December 7, 2005

The Five-Second Rule

Ty and Jonah and Elisha came over to play today, and we all (the Ogles,
at least) had a good time.

Among other things, we discussed the ten-second rule (or, more
accurately, I guess, the five-second rule). Ty suggested it'd be a
good blog topic, and as a loyal reader, I'm willing to humor him (send
your topics today! Be tomorrow's lucky winner!).

If you're not familiar with it, it says basically that when you drop
things you plan to eat, if they are retrieved within that brief window,
it's still o.k. to get them from the floor and eat them. (The
discussion here centered on "O's", which are constantly being dropped
by toddlers. Mostly mine.)

I remembered reading that somebody had done research (Google it and it
comes right up :-) ) about this rule, and here, to save you research
time, is the gist:

Bad news: if there's something really nasty on the ground, any amount
of time is enough for contamination to occur. This is much more likely
either if the floor is wet (and has been for a bit), or if what you
drop is especially sticky (peanut butter and jelly...face down).

Good news: most dry floors aren't that dirty, at least in terms of
bacterial levels. Probably because bacteria like damp, wet, ooky
places (sponges, anyone?); deny them moisture, deny them life!

More good news: people who study disease have figured out that,
especially in your own home, especially when you're a toddler, down
around on the floor all day, you're not going to get anything new and
different that you haven't been exposed to already just by picking up
food off the floor. Your toys are down there. Your (tasty) feet are
down there. Your water bottle is rolling around down there somewhere.
So isolating your food is basically pointless (and unjust) segregation,
outlawed by the Supreme Court in the little-known but ground-breaking
Cheerio Decision of 1968. If you're going to get some bacterial nasty
from your local environment, you're probably going to get it regardless
of where your food has been...and you're not especially likely to in
the first place, if only you keep things a little arid.

The toddlers also did some sharing, practiced the "trade" maneuver for
toys, and played a very little chase. Laura enjoyed showing off her
yoga moves (a funny: Laura says and does "Downward Dog." Jonah
Assumes the same Position (which could also accurately be called "Moon
the Moon") and says "Woof, woof!")

Elisha and Emily even got a little face time, trading smiles: "Hey,
that's a baby! She's cute! I must drool now!" (I can't really speak
for Elisha, but I'm fairly sure that's what Emily was thinking.)

I am far, far behind in reporting on books I've read, but alas, my time
for today is almost up. I can, however, tease you with titles:
"Living Out Loud", by Anna Quindlen. "The Truth", by Al Franken.
"Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House." And one of
these days, as God is my witness, I'm going to finish the 9/11 report
(I started it the day it came out, and got about 80 pages
in...gripping. But I got distracted shortly thereafter and have yet to
get back to it. Maybe over Christmas; it can't be less cheerful than
Martin Gilbert's "The Holocaust", which I often re-read around then
just to remind me how good life is. Superb book, by the way; full of
first-person witnesses' accounts, as well as scrupulous research and
reasoned commentary. It always makes me cry, and resolve to do more
good in the world, to put it simplistically.)

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