Nit Picky

22 10 2008

We got the much dreaded letter today. Two copies, of course. The letter from the school informing us Dear Parents that ” A student in your child’s classroom has headlice.” However, the letter failed to mention exactly which student. And even though I’m reasonably sure that neither of my children’s heads are hosting Lousestock ’08, I don’t know for certain that Neener hasn’t been at school playing Baby Goat Headbutt-o-rama with the boys. Or that Roo isn’t attempting to befriend the little girl sitting next to her by putting that kid’s long blond pony tail on top of her own head and calling herself Hannah. So now, I’m on nit patrol. As if I didn’t already have enough to do.

It quickly became clear that I was not getting anywhere near Neener or Roo’s heads with my menacingly pokey looking yellow and silver Lice Meister 2000 comb until I gave them a thorough explanation of what was going on.

“Head bugs,” I said. “I need to look for head bugs.”

“I don’t have head bugs, ” protested Neener. Then, “What are head bugs?”

“Bugs that live on your head. And we don’t know if you have head bugs or not until I pick through your hair with this head bug comb, like a mommy monkey picking through a baby monkey’s hair.”

This is the part where I mime being a mommy monkey picking bugs off her baby.

“Are you gonna eat the head bugs, mommy?”

“No,” The silver prongs of the lice Meister glinting beneath the harsh light of my desk lamp. “Now come here.”

The verdict? No head bugs on Neener. Next up is Roo.

Roo required a little less conversation and a lot more action. More begging that she hold still. More pushing and pulling and pinning and positioning her head. More begging her to come back and sit down for just a few more minutes. The whole mission was complicated by the fact that she had a little bit of dry scalp going on. And by the fact that she apparently shook a jar of green sparkles over her head.

The verdict? No head bugs on Roo either. Just some dandruff and sparkles.

I know this is not the end. I know I’ll be stuck in this lousy state of heightened alert for at least a few weeks. And I know there’s a good chance that someday, Lousestock might come to the Blisterdome. And here’s where I get a little selfish. I could deal if it was as simple as my kids getting headlice. They have short, fine, thin hair. I have my nifty little Lice Meister 2000 comb, and all the patience in the world for picking through their hair in search of head bugs. What I can not handle is the reality of lice. The fact that if one person gets them, it becomes a family affair. The mere thought of having those little white bloodsucking vermin on me makes me panicky. And itchy. And paranoid. I was blessed with long, thick, wavy hair, a dry scalp and a vivid imagination. And there’s no way I’m letting my sweet Mr. wield the Lice Meister through my hair. I wouldn’t dare destroy the illusion of glamour he has about my long flowing tresses by making him hunt for head bugs in there. My only recourse would be multiple soaks in harsh chemicals. Or hacking my hair off all together. Neither option is very appealing, to say the least.

So, I’m just gonna cross my fingers, start adding Tea Tree Oil to every shampoo in the house, keep the Lice Meister handy, and ignore the insane itching brought on just by writing this piece. I’ve also found a new appreciation for the fact that my kids aren’t little social butterflies who spend their days huddled head to head with their classmates. Exchanging hats and headbands. Hugging, and wrestling, and being in close contact with their lousy little friends. Maybe headlice is stritcly an affliction of the well-socialized set. In which case, the Blister Family has nothing to worry about. I hope.

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5 responses

22 10 2008
nanny

Good on your girls’ teacher for giving you the headslice up letter. I always hated sending the warning letter home ,but worse I hated sending home “dear so and so, evidence of nits and lice have been found in your child’s head ” letter. Yes in the olden days teachers had to check heads! Often ,even if the kids were crawling, parents got vicious and sometimes life threatening. OOOOO I’m itchy just thinking aboutit! Good luck! The only one you want crawling is the baby!

22 10 2008
roxferry

Dear Mrs. Blister…I remeber when my little girl first started school..I was so paranoid about head lice that I took her long beautiful blond hair and put them in pony tails so tight she would come home saying she had a headache.I let off a little on the ponies and learned to relax.If it happens it happens.Now-a- days the shampoo for lice is sweet smelling and has a lovely lather.If the biggest problem you get this week is head lice -be happy -life could be so much worse.

22 10 2008
Jane

Hi Amy,Welcome to school,I’m sure if Ikept every lice in the school note from Tommy i could wrap all my christmas presents for the rest of my life and he is only in grade 2 …..rincing with vinagar before combing seems to help it slide better…and thankfully buzz cuts on boys look cute ..anyway happy hunting

22 10 2008
darlenelappin

Sorry to say, but when children in Sydney get lice, I check my girls heads. I have a BREEDER.God love her. Anyway there is a new headlice spray. I do not no if it works right now, but I will see. I just pray, and have everything on hand.

23 10 2008
trish

A family in the dear old t.o. got it so bad last christmas the the mom, yes also one with flowing sensual tresses, shaved her head, she looks at least 10 years younger, and no more hat head. My kids have never had it, ever, and they both have long hair, so some kids attract it, and some don’t. The lice expert here suggests tea tree oil, conditioner and vinegar mixture to comb through and help detect those lovely little vermin.
thinkin of ya
oh and itching too.

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