“Daddy, Mommy says I look a little pink.”

Husband: “Did you put block on CP?”

Me: “Yes! Of course! Why, does she look pink to you?”

Husband: “Maybe. Is that a burn? Does she need another coat?”

Life's a beach.

Life’s a beach.

We have spent 65% of this summer talking about sunblock, being “pink”, and tan lines in regard to our three-year-old. We’ve spent the other 35% of our time wrangling said preschooler to smear all exposed skin with block. We have obsessed about the possibility of a burnt scalp because CP is a little thin on top. We’ve revelled in the genius concept of little bathing suits with sleeves and praised the creator of this design because of the amount of time it saves us in sunblock application — and the sheer relief that her tiny porcelain shoulders won’t be blistered.

When I’m not fretting about her skin being ruined by too much sun, I’m wondering whether or not I’m a bad mom because I didn’t pay the full price for the non-toxic sunscreen. I walked through the “nicer section” of Target’s health and beauty area earlier this season … picked up a $40 6 ounce bottle of sunscreen … did some quick math in my head and doubled that price (one for daycare, one for home)… and went back to the area that I could afford. Looks like we’ll be taking a trip on the Banana Boat this summer, CP.

I don’t remember even using sunblock as a kid! Was sun protection even a thing? I think I remember Coppertone, but my mom certainly wasn’t using it on me. My only basis of that statement is the recollection of a ridiculous number of wicked painful sunburns in my youth. My friends’ moms and my mom were smoking cigarettes and sitting in the sand reading books while we frolicked in the sun for hours on end. Peeling layers of skin from my shoulders and chest was a summer evening ritual when I was younger. In my teen years, I recall two options in preparation for a day in the sun: Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning Oil and Johnson’s Baby Oil. To this day, the smell of coconuts sends me back to the 90s and that laughable SPF 2 rating. The concept of a burn early on in the season to create a sweet “base tan” did not at all seem like a bad idea.

As an adult, I’ve had some questionable moles removed and some evil sun spots rear their heads. Maybe this is why I sweat the care of my daughter’s skin? Maybe it’s because of the miles of articles I’ve read online or hours of news coverage I’ve seen regarding skin cancer? I’m not sure, but I certainly hope that all of this obsession over sun protection was worth it! And I hope I’m not creating a heliophobic in the meantime. Whoops.

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