I was at a store yesterday and ended up in the same aisle as a lady with a baby and a girl about 3. The girl sat down on the floor to see something on the bottom shelf. The woman freaked out. She told the kid that because she touched the floor she was not to come anywhere near the baby until they got home and she could scrub her hands. That also meant that she couldn’t touch the cart that was touching the carrier that the baby was in. The woman kept saying this over and over like the kid had been caught playing in raw sewage. The kid was much more logical and said that she just sat on the floor and that she was fine. But the woman told her that she was “filthy” so often that she finally started to say, “I’m filthy.” It made me want to scratch my nose and then poke the baby to just see the woman freak out and deflect her neuroticness from the kid.
I went to work and told them about it there. I made a solemn vow to carry a small bag of dirt with me and to sprinkle some on any baby I saw with the blessing, “May you grow an immune system.”
Then I had a client with a baby come in. The kid had a set of plastic keys that she threw down on the floor. I was watching out of the corner of my eye to see what the mother did. She picked them up and held them. I was disappointed. I realy wanted her to give them back to the kid to make me feel like there was some sanity in the universe. But it seems that she was just holding them so she didn’t have to pick them up again while talking to me. When the kid was sitting on the counter while her mom paid, she was playing with the keys. Totally restored my faith in humanity.