Should I let you eat that? Parenting in the age of hand-sanitizer
Have you ever wondered why some kids get every bug that comes down the pike at school and others grace through elementary without being afflicted. I should patent my parenting secret on how to keep your kids' immune systems rock solid with my foolproof method. Because my kids rarely get sick and it is probably not because of stellar genetics (I am the woman who managed to be diagnosed with hashimoto's thyroiditis, gestational diabetes, and cancer all within a 3 year period.)
So other than my kids having a rocky time in their late 20's, I am convinced the below methods, however unsavory, are what protect them from whatever the latest flu is.
My kids eat off the floor. As long as they are home, of course and I can't be judged that I didn't make them throw it away as soon as it hits the floor. I certainly don't do it because I think my floor is the cleanest around. I hate wasting the food and I can never stop them before they pop the petrified banana in their mouth. Today, my 2 year old dropped her tortilla not once, but twice on the floor and she was shocked when I told her she couldn't eat it. We were at a restaurant and the fine line between public floors and floors at home are lost on a toddler.
Of course all of that was moot when, while waiting for the van tire to be patched I have to use the restroom. And it is a bathroom in a business run by men, so it isn't the cleanest bathroom around. While I am otherwise occupied I realize that my 2 year old is wiping her face across the sink and my 4 year old is rolling across the floor.
Even I was disgusted.
I have pretty much given up asking my kids to stop licking things. Because they will look at me with their kid eyes and keep on licking, Everything is acceptable to them: grocery belts, cars, trees, rocks, random things they find on the ground. Whatever they can put a tongue on is fair game.
Share food. In my house it is musical chairs at dinner. While Margo runs around the dining room table and we chase her, Isaac pulls a Goldilocks eating what he likes off of everyone's plate. The concept of individual cups is also lost on them. Really we should save ourselves the trouble and just install a trough.
My kids also like to dress wildly inappropriate for the weather. Last weekend it was 45 and we took them to the lake. First the all dress in their spring jackets. No gloves, no hates. Sure, I should have seen where this was going, but I thought the frigid water temps would deter them from splashing around and playing with dead fish. Just so you know, dead fish and water you can get hypothermia in, not a deterrent to my kids.
In an age where hand sanitizer is plastered everywhere, you would think I would keep a better eye on my kids and make sure they don't pick up e coli while running errands. But so far my method of obliviousness and giving up seem to be working. Whenever a note comes home from school with the disease du jour; I proudly look at my kids, licking the toothpaste off the bathroom counter, and know that it isn't going to affect us.
Jessica is a SAHM who blogs about her parenting adventures at Long Days, Short Years.