Sarah Simpson column: The hot and sticky mess that is parenthood in a heatwave

I took my 2-year-old out in just a diaper and her pink sunglasses to hunt for “blue” ice cream

It was a scorcher the summer my firstborn was an infant. I remember texting in the middle of the night with a mom friend and being panicked about keeping this new human, whom I had worked very hard to create and deliver, cool. The cold seemed easy to deal with — layers right? But the heat is tricky with a newborn…It scared me.

Well we got through it unscathed (save for the emotional scars I still carry from the constant worry) and here we are years later battling a heatwave yet again.

But this time has been different. I’ve got two kids now, but they’re mobile and can tell me when they’re too hot so we’ve ventured out way more than in years past.

A while back we went to Bright Angel Park and played in the beautiful Koksilah River with some friends. Afterward we came home to popsicles and cool baths.

Given he’s four, my son naturally would prefer to wear no clothes whenever possible. That’s generally not an option but I have to say (and I’m pleased with this because my laundry workload decreased as a result) there was a stretch after that one bath where neither of my children wore anything other than their underpants for darn near 72 hours.

Why? Why not? It’s hot.

The bright side here is that when they got their breakfast/lunch/snack/dinner all over themselves we could just stand them out on the lawn and hose them off. (Just kidding. Or am I?)

My husband pointed out that they weren’t even confined to the house during that time. For example, I took my two-year-old out in just a diaper and her pink sunglasses to hunt for “blue” flavoured ice cream. Good thing the “no shoes, no shirt, no service” rule generally doesn’t apply to babes-in-arms at ice cream shops or at drive thrus either because the boys ventured out for chocolate dipped cones with the smaller one clad in only his little orange briefs and the hint of a farmer’s tan. My husband was fully dressed, don’t worry.

Given the heat, we also decided to move. Not houses, just into the basement. Don’t feel bad for us, it’s finished and furnished and if there are spiders or other creepy crawlies, they’re generally hidden behind drywall (at least that’s what I keep telling myself) so it’s not a scary place to be. And that’s where the beer fridge and the books live so really, it could be worse.

The kids have enjoyed “camping” downstairs. It’s significantly cooler than the rest of the house and it allows them the rare opportunity to sleep in the same room. My son pushed his bed right up against his sister’s and one night I checked on them only to find her sound asleep, her beautifully chubby little toddler body splayed across her bed, with just her head resting on his. I mean, she fell out of bed that night but it was cute at the time.

It’s curious though…The last thing cranky old me wants in this heat is little people (or big people for that matter) around me all the time…but ironically, with our ice cream adventures and basement sleepovers and water activities, our little family has actually gotten closer. I’m grateful for that.

And for the fact I don’t have to mow the lawn.



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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