Keeping a toddler cool is bringing me out in a cold sweat

Immy having fun in the sun - minus hat, but suncreamed up..
Immy having fun in the sun - minus hat, but suncreamed up..

Oh sunshine, how I love thee – but only for a bit.

It’s so typical of us Brits; we spend all our time moaning that we never get any nice weather, then as soon as we do, we complain that it’s too hot. I’m guilty of this myself. 36 hours into last week’s incredible heatwave, we had a thunderstorm and I found myself thinking ‘oh thank goodness, maybe THAT will break this unbearable heat…’ A day and a half. We don’t deserve nice weather. Or maybe it’s that we’re just not primed for it, we’ve never needed to be. It’s not like our houses all have air-conditioning, like they do in these hot countries. I went for a walk with my daughter the other day and the two of us ended up doing laps around and around the gloriously cool aisles of our local ASDA.

The heatwave has also provided us with a sneaky preview of what we can expect in Italy next month. My fiancé and I are getting married there in 29 days and, along with all the wedding plans, we’re preparing to take our 14-month-old daughter abroad for the first time. I’ve spent the last week religiously applying factor 50 sunblock to every inch of Immy’s skin and here’s what the experience has taught me. As well as turning her into a slippy human Calippo who slides right out of my arms, it also leaves her clothes covered in oily patches and, as a result of often forgetting to wash my hands, I now look a bit like I’m wearing white gloves.

She also has beautiful fair afro-curls - which she gets from her daddy – that we’ve learned go maniacal in the heat. Excellent, that’ll look good on the wedding photos.

On top of that, I’ve become obsessed with keeping her cool – ‘don’t let her out in the sun for too long,’ ‘don’t expose her lovely skin to the sun,’ ‘Imogen, don’t stare at the sun!’ She’s been sleeping peacefully in her nappy every night with our only fan blasting at her, while her daddy and I are uncomfortable and suffocating in the next room. I really hope these old Italian hotels have air-conditioning.

And I’ll be damned if she’ll keep her sunhat on for longer than ten seconds. It’s as if she’s never heard of heatstroke. I tried bribing her with ice-cream but I think she may be a little too young for the concept; she happily took the ice-cream but then totally reneged on her side of the deal.

And I swear, if I get one more email from the NHS or other likeminded body warning me that heat stroke can be deadly for toddlers, I may just cancel the whole thing and get married at my town hall instead.