It's still regularly above 100 degrees here. Over the years, we've developed our own Hot Weather Protocol for conducting everyday activities in a very hot environment. Most of these are just common sense, once you get used to living in extreme heat 4-5 months out of the year.
Hot Weather Protocol (HWP) includes the following:
- conducting as much errand preparation as possible inside the AC'd house/store/whatever. Gather everything you need, put on all your shoes/hats/sunglasses/whatever, and only THEN exit into the sun. The other day we went shopping. I grabbed the stroller out of the car, Jeremy grabbed Sterling, but we did not stop in the heat to buckle him in until we were inside the store's AC.
- teaching your kids a slightly different way to get help if they're lost. We have taught our kids that if they ever get lost (separated from us) outside, they need to get inside first, and then find someone to help them. It is amazing how fast you can get dangerously overheated and disoriented in high temperatures and direct sunlight.
- walking in the shade, if it's available. Always.
- possibly leaving the car running during quick errands, so the AC keeps things cool in preparation for your return. We actually don't do this one, but a lot of people around here do. Including students, while they're in class.
- if you haven't left the AC running, then that's the first thing that you do when you get back in. You start the car, and you blast the AC. This is the hardest for me when I'm grocery shopping with Sterling. I get back to the car and I have a cart full of groceries and my arms full of baby and the angle to get the keys in the ignition is juuuust out of my reach.
- playing outside at dusk/night. This seems so unwholesome in more temperate climates, but here, it is a necessity. Once the sun goes down, the kids come out.
- sitting outside and sweating like it's no big deal. Your kids are playing, you're out talking with the neighbors, and nobody feels like bringing up the fact that there are rivulets of sweat dripping down their back right this very moment.
- crayons and chocolate are not allowed in the car. Ever.
My favoritest, quirkiest HWP is that we put an ice pack in Sterling's carseat during the three hours the car is parked at church. It's the only regular long block of time that the car is parked outside in an uncovered space, and when you get back in - WOW. It is HOT. The buckles, straps, and cover of his carseat would burn him badly if we didn't cool everything down with one of those re-freezable blue ice packs. We do this every week for him, and every week I can't believe this is something that is normal for us.
This time of year is hot, but at least we're in cooling-down mode. Each day is a little less hot than the one before. Soon, we won't even have to follow Hot Weather Protocol.