“EWWWWW Miss Janey! That’s just gross!”
My earnest Choir Urchinette looked up at me with her big brown eyes, round as saucers and filled with horror.
She made what can only be described as an oogy face and with hands on hips, she stared me down.
My offense: calling one of the more high-energy boys in our little group “hot pants.”
“Sweetie, what’s wrong with me calling him 'hot pants?'"
“Miss Janey. He’s a BOY.” Words dripping with disdain, she looked down at her purple glitter flats and shuddered as only an indignant kindergarten girl can.
“And that’s a bad thing?”
Meanwhile, Hot Pants and his brother, Hot Pants II (so called because they are both named very similarly. Kind of like my version of George Foreman’s kids.) were over in the corner, dancing, singing and beating on each other as brothers do. At that moment, I could understand my Urchinette’s contempt. If I were a six year old girl, I'd probably have the same reaction.
“So. Boys. They have cooties, huh.”
“Yes. Cooties. Ick. Gross. I hate them.”
At that moment, the light bulb went on. Ah-ha! I had a Teachable Moment lying at my Converse-clad feet. Here was an opportunity to make a difference in the life of one of my beloved kiddos.
Impart some important knowledge.
Equip them for the future. Or at least for the playground.
“Do you know how to give a cootie shot? Something that will protect you from… boys.” I stage whispered to her.
“Nooooooooo.” Her eyes got wide again, this time with excitement. I had begun to redeem myself.
I wiggled my index finger, motioning her to come over and sit down with me at the table across the room. Which, by the way, had only has kid-sized chairs around it. Thank goodness my knees didn’t creak as I sunk down. I was already in trouble with my cool cred with this young lady.
I pulled my chair close to the Urchinette and gently grabbed her arm. And evoking the memories of a playground experience helmed by my elementary school BFF, taking place underneath the red and white bars of the monkey bar dome, I indoctrinated her into the age-old sorority of GAB: Girls Against Boys. The antithesis of the He Man Woman Haters Club.
Circle. Circle. Dot. Dot. Now you’ve got your cootie shot.
She watched very carefully as I administered the sacred ritual, having me do it twice to make sure she got it. And probably as immediate insurance. Hot Pants was writing graffiti on the white board with a contraband dry erase marker right about then. In her eyes, he was totally cootie-rific. And now she was prepared.
I had the Urchinette give me a cootie shot before we stood up. To give us a bond. We pinky swore, then went about our choir business. Two girls. Ready for anything those boys could throw at us.
Who’s an educator? This chick, that’s who.
Cooties. And boys. Beware.