Saturday, June 05, 2010

Summertime Reds

Sunburnt to a crispAnother staycation this week but one when we have definitely not "stayed" in. For once (and this is a true rarity) we have had (a) good weather and (b) good health - usually one or more of the kids are ill or else Karen and I come down with some unnamed lurgy which prevents us capitalizing on our paid annual leave from Grindstone Inc. So. Lots of "day trips". Remember those? I did loads when I was a kid and looking back on them now I can see it was because my parents didn't have the money for a proper going away holiday. But you know what? They were just as enjoyable with the added advantage that the food was always decent and you got to sleep in your own bed at night.

So. Kenilworth Castle (twice). Chesterton Windmill (and a second visit lined up today, it being a favourite of Tom's). Out for a meal. A scamp around the park. And yesterday a day in Great Malvern introducing Tom to his first proper experience of hillwalking. He did well. We've had a few tantrums from him this week (and from the older boy as well but that's another story); as his language skills develop so does his capacity to try and exert his will upon all around him with varying degrees of success. That burgeoning personality is beginning to stamp itself all over the world like a mini Godzilla in a Mickey Mouse T-shirt. Only much, much cuter.

But I digress. The subject for today's post is... Sun block. Sun Screen. Sun Tan Lotion. Factor 999. Whatever you want to call it. Karen and I both try and be sane and responsible about applying it. We want our boys to catch a few rays - 'cos a few are good for you and build up your skin's natural resistance / tolerance. But we do not want to go down the boiled lobster root. I'm probably more neurotic about it than Karen and reach for the Factor 30 spray shield as soon as the sun strikes its midday position. Arms, legs, neck, face - all get blurred in a fine mist of sun protection chemicals. Adults as well as children. I read a story in the paper the other week about a bloke who got sunburnt once - just once - playing cricket and within a year had developed skin cancer. Forget my neuroses; it just ain't worth the risk with my little chickadees.

Despite that, arms and faces had gone a nice gentle brown colour. We've all caught the sun but haven't been branded by it.

So we were aghast when nipping into Sainsbury's after one of our little day excursions to see two mum's chatting over their wonkily parked trolleys while two beetroot coloured youngsters in nothing more than swimming trunks played on the tiled floor at their feet. Their backs were varying shades of purple and red. Scorched. Braised. Chargrilled. Positively napalmed.

You could see that a whole welter of agony and crying was only a few hours away.

Now, I know it's none of my business but if Little Miss Let's-Toast-The-Kids can afford copies of Heat, Marie-Claire and Chav Scum magazine she can afford some decent sun block. Hell, even some cheap sun block. Protect your kids for God's sake woman! Now, I'm against a nanny interventionist state along with the best maverick renegade but, really, some people plainly need a few things spelt out to them.

M-e-l-o-n-o-m-a...

Wake up and smell the impromptu barbecue, you stupid cow!

Or am I just getting hot under the collar about nothing?


35 comments:

Gappy said...

I too am fastidious about sunhats and suncream. Especially because my children are fair skinned, although I have to say I am far more lax when it comes to myself (silly I know.)

This half term holidays I have taken my kids to both the beach and a theme park in the blazing hot sun, and have been shocked to see many children running around with no hats going steadily pink. My feeling is that it's irresponsible to not protect children from the damaging effects of the sun. Perhaps more needs to be done to spread the message - t.v. adverts possibly?

Please do not tar all us 'chavscum' with the same brush though ;-) I am a single mother who lives in social housing. I claim benefits between bouts of temporary work too. Hell, occasionally I even read Hello for a laugh. But my kids are never without their factor 50.

Being Me said...

Oh no, it's most certainly NOT much ado about naught. Not in the case of lobster-ized tots. Who could do that??!

I can remember, in blazing Aussie summers past, being lowered gently into cooling baths of Pinetarsol (sounds as utterly ghastly as it was, my friend), short of breath with the pain and nauseous, because my parents - one or both of them - had not reapplied my suncream and me being the delicate white English rose who can burn to a crisp within 20 minutes or less, well, I suffered the worst. Peeling skin. Blistering. Ick. And I'm sorry to say, it happened more than once in my youth, til I was in control of my own damn sunscreen application! That and, when the 80's was over and people became more educated, it just became commonplace to slip-slop-slap (the campaign here for nigh on 30 years now seems mostly to have educated the masses).

How people could do that to their kids and then take them shopping?? Beyond me.

Steve said...

Gappy: I would never dream of tarring you with any brush let alone one that says "chav"-anything. For me (though what the hell do I know?) chav-dom is a state of mind and attitude more than where you live and what your income is. You're about as far removed from chav-dom as it's possible to get.

