Let’s talk about toddlers and heat. It seems appropriate with the current temperature being somewhere between a Saudi sauna and Dante’s seventh circle of hell. In theory, hot, sunny days are a parent’s dream. No clothes required = no laundry. Outside all day = no need to pick up
shit toys from the floor six times a day. Water = good, clean fun. But, is the reality as good?
Short answer? No.
Don’t get me wrong. I’d still rather the sun was shining but let’s put down our rose-tinted, gin-filled glasses for five minutes and take a long, hard, objective look at what babies in the heat really looks like.
Let’s talk clothes. Theirs. It’s exciting to dress them in that oh-so-cute cotton romper that you’ve had in a drawer for ages just waiting for a sunny day. Now it’s here, you realise you bought it in the sale in the winter and it’s now too small. Who gives, right? She can damn-well wear it anyway otherwise you’ll never hear the end of it from your male-shaped parent who told you at the time that it wouldn’t fit her come the summer.
After about an hour, even you have to admit it’s too small and camel-toe on a toddler is never a good look. So you take it off. It’s warm enough for Smalls to run around naked anyway. How romantic! What a great opportunity for a photo-shoot! Perfect ammo for totally appropriate humiliation fifteen years down the line when they bring their first boyfriend/girlfriend home. The joy of watching this iconic family moment is almost immediately ruined by the all-consuming panic about heatstroke/sunburn/heatrash/prickly heat.
In an effort to at least stave off Small skin-cancer, the sun requires us to be vigilant about sunscreen which means that we are either spending our time lathering it on tiny flailing arms and kicking legs, washing our hands so that we can hold something, anything without it slipping through our greased up fingers or hunting around for one of the 349 bottles of sunscreen you have knocking around in the bag/buggy/handbag etc.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, every item of clothing you are wearing will be covered in grease-stains rendering it bin-worthy only. You’ll never rub every bit of sunscreen in and you’ll always miss a little bit around her armpits. The super-strength sunscreen always leaves a slightly sticky Small in its wake making them into human fly strips collecting every piece of food, dirt and sand and quickly secreting it into the teeniest of crevices that are pretty much impossible to get clean.
This all makes cleanliness somewhat of an issue. Throw in an ice-cream, a lolly-pop, the constant water drinking and a sandpit into the mix and your Small will spend the summer looking more like The Artful Dodger.
In an effort to cool everyone down (not to mention to clean them up) you’ll go to Homebase (other DIY stores are available) and buy a paddling pool. You’ll get home and realise you don’t have a pump so you’ll sit down resigned to blowing it up manually. You’ll faint. You’ll come to and realise you still have three inflatable rings to blow up. You’ll go back to Homebase and buy a pump. This has now taken all afternoon. It’s ok though because finally you’ll have a working paddling pool just ready to be filled with water, so you get the hosepipe and wait. And wait. And wait. And wait.
How fucking long does it take to fill up a paddling pool with water!?
Finally the Smalls are in the water and having the time of their motherfunking life. Except they are weeing in it. And drinking it. And dangerously close to drowning each other in it. It takes you about three minutes to realise that you have single-handedly created a sure-fire death trap and left them alone to play in it. Parenting 101.
Finally at the end of a long, hot, sticky, dirty day it’s bedtime. Thank goodness. You can practically taste the G&T. You excitedly dust off the Scrabble ready for a quiet, sun-drenched, gin-filled evening with your other half in the garden. A moment of pure peace. A mini-date night. Bring on bedtime.
Your Smalls emerge from the cool bath clean for the first time in hours. They are cool. They smell delicious and best of all they are exhausted from the heat. They will sleep well tonight. Except of course, they won’t will they? That little Gro-Egg is glaring a dangerous shade of red and by the time you’ve got a nappy on the Small you’re both a slippery, slithering pile of humid sweat. Putting them in their cot is like cracking an egg into a frying pan…
Despite all that, how fucking awesome is this weather? Bring it on. It’s all worth it.