We’ve had a spot of good weather which is most welcome after what must have been the longest winter in history (not unlike the winters in Westeros this winter felt like it lasted several years). I love the sun more now than I ever did, because parenting gets a bit easier in nice weather. But of course, the lighter nights and sunshine bring their own challenges too.
Frank says the only thing he doesn’t like about summer is brain freeze, which gives an indication of how many ice lollies are consumed in this house. I made my own last summer from sugar-free cordial and may have to do the same again this year, because today they requested ice lollies for breakfast and haven’t stopped asking. When I said ‘no’ to morning lollies Frank said; “we both want one so that makes it two against one”. I told him that unfortunately this house doesn’t work like a democracy and he screamed – “I WANT DEMOCRACY”. He is fighting for his right to a rocket lolly before 8am.
We went to the beach this weekend as we are incredibly lucky to live near the sea. I do love the beach but seriously – sand gets everywhere doesn’t it?! And the boys were straight in the sea, which meant I had to follow and the water was freezing. I felt like a human ice lolly. The boys loved jumping over the waves and crashing around; Bill seemed to feel the cold like a normal human and was more hesitant, Frank however seems impervious to the icy temperature and was straight in the sea like a nutter. (Quick aside – we should respect the sea and always swim within the flags, I am so grateful to the RNLI lifeguards on duty at my local beach). I don’t want to sound ungrateful for my proximity to the seaside but the beach isn’t perfect. Everything I own is now covered in sand (especially the car), the boys got sand all over their snacks, there was a giant queue for extortionate ice cream, and no shade anywhere. And putting sunblock on sandy skin isn’t ideal. The boys love it though, so I do too, even when they bury me or throw sand directly in my face.
Putting suncream on your children is necessary but can be challenging, in the same way that it would be “challenging” to wrestle a crocodile. Frank is now a dream child when it comes to sunblock application after I inadvertently traumatised him last year by showing him pictures of sunburnt children. Bill, in classic toddler style, is more resistant. But I did pick up a good tip from my sister-in-law that seems to work; give the child the option of spots or stripes of suncream and let them choose. Bill always chooses stripes “like a tiger”. Then they can help rub it all in. Another tip – don’t forget your own sun lotion, as I did this weekend. I ended up a bit pink because after slathering sunblock on the kids I forgot all about my own skin.
Its wonderful that the evenings are lighter at this time of year but alas – its not ideal when you want your children to sleep at a decent hour. You can understand their confusion and resistance when I say “its bedtime!” and they look out onto a glorious summers day and say “what?! Its not night time!” Well, no – I guess its not night time in the traditional, twinkle-twinkle-little-star, hello-moon kind of way, but it is night time because I’m ready for you to go to sleep so I can have a bath, drink a beer in the waning sunshine, or watch Netflix. Personally we stick to our bedtime routine (for obvious reasons) and have invested in some decent black out blinds. Surprisingly summer bedtime hasn’t been a struggle so far this year, I suspect this is because the boys seem knackered and ready for bed despite the light; there’s something about being out in the sunshine makes everyone extra sleepy.
I hope the weather stays nice and we get to enjoy this brief period of sun-drenched time before the Autumn sneaks in. The boy’s favourite thing to do when its sunny is run around in the sprinklers in the garden. I just sit in a deck chair and watch the pure joy on their little faces. Sometimes I grab myself a cold beer too and it might be my favourite time; the way the grass smells, the kids laughing, the sunshine. I wish I could bottle these moments and save them up for winter days. When I look back in years to come of a time when the boys were “little” I think a lot of my favourite memories will be of this time of year; the paddling pool in my Mum’s garden, splashing in the sea, barbeques, sandy toes, the smell of suncream. And that makes a sandy car totally worth it, doesn’t it.