Our little 'un, who usually loves wearing hats, has totally refused to wear the sun hat we've bought for him. It's just a been a case of keeping him in the shade or physically shielded by other means. I'm pleased to say though that he seems to have natural good sense and will take himself into the cool when he feels too hot. Despite that though, it is the responsibility of the parent to see that their kids are safe in the sun - not the kid.

I think the idea of bearing all for the sun and getting a fast-track tan is a real British thing. Apparently in Australia they can spot Brit tourists a mile off as they are the one's walking around half naked with skin like unripened plums....

Being Me: Pinetarsol? Never heard of it but it sounds horrible! I've noticed a similar campaign on kid's telly here to "slip-slop-slap" - wrap-splat-hat or something. The adverts are pretty awful but if it gets the message across it can only be a good thing.

Old Cheeser said...

Funny the word "Chav" was mentioned in a previous comment, cos I was going to suggest that the reason those people in the supermarket didn't put cream on their kiddies' bits was down to their, erm, social background. Get my drift? But then, I'm being a terrible snob here really aren't I? Let's just say that some people are obviously not responsible, sensible parents like you and Karen, Steve, and we'll leave it at that. Okay, yah?

Steve said...

OC: oh yah - totally marveloso! ;-)

French Fancy said...

First of all I love day trips - when I was young and even now. I think sometimes a succession of trips out can be far more enjoyable than being stuck somewhere for a week that turns out to be not as good as one anticipated.

As for the Malverns - the second time Mr FF and I went out he drove me (and my lovely first bichon) from Highgate in North London to the Malvern Hills, via a lovely pub somewhere olde world on the way (began with L but who knows where - lots of tudor type houses). We then spent a romantic afternoon wandering around hand in hand - until the dog got too tired and Mr FF had to lug him around.

Anyway - those stupid stupid mothers. They deserve to have their children taken away from them. How can people be so stupid - I would have had to blurt something out to them - and no doubt get a mouthful back.

Steve said...

FF: I just couldn't speak. It's not often I am confounded into silence by stupidity of mythological proportions but that afternoon in Sainsbury's certainly managed it. I wish now I'd just opeted for a "those poor kids" in as loud a voice as possible as I walked by. Sometimes simple is the most effective.

the fly in the web said...

I love day trips too....
When I was a child it was unthinkable to go out in summer without a sunhat and as for removing clothing...!
Once we were teenagers, things changed, but I don't remember any of my friends getting burned.
I turn into a lobster at the first ray of sunshine, so there's no temptation.

Gina said...

I am laidback about most things but not about sunscreen. In Australia other parents would come up and speak to you if you had your children out without a shirt and hat on in the sun. Not that I would.

My children always wear hats and shirts in the middle of the day if they are out in the sun. Sunblock is not enough. I have industrial strength Aussie lotion in great vats in my house and they have that on every day in the summer. It is the first thing we do before we leave the house - rain or shine. All exposed surfaces are coated.

I was in the supermarket the other day and it seemed to only be fat people who were burnt. I'm not sure why that would be. Perhaps just because it would cost too much to cover themselves with lotion? I honestly don't know why but it did seem to be the case. It was not a pleasant sight. I haven't seen any burnt children though, fat or thin, I must say.

Don't envy you the tantrums!!!

Steve said...

the fly in the web: I can't remember overly being lathered in sun screen as a kid but I do know we were always fully covered up with cloths... except for days at the beach. Sun tan lotion was always dragged out for that... part of the "special" experience.

Gina: you just can't be too careful. Sun damage can occur even without telltale signs of sun burn; it's just not worth the risk. Not sure wht fat people get more burnt... might be simplistic but maybe there's just more surface area to catch the dangerous rays...?

Gappy said...

Thank you Steve. That's a really nice thing to say :-)

Gappy said...

Oh and I appreciate how difficult it can be to get a child to keep a sunhat on aswell. I'm pretty lucky in that my kids will wear one without too much fuss. I suspect my eldest of taking his off as soon as he's out of my sight though!

Fran said...

I hate that, too, just as I hate seeing babies in buggies lying back with the sun straight in their eyes and no shade at all. Stupid, stupid.

Steve said...

Gappy: my pleasure; a good writer never willingly offends his readership! ;-)

Fran: me too... and I've seen loads of those in town this week. How can people be so thoughtless with their own babies?

libby said...

