When I had my first child, I hovered and wiped and wiped and wiped. Prior to his interaction with any surface, I wiped it. I was one step ahead of him, wiping all surfaces, leaving a completely sanitized environment in my wake. I had one of those shopping cart cover thingies. I had one for high-chairs too. And in the rare instance where I entered a store and 1) did not have my shopping cart cover and 2) forgot a baby sling, I was quite skilled at holding the baby in one arm while deftly fishing a wipe container out of the diaper bag, opening it, removing a wipe and thoroughly wiping down the entire front end of the shopping cart with the other hand.
By the time I had a second child, I loosened up regarding germs. Now that I have a third child, germs are an afterthought. "Oh, maybe I should have wiped off that crusty thing before I let the baby lick it...Oh well. It'll build up her immune system."
This afternoon, we went to a concert in downtown Valparaiso and Luna found another two-year old and a friendship was born. This family also has three children aged 6, 2 and 6 months. Luna loves babies so the mom brought him down to her level. I'm trying to teach Luna a "baby rule" which is to not touch a baby's face. I know that she'll be gentle; this rule is more to ease a first time mother's stress about germs. For some reason, toddlers are viewed as being germballs and when it comes to reaching out to touch another baby, the toddler's reflexes are too quick for either mother to get a good antibacterial wiping in before contact. So part of the rule is I tell Luna that she can touch the baby's hand or foot and secretly feel out the mother's reaction to this. Some mother's tense up, "Eek, I don't want that sticky handed toddler touching any part of my baby..." so I will adjust my directions. Mostly, though, I just put that out there and hope that the other mother will be able to deal, since, you know, now that I have three kids I can totally deal with germs.
So while I was giving Luna the directions, she was sucking on her entire right hand. She pulled it out of her mouth and there was that signature string of slobber bowing from her pinky to her bottom lip. I quickly said, "Okay, but don't touch the baby with this hand..." and the other mom laughed. She said, "Oh, I don't care. It's my third baby - were not afraid of anything."
I loved her!
This was so refreshing. I laughed too and said, "This morning I found Luna brushing her teeth with Tulip's toothbrush and I was like....Hurray, you're brushing your teeth!"