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GERMS and Other Moms: Are We Too Quick to Judge?

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Germs. So cliché, I know. Can we moms please start discussing the healthcare bill instead? Anything but germs? No. Because for some reason we feel we have a special jurisdiction over them, having been commissioned by the government — which conveniently erased all memory of the event — to eradicate all such life forms throughout the Continental US. In fact, I think this program is probably buried in the healthcare bill somewhere, along with a fifty billion dollar subsidy.

Germs. What’s YOUR tolerance level?

I was in Tom Thumb a while back and a dad and son were on aisle 2. The 3-year-old was holding a doughnut. He dropped it on the shiny floor. The dad picked it up and gave it back to him, and the kid took a bite. True or false: this was an epic Parenting Fail. Or: perhaps it was a practical, if vigilante, tactic to keep the parent-child relations on the upswing while in such a volatile public environment — probably a safe move given the upper middle class economic status of that particular Tom Thumb clientele and the fact that the floors were shiny, AND given that it was aisle 2 which is the Bread Aisle, where nary a sticky spill hath transpired?

To quote some famous person, this dilemma is an “enigma shrouded in mystery,” at least to the naked observer, er, eye. Or maybe it’s just gross negligence and we have the right to call a spade a spade.

Scenario #2: I was at the park today with my toddler. Another toddler was toddling around wearing a long candy necklace. Most of the candy had been chewed off. He handed it to me and I draped it over a park toy because I was not his mother and holding foreign objects was not in my contract for this particular child. His mother came around and I mentioned where I had placed his item. “Oh,” she said. “It’s not really his. He found it.” As if to explain herself, she said: “He hasn’t learned that you eat the beads so he’s just been looking at them.”

Whew. Well, as long as he’s just touching the dried saliva of another child — or tween or teenager in a screamo band — and actually not ingesting it then, well….

Again, I ask you, gross negligence or…practicality? This woman had twins after all. She had another identical toddler toddling around and isn’t it better one of them be playing with a strange candy necklace than gnawing on a razor blade he found under the monkey bars? I’m not trying to be funny. Aren’t we as parents sometimes forced to choose the lesser of two evils if it means a day in the park and the sunshine verses a day inside a cold sterile environment?

Scenario #3: I was at Target two days ago in line at the checkout. The woman behind me had a ten-month-old who was getting antsy. She took him OUT of the shopping cart and let him crawl around on the floor next to the candy/gum stand. He crawled into a red hand basket. You know, those baskets you wonder who uses because who only gets two cubit feet of stuff on any average Target run? My average is five. Anyway, the basket didn’t appear dirty, but I’m relatively certain the Ebola virus is invisible to the naked eye. Wasn’t she just trying to save the rest of us from the whines of an impatient baby? Or should the general public just deal?

I think it’s easy from the outside to make quick calls on germy scenarios. But in the heat of the moment, shouldn’t we just trust the other mommies — who ARE on the inside — to make the final call?

Maybe somebody on Capitol Hill will tell us soon enough.