The beach was a blast. I'll just go ahead and say that right off the bat. Alastair had a lot of fun, and really impressed the hell out of us.
Thursday afternoon, I got to put Mr. Screamy-Naptime-Pants down for his nap. Amanda scooted out for a bit, and I listened to him wail while I packed for the beach. He lasted for 20 minutes before surrendering, and slept for exactly 1 hour before waking up screaming again. At least he slept.
The drive down to the beach was uneventful. We stopped in W'burg for an early dinner (Cheese Shop goodness!), walked around for a bit, and then braved I-64E traffic, which turned out to be pretty easy.
When we got there, the first thing we did at the B&B was to close the blinds in the room. Even having never seen these blinds, Alastair immediately began freaking out about bedtime. We dealt with it, had a fun bath, and put him down. After a moment of screaming, he was out.
We tried putting him in the bed with us for a while, which worked for about an hour, and then just relented and got up early (he played quietly on the floor for a short while, letting us rest just a bit longer). So began our "relaxing" stay at the Beach Spa Bed & Breakfast.
We had a grand ol' time at the beach, with lots of boats and airplanes being spotted and called out with regularity. There was a tractor smoothing down newly-delivered sand, and he's super-crazy about tractors right now, so that was the big obsession of the morning. To heck with all that water!
The B&B rented us a Radio Flyer wagon for our stay, a nice one with pneumatic tires and wooden rails to keep him from falling out. Dad and I sensed his boredom with sitting in the sand and took him up to see the pier. It was much farther than we'd thought, so we were walking for about an hour. Through the sand. Dragging a wagon with a 30lb baby inside. Ugh.
Then it was off to the showers to get the sand off, after which he told us "I shower. I clean!"
After another 1.000 hour long nap, Amanda and I decided to take Alastair up & down the main drag for a walk. We brought the wagon so that he could ride in style, but he had other ideas. About a mile from the B&B, he decided he wanted to pull the big heavy wagon. The little turkey dragged it behind him for about 4 or 5 blocks, handing it to us at intersections and proudly exclaiming to all passers-by, "I puh wag!" At one point we passed an older dude sitting on a step who proclaimed Alastair to be the world's strongest baby. Sweet!
When he wasn't pulling the wagon, he was gettin' down to the music playing from the street poles, which made a group of old ladies think he was waving to them. They waved back, and he gave the greatest "What are you looking at" stare back at them.
Dinner at the Raven unveiled the latest and greatest baby oddity, far exceeding his love of pickles: a love of lemons. He was being really good, eating his food, my food, everybody's food, and I decided to tease him by giving him a bite of lemon. He absolutely loved it and didn't quit until not only the juice was gone, but also the pulp. He then proceeded to eat 3 more slices of lemon out of everybody's tea glasses. He proudly repeated this trick the next night, so it wasn't just a fluke.
During his bath, he kept saying "I puh wag" to Amanda, while playing with his cups. Amanda said, "that's right, you pulled the wagon." Alastair fixed her straight in the eyes and slowly said, "I puh wah-tu." Priceless!
Friday night was super easy with bed-time, and though he wasn't exactly overjoyed on Saturday morning, we did at least get to sleep until about 6:45am. Not bad.
The real story was on the beach Saturday. He was really not too thrilled to just sit and play in the sand, and the tractor wasn't out, but it had made a big mound of sand about 300' from our chairs. We went and played on it for a while, with Dad snapping pictures of the little man scrambling up one side and sliding down the other on his hands & knees. We did this for about 20 minutes before heading back to Amanda & Randy. Shortly thereafter, he was missing his sand-pile, so he just started wandering back.
Thank God Amanda followed us, because the transcendent joy she got to witness was worth every moment of lost sleep and all the money spent. He climbed up and down, sometimes running down the steep slopes, sometimes face-planting, but always with the best attitude and never a tear. He'd proudly shout "I climb dirt!" over and over again, then chase me across the top of the pile. What joy!
This wore his ass out, and we got our first 2.25 hour nap in over a week. Yippee!
But, Saturday night was reserved for the first sleepless night we'd had since Christmas Eve 2006. I put him down at 8:30, and at 9 he started screaming. I went in and repeated the bedtime ritual, and he seemed fine.
At 1am, though, he woke up pissed off. We tried to calm him down and put him back in bed, but every time we put him down, he'd stand up and cry. So we put him in our bed, and he was fine for about 5 minutes. Then we had play-time until 2:45am, with him crawling over us, smashing his forehead into our eye-sockets (he got both of us with this charming trick), and riding mommy.
She put him back in his crib after I snapped at him, and she laid on the floor right beside him. Apparently that was all he needed: to be able to see us (I think he was homesick). So Amanda slept on the floor so that I would be able to drive us home.
We got through until about 6, and I slept until about 7.
He passed out shortly after leaving the beach, and slept about half way home.
Last night he was happy as a clam to go to bed, and didn't stir once in the night.
So Alastair learned new verbs this weekend: pull, push, pour (all of which sound like "puh"), shower, drive, and play. He also learned how to open the doors in our B&B's room, which was kind of a pain, since one opened to a very steep spiral staircase and the other opened to the bathroom ("I see daddy peepee" was not my favorite thing to hear). Last but not least, he learned how to tickle. Awesome.