Not the typical first time mom: On tumbles and germs

by Ivy B
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A few days after Shelby was born, we had to take her to the doctor for her 1st checkup.  Since we were already out and about, we took her to Target and lunch at Steak N Shake.  From then on, I realized that I wasn’t the typical first time mom.

Before she had all her shots, I didn’t worry much about germs.  We have dogs and I wasn’t going to try sterilizing her or the house every time they got near her. The pacifier would fall out of her mouth, and I wasn’t rushing to clean it every time it hit the floor.  (Do you know how often those things come out of babies mouths?!?!?)  I would have let almost anyone hold her without using hand sanitizer.  And, as she got older and around more babies and children, I didn’t freak out every time one of them knocked her over or slapped her in the face (which happened just about every time we attended play dates).  I will, however, admit that the hitting happened so much in the beginning that I’d already planned to put baby girl in karate as soon as she was old enough…

I’d feed her on the floor when convenient, I don’t typically run to her aide every time she tumbles to the floor, no constant pacifier wiping, and I still don’t mind much when she’s greeted with a slap to the face (poor girl is seemingly, by nature, going to be bullied).  She’s been known to fall and look at me for a reaction and I can tell that if I act as though something might make her cry she will cry.  Uh uh … none of that for me, please.  She’s fallen and I’ve told her that adventurous babies are more prone to accidents and it’s a good reason to strive to be better.  Sure, the one and a half year old probably didn’t understand it, but she sure looked at me as if she did and then accepted the response, just to continue adventuring again.

Why?  I know that I’m not always going to be able to shield her and germs are a fact of life.  I can offer her comfort when things really hurt (and could potentially lead to sudden doc/hospital visit) and let her know it will be okay, but I don’t want her to grow up thinking that every little bump and scrape is worthy of a full-on meltdown.  And darn it, she seems to be a tough cookie already at almost 2.  She cries when she’s hungry, if something really did hurt/stun her, or if she’s tired, then everything becomes tragic… otherwise, she’s tough and handles her tumbles, bumps, and germs so well.

As a parent, regardless of how many, how do you handle germs and getting “hurt”?

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2 comments

Danny July 14, 2013 - 9:08 pm

Very sound parenting. I lived in Hong Kong for 7 years where the parents treat their kids like little emperors and empresses. They never let them play in the dirt or in nature and are hyper protective. It's no surprise that so many kids there get sick so often. I lived on a country farm in my early years and experienced all sorts of germs. It really helped my immunity later in life as I didn't get sick often, even when I lived in Hong Kong.

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AmyG July 14, 2013 - 10:04 pm

Well done, mama! I don't know very many first-time moms who would have dealt with all these parenting decisions in such a nonplussed way, though nearly all parents I know with multiple children eventually come to the realization that a) germs are ACTUALLY our friends (for the most part) b) overprotection results in needy, whiney kids, and c) kids are much tougher than we think! You're way ahead of where I was as a first-time mom!

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