Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Care and Keeping of Your Skin

We took our twins to the pediatrician last week for their annual check-up.  They're both nine years old, so the doctor asked us if we'd had a talk with my daughter regarding upcoming changes in her body.  We had to some extent, but he recommended some assistance from a book by the American Girl folks called "The Care and Keeping of You."

I then asked the doctor about such literature for my son and he shrugged.  Apparently there are a couple of books out there, but none as good as this one for girls.  I suspected that I'd play the role my father had when he tossed me a Playboy during my adolescent years and stated, "Here...figure it out.  But ignore Page 47...that never happens to anyone."

After the appointment, we headed for the library as we often do every week or so.  My daughter found the book immediately (we had found a similar one for my son...without a centerfold) and she started to read before we returned to the car.  I had glanced at the table of contents when checking the book out...topics included "Braces," "Bras," and "Big Changes."  I decided to make sure that all book-inspired questions from my daughter would be immediately passed along to my wife as I vowed instead to stop time and keep both my kids at this perfect pre-teen age.  But as we drove home, I heard my daughter inquisitively say, "Daddy?"


"Can I ask you a question?"

I looked at my wife as she casted her "oh no you don't" gaze back at me.  "Sure honey," as my mouth got dry.

"Do sunburns cause wrinkles?"

"Um...yes they do.  Why do you ask?"

"There's a section here on the sun and how it can damage your skin.  It even mentions skin cancer!"

We discussed this as well as the other questions I eventually passed along to my wife (after a hard shoulder punch) until we finally arrived home.  I mentioned "Just Dance 3" as we walked in the door as a successful diversion.  The kids flew to the Wii as I grabbed the book to take a closer look.  Sure enough, at the top of Page 34 was the title "Sun Sense."  The first paragraph read as such:

You may think a tan looks great now, but wrinkles and spots don't look good on anyone.  Doctors agree: there's no such thing as a safe tan.  All skin, regardless of type, is damaged by the sun.  Exposing your unprotected skin can give you a blistering-hot burn and lead to allergic reactions - and skin cancer.

The page goes on to discuss peak times when the sun is most dangerous, an explanation of SPF numbers, and a reminder to apply sun screen even on cloudy and winter days.  What an incredible surprise to find this information in such a well-read (over 3 million copies sold) and recommended book!  It gives me hope that, while my little girl grows up, she'll be getting good advice from others as well as from me and her mother.

As for my son...he just needs to ignore Page 47.

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