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How Does Your Family Beat the Heat?

Taylor Newman

People keep asking us, “How’re y’all liking this heat?” It’s part friendly challenge—can the Brooklyn transplants hack the Texas summer?— and part stamp of approval: we, like everyone else around here, are surviving a record-breaking run of 100-plus degree days (which I think makes our little family officially Texan). To tell the truth, though, I didn’t really realize, until these questions started, that there was anything unusual going on. I’d heard so much about the heat before getting down here that I just assumed this was what everyone was talking about. Apparently, however, scorchers like these don’t usually start their reign until August. We moved right into the thick of it last year, and, after a lifetime of Northeastern winters, thought the infamous August ‘weather’ was a piece of cake—nothing a little A/C couldn’t fix. Now that we’re in it again, though, and now that the it’s been going strong since June, we— including, most significantly, our very busy toddler—are starting to experience a touch of cabin fever. Yep, cabin fever in July.

Kaspar is about as white as white people come, though he quickly turns red when overheated, so we keep a hat on hand when heading out and try to stay out of direct sunlight lest the little man burn (hasn’t happened yet… never will on my watch!). This means that dawn and dusk represent our only real unrestricted outdoor play opportunities at this time of year, and we usually don’t have our act together to get out in the morning before it becomes too hot. We work hard to keep things interesting for Kaspar during the day--  I take him to appointments, to the library, and on errands, and we run around the house like wild animals, have playdates and read lots of books. Aaron brings him out to our condo-complex pool every afternoon—it’s shaded, and he LOVES it— and we all play outside together after dinner. We’ve got a good thing going, for sure, but I know cabin fever from a mile away, and I sense that Kaspar’s toys (how do we have so many??) and indoor slide-thing are getting to be old news; he’s getting antsy with the ratio of indoor to outdoor play

This afternoon, in a desperate/genius move to keep Kaspar from purchasing (more) foreign apps on my phone—my phone is his new go-to favorite toy-- I filled a plastic food container with water, grabbed a few toys for him to dip in it (or whatever), and moved our little operation to the walkway just outside our front door (also shaded). He did some dipping, then poured the water everywhere and asked repeatedly for more— my activity was a hit! Awesome! Kas is seventeen months old, though, and has an attention span to match—so I need a few more good ideas for our summer survival repertoire. We’ve got another two months, at least, to go before things cool off enough to even that indoor/outdoor ratio out.

What does your family do to beat the heat? Or, if you’re a long-cold-winter pro, how do you keep indoor time fun and exciting (and cabin fever at bay), day in and day out? I’m looking forward to your ideas!

PS. Want a super simple and delicious recipe that'll make you swoon for summer (and its farm-fresh produce) forever? I made this for a little dinner party recently, and it was amazing. Bon appetit!