Thursday, February 5, 2009

The dirty secret: Put germs in your diet.

My mom sent me a link to an article by Steve Blow who writes for the Dallas Morning News. Click the following link: The Dirty Secret: Put germs in your diet and after reading the article, feel free to read my opinion.
Having a new baby is scary. You want to protect him/her and do everything in your power to keep him/her safe. I think all moms would agree. When I became a mom, that instinct kicked into high gear. Jackson used a high chair cover, shopping cart cover, I constantly washed his hands, I had hand sanitizer attached to the diaper bag, I washed my hands the moment I walked into my house from work so I didn't expose Jackson to my germs....we did our best to prevent exposing him to germs.
I still remember this one awful day at Brookshire's when Jackson was about 11 months. I think I have only told Aaron this story because I felt so awful about it. Now I have come to realize, that it was life and stuff happens that you are not always proud of. With that being said, I will share the story with you all.

I was a few months pregnant with Garrett, tired, had a long day at work, my feet hurt, but I had to go to the store and Jackson was with me. When I went to grab a shopping cart, I realized I had left the shopping cart cover in my car. I didn't feel like going back out to my car because I was lazy AND parking lots scare me. I decided to wipe down the seat with the cleaning wipes Brookshire's provides and I plopped Jackson into that dirty ole' shopping cart. This was my first time to EVER do that. I keep telling myself, "It is fine. Stop freaking out! He will be okay."

Our shopping adventure was going just fine and dandy until Jackson decided to start trying to suck on the cart. I tried giving him his toys I had stashed in my purse, my hands to play with, anything and everything I could think of. He however, was turning around in the seat to avoid me and get his mouth on the cart. After several aisles of battling with him, I realized I couldn't win and he was about to start screaming. For those of you who didn't know Jackson as a baby - he wasn't the easiest baby to calm down. Once he started screaming, he was going to be screaming for a LONG TIME. And no....holding him wasn't an option either. I tried that. Even when he was on my hip, he was trying to bend down to get his mouth on the handle of the cart. Pushing a heavy cart while holding a baby that is trying to get out of your arms isn't easy nor safe.

I remember my last stop in the frozen food section. I gave up....he won....suck away my dear child! At that very moment, a lady walked by us and said in a rather loud voice, "Ma'am! Excuse me, Ma'am! Your child's mouth is on the cart. Do you know they have wipes at the front on the store? You should use them!!" She didn't speak in a sweet, helpful grandmother tone a voice either.

#1 - I DID use a wipe! However, they don't give you a freaken sticker that says "Good Job! I used a wipe on my cart today!" #2 - The lady was wearing a dress with tennis shoes and looked like she could use a good bath herself. I wanted to cry right then and there. I felt like the worst mom. I KNEW I shouldn't have allowed Jackson to put his mouth on the cart and at the very moment that I "gave up" I was called out on the issue by the crazy lady.

Even though I know I will never see that lady again, I wanted her to know ME and know that I really am a good mom. I wanted to tell her "We are clean people, I know about the world of germs, and I am a freak about germs. I know what you just saw was bad. You just saw me at a bad moment." I already felt awful about the situation before she added her two cents. Mean lady!!

I was literally upset about it for several days. And for those of you who deep down think I am bad for letting Jackson do this, you just wait....your time is coming. I can almost guarantee you (I hope...) that most moms have been in a similar situation. Feel free to share your story!...or tell me I am wrong.

Fast forward several months and along comes Garrett. I am now a stay at home mom. I am no longer teaching and bringing germs home. The majority of our days are spent at home. The kids occasionally go to the store with me, we don't eat out too often, and we are occasionally around other kids. I know kids that are not exposed to germs are the sick kids once they start elementary school. Of course when Garrett was a little baby, I went out of my way to prevent germs, but now I am more aware of the fact that he needs to build his immunity. Don't get me wrong, I know that sucking on the shopping cart isn't the best way to build his immunity, but I am just not a "germ freak" like I was with Jackson.

Actually, the other day when we were having lunch with Monica and Abbey, Garrett and Abbey were trying to feed each other their food. Luckily Monica and I both agreed that it was okay. They were having fun, smiling, and laughing at each other. Let kids be kids. Germs are OKAY and it took me awhile to understand this.

Trust me, I still freak out about dirty things. Some people are nasty and never wash their hands after using the restroom. Door knobs gross me out. Your steering wheel, remote control, and cell phone are full of germs. My 2 year old knows to sneeze into his arm and not into his hands to avoid spreading his germs to everything his touches. Now that Jackson is using the big boy potty, I will buy the little disposable toilet seat covers to use in public restrooms. Get my point?

I am still weird about things, but I have come to realize that 20 years ago our parents didn't have shopping cart covers and hand sanitizer attached to the diaper bag and we're okay. So, for today, let your dog give your child a kiss on the face. Your child won't die, in fact it will make him smile!


Anonymous said...

I haven't had a chance to read Steve Blow's article, but just wanted you to know that I've been there, too! Parker has put her mouth on the shopping cart (among many other things!)!

When I come home from the hopsital now, I take my shoes off in the garage and wash my scrubs immediately. So I'm the same way about some germs. But I know that within reason- germs are makes us stronger!

Anonymous said...

I got pregnant when Phoenix was 11 months and he was addicted to the paci. There were so many times when he would drop it and I knew if he didn't get it back then a temper tantrum was coming. I can't tell you how many times I picked it up off the floor, put it in my mouth and then in his. I thought my immune system could stand up to the germs a little better and that's somewhat washing it right? But it wasn't feasible for me at 6 or 7 months pregnant to carry a kicking, screaming toddler out of the would have been harmful to Roman. We are paci free these days...hooray!

MaggieBrown said...

I don't get sick as much any more after my child started doing a new program called Germy Wormy, and with little ones in the house, this could really help. My child understands what germs are now, and we don't play the "pass the germs" game anymore - and she also is only 3! It is a safe, mom-invented way of teaching kids to cough/sneeze into their elbows!

Monica Jackson said...

You're so funny, I love reading your blog! We've been in the same "shopping cart" as you, so to speak... Abbey always tries to put her mouth on the cart. I don't know why. I give her my keys instead, which are just as gross, but somehow, I feel better about it :)

Kristy said...

I cant stand people who dont wash their hands after using the restroom. I can only imagine how I will be because I have my restroom monitors tell me if any kids dont wash in the restroom!

Justin and Shelly said...

If Steve Blow's article is true - I am sure my kid will be very healthy. For some reason, I've never been a germ or neat freak. I like clean things and I HATE public bathrooms and won't touch anything - but I never think about oher germs. Maybe that will all change when I have a little one to take care of.
I had a dream last night that I was in the grocery store with my child and I was disciplining them or something...and this lady said something mean to me about it - so I said "screw you a$&hole!" Wow! I am a lot different in my dreams! Anyhow, I wish you could have said that to the mean lady in the grocery store.