One of the boys I take care of as a professional foster parent is two years old. Let’s call him Squirt, which means I come in contact with a lot of his bodily fluids.
This grosses my personal children out. Girl child thinks all bodily fluids are disgusting. A few months ago when Squirt was teething he drooled on her a bit. I thought she was going to lose her mind.
I get drooled on all the time. I share food and drinks with Squirt. Girl child makes gagging sounds and Boy child, now studying to be an EMT, stands back wearing gloves.
He works with my organization and whenever he is working at one of the homes with small children he wears gloves almost the entire time. The children don’t wash their hands consistently after using the bathroom, and then they touch everything.
My kids are right, fluids aren’t safe. I should probably be more careful, but the little ones need connection. They already have attachment issues and being treated as a bio-hazard doesn’t help them.
This morning both of my own kids would have lost it. Squirt woke up with dried blood on his face from a bloody nose. I pick him up and, squish, he has leaked out of his diaper. His PJs are soaked and now so are mine. I bathe him, without gloves, and get him dressed before I change my clothes.
But what am I supposed to do? Freak out every time a toddler leaks something onto me? I do use gloves for older kids’ fluids and for poop, ’cause gross, but even though I am aware it’s not safe, there is an illusion of the toddlers not being infectious.
Just so we’re clear, I do wash my hands dozens of times I day; my skin looks like the Crypt Keeper.
What do you think, am I crazy?