All families have their quirky members. With the warmer weather upon us, the beach behaviour of our youngest son reminds us all why he is nicknamed ‘The Human Lamington.’
We all love a day at the beach, but most people prefer to have contact with sand restricted to feet and ankles. Not the Lamington. While the rest of the family enjoys a dip in the sea to rinse off the sandy bits, followed by a gentle recline on a nice clean beach towel, the Lamington runs dripping up the beach, ignores his towel to roll around luxuriantly in the warm sand instead. Take a boy in a black rash vest and board shorts, cover him with a fine dusting of white sand and behold – The Human Lamington!
We laugh amongst ourselves. He’s a character, we all say. But he’s not hurting anyone, so we all smile. Until lunchtime. There’s a reason why they’re called sand-wiches, and it has nothing to do with the English aristocracy in our experience.
We are in the habit of taking an ice cream container filled with slices of cold watermelon down to the beach in summer. There’s nothing quite as refreshing as a delicious, juicy piece of sweet melon on a hot day. Unless the Lamington has dug his mitts into the container first. Then we all get to eat gritty watermelon.
When it’s time to go, we encounter the traditional Australian dilemma of sand in the car. Our favourite summer beach has the advantage of being dog-friendly, but there’s no sophisticated facilities such as beach-side showers to rinse off the Lamington. Anyway, he’d probably manage to acquire a fresh coating of coconut just on the walk between shower and car. On muddy days at junior soccer in winter, we get around the problem of mess in the car by using the black plastic garbage bag system.
Step one: remove child’s muddy boots. Step Two: insert child in bag. Steph three: pull the string tie at the neck – you can cut a couple of armholes in the bag if you’re feeling charitable, or if hot chips are to be consumed on the way home.
On arrival at home, deposit child in question in the shower, remove the bag and transfer clothes to laundry. Genius, really.
Unfortunately it’s too hot in summer to be putting children in plastic garbage bags. So the dusting down of the Lamington with damp towels begins to the predictable chorus of ‘ow’ and ‘stop you’re hurting me.’
Does this painful process deter the Lamington next time? No, of course it doesn’t. You may see him next time you’re down at the beach – he’s the one buried up to his neck in the sand. Please try not to step on his head.