Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Laundry Party!

If you come to our house on a Sunday evening, you may witness something pretty bizarre. Except, if you were visiting us, we probably wouldn't do this since.. well, you'd be visiting.

What you would see if you were at our house and .. invisible? ... is David and I round up our children, shouting "Laundry Party! Woooo! Let's go!!! Everybody in our bedroom, yayyyy I'm soooo excited!"

Our children roll their eyes.

And trudge into our bedroom.

Beholden to them, is a mountain of laundry on our bed. It is an entire weeks worth of clean laundry. It's often so big, *I* can't see over the top of the pile.

They groan at how big the pile is.

I mention that if they spilled less food on their clothes and sat in less mud, maybe there would be less to wash.

They assemble themselves standing around the bed, each with a laundry basket. And they pull out everything that is theirs and put it in their basket. They toss over what belongs to others.

All socks get tossed into one bin and set aside as we go. I fold and put away Charlie's laundry, David's and my dresser-stuff, and toss over the hang up stuff to David who hangs it up. Oh, David also plays bouncer to Charlie - who - as much as we'd LIKE to include him, wreaks absolute havoc on the process.

Never invite a 2 year old to your laundry party. It's like feeding gremlins after midnight. DO NOT DO IT!!

What is positively brilliant about this procedure is that what would take me at LEAST 4 hours spaced out throughout the week takes 30-35 minutes.

After the laundry is sorted, the socks get dumped out. Everybody grabs their's and pairs them. Previously odd socks get brought out and matched in, and socks that don't find their sole mate go back away.

The older children groan (much like you should be at my jokes) as they drag their giant baskets full of laundry towards their rooms to hang it up.

I hang up Anna's and some of Cole's (his closet rod is out of his reach still, but it won't be for long, muah ha ha!).

I don't care for any of my older children doing their own laundry .. not yet, anyways. If they did their own laundry, their dirty laundry piled up somehwere would drive me at least slightly bonkers. That, and, I want to be able to use my machine when I want to use it, darn it!

But Laundry Party!TM saves me from folding 70 of the 112 socks we use in a week (I still do Charlie's, David's and Mine). As I am madly putting away the things my children are throwing my direction, they do the majority of the sorting of the Mountain. It contains at LEAST 70 shirts, 50 pairs of pants, 56 pairs of underwear, 29 pairs of pjs in a given week. And what I do sort, I dont' have to reach for because there are miniature Laundry Technicians stationed at all points of the holding platform.

I guess I felt like getting technical, there.

So that is what OUR family does at some point Sunday afternoon or evening. I hope you enjoyed.

The children may groan about it now, but I *know* they will look back fondly on it in 20 ... or.. maybe 30 years :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sunscreen is bad?!?

A blog I like to read recently posted pictures that included some of her young children with what looked like a very light sunburn.

Being that it's a popular blog (www.mycharmingkids.net) with lots of commenters - this mother was informed that she needs to buy some sunscreen for her children. That opinion was seconded. And Thirded (is that a word? - probably not). Thriced?

Besides the fact that I am completely confident this mother a) knows what sunscreen is and b) is a very capable mother and c) IT'S NONE OF MY BUSINESS - I felt the need to counter their advice that she needs to go out and buy sunscreen for her children to avoid sun related cancers.

yes, I say I disagree.. sort of.

Because sunscreen isn't necessarily bad.

but I believe that using sunscreen is bad... in a way.

There are reasons that sunscreen may just be bad for us that I won't get into in depth. But there are some questionable ingredients in them that our skin absorbs. That concerns me, but it's not why I'm here.

Sunscreen is widely used - why are skin cancer rates rising so quickly?

One of the reasons - sunscreen.

Not because sunscreen necessarily causes cancer (although some may argue it does, that argument feels way out of my reach).

Because so many of us put sunscreen on our children, and then send them out in the sun.

Let me first say - the sun does some good things. Vitamin D, for example. I am positive that skin cancer prevention goes way beyond anything to do with the sun. Diet can go a long way to reducing all cancers.

And before I get into my argument ... my natural inclination towards everything related to life is the view of human behaviour. Psychology. I am not sure how much of how I look at the world is because of school, or if I am just this way in general.

Now - to illustrate my point (that sunscreen is sort of bad) let's make up a hypothetical study to illustrate my point on human behaviour and sunscreen. Making things up is generally frowned upon. But i wont' enter it in to any medical journals. It's just a "common knowledge" approach and I'm using it to help visualize my point, human behaviour testing / psychology are bound by ethics - we can't exactly try this out!

Imagine two mothers with young children - and both mothers are very similar in belief that too much sun exposure is dangerous to their children's skin and increases their potential to develop skin cancer. Both parents believe (as so many of us do) that sunscreen will prevent skin damage.

Give one mother sunscreen to use on her children to prevent sun burn.

Give another mother NO sunscreen.

Send them back home (they live in the same city and are both Stay At Home parents) - and be a fly on the wall in their lives to see what they do.

Which mother's child is going to spend more time in the sun?

My money is on the mother who has sunscreen. By a LOT.

If I don't have sunscreen for my children, am I going to let them play outside in shorts and a tshirt at noon for a couple of hours? Nope!

I respect that there are a huge variety of opinions out there about.. everything and so even if you don't believe the sun is damaging to the skin for long term, you wouldn't want that horrible blistering sunburn. So I'm pretty confident in my guess.

Without sunscreen, am I going to travel to the beach before 4pm? Nope!

If my kids want to be outside I'm going to ensure that my children are playing in the giant shady trees of our backyard and wearing hats and protective clothing. Or wearing protective swim gear and swim hats and waiting until after 4pm to hit the beach, and keeping them under giant umbrellas as much as possible until the sun is safely low in the sky.

The behaviour of the mother without any sunscreen to use would be much different than the behaviour of the mother who has sunscreen.

That's not "just me" because that would be human behaviour if sunscreen wasn't available even though science has shown us the damage the sun can do to our skin.

The way I see it, if we use sunscreen we should act as though we don't have it on. It should be the last back up.

So many of us (not all, but many!) bet our skin that sunscreen actually protects us 100% from the damage of the sun - and it doesn't! No burn does NOT mean no damage. We now KNOW that - and all sunscreens are NOT created equal, for the record.

Which brings me back to my original point and why I spoke up about sunscreen in the first place. We need to stop thinking of sunscreen as the way to protect our skin from the sun. Is it surprising that the way North America has adopted "sun safe" culture is with a product that we buy from companies that are making oogles of money?

And so - I am not saying don't use sunscreen. I'm saying - we need to stop thinking of sunscreen as the ticket to spending way more time in the sun than we should. Imagine how many hours of sun exposure we get because we have it on us or our children - hours that we would NEVER have let our kids spend in the sun because they'd be coming home blistered without sunscreen. Do you want to believe that No Burn = No Damage - or that sunscreen was developed from an educated guess made 30 years ago that we continue to believe because money making companies tell us that?