With summer and the hot weather finally here (after a very long rainy season) I’ve been trying to hit the park, beach, and outside world more often, more or less successfully (mainly less).  It sounds like such a great idea; not only is the weather great, but you also get the chance to socialize your kid with other park-going children.  As usual there are the every day tasks to get out of the house with a toddler… and then there are the NEW seasonal tasks.  Observe. 

The usual:  pack up small diaper bag (1-2 diapers, a burp rag, wipes), find and refill wipes holder, pack up snacks, pack up water/juice, pull juice out, wipe up drips from putting in cup upside down because kid distracted you by chasing cat, repack juice, change kid’s diaper, get kid dressed appropriately for weather outside, pack up sweatshirt “just in case” weather turns, wrestle with kid to get shoes on, find your own shoes and purse, leave   

Total running time: 20 minutes give or take (depending on how easy the dressing part went)

The new:  realize that you forgot sunscreen, take shoes off kid and undress, apply sunscreen all over, change diaper again (already an accident!), think about a hat for the kid, try to find hat, pack hat, decide to bring swim trunks for fountains, pack swimmer’s diapers, (while kid is chasing cat think about putting child in the swimmer’s diapers now “just in case”, headache begins, drop whole idea of swimmer’s diapers), decide to pack extra clothes “just in case”, repack everything into large diaper bag, try to find a blanket for park that you don’t mind getting dirty, realize blanket is already dirty from two previous days at park, take it anyway, realize it’s taken you so long to get everything together that you might as well feed kid before you leave, feed child, think about bug spray, hope child will move too fast for bugs to land, wrestle shoes onto kid, find your own shoes and purse, haul everything out to car, leave   

Total running time: an additional hour, plus

The end: Get to the park.  Set out blanket in half-shady spot.  Kid runs around like crazy.  Sun beats down.  Realize you’ve forgotten water for yourself, though child is sufficiently hydrated.  Not that it matters because kid gets totally pooped out by heat within 45 minutes.  Despite slathering on sunscreen, kid’s ears turn pink within 20 minutes.  Haul him into the shade for remaining time.  Kid runs around like crazy, then collapses onto blanket with a glazed look.  Pack everything up and go home.  Since child fell asleep in car, take a long, sunburnt nap (guess who forgot to put on sunscreen?).  Resolve to spend more time in backyard.

Summer came on so suddenly this year it was like being mugged.  I’m sure this process will become more streamlined soon, but for now I envy the folks who have a park within a short walking distance to their house.   

               – the weirdgirl