Blood, Sweat, Tears and Sunscreen 

Not necessarily in that order.  

Those lazy days of summer.  I’ve heard about them and often wonder what they are really like. Just because its summer and the alarm clock is permanently off, doesn’t mean anyone will actually sleep late. Not in this house anyway.  

Breakfast is a big deal here every morning.  A really big deal. I’ll never understand why it is that they wake up so hungry.  No one ever wants to eat what anyone else is eating either. A buffet would be ideal for them. After breakfast, I try to get any errands out-of-the-way early and I’d like to be able to say I do this because the temperature outside is lower earlier in the day but the truth is I want to get everything done before anyone gets cranky- including me.  As soon as I mention the bank, post office, grocery shopping, or Target I usually hear all kinds of noises:  mumbling, whining, growling, etc.

Each and every single time we get in the car to go somewhere, someone will complain: “It’s soooo hot!” I always calmly reply with the same speech and say: “Yes its summer, the car gets hot, the air conditioner is on and as soon as everyone in buckled in, we can go and the car will cool off more quickly”.  But instead of listening to my repetitive speech, they continue to complain and wander throughout the minivan. I always wish I could press a button and ‘my speech’  would play through the speakers. Just like the buses and  the Disney World monorail. The ironic part of all this ?  My kids have no idea I would really much prefer to go to Target without them.  After our last Target trip, the next time we show up,  I am sure there will be a picture of my 2 year-old’s face in a red circle with a line through it. YES!  it was really that bad. Just ask the other 200+ people who were shopping that day if you do not believe me! 

We all know that outdoor activity requires sunscreen during the summer.  We are constantly told how dangerous the sun is for our skin and how we need the proper SPF,  however, I never see any warnings about how applying sunscreen to small children can be dangerous and cause a spike in blood pressure to the person doing the application.  We’ve tried sprays, lotions, and sticks.  All have their advantages and disadvantages but when the 2 and 4-year-old protest and refuse to stay still to begin with, whatever you are applying just makes them more slippery. All of this effort and then they go into the pool.  I know the bottles say waterproof but the oil slick on top of the water tells me otherwise. 

As I apply the sunscreen while they complain, I like to remind myself what its like in the winter to try to make myself feel better. Dressing them in several layers and add the jackets, snow pants, boots, hats, gloves.  By the time they all get outside to play in the snow, I have worked up a sweat. And that’s right, at least one will have to come back inside the house to use the bathroom. Undress. Redress again. So I’ll remember to ask if anyone has to use the bathroom before they go into the pool. Of course they say they don’t. At least not until they are almost fully submerged in the water anyway.  Once they are all in the pool I become the lifeguard/referee/bug killer/waitress/towel fetcher. They will argue over pool toys, scream about bugs- even the dead ones floating in the pool so I have to scoop those out too. I take drink and food orders. I repeat the no splashing rule upon every complaint and sometimes enforce the rule by removing the splasher from the pool if they are a repeat offender.  

Of course it’s all about trying to keep the kids happy It really all comes down to keeping everyone as safe as possible and any crying to a minimum. It seems as though we go through more Band Aids in the summer months than we do the whole year. I’m sure it has to do with more exposed skin but today I noticed that everyone has scraped knees.  I love giving my 2-year-old a Band Aid for a scraped knee or elbow and later noticing it on her doll or sippy cup.  If it makes her feel better then, that’s all that matters. Besides, I can always get more Band Aids on our next trip to Target. Maybe. 


As all this chaos and madness unfolds on a daily basis, I really try to stay in the present moment.  I think about past summers and how quickly they went and how sad I feel when summer ends and school starts.  Each night I remember that tomorrow is another day… A chance to once again to try for that lazy day. 


Cathy Moryc Recine writes a monthly Parenting column for Muse In The Valley. As she dreams of her lazy, hazy summer day. She lives in Manorville  New York, with her husband and four children ages 9, 6, 4 and 2. She works as a mom,  yet still finds time to enjoy the things that keep her unique.



How are you enjoying your family summer?  Do you have any tips or tricks in keeping your children “happy”?  Do you have some “me” time away from the kids? Tell us your story in the comments below!


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