A couple of years ago an old friend of mine came to town with his three year old son. He was newly divorced and just wrapping his head around parenting by himself week-on/week-off. They stayed with us cuz we’re fairly close, having grown up together.
After dinner, all our kids had their baths and we started to put them to bed.
“Daddy! My bum is itchy!”
My friend's son was squirming all around and trying to give his lil’ bot-bot a good scratching inside his pyjamas.
I said to my friend, “Maybe the boy has worms?”
“NO WAY!” His response was immediate and full of certainty. “I checked, and there’s NO worms. My kid is CLEAN. And perfect in every way.”
Hmmm. Ok, but the boy was plainly suffering from something, and apparently had been suffering for
So I put it to my friend that maybe he needed to check again.
The little boy stopped his squirming and his daddy ‘checked’ by merely glancing at his son’s bumhole.
I’m like, “Dude, that’s not how you check for pinworms! You need to really look.”
My friend slowly turned towards me. I watched his expression morph from confusion to fear, fear to horror, and horror to intense pleading.
“Sheesh! Alrighty," I caved, "I'll show you how, but no matter what you see, it’s super important not to react with disgust. You must remain calm”. He nodded.
I went and got towel, a flashlight and a magnifying glass. I explained to the little boy that there might be some tiny worms living inside his bum and that was tickling him when they wiggled around. I asked him to just lie there all relaxed on the towel and then push, as if he was going to do a poo. He loved that idea. I trained the flash light on the little pinkie and told him to go for it.
Note: This is what you might see if you were a pinworm.
The kid was amazing! He pushed until he was red in the face, giggling the whole time. His father and I looked on through the magnifying glass.
“C'mon push! Just a little more…”
And there it was: The Seething White Mass…
My friend was looking very pale indeed but he said nothing.
His boy wanted to see one of the worms – so we took one on a tissue to show him. He was fascinated by this tiny white wriggler that had come out of his bumhole. But we told him that those worms didn’t belong in his bum and he had to have some medicine to make them leave. So we put the tissue in the loo and let him flush it away.
I washed my hands, put the boy back in the bath and sent my friend to the pharmacy to get medicine for pinworms. He was there and back in record time.
But he was walking kinda funny.
UPDATE - August 23, 2013.
This post was honored with a Voice Of The Year Award at BlogHer '13. Queen Latifah was the emcee (she totally photobombed me backstage) ...and this is me reading the story in front of thousands of people:
Now go wash your hands.