Saturday, November 15, 2008

favorite thing friday

Although I have a lot more to write regarding Montessori and the direction Charlie and I are considering with our children's future educational experience (oy vey the pressure) ... today I must use my allotted computer time to discuss one of my all-time favorite things. And I would not be discussing this particular all-time favorite thing if not for Rosemary in Australia.

G'day Rosemary! Thanks for the nice note!

Rosemary has recently returned to living in Australia from the United States and she sent me an e-mail in which she wrote, "O
ne of the big kid fashion differences I noted [relative to the United States] was that Aussie kids wear hats ALL the time. All schools, pfewlay groups {my question is, what in the world is pfewlay?}, pre-schools, child care centres have a “No Hat, No Play” policy. We do have the highest skin cancer rate in the world and it is because the sun is so darn strong most of the year, even in winter. On the other hand, most American schools that I had any contact with outlawed all headgear. So, when I see the brilliant hats your little ones wear, I’m just delighted! So, can you favourite thing Friday those hats please? My fair haired, blue eyed little bundle of sunshine would be eternally grateful."

Last night I was looking through photos and I was hard pressed to find a picture of the children in the outdoors where they were not wearing their hats. The ritual of putting a hat on whenever we go outside to play has become second nature to everyone.

We all have wide brim sun hats, every member of the family.

And we begrudgingly wear them.


(But not when we are wearing identically matching outfits. Because, you know, that would be corny.)

Much like Australia, we have a very intense sun that shines year round in San Diego. And when one of my classmates, a native Californian and bona fide "surfer dude" lost his life to melanoma at the young age of 32, I vowed that I would do better to protect myself (and any future children) from the harms of the sun. It is for that reason that I slather our children in sunscreen, full coverage bathing suits, and wide brimmed sun hats, whenever we are outdoors. It is also why I nag gently suggest that my husband wear long sleeves when he'll be outside for a full day in the sun.


There sure are a lot of different styles to chose from.

Considering the most deadly melanoma skin cancers occur on the scalp and neck, it is my humble opinion that unless you live and play in a dark cave, everyone should have a good sunhat and use sunscreen liberally.

We are currently on our second generation of Columbia Sportswear Bora Bora Booney hats.

(That there, above colored in red text, is a link where you can purchase these magnificent hats. Although if you live in San Diego, I will let you in on a secret. We've purchased our Columbia hats at the San Diego Zoo and with a member discount, have procured all of our hats for 10% off the suggested retail price.)

These hats are extremely durable and I recently purchased several more so that we have an ample supply of good quality hats at home and in the car. Because nothing sends me in to a tailspin faster than being out and realizing I don't have hats. That's when I have to dig in to my bag of tricks for other ingenious ways of covering up our children's fair Irish skin. (Why it is that they inherited my husband's blood type and not his beautiful olive complexion is BEYOND me.)

Although some of these ingenious tactics may or may not be conducive to seeing.

EDITED TO ADD: I should probably mention that the Columbia hats come in different sizes. The children wear the youth size; Charlie and I wear the unisex size. Both of these sizes are O/S, or "one size". But obviously, the youth size (which I linked to in this post) fits a child. I also need to mention that children (by virtue of being children), do not typically like to wear hats once they reach an age where they can reach up and pull them off. But with time, our children have learned that removing their hats is an exercise in futility and they will now leave them on their heads while we are outside. But, it takes work! Consistency. Persistence. Duct Tape.

EDITED (AGAIN) TO ADD: When I just checked out that link for the hats, I'm not entirely convinced it IS for the youth size. (Sorry, I thought for sure it was at 10:00 last night.) They DO make hats in unisex and youth sizes. Our children all have youths. The unisex does fit our children's head (albeit a little big), because they have cinches that you can tighten down. It may take a little more research than what I've provided here to find a youth size. Unfortunately, REI no longer sells them - or else I would have linked there.


  1. my kids won't keep them on for anything.

    and, my doctor is so picky about only giving ONE stinking sticker to my children at the office! I wish they could have one of each, or that she would only pull out one...not 12 and tell them to pick! glad your dr. is nice :)

  2. I bought a booney hat when I started college in Arizona. I wasn't quite as good about wearing it and/or sunscreen for a few years there, but by the time I finished college I became diligent at both and had grown out of caring if others thought me to be silly walking to class in a hat. I've been diligent ever since. So diligent, in fact, that when I tried to find a picture of myself to use on Facebook--a nice picture, portrait-style, one where old friends would recognize me--I could not find a single decent picture of me without a hat on. Most of my photos are from outside hiking or something similar, and as I now go nowhere without a hat, apparently I do not exist without one either.

  3. Jen,

    I had a mom at the pool tell me how I was so lucky that my kids liked their hats. She tried *twice* to make her son wear his, but he just wouldn't. I just looked at her, thought about all the temper tantrums, back in the houses, aborted trips to the park, and everything else that we went through with The Queen of the Universe. Then I took a deep breath and just smiled politely. I guess you put your energy towards what is most important to you. So anyway, I'm with you on the persistence thing. My kids wear sunscreen and hats, and they are basically don't stir outside of the house without their hats. If they take them off, they go back inside. I have had my toddler sitting under the shelter at the side of the pool because she refused to wear her hat. It took us a whole summer, but she finally quit fighting it. (And she is THE MOST STUBBORN child in the world. She literally argues with me about whether the sun is shining outside.)

    I'm glad you featured this Favorite Things. I love the hats you guys have!


  4. And by the way... those full-coverage bathing suits are the best things since the swimming pool was invented! My oldest hasn't had a sunburn in the two years since we bought them, and the little pumpkin has never had a sunburn in her life! Love, love, LOVE them!


  5. Woo hoo! Jen read me e-mail! (And I meant to say "playgroup": sorry, that what's you get when you type while looking over your shoulder because it has gone too quiet).

    Christmas is in the middle of summer down here, so my little guy will be getting one of those cool hats!
    Thanks Jen!

  6. Rosemary: HA!! I thought that maybe "pfewlay" was some kind of gathering where everyone chased kangaroos and ate Vegemite.

    I actually Google'd it and couldn't find anything, so thought maybe it was an Aussie thing the rest of the world wouldn't understand!!

  7. I am laughing pretty hard right now! I think I love the word "pfewlay" and just might start using it in place of something else, just to use it. :)
    We love our sun hats, too! My girls know that in order to go outside (from May to Sept at least) they have to wear their hats. It is so important!

  8. The San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park have the greatest hats. They are well worth the money, and I have a hard time finding the variety of hats that they have. I believe the latest one I bought was from the San Diego Hat Company (?). Another great resource.

  9. We got our Columbia Boony hats at Kohl's during one of their many sales.

  10. THANK YOU for drawing attention to this VERY important issue. As a triple melanoma survivor who isn't even 30 yet, I'm constantly trying to get the word out about sun protection, especially with regards to young children. I love reading your blog and I agree so much with this post. (my melanoma was believed to be a genetic mutation in origin because I've never had much sun exposure, however I am and have always been a HUGE believer in hats and suscreen).


  11. Thanks for clearing that up Rosemary- I live in Australia and was getting worried that there's something in addition to playgroup, swimming, kindergym, gymbaroo, kinderdance, mothers group and kindy that I was missing out on!
    And yes our kids all wear hats all the time...

  12. I have a Favorite thing Friday question. I LOVE my new Butter bell you recommended but everytime I use it I'm concerned about the saturated fat. Before I was using a butterspread that wasnt as tasty but had no saturated fat. Just wondering what your thoughts are since I know you are pretty concerned to health topics. I've thought about putting the healthy spread inside the butter bell but I'm not sure if that would work.