My son Shane started surf camp on Monday and I am happy to report that -- on day three -- he actually stood on his foam learning board. I am unhappy to report that he has gotten more sun in these past few days than ever before.
Being from Jersey, I was no stranger to baby oil and tinfoil on an album cover (uh dating myself) to get a little color. Say the kind that makes me look like a cooked lobster. I have had my fair share of sunburns throughout the years; so red that I was purple.
One time, I got so burnt in Cancun that I actually got sun poisoning and spent three days in bed with a fever and throwing up.
As an adult, I choose to limit my time in the sun and don't leave the house without being slathered with at least SPF 50 from head to toe.
Ever since Shane was born in Southern California, I have been completely neurotic with keeping him out of the sun. In almost eight years, he has only gotten a little too much sun once -- on his face -- until this week.
The poor boy keeps coming home from surf camp a bit crispier each day.
We are putting Kids SPF 60 on him each morning but, to our chagrin, it is not being reapplied enough throughout the day.
Over the past few weeks, I have been stressing (and I mean that literally) to Shane the importance of putting his Kids Sunscreen stick on his face. I've had him do it over and over again because, in his haste, he is missing big areas of his face. I can tell that is still an issue as he has a few sunburn splotches on his face.
After the first day, we spoke to the counselors and they assured us that they are reapplying sunscreen on the kids but my partially lobster red kid is telling a different story.
My paranoid thinking conjures up images of my little guy on a deserted beach and thoughts of the TV show "Survivor" and the book "Lord of the Flies" sort of merge into one dramatic scenario. Luckily for Shane, this is not his reality.
Part of the problem is that the kids are in and out of the water all day long. So -- even if sunscreen is being reapplied -- it is getting washed off in the water.
He wears a half wetsuit all day so it is only his face, ears and the backs of his legs that are getting too much sun. Right now, after three days, the backs of his legs are starting to turn tan.
Jason's thought is that, once his skin gets used to the sun, he will be brown as a berry and not Hawaiian Punch red. To me, I feel that is still damaging his skin.
I look at red face and it makes me feel so helpless. Besides sending him to camp with an arsenal of sunscreen and threatening the lives of the counselors, I don't know what else to do.
Jason joked that he would buy him a giant mask to go over his head to wear all day. They had a good chuckle, but that doesn't solve our dilemma.
So far, we've been slathering him with aloe at night but, tonight, I broke down and actually patted his burnt areas with cold tea bags. Not sure if that will work, but it was a remedy that my mom used to do for me when I was a kid.
Shane has been very good natured and says that his skin doesn't hurt at all. I have to believe him because if you've ever had bad sunburn, it hurts like hell. Jason thinks his face is just irritated from all the sunscreen we have been applying. I can only imagine the phobias I am in the process of creating for this kid.
During the summers of my youth, I do remember spending all my days at the beach without any SPF clogging my pores. I survived and didn't have any significant sun damage.
I definitely think this is one of those times that I am letting my neurosis get the best of me.
Jason and I have to be rest assured that we are doing the best we can: applying heavy duty sunscreen in the morning; Shane is doing his best to reapply; the counselors are certainly applying it throughout the day, even if it is the spray.
I realize that I have to let it go and let the kid live a little, I know he will survive.