Ask A Frenchwoman: Kids, Worms, Whaaat?!


Dear Frenchwoman: My expat moms group was recently talking about deworming their kids! I’ve never heard anyone back in the States discuss deworming kids and I know I’ve never, ever been dewormed. What the hell is this?

We French people have all sort of habits you couldn’t guess unless you’ve lived in France for a while.

I can’t sugarcoat this so just read it quickly: We deworm our kids.

Every freaking six months. Like cats, like dogs, yes, we deworm them. The way to check if your kids have worms? You scotch tape their arses in the morning when they wake up. If you see little white worms on the tape, well, there you are. (I’ll wait until you’re done screaming.)

The worm insanity runs deep chez les français… So afraid are we of our kids getting worms, we medicate the  munchkins as prevention. What exactly are these worms? Enterobius vermicularis are intestinal parasites, also known as  pinworms or threadworms. Kids get infected and keep self-contaminating by sucking their fingers, putting toys in their mouth, using soiled toiletries, sleeping in dirty bed sheets—basically, from a lack of personal hygiene.

Once kids have worms, it itches them (in their arses) and they have mood swings, throw tantrums, don’t sleep because of said itchy arses and pee themselves. (I’ll wait once more.)

If you’re still reading, I can tell you that worms are to the French what the sugar high is to Americans: A big fat excuse for your brood’s nasty behavior. Every time my kids behave badly or have an attitude, I hear myself saying, “I’m sure he has worms, I have to buy Fluvermal (the medicine that’s luckily available over-the-counter in all French pharmacies).

Just writing these words makes wonder where I can find Fluvermal in Hong Kong. Because now that I think about it, Gabriel’s been a real PITA lately. I’d prefer he have worms than admit this is the actual wormless kid I created and have to keep on raising!

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About Author

Alexandra Guitelmann is a married Parisienne with three kids. She is a maman bear who loves taking care of her babes but is also an event manager for only the chicest clients and events in Paris.

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