It’s August, and the polite question of the month is “how has your summer been?”
I happen to be having a great summer, so that’s what I say. But as with most answers to polite questions, that doesn’t quite sum it up.
How has my summer really been?
For one, I’m sticky, greasy, sandy, sweaty, and altogether coated in chemicals. There’s the usual layers of melted ice pop, chlorine and sunscreen. But this summer I was also doused in Benadryl following my toddler’s allergic reaction to sunscreen. And although bug spray is always on the menu, I sprayed on enough of it this summer to send Mr. and Mrs. Off’s kids to college.
Speaking of which.
I’m covered in mosquito bites. What is up with those nasty little buggers this year? I’m afraid to step outside in broad daylight for fear of adding to my welt collection. Apparently there was a new breed from Asia this summer, one that doesn’t wait for twilight like its Western relations. And someone told me there were more mosquitoes than usual thanks to the unusually mild winter. (There’s always a hitch.) Whatever the reasons may be, I avoid my backyard like the plague.
As compensation for the unsightly bug bites, I’ve got a great tan, if I do say so myself. I spent most of my pre-kid life trying to figure out how to get that elusive, all-over tan. Little did I know the answer was to pry my tush off the lounge chair and be active in the sun. Huh.
Speaking of appearance, I’ve become more adventurous with my hair, alternating between curly and slicked-back. Ten months out of the year I have straight hair, but I just can’t stomach the hair dryer in the summer. By the time I’m done I’m in such a sweat that I need to shower again. Besides, most days I swap morning showers for evening ones, resulting in funky morning hair that’s just screaming for an up-do. So I've experimented with braids, pony tails and buns, finally mastering French braiding my own hair. I daresay that’s my biggest accomplishment all summer.
I’ve forgotten who sleeps where. Between all the nighttime thunderstorms and our blatant disregard forroutine, we’ve been falling asleep wherever (and whenever) we collapse. It’s become somewhat of a game to wake up and find out who passed out next to me the night before. The baby? The dog? The kindergartner? The guy I married?
Speaking of whom.
I’m sure my husband thinks I’m narcoleptic. I’ve always been early to bed, but this summer I’ve given new meaning to the word exhausted. More often than not I fall asleep before the kids. I have friends who sip wine together on the deck at night, or cozy up on the couch and watch TV. I’ve even heard of some couples who have conversations after their kids go to bed. That sounds nice...except...lemme just close my eyes for a sec and...zzzzzz.
In my defense, I have every reason to be exhausted. I schlepped all over the place this summer -- farms, museums, theaters, playgrounds, amusement parks, pools, libraries. You name it, I’ve changed a diaper and managed a meltdown there.
I sat still while my big girl got her ears pierced on my lap, squealed when she lost her first two teeth, and dropped my jaw as she demonstrated the powerful backstroke she learned at camp. All this “growing up” nonsense trickled down to my littler girl, who started speaking in sentences, counting to 14, singing the alphabet and doing forward rolls. Is she kidding me?
I’m out of ideas for easy dinners, fun day trips, and summery outfits that don’t accentuate my muffin top -- and/or match what my sister who lives across town is wearing that day. And I’ve had my fill of ice cream, froyo, corn on the cob and hot dogs (hence the aforementioned muffin top).
It may sound like I’m complaining, but truly, this summer has been everything summer should be in my book (minus the mosquito bites).
And now, sadly, it’s time for some back-to-school shopping. Yes, I still oppose , but this is our first brush with public school, I gotta make a good impression.
See you in September… when the new polite question of the month will be “how do you like your kid’s teacher?”
Answer to follow.