Thursday, March 24, 2011

Learning To Curb Your Cleaning Appetite

                                                                                 Julie Kemp Pick              

Recently ABC World News featured a story about how the "Birth Order Effect" plays an important role in determining if your older child is more likely to develop food allergies and "conditions that affect the nose and mouth respectively than their younger siblings." The study attributes this to the "hygiene hypothesis: in preparing for their firstborn to come home, parents may hyper-sterilize their environments. By the time babies 2 and 3 come around there are more germs and the younger siblings may develop stronger immune systems." Unfortunately, both my kids often walk around sneezing, coughing, clearing their throats and are in desperate need of portable spittoons. My house was surgically scrubbed for many years and I ruined both of their lives so there! There is something to be said about older siblings reportedly having higher IQ scores and my brother quotes this study on a daily basis.

Maybe if I hadn't been so neurotic about cleaning when my boys were growing up, they wouldn't have spent most of their freshman year in college at the infirmary. As they will gladly tell you, the fact that they stayed up all hours of the night doing who knows what had nothing to do with it. If only I had subscribed to the 5 second rule where they could eat anything off of the ground no matter where it may land, as long as they pick it up within 5 seconds. I shudder to think of the possibilities, as I imagine one of my sons scraping up a Tic Tac from the bottom of a Porta-potty counting to 5 in slow motion.

To counter attack the poisons in his system, I am calmed by the thought of him washing his hands while singing Happy Birthday for 15 seconds. Yeah right!  Of course, the hand soap dispenser would be motion activated, so he wouldn't have to actually touch it. Suddenly, I'm reminded of the scene in The Aviator where Leonardo Di Caprio portrays Howard Hughes. It takes place in the men's room and there are no towels left, so panic-stricken H.H. is trapped inside until someone else touches the door handle for him.

With all of the new strains of the flu virus, E coli bacteria, and infections too numerous to mention, we are inundated with preventative products in the marketplace. Advertisers are counting on scaring consumers into purchasing everything from anti-bacterial wipes to vitamins that boost the immune system.  Is it preparedness or paranoia?  On second thought, I'm not going to apologize for keeping my floors clean enough for my babies to crawl on. Now that they're living on their own for 9 months out of the year, if they want to roll around in filth, I'm just glad I don't have to see it.


  1. funny memories...with three children, ages 14, 17, it too late for a do-over?

  2. Great love this! best part is the Porta-potty.

  3. Another day.
    Another study.
    Another thing to worry about.

    What to do.
    How to do it.

    What not to do.
    How not to do it.

    Enough to make us crazy.
    Crazier than we already are!

  4. As one who travels all over, seeing those lacking in manners: i.e., I won't sneeze on the person to my right but will do a full open, uncover sneeze to the person on my left in a closed plane. I embrace a little germ phobia. Sometimes I wish I had a body condom to where on a plane! Now I do have friend who says we all should eat more dirt and we would not get as sick. There may be some truth to that, but I say here is to mud in your eye! Lampchop

  5. It is funny how each person approaches the subject of cleaning - especially in their home.

    I like things picked up. I like things clean as well, but I am not as diligent about cleaning as I am about picking up. Now... if I am upset about something, I take my frustration out CLEANING!! It is always a sign that something is brewing inside of me.

    I noticed that you joined the a to z blog challenge. I did too. I am pretty excited about the challenges for myself and seeing how others do. I look forward to checking in on you as a follower.

    I can be found as Retired Knitter on

    My kids are all grown and on their own now, but I am a caregiver for my mom who lives with me. Maybe someday I will be an empty nester! But not now! Life never seems to slow down.


  6. Thanks for the follow and I've clicked on your follower button as well.

    This post is important I think. If we shelter our kids (or ourselves for that matter) from too much, we don't allow immunities to build up. I like cleaniness, but some germs and dirt now and then can be kind of good for you.

    Tossing It Out
    Twitter hashtag: #atozchallenge

  7. Hi Julie .. saw you were a newbie at Arlee's site .. so popped on over to say Hi .. it will be great fun - hard work .. but that's good for us - isn't it .. even cleaning!

    Not having kids .. I make my own dirt, and sniff at everyone else's, empathise when people are a bit miz .. and keep to my cheerful self ..

    oh yea .. start with A (not Sundays) .. I'm doing the British countryside ..

    See you around .. cheers Hilary

  8. Elaine-It's after midnight here, so it's officially April 1st! Thanks for everything & good luck!

    Hilary-Looking forward to the British countryside and Thank you!

    Lee-Happy April Fool's Day! I'm excited for the challenge! Thanks for all of your help & try to get some sleep! Julie