Momma's Dramas

Real Stories with Humorous Perspective

Terms of Germs

Posted on Sep 25, 2011 07:40:27 PM


Sponsored by: Unplanned Flavorings – These are the spices that are not part of any recipe that are added to foods when the foods are dropped, coughed on, sneezed on, or touched with dirty hands. They are something to worry about when mothers want to teach lessons in cleanliness, but they just become added flavors when mothers do not feel like preparing new meals or getting up again to wash utensils, toys or pacifiers for the 100th time.


The Terms of Germs

“Oh, my God, look at his hands!” Lanie said, glaring with disgust at her brother Henry as he grabbed his hamburger. I looked at Henry, who was sitting next to me, and noticed that his hands were covered in dirt.

“Henry, those hands are disgusting. Put that hamburger down right now. You can’t eat with those hands,” I said.

Henry dropped his hamburger on his plate and looked at his hands. He shrugged his shoulders, looked at me quizzically, and said “Why? What’s wrong with them?”

“Duh, Henry!” Lanie interjected. “Are you having an eye problem? Can you not see the mud all over your hands? I can’t believe you touched your food. Boys are so gross.”

“Thank you, Lanie, that’s enough, I don’t need help with Henry right now,” I said to Lanie. “Henry you need to go wash those hands. You can’t eat dinner like that.”

“Why? It’s just dirt, Mom. You tell me all the time that dirt can’t make me sick, just germs do.”

“Ah, yeah. You do say that all the time, Mom, Henry’s right,” Tucker added, defending his brother.

“Yes, but that just applies to you playing and getting dirty. It is not an excuse to come to the dinner table with hands that look like they have been in a mud fight.”

“Well. It wasn’t a mud fight, it was just football. Tucker and I were playing catch.”

“Tucker, are your hands clean?” I asked.

“Mom, I can take care of myself,” Tucker said.

“Well, Henry, you need to go and wash those hands.”

“Why?” Henry asked, looking down and inspecting the dirt on his hands with what seemed to be a fondness and admiration. “This is sport’s dirt, Mom. It’s fine.”

“Just go wash your hands please, Henry.” I said simply and quietly. I was glad that Henry wasn’t so uptight about dirt because Tucker seemed to be a bit of a germ-a-phobe, and he wouldn’t touch anything that hadn’t been sterilized.

Henry got down from the table and went into the bathroom. I had just started passing the ketchup, and making small talk at the table when Henry popped right back up in his seat. He had been gone for about thirty seconds.

“Henry,” I stated strongly, “you couldn’t possibly have washed your hands in that short amount of time.”

“It’s okay, Mom. I hand sanitized,” he replied confidently, and he showed me his hands.

“Henry, the dirt is still there. It’s just all smeared around, and now it’s on the front and backs of your hands. Hand sanitizer is just for killing germs. It doesn’t actually clean your hands. Don’t you know that?” I questioned, wondering if my continued comments about the dirt would start to make Henry paranoid.

“Mom, the dirt is fine, and now I’ve killed all the germs so it doesn’t matter. Can you pass the ketchup?” he said reaching for his hamburger again.

“Don’t touch that with those hands, mister. They are disgusting. You need to go back to that bathroom and really wash them. No hand sanitizer and make sure that you use soap,” I ordered.

“Fine, FINE! What’s the big deal,” he said with irritation. “It’s just dirt. You said germs just come from people coughing and picking their nose and stuff. This is clean dirt, Mom. No one even spit in it.”

“Mom, will you get him to stop. I can’t eat with him being so disgusting. I’m totally losing my appetite,” Lanie added.

“You’re disgusting, Lanie!” Henry shouted at her because now he was starting to feel embarrassed by all the attention.

“Just go wash your hands, Henry.”

“FINE!” and he stormed back to the bathroom. This time I could hear the water running, and I heard the bar of soap clunk back into the dish when Henry had finished using it. He returned to the table, and I almost wondered if he had washed his mouth with the soap too because his face looked awfully sour. I thought praising him might help, and then we could just move on.

“Great job Henry. They look nice and clean now. Thank you for washing your hands,” I said cheerfully with as much enthusiasm for hand washing that I could muster. Henry was still being stubborn about the whole thing.

“I don’t see the point of washing my hands, Mom. They’re just going to get all dirty with ketchup anyway. Can you help me with this?” he asked as he passed me his hamburger so that he could open the ketchup. I wasn’t ready for the pass, and his hamburger fell from his hands and onto the floor.

