Sleight of Hand

handwashing_proper2I am, truth be told, a mediocre sort of person when it comes to hand washing. I disregard the signs that are in every public bathroom these days, instructing good citizens to spend 20 seconds scrubbing every nook and cranny and an additional 10 seconds rinsing. Personally I can pump-soap-rub-palms-splash-water-scrunch-a-towel in about five seconds, and after years of doing so I’ve probably saved far more time than I’ll ever spend fighting off staphylococcus.

So it’s ironic that I have made myself policeman when it comes to Dubsie washing her hands. I insist on proctoring her trips to the bathroom. Not that Dubsie finds this burdensome. She loves washing her hands, and is so eager to hit the sink that I have to persuade her to wait to wash until after she’s used the toilet.

First we get our hands wet, I tell my eager novitiate. And then we squeeze some soap, and then we rub the palms together.

OK! She says, and her hands rub back and forth, getting all sudsy and adorable.

Now get your thumb! Now get the other thumb!

I proudly note that she knows where her thumbs are — what a smart little girl! — and so much more dextrous than last month.

Now let’s rub the backs of our hands!

(I have no idea why I insist on such a pointless activity)

Now we bring the fingers together, and scrub scrub scrub!

She scrub scrub scrubs, and I am absurdly proud to be an advocate for proper hand hygiene, though my pride has less to do with warding off disease and more to do with something else. Maybe this ritual ablution will produce a Ferris Version 2.0, an update with the bugs fixed, a person who will give regularly to charity and keep her hands on the steering wheel at 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock and won’t fall asleep in calculus. There we go with the rinse, sweetie. Rub rub rub with the towel. All sparkling clean.


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