Well, I'm wrong about it not being connected to last week's plot because we have another example of a Patterson mother incapable of understanding the concept 'family fun': that's because we have to endure Poor-Put-Upon-Ellytm repeating the same revolting behavior (for the same stupid reasons) that got on jjamele's nerves last week; we just have a change of venue. Also, it's a reprint so John is a whining, negligent dick instead of a
Panel 1: We start things off pleasantly enough as the Pattersons arrive at the beach. Elly does the Patterson thing and remind the family that they are indeed there.
Panel 2: Mike, wearing a flotation device, tells Elly "Hey, Mom!! Watch me!!"
Panel 3: As he goes out into the water and as Lizzie gets sand all over John, he further implores Elly to watch him thusly: "Hey!! Watch me, watch me, Mom!! You watching me, Ma? WATCH!!" Elly smiles but her attention is elsewhere.
Panel 4: As Lizzie plays in the sand and as Elly's attention is still focused on the sailboats in the distance, Mike yells "Watch me, Mom!! Just watch me! Watch this, OK?! WATCH ME!!!"
Panel 5: Annoyed that her offspring small one keeps imploring her to WATCH HIS silly accomplishments and not the sailboats far away, Elly tells John that she's going to go for a walk by herself.
Panel 6: John whines "You're not going to leave me alone here with the kids, are you?" because that's wimmen's work.
Panel 7: As she saunters off to go look at sailboats instead of sharing a moment with her son, she smirkingly says "Just watch me."
Summary: aprilp_katje is right; neither parent especially wants to be with these kids. It would have been a great day if Elly had troubled herself to watch Mike and share in his sense of accomplishment; instead, she did her best to flee him and thus warp his personality.
ETA: My intent is not, of course, to absolve John; the reason he's whiiiiiiiiiiining is because he's gotta get off his arse instead of vegging out.