“Nonono! Germs,” my neighbor said, before forcing out the least sincere laugh I’ve ever heard.
“Can I look?” I asked.
Okay, that’s enough.” she admonished before I had focused on much more than his hat. She shooed me away from the blanketed, swaddled, and sealed-for-his-protection newborn.
“C’mon, you know how germ-phobic I am.”
“Germs are good!” I laughed. “Kids need to be exposed to germs!”
“Not now,” she said. “Not yet. No germs.”
But…this is your second child, I thought. You’re supposed to be over this.
Perhaps I’m not the person to be debating her on the subject. Nate and I took both kids out to eat at the local diner (That’s because you’re crazy, my neighbor said) in their first week of life. We let them pet dogs. We let them have their faces licked by those dogs. We allow them to play in (gasp) sandboxes and to (gasp) feed the animals at the petting zoo. And I can’t tell you how many days it’s been since we washed Sage’s pacifier with actual soap.
So okay, maybe we’re on the slightly unsanitary side of the parenting spectrum. But still, isn’t this germ-phobia way out of control?
At Cool Mom Picks we’re pitched all kinds of hand sanitizers, clothes in “naturally germ-resistant fabrics,” BYO placemats, and just this week, big floppy disposable plastic mitts for kids to wear in public bathrooms. Then of course, there’s the ever-popular dangle your baby from the bathroom door while you pee invention.
(For the best riff ever about it, visit Greg’s post at Daddytypes.)
Look, I don’t want to rag too much on these products, though lord knows I could. I know it’s just a bunch of entrepreneurial moms coming up with what they think is an awesome idea, then spurred onto action by friends who agree, Yes! Yes! Why I WOULD happily carry that harness thing around in my bag at all times just in case I have to pee while I’m out with the baby and can’t manage to wash his hands immediately afterwards if, God forbid, he touches anything in the process which will doubtlessly lead to HIV and syphilis and low math scores on the PSATs.
Lest you get the wrong idea, I’m not entirely disgusting. We certainly have the Cleanwell in the diaper bag, and I’m terrified of the communal toys at Bubby’s that seemingly haven’t been scrubbed since the last Bush-led recession.
But am I alone here in thinking that the fear of germs is going to lead to more earlier demises than the germs themselves?