Southern Hemisphere Summer
Way down here in Australia, the summer is almost started.
Summer down here means, Christmas holidays, beach trips, barbeques and the smell of citronella candles and sunscreen.
So while its still only Spring down here, the weather is already hotting up. Today was a nice and toasty 28 degrees celcius. (82 and a bit for you North Folk) Certainly not hot by Summer standards, but warm enough that my dudes and I (plus Josie) made our first beach trip for this swim season.
Glorious, Caltech and Josie play in the shallows, with my middle baby trying to drown himself in the background.
Now I cannot speak for my entire nation when I say we have some beach traditions, but I insist on telling you about my family's traditions or rules if you will.
RULE NUMBER ONE: SUN SAFETY
Sunscreen is an absolute must! SLIP SLOP SLAP (and I'm sure they've added a few more since I was a kid)
In high school my italian language class thought it would be a good idea to bring some exchange students over to experience our summers. One of the activities that we students planned (there was only about 15 of us in the elective) was that we would spend the day at the beach. Awesome right? Whats more Australian than our beach culture?...
Well being that we were all teenagers in pursuit of the perfect Aussie tan, none of us wore sunscreen, none of us thought to offer it to the italian kids- we never burnt- The italian kids did, something fierce, the ones who didnt get heat stroke, got blisters on their faces, shoulders, backs, basically anything exposed was tomato red. The kid I felt worst for though, was admitted to hospital with 2nd degree burns on his forehead, FROM THE SUN!
I still don't very often wear sunscreen, my kids bathe in it but my skin is used to it, I've had 26 years on this continent to develope like an immunity... or maybe its because I follow rule number 2.
RULE NUMBER TWO: BE SUN SENSIBLE!
Avoid the beach like a plague ridden village between 11am and 2pm!
That is when the sun is at its hottest and when you are most likely to get burnt. If its the middle of summer and the temps are due to hit the high 30's (95F) we eat breakfast, we brush our teeth, we go to the beach, getting there about 8am. We do the beach thing until about 1030. Upon returning home we hide in the airconditioned bliss that is our home, we have lunch, sometimes we nap (siesta if you will) to avoid the midday sweatiness. By 3 o'clock we are back on the beach and generally stay there til sundown- which is when the sharks are most active.
RULE NUMBER THREE: FISH, CHIPS, MILKSHAKES.A day at the beach is wasted if you don't consume deep fried critters and vegetables at some point. (also milkshakes are awesome)
But don't be fooled there are a lot of fish and chip shops down here but the trick is to find the one that cooks their chips exactly EXACTLY to your liking, It can be tricky, in my suburb there are 4 fish and chip shops, 2 of them are dodgy, one is ok incase of emergency but the one that really kills it, is called 'Thunder' and its not unusual for families local to me to say 'Whaddaya want for dinner?'
RULE NUMBER FOUR: YOU AIN'T GETTING IN MY CAR SANDY
There's nothing I hate more then sand in my car. We take Daddy's car, or you wash your dang feet.
RULE NUMBER FIVE: HOSE YOURSELF OFF BEFORE YOU GET IN THE HOUSE
See above but substitute car for house.
Sometimes playing with the hose in the front yard is just as fun as going to the actual beach, but the airconditioning is mere feet away.
Those are pretty much the rules regarding the summer time in our family. I'm sure I will think of something else while I'm in bed but those are the ones that have come to me in the heat of this morning.*
*Swimming lessons are essential for beach safety and I wouldn't let my children in the water at knee depth if they weren't semi competent swimmers. That's the real rule number one.