Wednesday 12 December 2012


I have been trapped in parental hell for the last 48 hours. No, let me rephrase that; I the parent, have been trapped in a hell (made much hotter by my OCD) that was brought on by extenuating circumstances that I could not control. [I suppose this describes every single thing that happens when one is a parent] Yes, I’m talking about that one word that sends nauseating shivers down anyone’s spine…lice (or nits as we in the UK call them). Yes, my perfect little King has been hit with a case of them, and it’s definitely shaved five years off my life (okay, I’m being dramatic, but that’s me).

Every parent hears the word, they do a little victory dance if these vermin have past them by thus far, whilst praying even harder they’ve done something karmically right to make these little suckers skip their kid for good and move onto someone who has the nerves of steel to deal with stuff like this. In principle, the idea of it has always made me let out a long harrowing shriek, as the notion of anything foreign and uninvited on me or my son’s body is something that drives me to the Valium bottle. Not to mention, in this case it’s a bug. A parasitic insect that is essentially living off one’s scalp. Oh my god I’m going to throw up.

I’d seen notices up at my son’s nursery or playgroup and shuddered at the thought, but always thought to myself, no way, not my son. My King is somehow immune to all things as gross and vile as that (aside from the fact that he used to eat mud and pick things out of the rubbish bin and then try to eat them). So in the past week when I saw him itching his little head I thought to myself, must be the winter weather. 'It’s dry. Isn’t it dry in here? That’s right, even I’m itching now cause it’s so so dry. You hear that brain, DRY, that's all this is, dryness!' Can you hear the panic in my justifications? A day or so later after my fifth attempt at trying to inspect the King’s hair, that’s when I saw it. OH MY GOD there is something crawling on my kid’s head. Seriously, you have never seen anyone move so fast in your life. In one fell swoop, I raced home like a maniac and put us both on lockdown and raised the threat level to FLAMING freak-out orange. I’m sure my husband was thrilled to receive my text with 800 exclamation points and knew better than to call home until I had peeled myself off the ceiling. 

What took place thereafter was a blur really. I contemplated shaving his head. Both of our heads in fact, but remembered that insomnia and baldness do NOT go hand in hand. The rest of the afternoon involved a lot of chemicals (I’m into the whole herbal/health thing, but when there are bugs and a scalp involved, f*ck that. I’m going nuclear), hours of TV – how else do you keep a highly spastic two year old from moving around while you’re trying to pick microscopic things out of his head – protestations and bribery on my part (of course you can eat 28 cookies when we’re finished, just sit still!) and a large glass of wine. For me, not him. I then stalked around the house with a shower cap on (the King found this somewhat alarming) and the hoover in my hand and sucked everything up that wasn’t nailed down. At the same time, the washing machine and dryer were on full tilt as I washed everything that wasn’t living. Yes, it was definitely not an ecological day that I’m proud of.

What followed all of this was a little metal comb, and a ton of hair lost. Mine, the King’s, my husbands. Hell, even the neighbor’s if I thought that would help. My husband found it especially amusing to point out all the grey hairs on my head as he was combing through and offered to pull them out if I was so keen. I told him to stick to the plan, we were de-verminizing and the mission was essential to my mental well-being.

I woke up this morning and looked at my son’s choppy haircut (if we couldn't get the egg out he was losing that bit of hair) and my greasy post shower-capped do and thought, there isn’t enough Valium in the world to go through this more than once. (I haven’t broken it to myself that I may have to face this again…and again…and again). So for now, I just walk around the house with a bottle of lavender oil water tucked in my holster and spray anyone that comes within two feet of me (apparently this wards off the little suckers). Who knows if it helps, but it restores some of my power back. Or so I tell myself.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again (many times). Parenting – never a dull day. 

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