Friday, May 7, 2010

Hand Washing

Yesterday, whilst shopping at Target (my home away from home), my daughter uttered the seven most dreaded words to hear at any large shopping center... or any place other than home for that matter...'I have to go to the bathroom.'. (yep, seven.)  Of course we were at the far end of the store so we had to haul it all the way back to the front while she did the potty dance and let everyone we passed know the purpose of our mission.

Anyway, while my son and I waited for her to be done, we saw another mother with two young kids come out of a stall and walk directly to the door.  Wait, what?  No water... no hyper-speed hand dryer, nothing.

Please tell me this is not normal. If so, it makes me never want to touch another public surface for as long as I live.

When I was growing up in the 80's, there was a huge anti-littering campaign going on. You know, the whole 'Give a Hoot, Don't Pollute" thing, and I don't know about the rest of you, but that stuff worked on me. I am still absolutely floored when I see people throwing fast food bags out the window or leaving diapers in parking lots (ahem, Wal-Mart). I can just imagine Woodsy the Owl silently weeping on a branch somewhere.

Subsequently, I think that there has been enough hand-washing propaganda out there for at least the last five years for people to know that's just what you do.  I mean, it's in all the potty training books for kids. Elmo even says it, for God's sake.

Now, I'm not tellling you that every time I need to wash my hands I stand there singing "Happy Birthday to You" twice while scrubbing as per the CDC's instructions, but I do use soap and warm water, and frankly I feel pretty good about that decision. I also make sure my kids do the same.  But after seeing this little display of hand-washing negligence, it has made me question things.  Am I just setting us all up for a lifetime of being compulsive hand washers or is it just ok to know that the pee-pee is off my son's hands after we leave the bathroom?

I know that when I am crammed in a stall with two kids, there is nothing that will prevent my 3 year old son from touching every surface in there.. and there is not enough hand sanitizer in the world to combat that little germ fest. Surely it's better to actually wash the yuck off of your hands first, if the option is there.  Is that so wrong?


  1. I can only hope she used antibacterial wipes in the stall, but not even that would account for the lock slide. EWWW.

    Hand washing is good. MRSA, ecoli, and other ickies suck.

  2. I've had a couple times where we have been unable to wash my son's hands after going potty. The only reason this happens is when the sink is too tall for him to reach (usually not the case in Target) and I'm holding his baby sister (she can't walk yet). But I wipe off his hand with a baby wipe.

  3. jeez! if yr changing yr kid's poopy diaper anyway, why not go into the Walmart bathroom?

  4. Sometimes the kiddo and i will walk out of the bathroom without washing our hands. But then once we are out, a healthy squeeze of Purell is administered.

    There are all kinds of advantages to this. Not least of which is touching the door handle with clean hands, knowing that others have touched it without washing.


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