Now, I love a heatwave as much as the next person. That is, if the next person is a frazzled mum of two, sweating buckets, wearing weather-inappropriate clothes and longing for a nice cool, cloudy day.
Because you see, since having children, heatwaves (much like holidays) are not what they once were. Whereas the mention of a heatwave previously invoked thoughts of lazy days swinging on the hammock in the back garden, it now invokes something completely different. Namely, a state of heightened panic about sunstroke, sunburn and dehydration, as well as an almost fanatical obsession with locating ‘the shade’.
Nope, heatwaves with children are no fun. And here’s why….
1. The sun cream challenge
Applying sun cream is the pits at the best of times, but trying to grab hold of a running child or pin down a wriggly baby for long enough to make sure they are coated in the stuff is akin to a task on a Saturday night game show, albeit minus any prize. And of course, the more you apply, the greasier they become, and the harder it is to maintain your grip on them as they try to escape.
Then there’s the delicate task of applying sun cream to their face, taking great care to avoid the eye area but knowing all the while that despite your best efforts, they will inevitably rub the sun cream into their own eyes anyway, approximately 3 seconds later. And cry.
What’s more, as any parent will know, this whole, nigh on impossible task must be done without touching any of your child’s clothes, because otherwise you’ll be spending your summer Googling obscure methods to turn the now dirty yellow edges of their clothing back to white.
And I’ll not bother mentioning anything about the hideous combination that is sandpits and sun cream. You probably already know.
2. But ah, oh those summer nights….
Oh, those long, hot, stuffy, airless, miserable nights. To be fair, trying to sleep during a heatwave was no fun before having children either. However, one benefit of having children is that you’ll never be stuck for things to worry about while you toss and turn into the early hours, and your worry of choice during a heatwave will no doubt be ‘Is the baby too hot?’.
You’ve probably already spent a good part of the late afternoon wondering how you’re going to dress your baby for the night ahead so that they don’t overheat, and having finally reached a decision, why not spend the time from 11pm to 6am doubting yourself? Babygro and sleeping bag? Babygro without sleeping bag? Vest, babygro and no sleeping bag? The combinations are endless and will be sure to keep you wondering ALL night….
3. The paddling pool
Children are born knowing that paddling pools must come out during hot weather and so once you have a child who can talk, that is what must happen. We have a small blow up paddling pool and it’s my intention to squeeze Little B and her brother into it until they realise that paddling pools do actually come in bigger sizes.
Even with a small pool, the whole process of blowing it up, filling it with eleventy billion buckets of water, getting the water to the correct temperature, fishing out any flies, reapplying sun cream, getting the water back to the correct temperature, fishing out any flies, reapplying sun cream…..is, well, a bit of a faff. And if your garden has no natural shade then you have the additional joy of having to chase the sun around your garden with a parasol to avoid your children burning to a crisp.
Lazing on a sunny afternoon? Nay chance.
4. ALL the stuff
Before children, all you needed when popping out in hot weather was your sunglasses, maybe a hat and a bottle of water. Not so now. There is no such thing as travelling light with children in a heatwave. Firstly, you’ll need sun cream. Then, you’ll need a parasol for your pushchair, and possibly a pushchair fan if it’s forecast to be absolutely boiling. You’ll need their sun hat, a light blanket for the pushchair or perhaps a cardigan (because this is the UK after all and you never know…), a raincover for the pushchair (because again, this is the UK and you never know), a lot of water and of course, all the usual nappy changing paraphernalia, toys,
bribes snacks and baby wipes.
Think I’m exaggerating? This was us, last year:
Is it only in north east England that you need to take (and use) a sun hat, factor 50 sun cream, a parasol, a warm blanket, and a pushchair raincover for a 2 hour trip to the park? #everythingbutthekitchensink #Weather #bitchangeable #NorthEast pic.twitter.com/JOYL7CqJLQ
— Twicemicrowaved tea (@twicemicrowaved) August 9, 2018
If you don’t collapse from heat exhaustion while lugging all of this extra stuff around, well done you.
How do you cope in hot weather with children? Let me know your thoughts in the comments. All advice and tips gratefully received!