Monday, December 8, 2008

Reason #37 to Home-School

Before our babies are even conceived, we start making lists of all our hopes and dreams for their lives. What they might look like, what schools they will attend, what careers they may choose… And we make another list of all the things we hope our children never experience. This list has sub-categories such as Things My Parents Did That I Will Never Do, Things My Friends Do That I Will Never Do, Things That I Did That I Will Never Let My Kids Do, etc. Of course there are the major things that you hope your child never has to go through first hand: life-threatening illness or serious injury – neither physical nor emotional. You hope they never have to cope with danger, tragedy or pain. And you hope they never, ever get a case of head lice.

Yep. Head lice. Now that I am on the other side of the mountain of laundry, I can talk about it. But it was traumatic at the time. Last Tuesday, Dean tentatively described to me these tiny bugs he was finding on his clothes and my stomach lurched a bit. Upon closer inspection, my fears were confirmed. One trip to CVS, two poison treatments (the first one didn’t work), one serious allergic reaction to the shampoo (me), two missed school days, one magic hot oil treatment, 48 loads of laundry and countless hours of combing later, I finally feel confident that he just might be the only family member to host the little bastards. That hasn’t stopped my neurotic scratching and head checking or my lectures to “keep your head, your coat, your clothes to yourself fortheluvaGod!”

A friend who recently dealt with this same issue with her own child laughed (at) with me. “It changes your whole perspective doesn’t it,” she said when I gasped to see my son wearing some of the freshly cleaned dress-up clothes – on his head. When I saw his head bent close to his brother’s while they worked on a project together, instead of saying, “Awwwww,” I said, “Ewwwww!” Is it going overboard to have him change his clothes as soon as he gets home from school or to look around his classroom with an accusing eye – who else is scratching? Whose head is the head of origin?

During one of our lengthy combing sessions, I found that I was silently debating which would be worse, stomach flu or lice? Both cause extreme housecleaning and extra laundry. Both result in someone staying home from school and major changes in my routine. Both make me become an internet expert on the subject. Both allow me to play that subtle blame game unique to parents "I think he got this from your child". Both make me do that complicated math equation in my head: # of days of incubation x the # of days of infection + the # of days of contagion x the # of family members = the # of days until Mom can rest assured that we are in the clear (which also equals the number of glasses of wine that may get consumed). Too close to call.


Marty, a.k.a. canape said...

OMG. Lice is surely worse than the flu.

I had lice when I was in college. It was nasty. I tried to convince my hairdresser to shave my head to get rid of them, but he refuse.

My mom spent HOURS upon HOURS combing through my incredibly long incredibly thick hair on the day before I left for London for the semester. She was an angel.

Madame Queen said...

I gotta say, I gotta go with head lice as the worse of the two. You know a stomach flu is going to pass with out any real effort on your part. But lice? You've got the poisons, the combing, the washing. Ugh.

We got a note home about two weeks ago that somebody in kindergarten had it, but fortunately Bubba didn't get it. I'm just not sure I could deal with it. And did you know that there's a strain of lice out there that's resistant to all the poisons? How the heck are you supposed to kill THEM???

Susie said...

Hot olive oil and tea tree oil shampoo is what worked for us. If I had known the poison was going to be useless, I wouldn't have wasted my time with it. Let's not ever do that again!

@sweetbabboo said...

As a former elementary school teacher, I know lice well. Although I have not had the pleasure (ack!) of knowing them personally, I have survived my share of epidemics. A few things I've learned through my years:

-It can happen to ANY child regardless of income, cleanliness, or the millions of other stereotypes.

-Every mother of the kid with lice flips out and worries others are now judging her. (They aren't.)

-Lice actually prefer super clean hair so that he was chosen is a salute to your efforts to keep your child well-groomed. (I once let my hair get super dirty when an epidemic was rampant in our school.)

-It even happens to teachers and their children and yes, they are just as embarrassed as other parents.

I'm glad you have survived and here's hoping they've gone on their merry way never to be heard from again.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

This is one battle I hope we never engage in. I recall many nights lying on my mother's lap while she picked nits out of my hair--and I pray I never have to repeat that scene with my own brood. Good luck.