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The Five-Second Rule Is Real

I'm just going to say it: The five-second rule is real. We (or at least I) practice it in our household.

Now, I realize that once food touches the floor, even for a second, it has probably 99% of the germs it would have if it was left there for a full minute. I'm not so naive to think that picking food up off the floor within some five-second time frame magically keeps germs away.

Instead, I use it as a guideline of sorts for my kids. Kids are devilish little things. They have lots of questions. How come we can say "yellow dye" but not "you die"? How come we can eat candy after dinner but not for breakfast? How come we can eat some food off the floor, but not other food.

Well, I'm here to tell you the answer is the five-second rule.

Again, its not a germ prevention thing. Lots of times I use this as a short hand. If an uncooked noodle falls on the floor and its there less than 5 second, I'm putting it in the pot for boiling. Hey, its getting boiled anyway. If while reaching down to retrieve it I see another noodle of unknown origin, well, its going straight to the trash. Both are probably equally germ ridden; I get that.

But it makes a handy shorthand for why we can eat that broccoli that just fell on the floor and not the remains of that apple we found stashed inside the leftover Christmas box. A true story, by the way.

Its all summed by The Five Seconds Rule.

I'm not big on telling the kids "because I said so." I don't like it personally. I don't like when people do it to me. You probably don't like it when people do it to you. Even when my boss says "because I said so," its a bad explanation. If you are going to do something, there ought to be a good reason. Or at least a reason.

So I don't wan to tell my kids we don't eat that mealy apple "because I said so." Also, I'm not always around, and I don't want them wandering around the jungle of half eaten bits of food that is there playroom unsure of whether we can eat whatever they found.

Sure, this sounds just a little like "because I said so" without saying "because I said so." Fine. If and when my kids realize that point, good for them. They can challenge me on the specifics then. For now, if its been on the floor more than five seconds, you leave it.

My kids will inevitably listen to this advice. Because my kids will believe lots of odd things. Especially if I tell them.

Its sorta like how we can keep our 90-pound lab out of a room simply leaning a gate against a doorway - not installing it, simply by leaning it; or how you can see elephants remain tied to a stake by a simple piece of rope. My own daughter believes I'm a super hero; she said so today at breakfast. Of course, this is only a few weeks after she explained that Mommy is the bestest and I'm the leastest.

So the five-second rule is not only real, its really real.


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