Thursday, May 23, 2013

Eww. Gross.

This story is going to take a minute. Think of it as a literary version of "found footage".[1]

It all began at the park Monday. [2] We go to the park for park-day every Monday at around noon. The whole homeschool group shows up and and a couple dozen kids all play while the grown-ups (a bunch of ladies and me[3] have grown-up conversations. You know, mostly how lessons are going, the condition of public schools today, and lactation. (That last one was really more them than me...)

Zoey, the nine-year-old, comes to me with extremely wet and soapy hands.

Z: "I need a paper towel."

Me: "You need to wash your hands."

Z: "I did."

Me: "Well, you apparently aren't done yet. Go rinse those hands off and I'll give you a towel."

She did. I did. I didn't notice at the time, but she was totally weirded out by something. As I was deep in a conversation about Evamor water and vomit, I didn't notice.

On the way home Z says to me, "Can I take a shower when we get home?"

Me: "I don't see why not." It was a hot and sweaty day. I just warned her that it would not get in the way of her lessons. She seemed amiable.

Lessons, Mom came home, dinner, free time, bed time.

First thing the next morning Zoey comes into my room, me still in bed, and in a flat panic says:

"I'm taking a shower. I need to take a shower. I wanna take a shower."

Me: "Well. If you insist. Go ahead."

Sara: "Zoey wants to take a shower."

Me: "Mmmph."

So she did. And we had a normal Tuesday. With the single exception that Zoey must have washed her hands 30 times. O.C.D. We went to Sara's gymnastics class where normally Z would play her tablet, or read, or play with the other kids waiting for siblings. This time, she wouldn't even bring her Pancake[4]. She mostly hung out with me. Reluctantly. Eventually she did play with her friends, but constantly came back to me to just hug, hang, and basically cling to. No explanation. She wouldn't admit anything was wrong.

How does this connect with the park Monday? Found footage folks, I'm connecting the dots.

We get in the van[5]. She asks, "Can I sit in a different seat?"

Me: "What?"

Z: "A different seat. A seat other than the one assigned to me. As i I DON'T WANT TO SIT IN MY SEAT." I so totally thought it was because she didn't like sitting in her carseat any more. She's been making noises to that affect for a while now. You know, like maybe she's growing too old to be in a car seat.

Me: "What? Just buckle in... sheez.[6]"

Z: "I'm taking a shower when we get home."

Me: "?" This is getting totally weird.

That night I had scheduled a dude to come give us an estimate for window replacements. That's a story for another time, but for the sake of this story, he took a really really really long time. Come 10 pm he's still here trying to impress us with his windows.[7]

Z walks in and out. S walks in and out trying to grab the attention of the sales-guy. (His name is Bo. Short for Robert. Like, you know, normal...) At one point in time I reached out and touched Z just to let her know I wasn't ignoring her.

She gave me a look that said, "What the hell do you think you are doing? Do you have any idea who I am? I WILL KILL YOU." And then she went and washed her hands again.

Even Bo was like, "Dude." He wasn't about to get involved in that.

And then she took another shower.

Stephanie and I didn't know what to make of this. She wouldn't let me kiss or hug her because "germs". WHAT THE HELL?!

Solve for ­angle OCD[8]. Before going to sleep that night she made me promise I'd wash the car seat covers the next day. She wouldn't even let me give her a kiss goodnight! I tried to get her to tell me what was wrong.

Me: "Is it embarrassing?"

Z: "No. I'm just scared to say."

Me: "Are you afraid it will make me mad?"

Z: "No. I"m just scared to say."

Me: "Scared? How? What do you think will happen?"

Z: "I don't know. I just don't wanna say."

Me: "I'm tired and going to bed. Tomorrow I'll tell you how germs are a good thing. Goodnight."


Wednesday morning we're up and you guessed it, Zoey has to take a shower. She was pissed that I didn't take one the night before. I'm a morning showerer. She wouldn't let me fix her breakfast. She did it herself. And this psychosis was rubbing off on her sister too. Sara wouldn't let me pour her cereal.

Later in the bathroom Zoey was trying to get Sara to take a bath.

Z: "Dad has germs. You need to wash right now."

S: "Dad doesn't have germs. I'm not taking a bath."

Z: "You have the germs now."

S: "Zoey!"

About midday Z comes to me wringing her hands, pacing, fretful.

Me: "Are you ready to tell me what's going on?"

Z: "You said you were going to tell me how germs can be a good thing."

Me: "Yup. You first though."

She finally fessed up. Apparently a friend at the park played a little prank on her. Another little girl had a ziploc container with water and convinced Z to dip her hands in it. Then she said she had peed in it.

Zoey is deathly afraid of germs[9] At that point she had pee germs. Washing her hands wasn't enough you see, because she had touched her clothes. Those clothes touched the car seat. Even after washing and a day later that car seat touched her. She had touched me. I was covered in pee germs![10]

So I explained to her that pee from a healthy person is actually completely sanitary. No germs. Gross yes, but germy no. Then I gave her the lesson of how germs actually exercise our immune systems to keep us healthy.

Z: "Really?"

Me: "Yes. Really."

The look of relief on her face was precious.

Me: "Can I get a hug now?"

Z: "Yes!"

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