Tuesday, August 19, 2014


I do not now, nor have I ever, had Purell in my diaper bag. Or anywhere near my home, actually. I don't use antibacterial soap, my kid is no stranger to sharing backwash-filled sippy cups, my house is never clean nor tidy and, as I've mentioned before, baths are infrequent. The "10 second" rule at our house is more like "oh, you're eating food you found on the floor. Hmm, well, ok." (I do try to sweep under our dining table at least once a day.)

I am the opposite of a germaphobe, believing that most microbes are our friends. I am also WAY too lazy to invest in all of the gear that germaphobes require: hand sanitizer, extra wipes, travel-sized neosporin, plastic bags for emergencies...and these are only the things that I can think of. I'm sure my germaphobe friends are shaking their heads with pity in my not even knowing what gear I should really have.

DISCLAIMER: I have a healthy child! This is not intended in any way to minimize very real illnesses or any special needs. Obviously those are unique challenges and require unique solutions. 

So here's my thing about germs: they're everywhere. We live in New York City and we ride the subway. We are exposed to who knows what at all times.  Eliza rolls around in the dirt, she pets dogs, she kisses her friends and she shares food with anyone who will tolerate it. And I actually believe that all this stuff is good for her. Yes, her first two years of life were filled with colds, bugs and viruses galore. We actually had to cancel her 2nd birthday party because she was puking all day! But none of them were hospital-worthy. Only a couple were even Tylenol-worthy. She has played in the YMCA mixed age babysitting room since she was 6 months old. Did I shudder every time I dropped her off in a room full of snot-nosed toddlers? YES Are toddlers germ-machines who touch babies? YES Should you put your baby in a room with them? ALSO YES. I mean, I had to put her there as one of my jobs is teaching fitness classes for the YMCA, but I also firmly believe in this type of practice. Other kids, and all of their cooties, are good for kids.

You know how when kids start preschool or kindergarten or a new activity, they always get sick? It's a normal reaction of our immune systems. They're teaching their little bodies to fight all the yuckiness off and getting stronger for it. You know what else they pick up from other kids? Creative and collaborative play, exposure to new ideas, new foods and new music, expanded vocabulary-my daughter says "agua" for water and I have no Spanish-and social learning. The things my daughter has learned from other Mommune members is invaluable. It's totally worth the Roseola amd Coxsackie that they all shared.

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