I was using the restroom at the gym when I heard someone enter the next stall. A moment later I heard two young voices telling her that they their hands were dirty and they needed to use hand sanitizer. I smiled to myself as I listened to this young mother patiently explain to her children that while hand sanitizer would kill the germs, they really needed to use soap and water to make their hands clean.
The first child had just finished washing her hands as I came up to the sink. The second, an adorable red-faced little girl stood on the white plastic stood in front of the sink and told me that she had to wash her face because she had been running and was too hot.
“You do?” I asked.
“Yes. I need to cool off.” She said then turned around to the sink and started twisting the handle back and forth trying to turn it on.
“Push it down” I told her. “Use all of your muscles because it’s a little tricky sometimes.” I watched her struggle for a moment before reaching around her to push the water on. She happily started splashing the cool water on her face and making loud “Ahhh’s” and other noises of relief. The little girl and I chatted a bit more as her mother came out of the stall and urged her daughter to hurry so that I could wash my hands too.
The young mother started to get visibly frustrated as her offspring kept up the endless chatter to me as she struggled to get paper towels out of the holder. Despite the fact that I told the mom that it was fine, I wasn’t in a hurry, she was still exasperated and perhaps a bit embarrassed.
“It’s really okay” I told her, “I teach little ones.”
“Ohhh” she said letting out a huge sigh of relief, “You’re a teacher, so you are used to this.”
I just smiled and nodded at that flustered mama. The little girl’s eyes widened when she heard that I teach.
“Do you teach gymnastics?” She asked. “Because that is my favorite class. We used to take ballet but we had to stop because…”
I just laughed and let her tell me all the things she needed to say. It’s a good thing that not only am I used to all the things little ones come up with, I quite enjoy it.