Hast du dir die Hände gewaschen?

Have you washed your hands? I’m not entirely sure if it’s a Swiss thing or just the family I work for, but these kids are intensely anal retentive about being clean. At the first family dinner I thought it was cute how Rapunzel got up from the table to get a napkin for herself. I saw it as self-sufficient and mature. Now, every time a speck of jam hits the table from her bread I make up every morning she jumps up from her seat like it’s on fire to rush and clean up her “mess.” It’s downright annoying. It’s as if she is incapable of living in disorder. Mind you, this house is by no means tidy. There are piles of papers on the counter, toys strewn about like little land mines, and don’t even get me started on the nooshies lying around this place. The nooshies are the kids’ security blankets, although they look a lot like cheesecloth. Except there isn’t just one for each child, there are about 20 per kiddo. Heaven forbid we leave the house without one; it would put Little Bean into an uncontrollable tailspin, out of which she would not get until she could secure one in her tiny fist. While the house is nice, it’s slightly chaotic. Therefore I cannot understand where this compulsive need to be clean comes from.

For example, Taz and I worked on an arts and crafts project I organized yesterday after looking through one of the million books lying around. I thought it was clever and something we could hang in his room or in the play area. Also, it would fill a decent amount of time in the morning before Little Bean awoke from slumber, and let me tell you, this little bean sprout does not wake up well. Her favorite word until about 10:00 is, “NAY!!!” This project we were working on involved gluing down pieces of torn cotton balls to create a cloud effect. Taz could no more put one piece of cotton down before he had to completely clean his hands of all remaining glue/cotton. After about 5 rounds of placing the cotton and the ensuing cleaning of the hands I told Taz not to bother with this routine as it was going to take until tomorrow to finish and also, as he realized, he was going to get dirty in the process. He looked at me as if I needed a lobotomy and continued to scrape his fingers. I assured him everything would be alright if he waited until we were completely finished to wash his hands. He tilted his head a little as he considered this walk-on-the-wild-side and decided to go with my plan. We were able to finish the project in enough time to work on a second one, which you can see below.

Little Bean is just as bad about this. We can’t get through a jar of baby food without her having to clean up using her bib. In fact, if for some reason I’ve mentally checked out and forgotten to put on her bib she will remind me by thumping her chest like some sort of warrior call; she keeps me in check. So, with bib securely fashioned around her neck we can proceed to eat lunch. Sometimes an errant piece of food will find itself on her hand or cheek and I can’t so much as prepare another spoonful before having to clean it off. Seriously, she juts that bottom lip out and prepares to cry if I don’t move fast enough. She is also in the process of trying to feed herself. I’m sure you can imagine the mess that is created doing this. Let’s just say her fine-motor skills aren’t quite up to par yet. She actually takes the spoon and scrapes the crook of her mouth and attempts to get rid of residual debris. At least she’s got the right idea. This is great for her developmental and all, but it results in lunch becoming a lengthy affair. At some point I usually have to pry the spoon out of her chubby fingers and take the reigns, otherwise we’d be there all day. I would roll up my sleeves and help her get the job done, but she won’t allow me to push them up. When she sees this happens she quickly comes to my aid and pulls them down again. Maybe she’s like her Mom and is afraid I will catch cold through my forearms, but it’s more likely it’s her anal retentive personality. I don’t get it, normally kids are crazy about being dirty and getting in a mess. Not these ones though. They sleep much better at night knowing they have fought crime one germ, jam spill, or Krazy glue at a time.

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