Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Hang on to your hats...

There are a few sure-fire ways to torture your child.  Wow - that sounds terrible!  But there is no doubt about it, some things are just torturous by their very nature, like the toddler version of Kryptonite.  Or salt for a snail.  Or nails screeching on a blackboard for pretty much anyone. 

Most of these "toddler tortures" involve the sun - or more specifically, protection from the sun.  The obvious one is sunscreen.  Most children have such an aversion to this that they run away screaming if you even bring out the bottle.  I have tried all different types, from the disgusting "kiddie-scented" ones, to the spray-on type, to the most expensive Ambre Solaire product, and the response is always the same.  One - or in my case three - extremely angry little ones covered in patchy white blotches and my own pair of pants covered in white hand-prints/nose-prints and other indeterminite smudges that slowly fade to greasy hand-prints/nose-prints and other indeterminate smudges.  Except in the case of the spray-on kind of sunscreen, when you get three extremely angry and sneezing little ones.

Likewise, the issue of a sunhat.  I am not quite sure why sunhats are so repulsive to the average child, but my theory is that even the smallest amount of restriction of bloodflow to the developing brain causes it to overheat and a meltdown is the likely consequence.  That is the only reason I can come up with for the fantastic paddies that I have seen my kids throw at the mention of a sunhat.  It is like you have sadistically engineered a torture device, complete with red fire ants and boiling oil, exclusively for them.

But (and I hate to brag...okay, as the Sweetpea is sure to point out, I don't actually hate bragging per se, specifically, but anyway, moving right along...) I have discovered the secret to sunhats.  This puts me (temporarily) into the Good Parent category (I spend so little time there it actually feels like foreign territory, a bit like a walk on the moon).  The secret is this:  As I was watching my two playing outside in the sun today, and by turns trying to cram said discarded sunhats onto unsuspecting heads at any opportunity, I had an amazing realisation.  The sunhats that my two have to wear look a lot like that hat that Zorro wears, the one with the wide brim.  And, forgive me if I am mistaken, but is Zorro not one of the coolest heroes around?  (Most ladies would definitely agree that when Zorro comes in the guise of Antonio Banderas, he is welcome to rescue them from brigands any day.  Or thieves. Or spiders. Or even from a small insignificant type of insect we would usually deal with ourselves. Whatever. Bring on Zorro!)

So I casually came home from play group and offered them the opportunity of watching a bit of television for a while.  They both looked at me suspiciously - TV in the middle of the day - what was up?  But it was too good an opportunity to miss and so they settled down in front of the TV happily.  I put my cunning plan into action and showed them a few excellent clips from the Zorro movies.  They sat in open-mouthed amazement all the way through as Zorro leapt from burning buildings onto the back of his horse, had swordfights against armies and generally saved the day.

When I was finished, they sat for a few moments without stirring.  Then they shook themselves, stood up and ran off outside to play.  With their sunhats firmly on their heads.  Now I just have to deal with the swordfighting...

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