Monday, September 19, 2011

Pass The Hand Sanitizer Please

Okay, confession time.

I am a people person who doesn't actually like being around people.

Confused yet?

Let me elaborate...

I have always been a little OCD when it comes to germs. Okay, not totally true. I have always been A LOT  OCD when it comes to germs, which is funny, and a bit ironic, considering the fact that I used to make my living in medical sales which was open doors-say hello-shake hands-make deal-shake hands again-open new doors-shake new hands- and on and on all day long. I kept (keep, I still keep, kept implies I have somehow moved past this phobia) hand sanitizer in my car to squirt between meetings, always opened public restroom doors with paper towels, never touched the faucets, wouldn't eat from public salad bars, take my shoes off before coming in the house, wash my groceries before putting them away and on. and on. and on.

So anyway, this fear of germs thing is nothing new, but somehow it is heightened, very heightened, TERROR ALERT ORANGE heightened, when I am out with the babies because no matter where we go, or what I am "trying" to do, without fail some icky person will come over wanting to touch them. Strangers. Wanting to touch them. After blowing their noses. Picking their eyes. Wiping their mouths. NOT WASHING THEIR HANDS! I have a sign on their car seats that reads "Please wash your hands before touching mine." What I wish it said was, "Don't Touch My Babies YOU FILTHY DISEASE MONGER!" which is ironic, because I used to think about how wonderful it would be to be that mom in the store, with the adorable LIVING baby, that people came over to check out.

So why not now?
I'll tell you...

I don't live in the normal universe.

I live in this corner of the universe where I know about babies, too many babies... too many beautiful and PERFECT and MUCH LOVED babies who have died from everything from the common cold, to a cold sore, and I hear those stories and they scare the hell out of me and leave me feeling on alert. People come near us and I find myself scanning them. Is their nose running? Are they coughing? Sneezing? Looking generally "unwell." And yet, even as careful (as ree-donk-u-lously careful) as I am, there is always that lady, the one who slips in when I have turned my head for a second to grab a package of eggs (in a plastic produce bag, of course, just in case some salmonella got on the outside of the container) off the shelf, and stuck her hands on their faces, or in one instance, her dirty finger in their mouth! No really, a stranger stuck her finger in Bubba's mouth. Who the hell does this?

So it leaves me in this ironic place where I want to be left alone when we are out and about, but I have babies, two smiling, cooing, adorable babies, which is practically like waving a sign that reads, "COME SEE THESE TWINS!"

It's a tough balance.

I don't want to be a smother mother. I really, really don't. I think it is a fear that anyone in the babyloss community has who parents living children, or plans to in the future. None of us want to transfer our fears and anxieties because of the things, the horrible, horrible things, that we have seen, onto our children, because that is just unfair to them, and they deserve to live with the naivete that we all used to live under, but I don't know how NOT to worry when the lady at the pediatrician's office has a cold sore and wants to weigh my babies. I don't know how NOT to worry when the guy who just grabbed steak out of the meat container, walks over and wants to grab their feet. I don't know how NOT to worry when that guy with a rash is rubbing up against their stroller.

So I guess that's my real question... how do you NOT worry, when you know too much?

P.S. I intended for this post to be a funny laugh-laugh look at my germophobic idiosyncrasies kind of thing. Yeah... ummm...  #fail

P.S.P.S. Home sick today. Thought it was mastitis. Went to the doctor who proceeded to check my boobs without washing his hands. Just reached out and grabbed 'em before I could say anything. Yeah... like I won't be thinking about THAT all day.


  1. Can't answer that question ... I'm the same way. With Leah's condition germs were out number 1 enemy (open sores from blisters and a compromised airway and a trach). My already existing germaphobia went into high gear and now, with Leah gone and the newborn here ... I'm still the same way. Our house is hand sanitizer central .... I insist guests remove their shoes. I know people think of me as a germ nazi but I can't help it. So yes, I'm in the same boat.
    And oh my gosh I think I would punch someone if they put their unwashed unsanitized finger anywhere near my childs mouth, let alone in it. You must've been in shock!

  2. She stuck her finger in his mouth?!?!

  3. You make me laugh. In my first career as a school counselor in an elementary school, I made myself (and everyone around me) a little crazy. A bottle of lysol a week for door handles, crayon baskets, glue sticks, light switches, etc. I was crazy, extreme and this was BEFORE I had any children of my own!!!

    I have mellowed a tiny bit. We still have wipes and hand sanitizner (as my daughter says). I still try to hold my breath the entire time that I am in a public restroom because of the germs that hop out of the toilet each time it is flushed. However, holding your breath while a 3 and 7 year old go potty is almost impossible. My children know to only touch me or their knees while inside the dreaded restroom. They know to flush with their foot. They know to get their papertowel before they wash their hands and then to use said paper to turn off the water and open the door. makes me tired to think about it!!

    They also know the rules about restaurant silverware, shopping carts and other children. On second thought...maybe I haven't mellowed as much as I thought!! :)

    ps I'm on my way to vote again at RD!!

