February 9, 2006

The (De) Evolution of a Parent

After months of research, both scientific and anecdotal, I have come across a distinct pattern in parents – if not worldwide, at least in North America. For some reason, I couldn’t find a scientific journal that was willing to accept this finding (something about my methodology being fundamentally flawed). So, I have decided to launch my findings on Childsplayx2.com.

Keeping our Children Safe From Bacteria and Disease – The Real Story

Phase I – Parents sanitize everything. Bottles, binkies, nipples – you name it, it’s either boiled, microwaved or sanitized in the dishwasher. Sometimes with unintended results.

Phase II - Sanitizing becomes a little lax. The little steamer bag that comes with Medela products still has a few good uses left in it but it sits on the counter in the kitchen, taunting you every time you pass by, leaving you as guilt-ridden as a Mexican mother. In an effort to keep up the pretense of sanitizing, anti-bacterial wipes make an appearance around the house. One parent uses them religiously, the other, well, not so much.

Phase III – Bottles are only washed in warm soapy water. Binkies never get washed except when they fall in the bathtub by accident. Every once in a while a parent will say, “Hey, we should really sanitize all the baby stuff.” The other nods and then they go back to watching American Idol.

Phase IV – Binkies fall on the floor and the parent will pick it up, put it in his/her own mouth to “get rid of the germs” and then hand it back to the kid. The kid doesn’t die. Hmmmmm. Interesting.

Phase V – The first utterance of the phrase “Five-Second Rule!” appears. Perhaps a quick wipe on the pants will suffice before popping the binky back in the kid’s mouth.

Phase VI – Parents watch as kid picks up binky or any other thing that looks like it might look good in it’s mouth like cat food, days-old cheerios, and daddy’s sweat socks. The parents might say something like, “Sweetie, don’t put that in your mouth.” while they casually glance up from the morning paper – but more often than not, they just *sigh*.

Phase VII – Parents actually start giving their kids disgusting things to put in their mouths – like fruit gushers and Trix Yogurt.

After that, it’s all down hill. French fries become the only vegetable the kids eat. A Big Mac is the closest a kid comes to the four basic food groups. And our children die a slow, albeit delicious, death.

But, hey, at least we sanitized those binkies.


  1. this is so true. I remember clearly going thru all of those phases! Now I am watching my sister go thru it with her own kiddo. Its funny how paranoid and protective we are at firts, and then later…”hey- its good for your immune system!”.. :)

    Comment by Kristie — February 9, 2006 @ 9:01 am

  2. The other day I caught Little Eugene slobbering on one of the dogs chew toys. Without thinking I did the quick pants-wipe, and handed the toy back to the dog. So far, the dog seems o.k. ;)

    Comment by Gene — February 9, 2006 @ 9:19 am

  3. And with the recent McDonald’s news, it looks like our children will die more quickly than we originally thought. I know the recent news won’t curb my fry cravings :)

    Comment by Rob — February 9, 2006 @ 10:15 am

  4. Antibodies, Dude. The real arms race is with the bacteria. We’re too sanitized. Gotta build the antibodies. Really. A scientist said so. In fact, he said we should eat dirt. Even wrote a whole book about it. [Can you tell this is the mantra I repeat to myself daily?]

    Comment by MIM — February 9, 2006 @ 10:15 am

  5. I washed the kitchen floor on Monday because Baby Boy was rolling around on it, picking up every single piece of dust known to man. I figured that I really shouldn’t let my baby be my dust mop. And then the Munchkin got into the act, picking up microscopic pieces of lint off the carpet and handing them to me. I don’t know why she’s become a neat freak all of a sudden – this is the same kid who, last summer, was digging poop out of her diaper to fingerpaint her toys with.

    And yes, I cleaned those toys with hot water, soap, bleach, and every other major disinfectant I could lay my hands on. After that experience, all other dirt and fuzz is negligable. Really.

    Comment by Deanna — February 9, 2006 @ 10:47 am

  6. When we had our second child, we started with Phase IV for him.

    Comment by Chag — February 9, 2006 @ 11:06 am

  7. We’re somewhere between Phase III and IV now.

    Comment by Amy — February 9, 2006 @ 11:31 am

  8. I heard the same thing MIM heard. Plus I figure if I will pick up the binky and put in my mouth and it doesn’t kill me, then it surely won’t kill her. And cat food is probably more nutritious than McDonalds.

    Comment by Melissa — February 9, 2006 @ 11:33 am

  9. After having helped several of my friends through the infant stages with their kids, by the time I had mine, I went to Phase IV or V. My husband was mortified but I said “Hey, all those kids are still alive. Ours won’t die either” So far, they are killing me slowly but they are just fine. Good luck!

    Comment by Trish — February 9, 2006 @ 7:27 pm

  10. Does dipping the pacifier in Jameson count as sanitizing?

    Comment by Mr. Big Dubya — February 10, 2006 @ 5:25 am

  11. I’m holding on to Phase V with everything I have. Fruit Gushers, ewww!

    Comment by Katie — February 10, 2006 @ 8:51 am

  12. I was like Trish. After being working in daycares and doing a lot of babysitting, I had already gone through the other stages with other peoples’ babies. I started at stage IV and through five kids, have only drifted to stage VI in some things… cheerios are swept up every day (the baby eats them off the floor if she catches them before I sweep) and none of my kids have tried putting sweatsocks in their mouths, but I didn’t care too much when they tried a bite of dog food. It’s still nutritious, isn’t it? LOL (By the way, for each of them, only one bite was needed. They never tried it again.)

    Comment by Julie — February 10, 2006 @ 10:03 am

  13. That is our exact story.

    Last week Ian dropeed and apple in the driveway and picked it up and ate it. I didn’t even say anything.

    Comment by Sarah — February 10, 2006 @ 12:19 pm

  14. I told greatgrandmother about your 5 second rule and she let out an “AY, Dios mio!” and an “AY, de maria purisima”

    Comment by Grandmother — February 10, 2006 @ 3:32 pm

  15. This gets worse with subsequent children. Our third was born somewhere around stage IV. And He loooooves Trix yogurt — it now comes in “cotton candy” flavor!

    Comment by L. — February 11, 2006 @ 10:44 pm

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