Author - Nina Cordoba
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10/30/2014 9:19:09 AM

Hygiene Gone Wild! How hand washing got my daughter beat down.

This whole Ebola situation has my family talking about hand washing again. I'm an extreme hand washer. Previously, Mr. Nina was convinced I washed my hands too much. He said he'd seen a study that said too much hand washing can be dangerous, keeping you from building a healthy immune system. At that point, I would point out that he and his like-minded son have caught flus and other viruses many times per year since I've known them, while my daughter--who I trained in hand washing from a young age--and I rarely catch anything. "You're in your forties," I said. "At what point is your immune system theory going to kick in?"

But, between the Ebola scare and his constant travel for work, Mr. Nina tells me he's now washing his hands incessantly at the airports, in the offices he visits, in his hotel room...

After our last conversation, I hung up the phone and said, "Huh, I guess he found something more 'dangerous' than handwashing." But then I remembered that stringent handwashing policies really can be dangerous. My daughter learned that lesson years ago.

When she was five, my daughter was very excited over a new girl her age who moved into our neighborhood. She immediately invited her over. I gave them snacks, saw that they were playing nicely in my daughter's bedroom and went about my household chores...

Until my daughter began screaming, "Mommy!"

When I responded, I found the two of them in the hallway--the neighbor girl wide-eyed, my daughter on the floor holding her stomach, tears rolling down her face.

"She hit me!" my daughter cried.

"I want to go home," the little girl said.

I let her go home and sat my daughter on the couch, needing to determine whether we were dealing with some crazed bad seed in the neighborhood or if my non-violent daughter could have possibly provoked an attack.

"Why did she hit you?" I asked.

"I don't know," my daughter sobbed.

"What happened right before she hit you?"

"She went to the bathroom, and I was waiting in the hall. She started to come out, but I told her she couldn't come out until she washed her hands."

"Did you block the door?"

She nodded.

"And then she hit you in the stomach?"

She nodded again.

I sighed. It's always the mother's fault.

So, I explained to my daughter that, while she should always wash her hands after going to the bathroom, she couldn't force her hygiene habits on others. And she especially had to be careful with a little girl who had four older brothers, and, no doubt, had to learn how to defend herself early in order to survive.

It's hard being a mother. You don't always know how advice and decisions are going to affect your child until years later. This is what Paige struggles with in No More Mr. Nice Girl, first, when she thinks the man she's falling for may not be good for her son, then later, when she realizes her dead husband--whoa! I almost put a spoiler in my own post. Well, let's just say her dead husband manages to reach out from the grave (figuratively) and force her to make an even more serious decision than she imagined.

What about you moms out there? Am I the only one who inadvertently got her kid into trouble?



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