My Daughter is Addicted to Hand Sanitizer

I’m not sure how it happened because we’re not a “hand sanitizer” family.  I don’t carry the stuff and in fact, never really did.  I had one bottle in the diaper bag when my daughter was a baby and it probably took about a year to use it up.  In fact, I think I eventually just threw it away because the smell made me sick.  At first, it smelled delicious with all its fruity grapefruity-ness, and then, it just start to smell annoying.  Yes, annoying.

Hand Sanitizer

Eventually, the smell reminded me of the places we used it, like the play area at the mall, McDonald’s, and the park.  Why would I want to be reminded of snot-nosed kids screaming and running around like chickens with their heads cut off {not my kid, of course, everyone else’s?}  I don’t.

What happened to good old soap and water?  Or even better, what happened to a little “dirt don’t hurt?”  We’ve become such a germ-a-phobe society that we’re actually making ourselves sicker.  In this 2009 article “The Hygenie Hypothisis: Does Cleanliness Cause Asthma?”  by Rick Frea, he states, “the hygiene hypothesis surmises that if we are not exposed to certain bacteria and parasites for our immune systems to battle, our immune systems get “bored” and may, instead, react to and create antibodies against normally harmless substances such as pollen and dust, i.e. allergens.”

So, on a recent trip to the mall where we promised our daughter hours of play area fun, we get to the play area only to find out it was closed.  Under construction.  For an entire month.  Shit.  She was not happy.  But, I had things to do.  I had birthday gifts to buy, lunch to eat, slow browsing around the mall to see what I wanted for my own upcoming birthday.  So, I did what any self-respecting mother would do, and I bribed her.

I promised her whatever she wanted, within reason {let’s not forget I’m also thrifty} as long as she let me accomplish what I needed to accomplish.  A .99 cent lip gloss from the Gap seemed to calm her down.  Until she spotted Bath and Body Works {I rarely shop here} and their endless display of hand sanitizers.  She wanted hand sanitizer, and a hand sanitizer holder {I didn’t even know these existed, and quite frankly, why do they exist?  I have a hand sanitizer holder.  It’s called my purse.  And on purseless days it’s called my pocket.}  She could now attach hand sanitizer to her backpack for school.  I guess one of the five pockets on her backpack doesn’t make an acceptable hand sanitizer holder in the eyes of the playground crowd.

We ended up with five sanitizers.  Who could possibly need five hand sanitizers except the super clean person with a bored immune system, and apparently my six-year-old?  Well, it worked.  She talked about hand sanitizer for the rest of the day.  Cradled one at a time in her hand as if it were a diamond, asking to switch them out periodically, “Can I please have Paris now?” while I held onto the other four like I was the “hand sanitizer keeper.”

The hand sanitizer is probably used way too much at school when my influence seems to go out the window.  She also thinks hand sanitizer replaces regular hand washing, telling me repeatedly, “but I have hand sanitizer.”  “But we have a bathroom, with a sink and soap and water, go use it.”  The hand sanitizer “flavor” changed daily, as she gleefully attached the day’s choice to her backpack.  Until the day she forgot about the hand sanitizer because she got a new pair of shoes…

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