What's the protocol?!
So there I was on my hands and knees exercising my fully developed pincer grasp by trying to pick up tiny pieces of rejected food out of my mother-in-law's dining room carpet.
"Oh screw it," I finally muttered to myself, after I fell on my face while scraping up some potato pancake that got gnashed into the broadloom. "She'll never see this."
We - Huds, Ted and I - were at my MIL's house for a Hanukkah party (T'is the season!) and the Boy was sitting in a rickety metal high chair his dad used as an infant, being his baby-messy self by drooling, spitting and throwing food over the side (he's obviously experimenting with gravity and such).
At home, when we're alone, I encourage this kind of filthy behaviour (eat with your hands! play with your food! It's all in the interest of encouraging him to become independent). But, when we're out it makes me hot around the neck and a bit nervous - mainly because I don't really know whether to laugh or whip out a portable dust buster.
What's the protocol?
I've been asking myself this question a lot lately - especially in potentially germy situations.
On a recent play-date, Huds, who has quite the oral fixation, stuffed a pillow and several of his friend Ben's toys into his mouth before I could ask his mom if we could share.
"Oh god, sorry," I said sheepishly, offering to disinfect everything immediately. Should I carry a bottle of Fantastik?
And what happens when Huds has a runny nose, which is all the time (he got one recently from licking a toy previously licked by a random little boy)?
"Should we take him to the party?" I asked Ted the night before we were to celebrate a friend's birthday. "I don't know," Ted said. "I'm not sure. Is he contagious?"
There are so many instances where I just don't know what's right and in fumbling to cope I've probably come off looking like a dimwit, bad mother, inconsiderate slob, careless illness-spreader.
And the whole H1N1 quasi epidemic has made me socially awkward.
"He's not sick, I swear," is something I say unconsciously now, like a verbal tick if Huds coughs or sneezes in public, which he does often even though he's generally healthy.
I have a love hate relationship with germs: while I'm anxious about tending to a sick kid, compulsive hand washing around the baby and always steering him clear of sick people and goobery kids is dumb, I think, because he's got to develop an immune system!
Thank heavens I'm not alone - even if I still don't have any of the answers I'm seeking.
Natasha, another mom, is a kindred spirit. Hudson was sitting in her son's Bumbo eating his "tasty foods" a little while ago when out of his nose came a sound - combination rusty engine starting up and water blowing from the lid of a killer whale.
"He's not sick, I swear," I said.
"Well, we are," Natasha said, of she and her two sons, "so, don't worry about it."