Thursday, June 28, 2012

28.6.12 - My pig in a blanket

Hello, summer, you firey bastard. How are you? Last time we met I was pregnant and gave birth, so I had been hot everywhere before you arrived and spent the majority of your last visit in air conditioned rooms with a tiny human attached to me. Now, you sneaky asshole, now you're here to make my life a misery with my almost-walking one year old. I have a curious little boy who wants to explore everything outdoors and you are making that incredibly tough, and my forehead very shiny, while it happens. You turd. 

I'm an American/Australian/Israeli. I was born in the States, grew up in Oz and moved to Tel Aviv four years ago. I know hot weather. I actually love hot weather and much prefer it over the cold. But I have never really understood the limitations of hot weather until now. In most of the western world, where winter reigns supreme, summer is the magical time you can actually spend outdoors with your kids. But here, in the Middle East, you duck and run for shelter and air conditioning like fire is falling from the sky, which it literally feels like it is sometimes. That, coupled with my Australian respect towards "Slip Slop Slap" (Slip on a T-Shirt, Slop on some sunscreen and Slap on hat) and the general antipathy I see towards that ethos here makes summer much more of a dangerous minefield than ever before. Plus, air con is exactly that - conditioned, and not fresh, air. You don't want your kid breathing in unnaturally cold air all the time, but you don't want them sweating themselves towards dehydration either. 

I'm at a slight impasse. Especially at night. 

I've been a big fan of swaddles and sleeping bags thus far as a mum. They do wonders to help calm my son, who is an amazing sleeper but is clearly all over the shop during the night. He's never in the same position I put him down in even moments later, which I believe is a trait he got from his father, whose ability to sleep on bizarre angles that inch me off the bed ever so slightly with so much less blanket than I began with, is legendary. As such, even though he's in a very light sleeping bag and super light pyjamas, I leave the air con on in his room for an hour when he goes down and leave a ceiling fan on overnight to circulate the cool air. 

Since the heatwave has officially begun (its going to be 35 degrees Celsius for next...forever) he's been waking up at 5am hot and sweaty, needing a drink of water and the air con back on. Once it's on he goes back down till around 7.30am. On the whole, this isn't actually so bad - it's almost like a breastfeed wake up with even less effort so I can quite easily go back to get a little more sleep. But its still a wake up. I was so sure I just perfected this whole sleeping-through-the-night game down to a graceful art, beyond teething and solids and daycare ailments and the new-found ability to suck on his own toes. I was grandmaster mummy; now I'm just another hot and bothered shmuck with a hot potato of a child. 

On the one hand, I could just lose the sleeping bag - but he likely won't soothe himself back to sleep as easily. Or I could just leave the air con at a higher temperature - I invite YOU to pay my electricity bill. Plus, I really don't like the idea. I see him going from being a pig in a blanket to a sandy-haired, wide-eyed popsicle overnight. Or I could just keep doing what I'm doing, because in truth it isn't that bad, especially considering there was a point in the not-so-distant past where I was up every four hours with him anyway.  In the beginning, the heat was actually useful - newborns like it warm and there was plenty of that going around. But my little champ now has a fairly normal internal thermometer and as such, needs my adult finger to push that damn button. I've almost got the water issue sorted - if he stands up in the crib he can reach the corner of his change table and often grabs whatever is teetering there on the side (nappy cream, baby powder, the crown jewels) for funsies. I could just leave his water bottle there for the taking. But then he'll start drinking lying down which can lead to ear infections and him soaking the bed with his water bottle, necessitating a sheet change every other day and before I know it, my perfect world will have been decimated into a smoldering heap. So I won't. But damned if the thought hasn't crossed my mind. I am able to to have air con come on at a given interval over night for a selected period of time, but that only takes care of the graveyard shift. 

Damn you technology. Why won't you ever develop for my continuing benefit and lifestyle needs?!

So here it is. I'm back up at 5am again, if only for a few minutes. I'll eat this one, because it's really not so bad. Stay tuned for my next summer rant, which is sure to be entitled "The enduring agony of my child's first sunburn, and other stories." Until then, have a healthy, safe and wonderful summer, all you northern hemisphere folk. For those of you below the equator back home, I'll have some winter gripes ready around November...

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