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Cootie Patrol

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Dec-16-2003

Head lice are a stubborn problem at the school the kids go to. There isn’t a week that goes by but I receive a flyer telling me that someone in one of the kid’s classes has cooties, so check the family carefully. We have a wonderful and well used set of cootie combs from WallyWorld. Perfect.

This year, the powers that be at the school have decided to set up a Cootie Patrol, in an attempt to banish the creepy crawlers for once and for all. I received three papers- one for each child- explaining how volunteer ‘Cootie Mothers’ would examine each child at the school on a regular basis. The participation of the children as well as that of the Mothers was voluntary, I needed to sign permission slips for the children if I wanted them to take part in this project.

Well, I signed The Boy and The Bay up, but The Girl shivered in horror at the thoughts of someone, some strange ‘Cootie Mother’ going over her hair. She was very upset. So upset that- seeing how this was a voluntary program- I denied permission to have her be examined on a regular basis. I do that anyway, as she had a rampant case of cooties last year and every time her head itches, I have to check her out.

Can you see where this is going ? It seems That The Girl is the only child not signed up for the program, I, the only Mother that has denied permission. And now I am being pressured by the school staff to give in. In fact, just now Baby’s teacher- of all people- tried to guilt me into giving permission: ‘ But’ she said, ‘This won’t work unless everyone takes part’. ‘Well, I thought the paper said ‘vrijwillig’ ? ‘Uh, yes and no’ she said. She also pointed out that they saw it as a matter for the parents to decide, not the children, and obviously I was letting The Girl decide this for herself.

They have come up with a compromise : I can become a ‘Cootie Mother’. Gee, as a small child, I used to lie in bed awake, hoping and dreaming- or perhaps not even daring to dream- that I would grow up and become a Cootie Mother. Anyone here been around long enough to recall that my pet horror is of parasites ?

I will talk to The Father about this. I most likely will cave in and become a ‘Cootie Mother’. But I keep thinking about the special classes that The Girl ( and The Boy ) have had at the very same school, classes in which they were told that they have control over their bodies, that no one can do anything to them that they are uncomfortable with. That children have rights.

  1. Catherine Said,

    How thoroughly infuriating!

  2. sue Said,

    I’m still seething.

    I may put Han on this one…

  3. Edwinek Said,

    Kafka would have loved this. But, er, if you check Sally regularly anyway and, ipso facto, Sally is being checked regularly, aren’t you a de facto Cootie Mother already? What are they complaining about? Are the other Cootie Mothers (by the way, do they have a secret handshake?) so keen on examining Sally? Or are the other children so keen on having you examine their heads?

  4. sue Said,

    Actually, Edwin, most of the children at the school are frightened of me. And most of the children don’t care about having their hair checked, but Sally does. Without going into the reasons, the thought alone embarasses her, I have told the teachers why and at first they accepted it. You know, she just isn’t a little kid anymore, and she certainly doesn’t feel like one herself.

    As to checking out kids hair for cooties, I don’t really like doing it with my own kids, let alone kids I don’t know or possibly don’t like ( yes, there are a few). It’s like snot : Mother’s are immune to their own kid’s snot, but you won’t find me pulling a crusty wad out of the nose of someone I am not genetically linked to !

  5. lynn Said,

    what nonsense: “it won’t work unless everyone, etc. etc.” you DO your part. if everyone did, there would be no need for cootie-mothers.
    and you are absolutely justified here; they have no right to co-erce you. none at ALL. aren’t you pleased that you’ve raised your kids to voice their discomfort with certain situations…i would be. a stranger’s hands on my scalp: yuck.

  6. Karan Said,

    First, I think it’s despicable that the school has engaged in a swarm and attack against you. It is entire inappropriate. It should have been handled discreetly and by the principal or school nurse, then once discussed, dropped as an issue. They are completely insensitive to the fact that it is a big deal for Sally and did they not get that you have an alternative approach that yields the same goal?

    Second…..I myself held the grand title of Cootie Mom…although it’s not called that here. I found it so completely creepy that I could hardly stand it…not because it was “lice” but because I just don’t like little bugs…not even a little bit. I was really glad when my kids moved out of elementary school.

  7. Julie Said,

    Sue your day sounds like mine… Its time to
    renew my passport so off to Amsterdam we go
    they are only open from 830-1130 for such things
    so up early and out we get there at 1100 after
    getting get directions from Wims bro who used to live there but to our surprise I need differnt
    photos BIGGER ones mind you no where on the
    web page for the American Counsalate does it say that…so running around the city to this ONE place that does them we get back at 1135 and
    thank GOSH they let us in… well in the end
    its mailed back to me in ONE week … cant believe that at all… needless to say the new
    pics LOOK like Ive been running thru Amsterdam
    in a hurry … hahha ah well who cares its just
    a passport photo… Julie
    OH yea hope you dont have any cooties in your
    house… :p

  8. Angel Said,

    UGH!! And gee that seems horrible of them to pressure you so – I agree where are the kids rights in this?? If Sally is uncomfortable having someone else check her head why should she have to??? Esp if you are checking it regularly…. and then to now make you check not just her head but other students??? UGH!!! Good luck and let us know how it all turns out…

  9. Karen Said,

    It does seem a very confusing message to give the children: you have rights, but we can overrule them at any time. That has sinister implications.

  10. Dorothy Said,

    Wow – just the thought of becoming a cootie mother! I’m speechless. LOL Since the goal is to have everyone regularly checked you can agree to cootie duty at home – as you already do it. What a pain. Perhaps there’s a used fruitcake with their names on it. LOL

    Happy “cootie free” holidays to you. If they give you trouble, visit the school with the pups (when they’re in a bad mood) LOL

  11. Leslie Said,

    I am a “uku check” Mom at Connor’s school. Uku’s are very, very difficult to get rid of here because it’s so warm and they love warmth. Touch wood, my kids have never had it!

  12. Roberta Said,

    I’m with Sally on this one — aren’t we all? I think probably the biggest terror is the fear that a Cootie Mom might encounter a cootie and yell down the hallways – “Look what I found in Sally’s hair.” or share this bit when coffeeing with other moms. Big or little, no child should have to live with such a fear. School nurse in a private space or moms in the privacy of their home. That’s seems fair to me.

  13. sue Said,

    Well, I ended up discussing this with Han and he in turn, playing stupid, talked to Sally about it the other morrning when they were walking the dogs.To make a long story short, he agrees that it is her right the choose and she is very upset by the idea of it all. His suggestion is that when it is time for cootie check, I go and check Sally and Sally alone.

    I took the coward’s way out- I avoided all teachers from that moment until now, now that Christmas vacation had started. I’ll fuss about it tomorrow. No way I’m becoming a cootie mom.

    I- as usual- am having severe computer problems which Han – as usual- thinks I have time to fix.

    See all when I can… worms, trojans, hijacks allowing…

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