Saturday, July 31, 2004

No fun in the sun

My kids have already gotten a couple of whopping sunburns this summer, and we haven't even gone on vacation yet. It always happens because Mom either forgot to put on the sunscreen or forgot one very sun-exposed spot. So my daughter came home from camp the other day with safely pale arms and legs but a face that looked like a stoplight. We've been slathering that poor red nose and cheeks with aloe and sunscreening it up now (after the horse is out of the barn, of course), and even bought her a new cap to wear (since none of the ones we had were cute enough), but even with all those relief efforts, there are glitches. When my husband went to pick her up later in the week, for example, he found that she was wearing the cap backward, thereby saving her hair from sunstroke but not doing much for her face. Although she huffs that we just don't understand, I do: She's a teen, she's required to do what every other idiot her age is doing. But if she doesn't get some shade on her face during those long days outdoors, she's going to be able to use her nose for a flashlight.

I think if I were a camp counselor, I would carry with me at all times a tube of extra-strong sunblock, and if I saw a kid starting to glow I'd go put some on them. But these are litigious times, and I suppose people who work with kids have been warned not to touch them or apply anything to them to which the little ones could be allergic, lest they be accused of doing harm. So they just watch as skin turns redder and redder, and probably pull their own caps a little further down their faces. Leaving the responsibility where it probably belongs, with old mom, rushing around in the morning trying to get kids to camp and at the same time slather them sufficiently to ward off peeling today and skin cancer tomorrow, grabbing at wiggly boys with slippery hands and then trying to wash the stuff off before making lunches or packing cars. And according to this quiz from the American Cancer Society, none of that is really going to help my kiddos unless I drive over to their camps every two hours and put on more sunscreen, make them wear sunglasses with their caps, and then insist that they sit in the shade through the middle of the day. So, I think we have some more sunburn in our future. But myself, I'm staying inside.

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