Anyone remember cootie shots? When your friend, or classmate, would helpfully punch you in the arm to inoculate you against the unknown disease that the girls (or boys) in the class might have been carrying. One of the more painful, albeit easy, ways to prevent an STD.
Apparently, however, the cootie vaccine is now part of whatever cocktail they give to kids before the go to school. You know, the MMR-DTAP-Cootie-Whooping Cough shot? My kids got one, did yours? We didn’t even ask for it, I guess pediatricians are just proactive like that.
C is in first grade, a prime cootie plague area. He is, naturally, careful with the young women in his class. He is, after all, only 6, so naturally he only has two girlfriends.
That’s right, much to the shock of his mother and I; he is involved with two girls. There’s E, who loves him and there’s D, who also loves him, but whom he also loves back. We might love E too. But, we definitely love D. We share notes (our backpacks are full of them some weeks), we draw each other pictures and we have lunch together. E tried to play a trump card to win him over, but I fear she went to far. She lovingly drew a picture of she and C. With a priest. And her in a “big dress.” Whoa. Too fast, too far. D parried, she wanted to get a dog. D wins.
This past week we found D’s pièce de résistance, the quintessential, patented ‘Do you love me?’ Yes/No letter. The Yes was circled, but the note was still in C’s bag. I asked if he had forgotten to give it back to D. “No,” he said ” she saw me circle it.” Cooties, apparently, makes you a little cocky too.
We’re not too worried. While the icky factor seems to have been tempered by the cootie shot, it doesn’t seem to be entirely cured. We continue treatment by drawing pictures and passing notes. I am slightly confused by the early onset, however. Perhaps medicine has messed with something that was best treated by prolonged exposure.