being a mom

Lice Do Not Last Forever. Your Kid Is Going To Be Ok.

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“How long has that been in there?” I asked the love of my life.

“Does it matter?” He asked, sporting the wild-eyed look of Lady MacBeth as he desperately shucked the covers off of the couch cushions and crammed them into another trash bag. “Does anything matter anymore?”

He ran off to purchase more trash bags, lice shampoo, and takeout pizza while I started rotating infested items through our dryer. Things were beginning to settle down. We ate our pizza, I combed my kid’s hair one more time, and we made up her bed with scorched sheets and then proved once and for all that being married to someone means doing gross stuff you don’t want to do.

Each of us combed the other’s lice shampooed hair, a millimeter at a time, our skin crawling. What the lady assumed was lice in my hair was actually just dandruff. A lot of dandruff. After we agreed that there was nothing sacred anymore, we headed to bed, because the most difficult task lie ahead. Calling other parents.

In our state and school, kids with lice aren’t excluded from class, and no notices go out to inform parents of lice outbreaks. I understand this policy. Lice does have a stigma, despite the fact that it is completely unrelated to hygiene or to social class. Still, if a notice had gone out, I would have known to be on the lookout, thereby preventing “the worst case of lice, ever” and saved $400.00. I concluded that I would want to know, so I had to call three other moms who had recently had my daughter at their house and confess. It went very well, actually. One mom called me back after I left a repentant, shame filled voice mail on her phone.

“Thanks for calling. Turns out my daughter did have a few nits,” she told me.

“Oh, my god, I’m so sorry,” I blathered.

“You’re funny,” she laughed. “My kids have lice all of the time. Probably yours does too.”

I was awed by her serenity. She told me about how lice just goes around and around, and gave me tips. Told me to check my daughter often, keep her hair up, all that jazz. And I took her advice. For a while. Slowly, the impenetrable, tea tree oil infused coifs of tight braids that I did on my daughter became high buns, and then ponytails, and then nothing.

As I type this, my daughter is brushing her hair of her own volition, root to tip, vigorously. Oh, crap.

(Image:  justone/shutterstock)

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