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Confessions of a Germ-phobe Mom

HANDS To me, there is nothing worse than a sick kid. The sleepless nights.  The endless runny noses.  The hacking coughs. The general misery.  I hate feeling so helpless.  I also loathe being quarantined in the house for days on end. Therefore, keeping our household healthy became a minor obsession for me. 

I open public restroom doors with a paper towel, push elevator buttons with my elbow and take a cart cover any place that involves a shopping cart or high chair. 

Don’t even get me started on the pediatrician’s office.  To me that is a living virus hotbed!  I take my own pen so I don’t use the communal sign-in one, open the door with a Kleenex and don’t let my kids touch one single surface if I can help it.  

I have antibacterial hand gels in every purse I own and keep one in our cars.   We are armed and ready to anti-bacterialize at any given moment. Viruses beware. 

So you can imagine my concern last September when just two months after we welcomed baby sister to the family, I had two looming issues swarming in my head: the start of my oldest daughter in her first year of preschool and the media-hyped H1N1 potential pandemic. Can you say paranoid?  

Sleep deprived and on the fast train to loony-ville with a newborn, I came up with a plan of attack for the preschool germs. After school we would immediately go wash hands, strip her clothes in the garage when we got home and give her a bath right away before lunch.  Awesome plan, right!? 

So, how did it work, you ask?

Well, about two weeks into her first month of school and my virus-fighting rituals above, she gets her first cold.  For a kid that was sick a total of maybe two or three times in her whole life, I think she was sick with recurring viruses for what seemed like three months straight. That is an exaggeration, but it certainly felt like it.  No amount of hand-sanitizing could keep the colds away and our entire household was hit. HARD! 

It was at a routine visit to my baby’s doctor that I sort of got a wake up call on my little obsession.   We got to talking about kids and getting sick and I lamented about my oldest this winter, which he said is a bad thing/good thing, because at least she was building up her immunities.  Not like anyone would consciously expose their kids to illness, but his take away point was “let your kids play in the dirt a little.”  

So, after that conversation I have learned to relax a little.  Kids are going to get sick, period.  Unfortunately it just is part of life.  Baby has gotten sick too, but I hope that maybe that means she won’t be quite so sick her first year of preschool.  Or maybe that thought just makes me feel better!

We don’t take baths after preschool anymore and there is no stripping of clothes in the garage.  She does wash her hands after school, but that is the extent of my germ warfare these days.

But I will always bring my own pen to the doctor’s office!

This is an original post to Orange County Moms Blog.  When Jennifer is not sanitizing hands, she can be blogging about fun finds, cool outings and amazing giveaways over at Tiny Oranges.


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