Friday, July 13, 2007

New Motherhood and Patronizing Twits

I'll tell you the single most frustrating thing I've encountered as a new mom: hand-washing and the arguments that ensue over it.

No, seriously.

As I've learned in various places, one of the most important things you can do to protect a baby is to make sure that anyone who handles her washes his or her hands first. So I do my best to uphold that. And I'm sad to say that after four months, I'm still having the same arguments with people. I have no idea what's so difficult or traumatic about hand-washing, but there are people-- in my family-- who are determined never to do it. And who manage to seem freshly shocked each time I ask for it. (What? I'm supposed to wash my hands? I washed them last week when I came to visit! Isn't that good enough?)

There are also people who can't seem to resist saying patronizing things after hearing me ask someone to wash his or her hands. The most common one is:

I can tell you're a first-time mom.

or

It's because she's your first.

No, it's because I'd rather not have your fecal matter on my daughter, thanks. And even if she were my 16th child, I promise you I'd still want you to wash your hands before holding her.

I hereby vow not to ever become complacent about basic hygiene rules that could keep a baby safe, no matter how many kids I get to have. I wish that was just a given, and that I wouldn't have to tell people that. I'm really surprised to learn that so many people think it's so overly protective to ask for simple hand-washing. (Oh, and if I hear the tired old excuses about how the baby needs to get smothered in germs so she can develop her immune system one more time, I'll whack someone with my diaper bag.)

P.S. Sara, no way am I showing off my bald spots. But here's a fun one from today where you really can't tell what my hair looks like...