[Guest posting – while Mother of 4 is on Vacation]
While my wife was watching the other kids take surfing lessons, I kept an eye on William as he played in the surf. This is a favorite activity, but William has a unique low-energy style of playing in the ocean. He wades out until the water is knee-deep and sits down. He lets the incoming waves push him over, then lays there. He likes feeling the waves roll him back and forth, and the undertow wash the sand out from under him. I tried to think of a name for it; “wounded walrus,” “dying dolphin” and “bobbing blubber” came to mind. It’s a gentle, relaxing, sandy exfoliation, while working on his plumbers’ tan. Will can do this for hours.
Occasionally the seagulls would swerve close by, to see if the waves had washed in a big meal. William’s body shape means his shorts often sag. At the beach he’s usually showing some crack. His unique swimming style accumulates a lot of sand in his shorts. About 20 minutes into the swim, Will decided clothes were no longer necessary and stood up to take his swimsuit off. I caught hold of his shorts when they were at his knees, which is a good thing, because once one leg is out it becomes a much harder process to reverse. “No pants,” he said firmly. “Yes, you must wear pants,” I replied, conscious of the many beachgoers around us now exposed to a very white bum. “Pants are ALL DONE!” he said emphatically. As I struggled to pull his soggy shorts up, he expressed his displeasure by readying a double tricep pinch. I could either endure the pinch and keep his shorts on or save my arms. I chose to take the pinch while I pulled his shorts back up.
Will would occasionally reach into his shorts to remove a handful of sand to lighten the accumulated load. One time after he was washed the sand away he held up a small object between thumb and forefinger for inspection. I thought it was a crab shell or a pebble at first… but this is what he held between his fingers:
“Lobster is all done,” he said, dropping the marble-sized object into my palm. I thought he meant it was dead, but no, it was very much alive and immediately began kicking to try to dig back into the sand. By “all done” he meant “I am done having this in my pants.”
I had to look up what the ugly little beast was – “lobster” was a great approximation. All it lacked were claws. Emerita Decapoda Anomura (if you want the Latin name), commonly called a “mole crab”, “sand flea”, “sand crab”, “beach hopper”, or “lookie cookie.” They are a genus of hard-shell, oval-shaped crustaceans found on both coasts. I wouldn’t want one in my pants, either.