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