“Oh, great!” he said throwing his hands to the air. “See, Mom. My hamburger has dirt on it anyway.”

“Yeah,” Charlie added in his usual attempt to tease and undermine my lectures, “now his hamburger is all dirty, Mom. How is he supposed to eat it now? Henry, you’re going to have to go back to the bathroom and wash the dirt off your hamburger,” he laughed. Henry gave him a mean and confused look because I think he thought that he might really have to go and wash off the hamburger.

“Do I really have to wash that too,” he questioned, and his voice cracked as if he might cry. “Forget it, then. I’m not eating a soggy hamburger.”

“Five second rule!” I yelled absentmindedly. “It’s fine,” I said, trying to brush off the dirt and cat hair. I started blowing on the top of the bun in an attempt remove some of the dirt without mashing it into the soft texture of the bread. It looked fine, and I passed it back to Henry. “Here you go, honey. It’s fine,” I said as I smiled with complete satisfaction at how coolly I had handled this situation. Henry looked at me with complete horror and disgust.

“I am NOT eating that,” he stated, raising his eyebrows and shaking his head.

“Oh, Henry, stop complaining. It’s fine. Look,” I said showing him the cleanish-looking burger. “I got all of the dirt off, see?”

“Yeah, I wasn’t worried about the dirt, Mom! You just spit your germs all over my burger.”

“What?” I said, surprised and somewhat confused by his reaction. “You mean you will eat a burger with hands that look like you’ve been digging sewer trenches, but you won’t eat anything if I’ve put my mouth near it?”

“That’s where germs come from, Mom. I’m not touching that now,” he said. Charlie, Tucker, Lanie, and Tom all started giggling. Henry flashed them all a look of powerful anger, but I could see that he was about to cry, so I did what all mother’s do in moments like this. I made a sacrifice.

“I’m sorry, Henry. I shouldn’t have blown all over your food. I was just trying to help get the dirt off. Here,” I said passing him my own plate and taking his, “you can have my burger. I put ketchup on it already, but I haven’t touched it.” He sniffled and wiped his nose and eyes with his hands, of course, so that no one would know that he was crying.

“Eeeeiiieeewww, Mom, that’s gross. Are you really going to eat that?’ Lanie asked, convinced that this was some kind of trick, and I wasn’t actually going to consume Henry’s floor-spiced burger.

“Of, course she’s going to eat it. Five second rule, right, Mom?” Charlie taunted.

“Ellie, just give that to the dog. I made extra burgers,” Tom said, trying to be supportive, but I felt like he was undermining my point with his suggestion that I shouldn’t eat it.

“There is nothing wrong with this burger,” I stated again, removing the top bun and squeezing ketchup on it.

“Well, I’m not eating it,” Henry said as he quickly grabbed what had previously been my hamburger and took a great big bite. “Thungks, Mumph,” he said talking with his mouth full, as ketchup squirted out the sides of his mouth.

“You’re welcome, Henry, “ I said, as I picked up the other burger. Everyone watched and giggled as I took a big bite. It was a little crunchy, but I just smiled as if it was the best meal ever. I couldn’t always count on my ability to execute a lesson to my children, but I was very confident about my ability as an actress and a martyr. No one would ever suspect that I was becoming more nauseous with each bite.

“Wow! You’re brave, Mom, ’cause I sneezed on that before you came to the table. I’m glad you’re not worried about my germs.”

“It’s fine, Henry. Don’t worry about it.”

“Okay. I probably didn’t have any germs in my sneeze today anyway.”

“Just eat, Henry.” I said, a little exasperated. I had really lost my appetite, but I finished my hamburger and continued to smile.

Elsie had finished her finger food, and she was starting to fuss and squirm a little. We weren’t quite done with dinner, and I liked Elsie to stay at the table with all of us when we were eating. I got up and quickly grabbed her pacifier, hoping to distract her with it long enough for us to finish. She promptly took it from me and threw it. Peeve, who was use to Elsie throwing food, quickly retrieved the pacifier, and then spit it out, realizing it was not the tasty treat he was hoping for. I picked up the pacifier and gave it back to Elsie.

“Aren’t you going to rinse that off, Ellie? That’s kind of gross,” Tom said.

“Nope!” I replied, as Elsie took the pacifier and chewed on the end. I still had high hopes for her.

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