Saturday, August 8, 2009

Battle of the Bug!

Let me get the disclosures out of the way up front. I was compensated for participating in this event. And in related news, I am going to the South of France for the rest of the year.

On Friday, my son and I participated in Kleenex's Battle of the Bug event at the Bronx Zoo. Kleenex now makes ant-viral tissue that fights 99.9% of germs. Needless to say, I am very worried about the .1% that remains alive and is now angry about its dead germ friends.

There were cool games set up for the kids, although I tried every single one myself. Because I'm bigger than they are, and what are they going to do, push me out of the way?

Then there was a presentation by Jean Grabeel, an Executive Committee member of the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) with nearly 30 years of experience in the healthcare field. She has been working with the Kleenex educational campaign and is also The High School Musical's Ryan's mother. I tried to act superblase when I heard that, so I don't think she suspected that I am a shrieking fan. Or insane.

During the presentation Jean explained the importance of teaching kids to wash their hands thoroughly (in between fingers too, which I SWEAR I NEVER THOUGHT OF and my son confirmed I never told him to do), using hand sanitizer and sneezing into the sleeve, she also traumatized me by saying that each sneeze has 100,000 droplets that shoot out at 200 miles per hour, and travel up to three feet. I am doing everything that I can to unlearn this fact because that is totally disgusting. Maybe instead of saying "God Bless You", we should say, "Please Go Into Seclusion Until You Stop Sneezing. Good Bye!" I'm pretty sure that it will catch on.

After the presentation, Jean had a Q&A. Now when I was in school, my modus operandi was to ask a really great question first, get complimented on it, zone out while it was being answered, nod maniacally-thoughtfully and then spend the rest of class peeling paint from the underside of the desk (grade school), penning a manifesto (college) or doing crossword puzzles (grad school).

I followed a similar protocol on Friday and asked an award-winning question first. "How many times a day do you recommend that kids wash their hands?" Jean praised me for my "good question" and obviously wished that I was a few decades younger so that I could be her daughter-in-law. She said that ideally, kids would wash their hands every hour (although I'm sure that the night washings could occur every few hours), but at the very least before and after meals, after going to the bathroom, when coming indoors, after a science/art project. I looked at my son meaningfully, and could see that he was taking in every word.

The best advice, according to Jean, is to be up to date with immunizations, have a healthy diet, get plenty of rest and drink lots of water. In terms of teaching younger kids to use tissues to blow their noses in, she suggested a game! Pretend to sneeze! Who can sneeze loudest!

It was a really fun event and I got to meet lots of cool moms. They even didn't make fun of me when a pigeon pooped on me three times. Which, incidentally, was my son's favorite part of the day. And possibly of his life.

Thank you, everyone, especially Emily, for making it such a great day!

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  1. Gesundheit is actually German for "Be gone with your germy self." I read it on wikipedia so I know that's right.

    xoxo, SG

  2. In Poland, much like in Russia, we say "Na Zdrowie" or "to your health." Of course, I would prefer the whole, "getthe@##$outofmypersonalspacewithyournastygerms" but I haven't figured out a way to teach my Kindergarteners that without getting in trouble.

  3. I just put that new anti-viral Kleenex in all my bathrooms. My son stays sick throughout winter and needs all the help he can get.

    I think I may send him to school in a plastic bubble this year, what with all the swine flu still lurking about.

  4. A bird pooping on you is supposed to be good luck. Maybe not if it's a pigeon though. And definitely not if it's a Dirty Pigeon (thanks

  5. Of course you would get pooped on!

    Okay, an event on how to stay clean? And you had fun? Wow, they must have done a really great (errr, creative) job!

  6. Kind of like bees, right? The way if you swat at bees it makes them made and they fly back to their hive and bring in bee reinforcements. That's what your hilarious .1% of mad germs made me think of. Then again, I've told you what I think before and it hasn't gone well for me.

  7. M, you have my sympathy, for I, too, have been the victim of bird terrorism. Maybe we should sneeze on them.

  8. Um, Lucas Grabeel is my inappropriately young boyfriend so back off Mara! I'm now going to rock in the corner and go to my happy place until I can erase the visual of those exploding germ sneezes.

  9. I need this Jean lady to come to my school. We have many, many children who feel that if they have a germ they MUST share it. We might need to rethink that whole sharing idea.

    And it was a good question.

  10. I don't think I can get my kids to wash their hands every hour, but we do use a lot of Purell in my house/car for those in between times. Of course by the time they are older the super bug will probably have become Purell resistant and get us all.

    Wanted to go to the zoo on Friday, but we are actually planning on going tomorrow. You know, when it's really hot and crowded.

  11. You are such a rule follower! I am impressed!

  12. Ha ha! I was like that too - craft a question to get rewarded and then totally miss the answer while still basking in the glow of being complimented.

    I think that pigeon should play the lottery, what are the odds that he gets a moving target three times?

  13. and to think I had to turn this down......