And just like that, stifling humidity has pushed the winter wonderland off center stage and we wonder what all the fuss was about as we swat at a snapping turtle sized mosquito that landed on our face.
Summer is not for the faint of heart, especially if you have little ones. It takes the mind of a lioness and the determination of an earthworm trapped on a hot sidewalk to make it to the other side… the first day of school. I’ve done it five times now, and would like to share a few tips to help you avoid frying on the pavement mid way through.
1. The Pool.
If you are even considering getting your mom-tastic self into a swimsuit this summer, I have three words for you:
Whiten your teeth.
Whiten those babies so good you can see them from outer space. At this stage in our lives our bodies are all about slight of hand, smoke and mirrors. If fellow pool goers are hypnotized/thrown into seizures by my blinding dental enamel, they won’t notice what appears to be a tarantula trying to crawl out of my swimsuit bottoms.
My body is gross, and I have put in a lot of time, effort and money fighting nature trying to do her job over the span of many years.
But then I got married and life became so much easier.
Like many of you, I saw Frozen. And the minute Elsa started singing I think we all knew what she was singing about. Pubes. Clearly the good people at Disney understand the pain of being a female mammal. Maybe you understand, and maybe your husband is knocking on the bathroom door asking why there are vomiting noises coming out of there.
Either way I think we can all agree that maintaining personal hygiene becomes increasingly challenging with every birthday so let’s just join hands, get some white strips, and let the storm rage on.
The word ‘vacation’ comes from the Latin word ‘vacare’, which means unoccupied. In Chinese it means ‘lie’. I just totally made that up, but try to prove me wrong.
Two years ago as we stuffed two pack-n-plays into the trunk of my Honda Accord with all of the enthusiasm of a mouse feasting on poison cheese we were very much not unoccupied. We were Florida-bound with a 2-year-old, 9-month-old, and a 4-months-old fetus growing inside myself robbing me the opportunity to self-medicate when things get hard like I learned in middle school.
You may think this whole scenario sounds awful, and you are right.
Once, before we had kids, I got bed sores and gout from sitting on a beach chair in Mexico too long. THAT, my friends, is a vacation. What we entered into two years ago was the opposite of the word “unoccupied”. From here on out we will refer to that week in Florida as the “occupation”.
We were occupied with putting sunscreen on two squirmy little bodies several times a day. We were occupied with taking shifts in the condo for a collective six hour nap between two kids. We were occupied with convincing Ellie that sand would not eat her feet off. We were occupied with making sure no one slid a patio chair to the railing and jumped seven stories over the edge.
Maybe that someone was me.
On the way home from our occupation we got caught in a storm and saw a funnel cloud on the side of the highway. Despite my best efforts, I missed it.
My advice to anyone thinking about a vacation with kids is to stick a lit cigarette in your eye. It will be much more enjoyable.
3. Potty Training. Now Is The Time.
Picking the ideal time to potty train your child is like picking the ideal time to catch Small Pox. There really is no good time and potty training your child will go down in your life as one of the three worst things that has ever happened to you (or two, or four, depending how many kids you have and if you have ever been attacked by a shark).
But for now, settle in and allow me to tell you a little story I like to call, “Last Week.” Hadley, my 2-year-old, is in the middle of potty training. Too far from diapers to go back, too far from the ability to control her bodily excretions to go out in public.
So I made a really good parenting choice last Tuesday went to Chick-Fil-A for dinner. I was excited and optimistic. Within five minutes she had diarrhead all over the play land. I grabbed all three girls under my arms and ran directly to the van and drove away without looking back.
You can’t make that kind of getaway in 12″ of snow.
4. The Heat.
When I was little I remember driving into town with my Grandpa on scorching summer mornings to buy the Sunday paper. I sat next to him in his 1975 Nova and despite the windows being rolled down, with every mile the backs of my thighs became more of a permanent fixture to the pleather.
We pulled up to the gas station and I got out of the car, usually leaving my hamstrings behind.
Thirty years later, there have not been many scientific breakthroughs to alleviate the pain of a hot car. We can develop scientific technology for inflatable penile implants, but not for car seat material that doesn’t transform into burning embers when it comes into direct contact with the sun? At least once a summer I lift my kids into their car seat and I see the look. The wide-eyed, mili-second of open mouthed silence before the deafening scream that accompanies having your flesh seared.
Yes, you can buy a car seat cooling cover or park in the shade, but I like to think of the burning sensation as a special mother/daughter bonding moment. Before long they’ll be too big for me to hug the pain away.
Now I leave you with this parting thought – remember when, not so long ago, schools were closing because kids might die at the bus stop? Remember when we were stuck inside for days because there were, like, twenty thousand feet of snow outside? And when the kids acted up you couldn’t just kick them out the front door and turn the dead lock and pretend like they don’t exist?
Remember when you had that colonoscopy? Remember when you had to put your dog to sleep?
Just know that things could always be much worse.