that, but they don't know. Jenson and Wren have no idea about the months of the year. All they know is that they're on a beach and they want to play. The instinct of a child is so endearing. There's a beautiful naivety about it. They loved jumping in the ice cold water. They got a real rush from it. It properly stimulated them. It set them alive in a way; the more cold it was the more they screamed and the more they jumped in it. It was fascinating to watch. I'm not sure what they were learning but they were definitely testing their thresholds and finding out for themselves what their limits were. I felt a bit sad to see the other children so confined, physically by their clothes, and perhaps also by what their parents were telling them. That comment isn't meant as a criticism, heck I'm no model parent by any means, I just say it as I see it.
I came across an article recently about why we should let our children play bare foot. I do feel there are certain aspects in this article that speak a real truth about being bare full stop. Not just our feet.
We arrived at the beach at 12 noon and gave up when the sun did at 3.30pm. We mostly played, splashed, paddled and laughed but there were moments of screaming and shouting as Jenson would annoy Wren perhaps by flicking sand at her, (deliberately or not I'm unsure) and Wren would, (quite deliberately) jump on his sand castle that he'd just spent 20 minutes painstakingly making.
There were some real highs, including tracking animal prints and trying to work out which bird, (seagull or rook) had made which track. We then looked at our own footprints and compared them in size and shape to that of the birds. We also played Father Christmas. A game that started off by Jenson and Wren simply deciding that they wanted to 'move out' and into their own home. This basically involved them moving all of their belongings from the rocks where we had put all our stuff when we arrived to the other side of the rocks! They would invite me round for tea and cake and I would do the same. We would each have to tidy up our houses before our guests arrived and I frequently got told off about how messy my house was, (how the tables turn!) This moved onto going round to each others houses for sleepovers which turned into being left a gift by Father Christmas!
Jenson drew a happy face in the sand which I think summed our day up perfectly. The life of a home ed kid doesn't get any better than this surely?