I’m becoming more of a germophobe as I get older, and it’s seriously cramping my crunchiness.
To be fair, only part of the reason I use so many homemade cleaners is because I have crunchy-mama tendencies. The main reason I do it is because I’ve developed various chemical and fragrance sensitivities over the years, and I’ve had far better luck with my homemade concoctions than I have store-bought cleaners. However, as I’ve mentioned in the past, I’ve started inching back to the store-bought side. The reason? Germs.
Children are germy. I have two of them now. And frankly, I’m tired of being sick.
At first, I convinced myself that wiping their hands and faces before and after they ate was enough. Then, when I realized that they were going to insist upon licking every cart and table they encountered in the wild, I upped my game to antibacterial wipes, and used them both on the children and every surface they could gum or chew. That held me until the Great Stomach Plague of Winter 2015, when I decided that perhaps I’d better be cleaning my bathrooms with bleach (or, more to the point, I should be having R clean my bathrooms with bleach, as I can no longer breathe around bleach products). But none of that stopped the Respiratory Gunk of Summer 2016.
So now I’m a hand gel girl. I’m still using wipes on the kids, because they’re little yet and I’m creeped out by the thought of them accidentally ingesting some of the gel. But before I touch my face in public, especially if I’m about to eat something, I’m slathering on the alcohol gel. I have three bottles in my purse now, and have started patronizing establishments that offer dispensers.
I’m also about to get hardcore on the no-handshaking policy. Is it acceptable for a 42-year-old woman to offer a fist bump as an alternative to a handshake? More to the point, do I care if it’s acceptable? I’m sorry, but I don’t know where your hands have been.
I knew I had fully moved out of crunchy territory when I was sorting laundry from our trip and came across the pajama bottoms my daughter soiled (she had a bout of diarrhea while we were gone). My first, immediate reaction was to throw them, bag and all, in the trash. (I had instructed my parents to throw away both pairs of the underwear she soiled. I would rather pay for a new package of panties than drive 5 hours with two pair of poopy underpants in baggies in my trunk.) After a while, though, I began to feel guilty; this is one of her favorite pajama sets. And it’s such a waste to throw them away when they can be washed. I couldn’t bring myself to wash them with the rest of the laundry, though; I instead washed them separately, on hot, with extra soap and an extra rinse. And washed my hands furiously after handling them, in hot water.
I see now why R just rolled his eyes when I started debating the pros and cons of cloth diapers. Eco friendly or not, I would no sooner use cloth diapers than I would reusable toilet paper. (Yes, it’s a thing.)
I spent a lot of years living alone. The only germs I really encountered were at work, so I could get away with nondisinfecting cleaners at home. But now? Now I need oomph. I need the hard stuff. I need germ-busting chemicals.
And, apparently, spare underwear for my daughter.
When I first started the wipe thing, R laughed and called me Monk. Now he just takes it in stride when I whip out the hand gel. I think he’s tired of being sick, too.