Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Butt Stickers and Drop Bears

I heard rumors from other mothers in Japan, whispers in dark corridors. The school will give you a sticker, they said, and you have to attack it to your kid's bum. Not just anywhere, actually over the anus. I laughed, at first, assuming the bum sticker was the mothering-in-Japan equivalent of drop bears. You know drop bears, the fearsome scourge of tourists to Australia?

All Australians know about drop bears, and if you hole an Aussie up in an Irish pub anywhere in the world (we always seem to be in Irish pubs, I don't really know why) and ask they will doubtless regale you with horrific tales. The rest of the world is so convinced of the deadly nature of all things Australian that the drop bear story goes unchallenged for more often then you might think in these cynical days of instant snopes-ing.

It turns out, the bum sticker test isn't an exaggeration. You really have to do it. Twice, actually, to confirm the results. For really little kids the stickers may be left on overnight. My 8 year old just had to have it "applied" then "removed" immediately. Note the passive verbs. Put more actively, he had to spread his cheeks while squatting and I had to stick the clear round sticker of doom in place then peel it off again. And here was I, thinking that adopting an older child had cleverly let me off all parent-child'sbum interactions. This year, grade three, is the last year we have to do it, so there's that I suppose.

So why? Why is the Kewpie Mayonnaise cupid squatting for a sticker? It's a test for worms, and the kids have to get the all-clear before they are allowed in the school pool. The worms emerge during the night to lay eggs around the anus, so the sticker either applied overnight or immediately on waking is supposed to catch them poking their little heads out. Personally my vote would be prophylactic worming tablets (it works for the dogs...), but then, what do I know. I'm still telling people about my near miss with a drop bear.

*No photo credits for the "deadly Australia" pictures sorry, I just have no way of figuring out where any of them originally came from m(__)m
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  1. If you guys have the German type toilets with the ledge (since so much in Japan is so German!) you can also monitor pin worms by looking at the bowel movement before flushing. Or do what my Dad used to do - grab a flashlight and check our bum cheeks while we were sleeping as the females come out at night to lay their eggs. :) The tape test may be the easiest or at least most pleasant though!
    I used to get pin worms whenever I was in Europe as a child...

    1. Actually, the toilets do often have a ledge... I had no idea it was a German thing! I may pass on the midnight "mooning" though ;)

  2. :) I grew up being told - "don't put your fingers in your mouth, you'll get pin worms!" The cycle is, apparently: mom pin worms lay eggs on bum cheeks at night, children scratch behind while sleeping (or awake), eggs get under fingernails, child puts fingers in mouth and ingests pin worm eggs, pin worms hatch in intestinal tract. Thank goodness they're benign and more annoying than anything else! And easily treated with little white pills that have no side effects as far as I can remember.
    The ledge is very European and is the best thing ever when needing to look at abnormal stool. Wish we had them here in Canada.

  3. OMG, this has just brought back painful memories for me lol. For some reason (probably because I was a nail biter) I was prone to getting these bloody worms as s kid and even teen and the way mom would check was to have us bend over the bath tub with our pants around our ankles so she could spread and look. So traumatizing for any kid I think.

  4. What if your kid has to, you know ... fart? I imagine it would be hard with a sticker over their butthole. X'D
    (Wouldn't holding it in cause tummy pains? I know it would for me.)

    Interesting though that they check for pinworms. I've never had them, to my knowledge, and have never known anyone who has had them (that I know of, of course. Maybe it's too embarrassing.).

    Anyways, the drawing there is exactly why I love Japan. I dunno, I just find their advertisements more unique, creative, and "alive." (and even cute at times :P)


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