Summer in my twenties and early thirties were very straightforward. Book a 2 week holiday somewhere hot, next to a beach, bars, clubs and restaurants. Days would be spent reading, lounging, swimming, drinking and eating. Nights would be spent exploring the local culture. Or similar.
I used to love spending as much time reclining on a sun lounger as possible. The holiday would start off with a Factor 15 then on the last day drop to TREX. Skin cancer was not mentioned and the only tanning cautionary tale at that time was the face and decolletage of Judith Chalmers.
Fast forward to this week where it’s reasonable to say that we’ve been experiencing a proper English summer. Days have been filled with sunshine, the grass is fading to the shade of potato waffle, tarmac is cracking and we’re about to hurtle into a carbon dioxide shortage. We are 10 mins away from a hosepipe ban.
Sunny days with children look like this: Operation Soleil
- Suntan lotion – Factor 50. Obviously, there’s the fear that they will, in fact, develop rickets as F50 disables harmful UV rays. Bandy legs and floppy elbows are a small price to pay against the sunshine WHICH WILL FRY YOUR CHILDREN WHERE THEY STAND.
- Hats – Don’t just have one. Have 10. Hats spend most of the summer hiding only to be found once you’re digging out the Chrismas decs. If you can get one which resembles the uniform of the French Foreign Legion all the better. A staple gun or duck tap will be needed to keep the hat on the little buggers head.
- Water. Every 10 mins it’s advisable to offer water. You will waterboard your toddler. Fact.
- Allergies. The first sneeze will be ignored. After 5 sneezes you’ll automatically think that your child has hayfever and have them chugging away at the Piriton. Don’t be too sad about this. It’s helped many a child nod off.
- Ice-Cream – You’ll want your child to have a Milk Maid. They will want a 99 with two flakes, sprinkles, chocolate and strawberry syrup. After the initial lick around the circumference of the ice-cream, they will then look to discard this treat on the floor instantly attracting a swarm of wasps and ants. Be on the lookout for a dog or duck.
- Pooing. After you’ve slathered Factor 50 on a screaming protesting toddler, then pouring them into the equivalent of a surfer’s dry suit, your toddler will instantly want to have a poo. Hearing the zip go up on the outfit has a loosening effect on their bowels. You will temporarily wonder, what harm will it do if my child shits itself?
- Shade – you will become a human shade sundial. You will look for it everywhere, you will wonder if you can ‘make shade’ using a discarded fleece from the boot of the car. You can’t.
- Relax. By the time you’ve completed all of the herculean tasks of dealing with children in the sunshine, they’ll have got themselves annoyed with someone or something. They want to go inside. They want to watch Netflix. You will wipe off the sweat which you are now bathed in, wiping suncream in your eye, tripping over the glass of water, slipping on the upturned ice-cream and happily give them the remote watching them punch in the password you were sure they didn’t know.
Chin up. Soon be autumn.