It happens every year at this time. The leaves change color, windows and doors start to close, and kids go back to school. Children who have spent the summer months outdoors playing in the sunshine are now together for hours a day in these germ-breeding grounds. Kids get sick, their parents get sick, all of Maine gets sick.
Everyone in my office has had a cold or stomach virus in the last month, myself included. It seems there is no escaping it. I have done my best to avoid catching the office cold (I did stop short of wearing a mask) but inevitably, I caught a cold too.
I have always been a bit of a germaphobe. I wash my hands excessively when out of the house, go to extreme measures not to have to grab public bathroom door handles and downright refuse to touch crosswalk buttons (really – I would rather be hit by a bus). Still, now that I have a son, I feel my OCD may be getting worse.
- If someone gets my son a new toy – the first stop is the dishwasher
- New clothes – not before the washing machine has had a go
- The dogs are not allowed to lick or sniff his hands or face – this is non-negotiable
- Sanitizing wipes, hand wipes, baby wipes, boogie wipes, butt wipes, face wipes (yeah, I’m that guy)
- I think I’m going to write a letter to Hannaford and have them start running their carts though the car wash before I show up to do my shopping
- I’m a big believer of the sanitation stations at all grocery and retail locations.
- A kid at the playground touched my son’s pacifier. It was all I could do not to just let him keep it
- If you’re sick, stay home - Skype with my baby
- I interrogated my mother “NCIS style” to make sure she had her whooping cough booster.
I know at some point I will have to relax some. Kids are gross. They touch all kinds of gross things and carry all sorts of strange germs, viruses and plagues. Much like city rats they are some of the most vile creatures crawling the earth. It’s only a matter of time before my son catches a real cold, the flu, has an earache, gets diarrhea, unexplainable rashes, leprosy, you know – the basics.
Still, for now, it’s comforting that my son gets to stay home with his mother every day. A good friend recently had to start putting her daughter in daycare. Since then, the kid has been sick and all kinds of disgusting for the past month. I would like to try to avoid this inevitability of life for as long as I can.
So, for the time being, I will continue to be the overly protective, germaphobe parent and my son will continue being the happy and relatively healthy kid. If you see us out at the park, say hi. I’ll be the one spraying the swings with Lysol. My son will be the one in the plastic bubble.