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Hands-On Mom?

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“Dear God –” my mom prayed when I was 2 years old and she was pregnant with my middle sister.

You might think she prayed for a certain gender, for a healthy baby, for an easy delivery. But her prayer was along different lines:

“Please make this baby not persnickety about its hands the way Lori is.”

Apparently I was born fussy. I have always disliked having dirty hands. It doesn’t stop me from doing much because I can accommodate — gloves are my friends.

I am always attuned to whether my hands are clean or dirty. Mostly they are clean. But if I handle garden tools, take the kids to Chuck E Cheese, unwrap a package of chicken, pet a dog or hold my son’s hand for any length of time, I am keenly aware of their sullied nature. I do not touch my face, clean dishes or clean clothes until I wash my hands and restore my inner harmony.

On my own eve of motherhood, my prayers (unsaid because I was just happy to finally become a mom) would have been the reverse of my mom’s: “Please, God. Give me clean children.”

HA! you say. Yes, you and God.

My children lack the awareness I have. They would gleefully dunk their hands in a bucket of snot and then give me a gooey hug. They have no qualms about hiking in mud and horsepoop, taking off their mucky socks in the car and putting the soggy things on their hands. After an hour in the tubes at McDonald’s PlayLand, Tessa and Reed approach me with enthusiasm, inexplicably wanting to stroke my hair and face. I am repulsed.

Back in the diaper bag days, it was easy to wipe off hands because I carried around my own sundry store. But I refuse to put wipes in my purse now. And don’t tell me about hand sanitizer — it kills germs but it doesn’t banish dirt.

We have therefore seen every single public bathroom within 10 miles of our house, and many outlying ones, too.

Don’t think I’m not into kisses and hugs. On the contrary — I’m all aBOUT kisses and hugs.

Immediately after bathtime.

Lori Holden
Author: Lori Holden

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  • comment avatar Terra January 27, 2009

    Love your story! I have one daughter who is the messiest kid on earth but she can’t stand to be dirty. SHe hasn’t found the balance yet and it cracks me up.

  • comment avatar DebiP January 27, 2009

    Gotta love a cleanliness lover…I have two dirt loving boys…there is not a chance in this world that they are ever clean even five minutes after a bath.

  • comment avatar Amber Johnson January 27, 2009

    You are tooooooo funny. I am the same way about my feet. I have to lotion them all day long and taking off shoes or socks and walking around? Ain’t happen. You can imagine how neurotic I am with the sand and beach.

    The kids don’t get this. We have a huge play area of sand in our backyard and they always [gulp] ask me to come play in it!

  • comment avatar Momma, The Casual Perfectionist January 27, 2009

    That’s hilarious! Claire doesn’t like to get her hands dirty either. Correction: She doesn’t like to get them slimy; dirty is sometimes okay until she realizes what’s happening.

    I’ll never forget the day she was helping my hubby with landscaping. She loved very minute of it, and by the time they were done, she was so dirty that all I could see were her teeth and the whites of her eyes. Than, she stood in front of me begging me to wash her hands.

    Little did she know, the problem was much bigger than that. 😉

  • comment avatar Jenna Hallock February 26, 2009

    I definitely lean toward being a neat freak and germaphobic, but I try to curb my tendencies as much as possible so as not to raise neurotic children.
    Case in point, we were at a Halloween party in the fall and one of the activities was bobbing for apples – the old fashioned way. My daughter didn’t want to do it, but after watching all of the kids decided it was too much fun not to try. Oh yeah. She stuck her head in the bucket of slobber and snot and loved it! I was sure she was going to be sick for weeks, but oddly enough she hasn’t had more than a sniffle since then.
    Sometimes you just have to let kids be kids and realize that we are not in complete control…ever.

  • comment avatar Lori in Denver February 26, 2009

    Jenna, that sounds thrilling and revolting at the same time!

    It’s quite possible that your daughter’s immune system was actually strengthened.

    As for your last sentence, truer words were never written…

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