April 17, 2012

I once read that if you can’t write something good, don’t write anything at all.  The problem is that life has gotten so busy that I simply haven’t had time to write anything good, and it’s going on two weeks since I’ve written anything, and, believe me, I’ve got plenty of blog material—just no time to do any of it justice—and this is why I’m writing about cooties today.

I figure there’s just enough material to give me a small post, so that no one thinks I died or anything grim like that.  We’re all fine, sort of, except that Sissy made the mistake of teasing Jax when she said, “Get away from me.  I don’t want your cooties.”

“COOTIES!” Jax said with the enthusiasm of a little monster who thinks he’s learned a cool, new bad word.  “What are COOTIES?!”

No one would answer him, so he tormented us for days asking us what cooties are.  Finally, I looked the damn word up… this would be because I didn’t know what the true definition of cooties was. From Wikipedia, which referenced a 1980 article called “The Cooties Complex,” I learned:

Cooties is, in American childlore, a kind of infectious disease. The term may have originated with references to lice, fleas, and other parasites. A child is said to “catch” cooties through any form of bodily contact, proximity, or touching of an “infected” person or from a person of the opposite sex of the same age. Often the “infected” person is someone who is perceived as “different” and bears some kind of social stigma: of the opposite sex, disabled, someone who is shy or withdrawn, someone who has peculiar mannerisms, etc. The phrase is most commonly used by children aged 4–10; however, it is also used by many others older than 10.

So then I had to explain to Jax that Sissy may have been suggesting that he had fleas or that he was different or that he bore some kind of social stigma or peculiar mannerisms, and this explanation, of course, unleashed a torrent of other questions.

Do people have fleas?

What’s a social stigma? (Note:  he botched the pronunciation.)

What does  peculiar mean?

What’s the opposite sex?

Mommy, how old is Aunt Sissy?

Aunt Sissy, I explained, is obviously at the top of the age bracket of people most likely to use the word “cooties,” so she’s 10.  That’s Bean math, folks.  And, by the way, if anyone asks—I’m 25.

As for all of the other questions, well, I’m still trying to answer them.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Irene April 18, 2012 at 7:51 am

I figured he would ask what “social stigma” meant. I mean, the child is very bright, but if he accepted your definition without query, then I’d would have told you to enroll the child in Harvard next season.

I would have told him it was a game of building little plastic bugs. You should buy him that. Then he and Papa can have hours of fun talking about Cooties while playing the game and why would anyone get Cooties from a plastic bug. Papa would enjoy that! 😉

Ally April 18, 2012 at 3:29 pm

I would have gone with the plastic bug game, too. Simply because I wouldn’t know what else to say, other than when I was a kid, I imagined cooties to be a creepy, nasty looking bug, living on humans and would easily jump from one human to the next. Something akin to crabs. And THAT would have been a whole OTHER series of questions for you to answer. 😉

Irene April 18, 2012 at 4:40 pm

So the masses agree, get him the game. I wish I could be a fly on the wall for THAT session!

portia April 18, 2012 at 9:12 pm

well….If Sissy is 10……that makes me 12. no wonder i’m sooo mature!

portia April 18, 2012 at 9:14 pm

sorry, i’m 1/2 way thru writing an awful art history paper and i’m taking a break ( just a little punchy)

Betsy at Zen Mama April 18, 2012 at 11:22 pm

Yikes! I, too, loved the plastic game and would highly recommend it! Looking forward to hearing what he might say at school now…. (I can imagine since I’m a preschool teacher!!)

Pamela April 20, 2012 at 8:43 am

I can totallly see why you had to wait for the occasion of a cooties incident to write — a woman needs good material. But I miss seeing you come across my feed, and thinking, “oh goodie!”

Hope y’all are all well up there in Beanland

<3 p

Eric Hutchins April 20, 2012 at 10:06 am

I wanted to leave a comment just saying that you rock, you have been such a supportive friend to Pamela, and put smiles on her face with your writing. You commented over on her blog about her having success in the future with her published books, well, whatever success she has will be in part attributable to really nice people like you who she has met and become friends with in the process.
Beans Rule (one of our daughters nickname as you know, is THE BEAN.)

Kristy K. James April 20, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Invisible germs that girls have (unless a girl asks…then it’s invisible germs that boys have). I wasn’t very creative. 🙂

Sissy April 28, 2012 at 9:10 pm

Hey. He just got over the puke bug…had his little hands in my face and I rattled off eeew cooties. Took awhile but it’s forgotten…….for now……..
We could really start something.

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