As I discovered during our stay in Atlanta, Elizabeth doesn't sleep well away from home. She starts out well enough, but as the nights go on, she sleeps less and less. This was especially true at the beach. Our last night there was the worst night I've ever had with her - ever.
She slept well enough from 7-10, but then she woke up at 10 and refused to go back to sleep. I tried everything I could think of - letting her noodle around and play, nursing her, giving her a bottle of water in her crib, letting her cry - and nothing worked.
Finally, at 1am, out of sheer desperation, I took her down to the beach for a walk.
I grew up in Sarasota, FL, home of the famous Siesta Key, and I took lots of night time walks on the beach. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy walking on the beach at night. The roar of the surf is so calming, and the foam on the waves is luminescent. The only sign of the horizon are the lights on the ships lying at anchor. And the stars were just amazing; it was dark enough that I could actually see the Milky Way.
At one point, Elizabeth started stretching her little arm out as far as she could and opening and closing her hand. It took me a minute to figure out what she was doing - she was reaching for the stars. It was that one little gesture that saved what had been a terrible night.
After walking for 20 minutes, I took Elizabeth back inside and put her in bed. She jabbered and laughed in her crib before finally falling asleep with a smile on her face. I hope she was dreaming about catching the stars.