Everyone, from Persil to Unilever, says that dirt is good for children. Some people even say that it can help strengthen their immune systems and even make them happy – sure I remember being happiest jumping (but not being pushed, Big Bro!!) in puddles when I was little.
Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t cramming earthworms in my mouth or anything but I do remember one particularly happy day making a mud slide down a steep bank in wet weather in a country lane near my friends house. We had an emergency tree root to grab should a car come along.
Back to dirt – I really hope that the idea that it’s good for you is true. If it does make children’s immune systems stronger, then one that was sat next to me on the bus yesterday will soon have the constitution of an ox!
According to some particular gruesome statistics I found thanks to Google, the average bus seat could be harbouring up to 70 different types of bacteria including lethal MRSA. This kind of thinking leaves me not wanting to touch much when I travel from A to B each day! Sometimes I forget and rest my head against the window before noticing a big greasy mark where someone has done just that before me. YUECHK!
Anyway this kid, who was about 3 years old I would guess, had a baby bottle filled with water with him. I was sat at the front of the bus and he and his mother joined me. This would have been OK but he was shrieking, loudly and within my frequency.
After struggling from the confines of his mother’s lap, he then proceeded to throw water all over the ledge at the front of the bus, which let's not forget is probably equally rich with MRSA and goodness knows what else, and then licked it off!
He did the same to the window and would have licked the floor and quite possibly me had he got the chance! It left me feeling quite queasy!
I almost wanted to ask the mother, who seemed totally unfazed, for her email address so I could write on a yearly basis to check whether her son had caught something deadly from his transport-licking antics – but politeness got the better of me.
Eventually his shrieking got so out of control that she bundled him up, took him downstairs and shoved him in his buggy. When I went downstairs to get off the bus, there he was – licking the STOP button on the handrail.
While dirt may well be good for you, I think I’m a believer of everything in moderation and won’t be encouraging London Cousins 1 or 2 to go around licking public transport, to stop them getting sick, anytime soon.
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