Why I Won't Let My Kids Touch My Face

by Jill Pond
Originally Published: 
A close-up of a blonde girl smiling with closed eyes with chocolate smeared over her face

My kids are affectionate in a touchy-feely kind of way and I love it — it warms my heart and lifts me up. It’s particularly sweet when they stroke my face in a gesture meant to comfort or show love. A few months ago, I was upset about something and my 5-year-old came to me with a concerned face; she put her darling little hand on my cheek and said, “It’s OK mama, I love you.”

I jerked my face from her hand; the smell that had invaded my olfactory realm was dangerously rancid, pungent and familiar all at once. A loving gesture meant to comfort had gone terribly wrong. I had been bitch slapped by the scent of a child’s butt.

What should have been a wonderful bonding experience for us was destroyed by the fact that she had butt juice on her hand. I’d seen her with her hands down her pants before, but never had I been forced to experience a sample of what she’d been sampling.

This was a turning point for me. Never again would I allow for the sweet hands of my sweet children to touch my face without prior knowledge of a good hand-washing or a thorough sniff test, and here are 5 reasons why:

1. Poo. There is a definite possibility that your child has poo somewhere on their hand if they are between the ages of 0 and 8. A special place that this most unsavory substance might be lurking is under an unsuspecting fingernail. For the love of all things holy, whatever you do, do NOT pick any dark substances out from under their nails and smell it. You will be sorry.

2. Boogers. This one goes for adults and children alike; nose picking is a universally enjoyable act, so I can’t blame anyone for partaking. Kids bring an extra element of sheer disgustingness to this secret pleasure due to their inability or unwillingness to be good groomers. That is, they don’t fucking wash their hands unless they are told to do so. They don’t cut their nails without tantrums unless some sort of candy is involved. They pick those salty nuggets with gusto, sometimes enjoying a savory snack, other times flicking and wiping at will. Whatever the child’s picking style may be, the facts are undeniable, and should you allow little Chloe to lovingly caress your precious face skin with her clammy little hands, you’ll most likely be receiving the unknown benefits of a mucus face serum.

3. Not So Private Parts. Who doesn’t love a good old session of self-exploration? I mean really, can we punish them for wanting to check out their goods? I think not. Should we always ask to smell their hands before they touch us? Fuck yes. If little Henry wants to squeeze your cheeks in a sweet act of love, you tell that little stink factory to freeze while you conduct the sniff test. If they’ve opened the front door, the chances are good that the back door also is ajar and that sure as shit has a distinct odor. Either way, the pungent stench of butt juice is not something a person forgets, and we all know how good little kids are at wiping, which brings us full circle back to poo… If you don’t want that shit on your person, smell those dirty ass hands.

4. Food. This doesn’t really seem that bad, right? Just visit any Kindergarten class and watch those animals eat; you’ll change your mind real quick-like. I’ve seen little hands fondle lunch meat, yogurt, Doritos, olives, pickles and more. Lunch meat particularly grosses me out; I’m not eager to have sweaty meat juice remnants slathered onto my cheeks, nose or lips. Have you smelled yogurt after it’s been smeared on a child’s hands and then dried? It falls somewhere between sweet strawberries and sweaty feet; the smell is enough to make me dry heave.

5. Animal Juice. Slimy worms, decomposing caterpillar guts, butterfly dust, dried-up dog shit mistaken for a cocoon… Who knows what they’ve been handling. Rabbit turds, hamster piss, dead fish? I’m always shocked at what my kids find in our yard, at a neighbor’s house or in nature. My 5-year-old will lovingly cradle any small creature, dead or alive, and I’ve seen too much. I just can’t trust that those hands don’t have something vile on them. I may not be able to conduct a sniff test with this particular sect of disgusting things I don’t want on my face, so I err on the side of caution and allow zero face contact until a good washing has been conducted.

I hope this information is a wake-up call for all of the unsuspecting adults out there who love to kiss and snuggle those pudgy little kid-hands. Most will naturally argue that their children aren’t as disgusting as mine, but snot and boogers do not discriminate. So, if you’d prefer to avoid a game of Russian Roulette with butt juice, wash and sniff as needed, but never trust the hand of a child.

Related post: 10 Gross Things Kids Do… Even Yours

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