Los Angeles has been a culture shock for all of us, but for no one so much as Benjamin. Zachary has taken to the beach and the sunshine, and he is slipping into his new school with the relief of a person who finally gets a hot bath after a very long day. Twenty-month-old Benjamin, on the other hand, had some adjustment issues.
There are certainly things he likes. The gigantic strawberries that are in season right now are a huge hit, which is a damned good thing because otherwise he was not eating very much last week. This makes for some remarkable diaper changes. He is also fascinated by the ocean and the beach. If we drive by it but do not actually go to it, he starts sobbing. “Beach, beach,” he cries, often first thing upon getting out of bed each day. He loves the ocean and the vast expanse of sand.
As long as none of it touches his feet.
Yes, our resilient second child, the one who is willing to try anything and the dangerous things twice, is totally freaked out by sand in his toes. He got it there the first day, and has not stopped talking about it since. “Beach,” he says, “toes no sand.” So earnest, so insistent each time, as though perhaps his parents had forgotten in the interim.
The second time we went to the beach, Zachary sat happily digging with sand creeping up his bare legs. Benjamin sat on my lap, while I held his feet clear of the terrifying grains, and dug as best as he could from a remarkably awkward angle. Any time his feet slipped downward for even a moment, he gasped. “Toes no sand,” he cried, “Toes no sand.”
Next time, we’ll just let him wear his wellies.