Over the past week, the boys and I have been soaking up a lot of sun. And it's completely nerve-wracking, because I alone am tasked with keeping their creamy, perfect boyskin from crisping over and launching lifelong battles against basal cell carcinomas and leprous limbs falling off willy-nilly. The directions on the sunscreen bottle aren't any help ("re-apply as necessary"--gee, thanks), and since they both sweat like fountains I use my two-pronged attack of 1) herding them into the shadier parts of the playground and 2) hovering over them with my spray bottle of SPF 50 until their skin shines like the hood of a Camaro.
You can therefore imagine the degree to which I lost my shit when I looked down at TwoBert and saw this:
How could this have happened? The kid has so much octocrylene on him that it's probably seeped into the marrow of his kneecaps!
Easy now. Deep breaths. He doesn't seem to be in a lot of discomfort. That's odd: It doesn't feel warm to the touch. And, hey, it doesn't go white when you press it. What's going on here?
Then, the Eureka moment: TwoBert had been wearing a pair of red cotton shorts, and when we ran through the sprinklers the dye ran onto his legs. (I suppose I could have prevented my full-scale panic if I had noticed that his "sunburn" became dried rivulets on his shins.) Crisis averted, all is well, nothing to see here. Right?
Not really. We got back too late for a bath that night, so TwoBert still had his redolent drumsticks when we went out to the MoMA the next day. And everywhere we went, people's reactions followed this pattern:
- Regard man and two adorable sons out on the town. Smile warmly.
- Have attention naturally drawn to super-adorable two-year-old in stroller.
- Notice ostensibly sunburned flesh of same.
- Return gaze to man with concern and/or disgust.
- *Picture man clapped in irons in Parent Prison, jumper cables attached to his nipples.
I couldn't even get out my front door before my neighbor helpfully noticed that I had neglectfully let my child fry like a chicken. I spent about five minutes explaining myself, just as my neighbor was using his iPhone to Google Child Services, and we had a good laugh. And I spent the next several hours fighting the urge to explain to passersby that, see, here's the thing, we didn't have TwoBert's bathing suit yesterday because he'd just had a blowout crap, so we had to use these red shorts, and blah-blah-blah my child's not an Oven Stuffer Roaster.
That night, TwoBert's sunburn came off with a little bubble bath and a washcloth. If only all shame could wash away so easily.