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.