Sunscreen

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You know you hated having your mother put on your sunscreen. She was never patient enough, always rubbing it in too hard and having some of it ooze into your eyes. She didn’t care that your ears were sunburned already from the last failed application of sunscreen (probably when she had trusted you to do it, which is why she is applying the sunscreen this time).

I can remember promising myself that I would always be gentle with my kid when it came to applying sunscreen. I would remember what it was like to try to stand still while my mom scrubbed the lotion into my body with a vigor I’ve never felt anywhere else. That was before I had a toddler who bolts from my reach at the mere site of a bottle of sunscreen. Now, when I can grab him, I rub viciously, trying to get as much lotion to penetrate his skin as I can before he slips out of my grasp again. And he screams, much like I wanted to do through all the sunscreen applications of my adolescence.

Let’s be honest; as mothers, the more our child wriggles and screams about sunscreen, the harder we try to rub it in. And I’ve noticed that, as the week has gone on, I’ve gotten even less patient about Robbie’s reaction to sunscreen application. He screams the instant he sees the bottle in my hand. I will say, however, that he also screams when he sees Justin putting the lotion on my back. I guess he’s worried that Justin’s hurting me as much as I “hurt” him when rubbing lotion on.

This is why I would like to thank the inventor of spray-on sunscreen. Sure, my kid still screams like a maniac when he sees me coming with the sunscreen. And, as my sister says, he sounds like a pterodactyl when I spray him down. But it lasts only a fraction of the time and covers nearly as well. And what’s a few splotchy red marks if my child doesn’t have the horrible memories of being subjected to the thrice-daily sunscreen rubdowns?

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