To Purell Or Not Purell, That Is The Question

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Soap Box

It is a fact. Kids get dirty. Oh, you can try to stop them from picking up goose poop and then jamming their tiny little fingers in their nose (and then eating the whole mess, something we call the “Canadian Boogie” in our house,) but the truth is, kids are going to explore the world. Sometimes that means getting dirty. The real question is, “How do you deal with it?”

A growing group of parents are dealing with it by sanitizing the shit out of their kids. Each contact with germ laden materials is immediately met with a visit by the hand sanitizer fairy with the hope that a cleaner child is somehow a healthier child. In this world, there is no five second rule and touching anything at the doctor’s office is a strict no-no. Forget about play dates with the snotty kid from school. Germs are the enemy of the people and must be eradicated by any means necessary.

Well, I am here to tell you today that this is all nonsense.

I need a name for this drink

Sure, it’s handy to have a high-alchohol gel on hand to take quick nips from when you desperately need some hair of the dog to combat last night’s festivities, but it’s just not worth it. A recent Slate Article interestingly found that what this 100 million dollar a year industry doesn’t want you to know: these hand sanitizers won’t stop you from getting sick. Worse yet, a recent study found that pervasive use of these products will actually make you sicker later in life. The theory goes: if you expose yourself to germs early on, your body learns how to deal with them. When you don’t, your body struggles with germs later in life (in the same way that people who take up golf later in life suck at it.) Consider early childhood germs the equivalent of locking your child in a closet with a box of cigars so that they will think smoking is a disgusting activity. The kicker is that, since sanitizers can’t kill all of the bacteria, the bacteria that survive become resistant to anti-bacterials and become something totally frightening called “super bugs.” There’s only one place in this world where “super bugs” should be allowed and that’s in a smash up derby.

In light of all this, we have made a conscious decision to expose Malcolm to as much filth as possible. In China, we smiled when he grabbed a lollipop from a local kid and licked it, and smiled even more when he dropped it on the ground (in Tianenmen Square, mind you) and then plopped it back it his mouth. If he starts licking the backs of seats on an airplane, we call it, “character building.”  We don’t have a five second rule. In fact, we slow cook meals on the hood of the car. If it’s true that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” Malcolm will become a bodybuilder (until he dies of E.Coli exposure.)

Oh sure, we tell Malcolm to wash his hands after pooping in the middle of dinner, but we don’t sweat the small stuff. Germs are everywhere, and each disgusting lollipop he eats is one bug that won’t get him later in life. One day he’ll figure out on his own that there are places his tongue doesn’t belong, but only because it’s embarrassing and not unhealthy. So let your kids give eskimo kisses to the snotty kid and at school, and if one day your kid’s  sandwich accidentally falls into a homeless person’s shoe, let it slide. They’ll be better off for it. We don’t carry around a diaper bag anymore, but, even if we did, it wouldn’t have Purell in it. No need to, it’s in the flask!

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11 responses to “To Purell Or Not Purell, That Is The Question”

  1. Christine says:

    Wow … It never even occurred to me that I might want to drink (suck?) Purell for the alcohol … but that’s a good last resort idea for the next time I’m hung over at work, which of course is quite a rare occurrence 😉 and don’t have aspirin, which of course is a drug someone might OD on so they do not stock it in the first aid kit in the office!

  2. Oh, it comes out if you squeeze it. A little bit did when I took the picture. Yuck!

  3. Amy says:

    I know that Paul occasionally exaggerates the truth, but in the case of Tianamnen Square, it’s completely true. I also think Malcolm is immune to any Chinese disease and will thank us (and love us) forever.

  4. Louise says:

    Well said, that man! 🙂 When I was Malc’s age, parents held Chicken Pox/German Measles/whatever parties! As soon as one kid got sick, the ‘bush telegraph’ kicked into action! Everyone rushed their own kids round to the germ-infested house, and encouraged hug-fests among the infants to spread the disease as quickly as possible – the best type of immunization technique that lasted the rest of our lives! …it also meant lots of fun partying for the parents! 😉

  5. Wow, Louise, that is a totally frightening proposition. I’m not sure I would even go that far. Although I would guess the beer at a German Measles party would be pretty tempting.

    Amy, I am aghast that you would think I would do that to the fine readers of this blog. Exaggerate? Me? I never exaggerate. Sometimes I flat out lie, but never exaggerate.

  6. Louise says:

    Tsk, Paul, your cowardice disappoints me! I’m still alive to tell the tale! 😉

  7. Daddy Files says:

    The Purell thing died down after a month or two after our son was born. Now we let him wallow in his own filth, and our filth and other people’s filth as much as possible.

    The sanitizing parents drive me batty.

  8. I’m sure we do the same to the clean crowd DF!

  9. SAHD PDX says:

    Character building indeed, these kids are building those immune systems one dirty lollipop at a time.

  10. edathomedad says:

    I didn’t grow up with the joy of purell. My wife is a little bit more of a stickler for it’s use. I tend to let it slide. I am in the school of thought that a little dirt is a good thing. So kudos for not being sanitized.

  11. nancy schwartz aka:mom says:

    someday i’ll share with all your friends pictures of you as a child with dirt,grime,food and other “things”—-and someday malcolm will enjoy them too—

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