'Don't Touch The Toilet!' Confessions of a Germaphobe

I grab a paper towel to turn on the faucet. I flush with my foot. I try to do this discreetly because I don't want my kids to copy my OCD habits. Unfortunately, the little buggers have caught on.
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When you have kids, you have to let a lot of things go. If you're a quiet seeker, that pretty much goes out the window when you bring your screaming newborn home. If you're a control freak and love schedules and to-do lists, you will find this ridiculously hard to implement once you've got a babe. The thing that has been hardest for me to part with is my germ phobia. Seriously. If I could invest in Purell stock, I would (note to self: look into that).

Kids do nasty, nasty things. They pick their noses and leave the remnants under the couch (secrets out, boys!). They pee everywhere but in the toilet (what is that?!). I have resorted to buying pet cleaner because the ammonia smell is enough to knock out a rhinoceros. But here's the piece that really, truly grosses me out. Bathroom door knobs and door handles. Let's talk about the germs that are just waiting to come out and play in those public stalls. So, I do what anyone in my situation would do. I don't touch 'em. I grab a paper towel to turn on the faucet. I flush the toilet with my foot. I try to do this discreetly because I don't want to raise kids that have weird OCD habits. Unfortunately, the little buggers have caught on.

I got a call from my preschool kid's teacher that went something like this: "Your son will not flush the toilet with his hand. I told him that our toilet is clean. The problem is... your son is tall. But other kids have started copying him and one girl fell in. (I nearly died right then and there. My worst fear. Bathroom germs galore). And she was wearing a tutu. It was messy."

I know what I was supposed to do. I was supposed to tell my kid to just chillax and flush with his hand. I was supposed to mimic that behavior and flush in not-so-public places with my hand. Unfortunately, I had a little problem implementing this theory. The thought made me want to hurl... and think of the mess! I know that I'm not alone. Just the other day, we were at Disneyland and this is what I heard from the stall next to mine: "Lauren, Lauren, LAUREN! Stop touching everything. Don't touch anything." I wanted to give Lauren's mama a fist bump (imaginary, of course) because I have her back. Even at The Happiest Place on Earth.

Another thing that really truly freaks me out is public water fountains. What's to stop people from putting their entire mouths on the spouts? I've seen it. In acts of desperation, I have taken a sip from the fountain and here's what I remember tasting: Warm spit. So, I've decided that unless I'm dying in the desert (in which case germs are the least of my worries), I will go ahead and abstain from the fountain of foulness. But, I don't want kids that don't drink from the water fountains at school during PE because of germs. That's OCD, and I recognize it. So, I encourage them to take sips even if it kills me.

I know that my germ phobia is not a good thing. My good friend, Dr. Nicole Nourmand, is a respected pediatrician in Beverly Hills. She has vouched for the safety of water fountains. It is true that there are germs on doorhandles and keyboards, but she encourages hand washing on a regular basis. Purell is a great substitute but if there is visible dirt, there is nothing like good old fashioned soap and water. I hear what she has to say, but I just can't let it go. My Purell is my secret sauce. It follows me at Target, Toys"R"US, and at Costco. It doesn't disappoint. I draw the line at giving my kids their own Purell bottles. Because, that would be weird.

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