So I heard about this organization, Na Kama Kai, that does free Ocean Clinics for kids! So fun, right? Maybe it will be a little preachy, I thought, but I signed up for the first available spot. I remember as a kid getting a little side eye from my parents as I marched around the house chanting “Reduce! Reuse! Recycle!” all brainwashed after a presentation at school or something, but this was way more chill. Their slogan is “Keiki Aloha, Kai Aloha”—Beloved Child, Beloved Sea—and the mission is to give kids a sense of their responsibilities as caretakers of the earth and land.
It goes like this: we checked in and got wristbands, some older kids gave an overview of Hawaiian navigation culture, then an adult talked to them about common ocean dangers, like drowning, hazardous sea life, dangerous ocean conditions, and whatnot. THEN came the part I was most excited about: some volunteers told us parents to keep our distance, then scooped the kids up for paddle boarding and Hawaiian canoeing!
This is where things broke down for us. Isaac chatted with the volunteer all the way down to the water and into the waves, then LOST HIS MIND. Eloise was fine for a while, but Isaac’s sustained freak out eventually freaked her out too. Chris and I watched, disheartened, as all the other kids proceeded offshore while ours returned to the sand. The volunteer said he couldn’t take them out on the canoe because they’d scare the other kids. Everyone else canoed out and saw sea turtles.
Then the last station was a chat about sea animals and how litter affects them, and everyone got a coloring book and some jamba juice. I was very impressed with the program, just bummed that my kids couldn’t hack it for whatever reason that day. At nap time later Eloise cried and cried in her sleep. I sat with her while she woke up and she told me she was having a nightmare about Isaac crying on the paddleboard. Sigh. And it had all started so well.
The next day, to balance things out nicely, Eloise failed out of her first dance class. She was SO EXCITED to wear her new tap shoes and tutu and see her friends at dance class! But when it was time to follow along, she crawled and rolled around on the floor until the teacher removed her from the dance room and deposited her in my arms. Eloise wouldn’t go back in for the ballet portion. “It took my daughter six or seven weeks!” said one of the other moms reassuringly. What the what. I’m not sure I’ll last that long.
And that about sums up how things are going: everything is great…but my kids hate everything. They are lucky they’re so cute.