  4. I hear you on the germ front. Knowing what germs can do to a child first hand doesn't help either. When people come up to grab DS feet or hands i want to scream "those go in his mouth and he does not need your germs in there" Aside from putting him in a bubble and wiping him down like crazy when the human germ is out of site there isn't much you can do. It is nice to know I am not the only one!

  5. Hear you all the way sister. It is a tough world out there. I cannot stand other people touching the baby. We had someone lick their finger and proceed to clean something off the baby's face.

    Eeew on the doctor not washing his hands. REALLY? That is a no-no.

    Keep that hand santizer close by. FEEL BETTER TOO.

  6. OH HAI ME.

    I sympathize. My entire blog is about this struggle. It just gets worse and worse.


  7. Just today I had my 1 year old rainbow out and a lady at the grocery store wanted to touch him. I instinctively back the stroller away and she said "a few germs never hurt anybody!" I gave her a look and was able to get away. What I WANTED to say was "That's actually not true. My son did not have an immune system after his transplant and he got an infection...from GERMS...and it killed him." A year ago, I probably would have said that. Two years out and I still wanted to say it, but was able to control myself...this time. It is so hard being on this side and seeing dangers, real or imaginary, from every angle. Your babies are beautiful...all 3 of them!

  8. It is such a tough balance. I always try to weigh in my mind how much my craziness is going to affect him...right now, he's a baby so I can almost be as crazy as I want because he's not going to remember it. And I don't think he really needs to be breathed on by strangers to be "normal". :)But it is constantly a struggle.

  9. It is really tough to be out there and not worry about germs. It is weird to be that most people don't worry about that, how can they not? Gross! When you have little one's you have to be super careful. We know way to much and that probably makes us a little crazy but it's ok. You are not alone. I have a cover over the car seat for Emma. I hate when people go to her. I would rather them tell me something (they do all the time) about me protecting my baby from strangers with that cover. I love that thing!

  10. Creeps. Me. Out. I never was able to come up with a suitable solution. Although after a few months G came up with one. When strangers came to close, she would yell at them. That's my girl.

  11. I'm not a germaphobe. Sending my DD to school was the finale for any worries there...the stuff she brings home. Yikes. I figure they've made it to almost 7 and 3.5 now and are still alive, even though they will sneak snacks without washing their hands or DS used to lick everything around him for a while...And they've eaten dirt as toddlers, all that stuff.

    I don't have any helpful advice besides hang in there. I realized over time, that there is a LOT of stuff that I can't control and don't have a say over and that me worrying about it won't make a difference. So, germy shopping biggie. That said, the kids racing around on their scooters or my DD begging to ride her bike around the block without me. Not so easy. My DH is usually the one to say, "let them jump off the slide, race their scooters...can't bubblewrap them," but I imagine goose eggs and black eyes and worse. Sigh.

  12. Ohmygod. She put her FINGER in HIS mouth?!?! I would have freaked out and then some. Geez. My mother taught me, as a little kid, you don't touch a baby's face or hands, because they touch their face and they put their hands in their mouth.
    My DD will be 3 in February and we STILL wipe down tables at restaurants, and use our cloth seat cover in all high chairs and shopping carts. With a new baby on the way, I expect we will just get worse.

  13. I get you! And I was still able to laugh at this.

  14. I have been lucky with the friends and family. Since they know Lukas caught a virus, they are always washing their hands when handling Hayden. I am praying that as she gets older and the cold and flu season returns that doesn't stop. As for strangers, I am so nervous that I hardly take her out.

    I can't believe someone would stick their finger in a baby's mouth.

  15. As for people touching you or your babies, THAT IS RUDE! They need to ask permission and be clean to touch them. As for the babies, we all survived without hand sanitizer and some germs and bacteria are good for them. If we protect them too much they will lose their immunity. That being said, keep being as OCD as you want, they're YOUR babies! HUGS!

  16. Totally understand where you are coming was an infection that led to our stillborn baby girl and now I am totally paranoid about any sniffle and cough for our other two children. Unfortunately the reality of our lives we have just seen too much and know heartache and know what can cause this. I dont have an answer for you I am sorry, but just to say that I understand....

  17. Oh Girl~

    I'm totally with ya! People seem to really over step their bounds when it comes to babies and wanting to touch them.
    I started using my sling to carried my baby in order keep the touching from happening.
    With twins that would be hard to do, not really an option. Or you could carry one and at least you would have your other arm free to smack any uninvited touchers to the baby in the basket carrier? lol :)

    To funny about the hasty doc who seems to be a boobie grabber!lol


  18. I so don't get people touching other people's babies, I mean strangers. I've written here several times, my son was hospitalised as a baby with unknown bacteria, his life was in danger. I also have OCD. After his illness and the anxiety that ensued, my OCD went also to obsessive thoughts. It's tough. Taken me about 3 yrs to 'calm down'. But I will NOT TOUCH a friend's baby unless I have washed my hands. My son had contact with people with colds before he got ill. I get you. But I don't know how to help you get rid of those annoying, dirty strangers :(


  19. On the other hand my friend knew someone who kept her child in such sterile conditions that when she started school she got a lot more sick than other kids because she had almost no immunity to germs. So there should be a healthy balance. But not dirty fingers in the mouth!!