This is such a scary subject....I am still convinced that as I once in my younger days (bikini wearing days..long gone)spent a whole day on a beach and turned lobster red, then fainted with sunstroke, I will inevitably get skin cancer...and I am riddled with guilt that my 26yr old son will be the same, as he many years ago was in and out of the pool and I only put cream on him when I could catch him! My sister, who lived in LA for years, did in fact get skin cancer and luckily is doing well, she lives by the sea now, and NEVER forgets to cream/cover...but y'know Steve, as you said, a few rays and a blush of colour is good for us..like everything in life I guess its just about balance...

Steve said...

Libby: "moderation in all things" - people scoff and think this ethos is boring but it is much the wiser course in the long run; indeed it rather ensures that you do in fact have a lng run...

missbehaving said...

Really sad to read that Steve, can only assume that the parent who didn't have the common sense to prevent it, also won't have the common sense to do anything about the pain the child is in later.
Thing is, back in the day, when a bottle of lotion was cracked open for a day trip to Bridlington, it was quite a costly item, not so anymore, you can pick up special factor 50 for kids and babies at any supermarket for peanuts. There's no excuse at all.
A lot of the summer pools here don't allow sunscreen, so we lather them up before we go and keep them in T-shirts and hats.

Steve said...

Missbehaving: they don't alow sunscreen? How bizarre. Is there a reason for that?

Robyn said...

not just any sunblock.... make sure it's not one that is poisoning you slowly ;)

Steve said...

Robyn: aaaargh! Neuroses reaching OVERLOAD!!!!

Löst Jimmy said...

"Ah Madam would you like your kids done rare, medium or well done?"

Steve said...

Löst Jimmy: "thank you, garcon, al dente will be fine."

The Sagittarian said...

Oh hark at you, with your sunblock (ignore me- I am sitting here with a southerly gale blasting the leaves from the trees, scattering them into the bog that was once our backyard...) - I totally agree. Sunblobk, my kids are basted in the stuff a good half hour BEFORE they are allowed out into the sun, and get regular applications once in it. You're on track for parents of year, you two! :-)

Steve said...

Amanda: parents of the year? Do we get a holiday... somewhere very hot? ;-)

Nota Bene said...

You may have seen this...it the national headlines:

http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/8185705.Baby_burnt_on_Brighton_beach_released_from_hospital/

Steve said...

Nota Bene: I hadn't seen it. That's just horrible. Really upsetting. I'm trying not to blame the mother and shoot her down in flames (no irony intended) but... really. How? How?!

Heather said...

having just got back from a month of day trips around the Uk I can atest to loving them more than a holiday. well, when there's kids involved anyway.

As for the suncream stuff, well, it's all been said in previous comments really and bar a few expletives I probably have nothing of value to add. Stupid f***ers.

Steve said...

Heather: expletives are always good to add and always to the point.

Glad you had a good time: welcome home / away (delete as appropriate)!

Kelloggsville said...

Hubby grew up in Western Australia. They never used sun screen as kids. He remembers slip-slop-slap but says no one took it that seriously. He has just had his first suspicious mole removed and I suspect there will be many more to come. He is paranoid about our daughter wearing sunscreen, hats, walking on the shady side of the street, drinking plenty of water etc and that is in the midlands. His suncare for her hits overload in Australia. Presumably parents with lobster kids were discussing the outrage at no longer being able to wear pyjamas in the supermarket!

missbehaving said...

re-sunscreen in pools.
It's because it makes the water greasy. if they see you putting it on poolside, they'll make you go in the shower before you get in the pool.

Steve said...

Kellogsville: maybe they were just more impoverished than I thought - couldn't afford clothes let alone sunscreen? The more I think about it... maybe those Heat magazine were to make a bed on a park bench?

MissBehaving: how... idiotic! Let's keep the water clear (of sunscreen at least - saliva, varuca juice and urine are another matter)! Surely people can buy non-greasy sunscreen?!

Owen said...

This may not be very charitable, but if some folks behave in ways which contribute to taking themselves, and in this case their offspring, out of the gene pool through their own wilful negligence or ignorance or downright stupidity... perhaps that is not something to lose too much sleep over ?

(this from a redhead who burns to a crisp in no time and who contributes heavily to the profit margins of sunscreen companies...)

We too are on a staycation at present, and it is wonderful just to be at home and catch up with some of the excellent blogs out there that I've been missing lately due to overwork...

Steve said...

Owen: I was just thinking you'd become a stranger round these parts; good to see you back. I have no problem with idiots taking themselves out of the gene pool but their kids... well, their kids deserve a chance and unfortunately, being kids, certain responsibilities are not theirs to take on, but are the preserve of their parents. Hence my anger at the poor sunburnt mites t'other day. ;-)

The Poet Laura-eate said...

A case for the NSPCC and no mistake.

Steve said...

Laura: too right. I wish I'd rung them.