Listen to Granny because Granny always knows best!
I’m not talking about those sensible mummies who feed their offspring regularly on kiddy-sized helpings of regular food.
Oh no. I have an entirely different target for today’s outpouring of old woman spleen.
I’m after the Boden-clad middle-class yummies (and their dungaree-wearing sisters) whose obsession with germs leads them to follow their poor unfortunate offspring about the place armed with antibacterial sprays, wipes and liquids.
We’re not talking about normal cleanliness here, we are dealing with the unnatural idea that little Harpic and Parasol will immediately die if allowed to so much as inhale the air fifty feet from a dog (or within three miles of a smoker).
To illustrate my point, as it’s only shop, our village boasts a rather upmarket deli which sells (in addition to quinoa, avocado and gluten free cider) hugely expensive sheep-milk ice cream. This shop is the natural gathering place for the Jemima and Felicity brigade (which is gradually replacing its Range Rovers with electric alternatives—unless there is a pony, in which case the off-road ability of the RR is essential), who drag out the Bugaboo and Thule strollers and clog the shop with their loud voices and the screaming of their immaculately dressed fanny fruit. After shopping, the chattering classes often congregate on the piece of scrubby grass and dog faeces the parish council laughingly calls a village green, with ice cream. Pots for mummies and cones for the accessories.
Which has what to do with obsessive hygiene?
This. Which I have witnessed with my own eyes.
Ice cream cones get a bit drippy in toddler hands and sensible mothers remove them from chubby fists, lick off the dribbles, and give the cones back before the young become apoplectic. But not this lot. No. They take the cones away and Wipe Them With Antibacterial Wipes before giving them back to their poor unfortunate sprigs.
What the heck is all that about?
I have no idea why that is even an idea.
Any more than I know why every surface on which the unfortunate children so much as sit is clammy, and redolent of whichever make of disinfectant Mama favours.
IMO it’s a pretty unhealthy state of affairs and may well result in kids with poorly developed immune systems and multiple allergies.
But what do I know?
Not a lot. Though you might want to ponder the following before dashing for the Dettol (other equally aromatic antibacterial substances are available).
You must be aware of the theory that the Queen thinks the world smells of fresh paint. What about a complementary hypothesis that there is a whole generation of upcoming middle class children who think all food tastes of antibacterial wipe…