You see, I am a redhead. I am sensitive to the sun and actually get an allergic reaction to it. I have had some nasty sunburns in my day, and I am much more careful now.
Alex is also a redhead. He had a skin condition a few years ago that dermatologists told him would be exacerbated by sunlight, and even though he was cured, his paranoia has remained. Naturally, our son Aiven is a redhead. And because of his neurosis, Alex is obsessed with not letting one drop of sunshine land on his beautiful, fair skin.
For instance, when we go out, Aiven is covered head to toe in fabric. A hat. Clothes. Socks. And an light blanket draped over him. Don’t forget sunscreen on his face, too. It could be 100 degrees out, but Alex will cover him up.
When we go for a walk, Alex switches sides of the street constantly depending on where there’s more shade. And when we come to a crosswalk, he waits far behind, in the shade, rather than wait at the curb for the light to change.
Relaxing walk in the park? Not so much. Alex is only focused on keeping Aiven out of the sun. That means avoiding the sun like a dodgeball. To the right, to the left, bend down, high up, backwards. I can’t walk like this! People look at him like he’s on some super secret scavenger hunt while trying not to step on a crack. It is CRAZY.
Now, of course I do not want my son to get a sunburn or any kind of sun damage. But I also don’t want him to look like those kids from Flowers In The Attic. Nor do I want him to get rickets either. If I say something about this Alex looks at me like I should be sent to Rikers Island for child abuse. How dare I let Aiven experience the warmth of the sun on his face?
What will happen when Aiven is old enough to rebel? I don’t want him to become Texas barbecue just to annoy Dad. We won’t be there every time he goes outside, and inevitably, one day he will go out unprotected. I dread the day of the first sunburn. It may hurt his dad more than it hurts Aiven.
But I think I am slowly starting to convince Alex to relax a little about the sun. The other day, we all went out without a hat and sunscreen. And I was the only one who got burned.
If anyone has any suggestions, please, offer them up! How do you protect your kids from the sun? What sunscreen to do you use? Do you always use it?