Today my mom went with me to take my two kids to a really cool local play studio that offers all sorts of tactile, sensory and natural play things like a tub of cornmeal with miniature tigers and scoops, homemade yummy smelling play-doh, huge building blocks and more. Pinterest basically went into this place and threw up, its great. My 2 and 3 year olds love it!
We had to cancel the Monday session we were scheduled for, that is for 2-4 year olds and went to the session today instead, that is for 2-8 year olds. About 15 minutes in, my kids walked into a large wooden block ‘castle’ an older kid had been building and he got agitated. He looked to be about 6 years old and told them to get out and started whining to his mother that they were in his castle etc. I wasn’t judging, because all kids can sometimes be territorial and I am more a ‘let them work it out on there own’ mom as long as it doesn’t get too heated. He was older and I was fine with him asserting his alpha maleness on my little peeps. His mom was right there but was not noticing or else was ignoring what was going on.
I was still observing just in case I felt like I should redirect my kids, and it was then that I noticed him sticking his hands down his pants several times. We are talking inside the pants AND undies action. At this point my alert level was low — maybe a nose pick level 1. No big deal. I glanced at the mom to see if she was noticing. I started thinking about the stomach bug my kids and I had a few weeks ago and the similar germs this kid could be spreading. I don’t consider myself a germ-o-phobe, but when someone’s hands are making frequent trips to bum-town and them immediately manipulating the toys my kids are playing with, there needs to be an intervention.
Hiney Hands (HH) continued his southerly visits in between building with his blocks, an activity several other kids were participating in. I kept my eyes on the mom waiting for her to see so she could correct him before he could germ up the whole place. A hand washing trip to the bathroom was in order and I was sure she would pick up on it soon.
As I watched, I realized the extent of the situation. This was not just a stray itch or an equipment check. Let me give you a play by play:
Left hand down front of pants.
Back of pants.
Both hands front.
Right hand back in.
Sniffing. (yes, there were multiple instances of sniffing)
Both hands linger front.
Insert building with blocks and touching shared toys intermittently.
Total # of times I saw this kid with his hands in his pants over a 1 hour period = 80-100
At one point his mom finally commented aloud “Oh great! Now he has both hands in there. Hahahaha.”
I have posted before about how we as moms and just humans in general should not judge each other in Judgey Judgerson, however after time number 17 of hands in pants…Cue me judging.
I understand that kids do gross and disgusting things regularly. I get that probably most of the kids in there had hands that were likely 2 steps below a hotel room remote control on the yuck scale, but I could live in denial about them. This 6 year old was almost constantly reaching his hands down his pants in plain sight of everyone, front and back and then handling shared toys.
In my mind, my inner Olivia Pope went up to her and said ‘Hey lady, apparently you think it is cute, but its time to wash his hands and correct him so this stops, or else you need to take Fecal Matter Freddie home pronto’. The actual me stared in horror exchanging whispers and looks with my mother and steering my kids to the activities farthest away from typhoid Harry.
At the end of the session, everyone sits in a circle and talks about what they did and what they liked best and passes around a stuffed frog that they hug and kiss. I sat with my daughter and watched Hiney Hands across from us. The facilitator was about to pass the frog. I froze. Which way would she pass it? If it went right, it would come to us first. If it went left it would pass through HH before it got to us. I looked over to see his mother pulling lefty from down the front of HH’s pants and sing songing ‘hands where we can see them…’. Froggy was on the move and he was going….where was he going…dear god he was going LEFT! My daughter is 3.5 and was oblivious to the black light extravaganza HH had left in his wake. The frog got to HH and boy, did he give it a good working over. It came to my daughter like a slow motion boulder rolls toward Indiana Jones and I cringed as she NUZZLED it. The moment passed and luckily the last thing they do is give the kids a hot wash cloth to wipe their hands and face with. I took full advantage of this and chased my son down for the same.
So as much as I try not to judge other moms, I did it today. I don’t judge HH even though he skeeves me out a little. I’m sure my sons hands will be doing equipment checks soon enough. Maybe that mom doesn’t care if he cruds up her house with his habits, but in public when playing with a bunch of other kids inside? NO! Don’t make the decision that it is okay for my kids to play in your kid’s funk! Please moms, take a hands on approach for your kids to keep their hands off the equipment in mixed company.