Wednesday, June 17, 2009

In the sun

We brought the kids down to Hot Springs, one of the many playgrounds that draw visitors from all over the state. It was hot. And while I love playing in the sun, the coloring of our family doesn't make it easy.

I'm kind of a sunscreen nut. If the kids are going to be outside for more than 10 minutes, I'm slatering them with cream. Actually, since I discovered spray-on sunscreen, I'm just spritzing them, which annoys all of us much less. I buy the bottle with the highest number I can find -- bonus points for waterproof, sweatproof, and ultra-anything.

During our four hours in the midday heat at the water park, I managed to keep the UV rays completely off of the kids. I wasn't so successful with own skin. When I examined my back later, I found red streaks around my swimsuit straps and on my back. Seems that spraying my own back didn't really do the trick -- I should have asked Noel to do it, and he should have asked me to do him (burned on shoulders and back.

Things were different when I was a kid, as some of you may remember. You didn't buy sunscreen -- you bought suntan lotion. My very fair skin burned any number of times, and more Solarcaine got put on me afterwards than SPF ahead of time. My preferred avatar on a number of sites is a snapshot of me at about two or three years old, pudgy belly pooching out of a plaid two-piece, red as a beet all the way down the arm. When I was in high school, a deep tan was highly coveted; seniors spent free periods on "Senior Beech" with reflectors under their faces; and despite my complexion, I succumbed to the conventional wisdom that you had to get burned early in the season so you could get a tan later. (I never got a tan that anyone could see from a speeding horse, but I delighted myself with the slightly darker "dots" I got on the backs of my hands through the holes in my cycling gloves.

It's been a long time since I had to feel the heat of sunburn for days after each summer excursion. I'm hoping my kids never -- or rarely -- do.

1 comment:

Jenn said...

I've gotten to where I really, really hate to get sunburned. I do get a little tanned, but I'm starting to feel like I'm getting to the age (I know 27 is not old, mind you) where I should be very careful with my sun exposure, especially since I have fair skin. Plus, I'd prefer my skin stay youthful and slightly less-freckly (I'm really quite freckled regardless of sun exposure) as long as possible.