Germs and Children: The Partnership


Imgres-2 The better half of my twenties has been monopolized by a sad obsession with germs. No, it's more than that. I am at war with them. Let me explain, however, that I actually don't hate germs....nor am I afraid to be in their presence. In fact, you wouldn't know that I even cared about them unless you could read my mind. If anything, I am a secret admirer of their power to bring my social life to an utter stop, and melt my work days into tedious oblivion. I am in awe of the germ's dark magic.

It could be that I've become crazy or maybe just more practical. More acurately though, Ive been humbled by years of slow and methodical beatings from nearly every toddler in the greater Portland area. My job title is Nanny, which is so drab. I prefer Child-Germ Conflict Resolution Therapist or Household General Manager Substitute. To be realistic, it doesn't matter what you call me, because at the end of the day, everyday, there are four things that I have always done. And done well.

1. in the nick of time, successfully wedged my body in between a toddler and countless dangerous objects and/or vehicles

2. been thrown up on

3. completed various amounts of manual labor while holding an infant on my hip, such as folding other peoples underwear and then folding it again when a toddler (see above) destroys my hard work

4. practically snuggled up to and spooned with a million germs, while in vain, trying to snuff out their existence

5. been thrown up on (wait a second....)

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I never thought of myself as a germ-a-phobe, until I noticed how much lotion I was going through. I actually hate lotion, as it's similar to covering yourself in yogurt, but I digress. So how on earth did I purchase and harbor so many different kinds of the awful stuff? Well, I wash my hands obsessively. So much so that my knuckles are nearly gone, requiring that I rub yogurt, er uh, lotion on my hands almost hourly while at work.

Do you know what children are? Well that was a very sweet, heartwarming answer...but that actually they are one simple thing: carrier monkeys.

All they do, all day long, is find unique ways to infiltrate this world with new and colorful germs. It's a premeditated plot to destroy anything taller than them with the capacity to say, "no, you may not climb up on the top of the house and jump off with that umbrella." They do it so that when you are laying on the kitchen floor convinced you are actually going to die from the chest cold that has plagued you for 2 weeks, they can run over and with all their weight jump onto your sternum, thus propelling themself onto the counter, where the TV remote is laying, and switch on "Elmo's World".

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What's even worse, is when they barter germs with one another before contaminating you. This is how they efficiently handicap as many adults as they can within a one block radius. It's genius! While they get extra ice cream, TV, affection and grape flavored Tylenol...you bust your body to keep them comfortable, only to get sick right about when....no, exactly when, they are well enough to absolutely manipulate your sick sorry self into doing just about any ridiculous thing they want.

I'm not bitter. I'm not. It's a circle of life...kinda thing.

Okay, so I'm irritated. Okay, I'm bitter. Why is it that for every sanitary wipe I wave in the air, declaring a surrender...germs (or their child partners in crime) never show me grace? And for every mac and cheese meal I have shared with a 2 year old while crossing my chest hoping for a consequence free bite, I repeatedly am left cursing KRAFT and it's counter parts. Will there ever be an end to this on going conflict of interests!?

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As I guzzle the NyQuil on my nightstand while applying a fresh coat of yogurt to my knuckles, I can only dream. Dream of a time when my germ radar will fail to guide the whole of my subconscious thoughts during the day, or, at the very least.... it will finally reward my solid understanding of my frailty next to the united front of germs and children, with a nice strong handshake (preceded by purel of course).