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Germophobe?

2008-02-08 - 11:52 a.m.

Have you ever noticed that having a kid can challenge what you’ve always thought of as your fundamental beliefs or way of seeing the world?

I was at my OB’s office and spied packages of baby-related stuff that was being given out for free. You know the type: bags containing ads and tiny free samples, all from companies hoping to “get in on the ground floor” with their products by introducing you to them before you even give birth.

Since I loves me some free samples and coupons (as long as I don’t have to give out my contact information in order to get them – it already feels like we’re buried in junk mail), I picked one up. Perusing its contents here at work, I ruthlessly chucked fliers and coupons I know I won’t use in the recycling bin, keeping only the samples and the coupons for products that I’d consider buying. Then I pulled out a packet of popular brand of disinfecting wipes.

“Huh,” I said to myself, “I’m not going to use this at home. I should keep it here to disinfect my phone and keyboard when I’ve got a cold or something.” This musing was based on the fact that I really don’t believe in sanitizing anything and everything. We have NEVER sanitized any of Grommet’s eating or drinking stuff. Washing with soap and water, or in the dishwasher, has sufficed. Using antibacterial soap only leads to germs with increased resistance that are much harder to get rid of once you have a real reason to want to kill them. I also think you’re not doing your kid’s ability to resist common germs any favours; nor do I honestly believe that it’s better to expose yourself and your kids to more chemical soup than a few microbes. The sole exceptions, of course, are that I’d use antibacterial products where I was sharing an environment with someone whose immunity is compromised, or when something is seriously contaminated like toys that were floating in the bath when - erm, how to put this delicately? – extra logs were added to the bathscape. (Thank God that only happened once, but it was plenty disgusting, believe you me.)

AND YET…

I opened the mini-pamphlet emblazoned with the adorable “bringing baby home” on one side, and the seductive “prepare a fresh clean house” on the other… and was reeled in by the “nursery needs” list which included, “disinfect and sanitize baby’s furniture” and “clean the outside of the diaper pail”. I found myself visualizing my brand new, helpless newborn being lowered gently into a crib… that his big sister had chewed on the rails of. And what about the diaper pail? It surely wasn’t a very “fresh” household item and could use a swipe? Visions of dirty hands on the “doorknobs, countertops, light switches and faucets” (listed in the “safe & recommended for use on” section, natch) danced through my head, as did the miniscule cracks where the pieces of the high chair joined – cracks that have no doubt been grouted with a fine crust of food detritus.

Suddenly, I feel so dirty! And I know that’s the point of the pamphlet, no matter how many cute “eat when your baby eats” tips it proffers, yet… so seductive.

Then I read the “Caution: Eye and skin irritant” and I feel the universe right itself again as my resolve not to get sucked in strengthens. Now if I just manage to keep this out of my reach when the nesting instinct sets in…

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