Every year, without fail, a thing happens that heralds the beginning of Summer for me. That thing is my drive home from work. The temperature will be balmy, my car windows will be down enough to create a breeze and I will be listening to good music. I will feel hopeful, it will feel like the moment things flip away from cold dark mornings and constant drizzle to orange tinted dusk and bright dawns. I will feel that Summer is on the way.
That moment this year happened yesterday evening. I was late leaving work so managed to achieve a speed of more then 4mph on the M6, Annie Mac was playing some decent tunes and it was a warm evening.
Summer is on the way. It is official in my book.
And then I walked through the front door and tripped over a toy lawnmower.
So here are my signs that Summer is coming, re-authored from my perspective as a Mummy.
1. You scope out local beer gardens over the course of a week or so to select your favourite and then set up residence with a bottle of Pinot.
You scope out all Splash Pads and Sandpits within a twenty mile radius and visit them all, clutching a grubby Sainsburys carrier bag contained 12 packs of raisins, a bruised banana, a small pot of Playdoh, baby wipes and a bottle of flat Coke.
2. You buy a Summer perfume and new sunglasses.
You buy every type of ‘non-sticky, extra strength, factor 50 for sensitive skin’ children’s suncream going and then lose them all over a three week period.
3. You spend hours researching romantic boutique hotels on the banks of an exotic lake somewhere.
You spend hours researching crèche facilities, buffet options and swimming pools at a host of resorts across Europe before losing the will to live, chucking a dart at a brochure and screeching BOOK THAT ONE at whichever resort it lands on.
4. You master a new Summer eyeliner flick.
You master the art of rinsing suncream out of a toddler’s eye in 20 seconds.
5. You bring out the picnic basket from the cupboard under the stairs.
The cupboard under the stairs becomes a vestibule for storing approximately 600 battered sun hats and caps that were worn by your child for 10 seconds each before being discarded.
Tepid Carling swigged rapidly from the can between repeated trips upstairs to calm a fractious child who cannot sleep in the heat.
7. You spend weekend afternoons snoozing in the Sun in the garden.
You spend weekend afternoons repeatedly applying sunblock, spraying insect repellant and being soaked by a hose pipe.
8. You paint your nails in pastel hues.
You wipe ice-cream sticky fingerprints from windows and door handles.
9. You drift lazily on a Lilo in a pool.
You shriek DON’T WEE IN THE POOL.
10. You listen endlessly to the latest Ibiza sunsetter.
Your Summer soundtrack is Peppa Pig’s Rainbow song, the Thomas soundtrack and ‘I’m the King of the Castle.’
And yet, Summer with a toddler is glorious. You will create memories, spend every possible waking moment outside, and indulge in the fun of Summer rather than the materiality of it in a way that you haven’t since you yourself were a child.
And so for all that they are different these days, for me these signs that Summer is coming are welcome. I will take all the flat drinks and battered hats if it means watching my boy run barefoot around the garden laughing like a drain with not a care in the world.
So welcome back sunshine.
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