You know how I know that summer is here? I mean, other than the fact that it's hot and also the fact that the calendar says June? I'm already getting tired of putting a thick coating of sunscreen, followed by a chaser of bug spray, on William every time we go outside to play.
You see, the Spraying Down of One's Child is a vital but time-consuming part of the preparations that I have to undertake to prepare to visit the pool. I took William to the neighborhood swimming pool yesterday afternoon and again this morning, and I swear, it took me nearly an hour to get us ready to leave. First, I have to dress William in a swim diaper and swim suit. Then I have to put on a swimsuit that covers a reasonable amount of flesh and find my cover-up and my own hat. Then I have to coat both of us in sunscreen. Luckily, spray sunscreen makes this go much faster than the olden days, when you had to use a tube of regular sunscreen...uphill, barefoot, in the snow. Then I have to make sure W's got sunscreen on his face and neck. Then I have to pack the small cooler with drinks and snacks. Then I have to pack the pool bag: towels, extra swim diaper, extra clothes and underpants for William, pool key, wet wipes, house key, cell phone, money for the vending machine (optional), lipbalm with SPF. Then I have to get the wagon out of the garage, put the cooler and pool bag in it, make sure the pool toys are also in there, and then convince William to put on his shoes and hat and get in the wagon. Then we can leave.
Usually, there's at least one time-sucking bathroom adventure that takes place somewhere during the adventure. Also, the phone tends to ring at least once or twice. Sometimes the UPS man shows up. Sometimes the plates of the Earth shift.
However, there is a silver lining. To my delight, I've disocovered that it is SO MUCH EASIER to take three-year-old William to the pool than it was to take two-year-old William to the pool. Seriously. He helps me rearrange the stuff in the wagon so it all fits. He helps me fetch things that I've forgotten. And then when we finally do make it to the pool, he can get his own toys out and do his own thing while I get our stuff situated. He shares his toys with the other kids, and he even stops running and walks as soon as I bark "Slow feet!" He doesn't even fuss when I insist that he stop playing so I can douse him with another spray of sunscreen.
I was really proud of him yesterday when a little girl kept taking his toys (not maliciously--she just wanted to play with them, too), and he didn't wail and moan and try to snatch them back. Today, he played nicely by himself, since we were the only ones at the baby pool when we first got there, and then he shared another child's toys when another family showed up. (Note to self: buy William his own mermaid pool toy so he won't have to wait to share the ones toted by the little girls in the neighborhood, who aren't so eager to share their toys). And when it was time to leave, he was very agreeable. He collected all of his toys that were strewn about, and helped me put everything back into the wagon. And we left, in a very drama-free way. Ah.