Summer with a toddler is a nightmare. This is why.

Protecting children from the sun is not always easy.
Protecting children from the sun is not always easy. Photo: Shutterstock

With the welcome warmer weather having arrived, at least for now, many are quick to praise this inevitable annual change of season as being the best thing since, well, the last half-decent summer that we had.

But my oh my, what short memories we all have, because with the sun actually comes a whole lot of unwelcome side-effects – and they just seem to multiply when you have little ones in your care.

So despite everyone's common reply to which season is their favourite, I'm here to tell you that summer is actually not so great after all.

Firstly, sun is lovely, but sunburn, not so much. And while we all know the message to slip, slop, slap and wrap is important, the actual logistics in trying to get a toddler to comply with this is often missed.

Have you ever tried to put sunscreen on a wiggly tiny human, hell-bent on not being touched by said sunscreen and also smearing the majority of it back on to you, especially if you're dressed up, ready to go out? Their strength is superhuman in these situations. Their dedication to refuse authority is admirable.

Don't even get me started on trying to get them to keep their hat or sunglasses on, keep them in the shade rather than the blazing sun, or actually just keep any clothes on them at all when nudity – probably quite rightly – feels the most comfortable when it's roasting hot.

Then comes the issue of trying to get them to bed at 7pm when it looks and feels like midday. No amount of blackout curtains fools these little ones into believing that now is the time to sleep.

"But the sun's awake!" my 3-year-old loves to say, as he begins his bedtime battle. Funnily enough, it's the same phrase he loves to yell at 5am in the morning, too.

Thanks, summer.


Then once the little crazies are finally in bed, do you think I can sleep?

There's nothing restful about trying to sleep in the summer heat when the sheets are swamped in sweat, while flies and mozzies dive bomb you.

Summer also brings out the rage in people – especially those partaking in the seasonal activity of Christmas shopping.

I felt like the silly season officially began for me the other day when I was in the car park of The Plaza shopping centre and a woman was standing, watching me trying to park my car.

She stood there, arms up to her face with a look of pure horror on her face. I thought I might have run over her dog, such was the emotion she was displaying. After I tried to hand signal to ask what was wrong, and to prompt her out of her scathing evil looks, she stormed up to my car and shouted abuse at me – and I'm still not sure what it was about.

Ahh, I thought. Hello Christmas. I'm feeling the spirit alive and well among Manawatū shoppers.

It's never really Christmas until you've been involved in a little bit of road rage anyway, is it?

And finally, to calm all the nerves from the above annoyances, what summer is complete without a cool drink? Except the season of scorn has the last word there too and warms your wine up way too fast.

This causes you to do the only practical thing and drink it faster – not entirely a horrible prospect on many occasions – except, of course, when you have to parent tiny terrorists the next day.

Somehow, their little minds know that you're feeling under the weather from smashing a bottle of wine too quickly and decide to do such things as a) not sleep through the night b) wake up with some mystery ailment that prevents them from going to care the next day and c) generally act up in a way that can only make you concur that the decision to have children was amateur at best.

So, yes, summer, you look pretty, but looks, as we all know, can and are very deceiving, and I feel like everyone knows it – especially those who work behind supermarket checkouts who feel obliged to start every conversation with: "How about this weather? It's too hot." to which I reply, "Yes, but isn't this what we all wished for?"

- Stuff