How to Disappoint a Three Year Old
We had one very sad little boy on our hands last night, and two disgruntled parents trying to make him feel better. We had gone down to Playa Marlin to participate in the sea turtle release program. We'd read that the event started at 4 o'clock on the beach and in typical Mexican fashion we went late, just before 5 o'clock. There didn't seem to be any events happening, but we saw an "official" looking guy and asked him what was up. He said he was just waiting for the turtles to arrive and we could just hang on. There were quite a few of us on the beach waiting, and waiting and waiting. Lots of families were coming down and speaking to "official" guy and he kept telling everyone to hold on.
We had prepped Max for what was coming, teeny tiny turtles who needed to be handled very delicately and helped back into the ocean. He was beyond excited, kept asking when he could help the turtles, where are the turtles, when could he see the turtles.
Around 6:30 the action started. "Official guy" started setting up some poles and ropes on the beach and brought out the megaphone. He THEN announced that this was a "private event"! The Boy Scouts (who weren't even there) would be releasing the turtles first and if there were any left, those of us who had been waiting hours MIGHT get a chance to release a baby! He told us to form a line and wait. By now it's dark and Max is really getting antsy. Suddenly we see the Boy Scouts, at least a hundred of them. We were jostled around, pushed around and continued to wait. The first line of Scouts finally got their turtles and away they went, though I couldn't see a darned thing for all the people in the pitch black, no lights allowed. When the clock turned 7:45 and more and more Scouts were coming, we realized that we were not going to get our chance and we had to somehow get Max out of there without having a meltdown.
Poor, poor kid. He thought he was there to do something good, to help the turtles. He was crying and saying he had to help them, they needed to go home and find their mommies. He was saying it was HIS turn. And in my mind, he was right. We got there early, checked in with an official and three hours later we left with nothing except the feeling that the whole thing was very poorly organized. There were a lot of disappointed little kids on that beach. If the official had told us right from the start that it was a "private" event, we would have enjoyed the beach for half an hour and then gone home. Instead, we had to explain to a sensitive little three year old why he couldn't help but all the kids who showed up at the last minute could. Poor guy.
Anywho, always looking for the silver lining, we did get to enjoy the beach at a dusk. We are usually early birds so don't often see the sun going down with all it's pink colours or the moon reflecting on the water. The turtles were released and able to find their way to the ocean (or so I was told, I couldn't see a thing). The turtle rescue and release programs are invaluable and I applaud their efforts, I just hope we get a chance to contribute in the future.