My story begins when Lovey #1 gets off the bus, as per usual, and heads straight into my arms for a hug. So totally awesome, except for that thing I just noticed crawling across her forehead. Umm, parenting fail #678 happened next, when I pushed her away and shouted something of the R-rated variety. And this is when it hits me. We've got lice.
I'll just give it to you straight. Lice is horrible. It's everything you hoped it wouldn't be. All that and more. It's a terrible little parasite, really, that brings fear, panic, and pure rage to well, any mom out there who is brave enough to admit she's dealt with it. It's a royal pain in the butt, a household nightmare... but guess what? It's also just another "thing." A bump in the road of mommyhood. Us moms have done it all, really... we've been smeared with poop, covered in vomit, and worse... oh yes, much worse. So is lice REALLY that much different? Just go ahead and add it as a bold point on my resume. File it under "Things I Wish I Never Had," right next to chicken pox and intestinal virus. I know this now, of course, but back then, 3 days ago, things were different...
It's funny, actually, how naive I was to think it would "never happen to me." I teach 5 year olds for a living. When asked, "you don't hug them, right?", I respond with a chuckle because everyone who teaches 5 year olds knows that whether or not I hug them is not really pertinent. Like bees are drawn to honey, they're all over me. All. Day. Long. Here I was, all these years, pushing my luck. I became so cavalier that I never even used hair products or pulled my hair back. Why not leave my long lovely locks blowing around for the world to see? What's worse is that I seemed to have passed on my arrogance to my children!
The thing is, I'm a clean-freak. One of my biggest pet peeves is leaning over a child and smelling a dirty head. So, in turn, my little loves have gone to school for the past 5 years with their scalps scrubbed raw, smelling fresh as a summer breeze. I have kissed their heads each morning, sniffing in the delightful smell of a squeaky clean child. Well, HELLO, parasite.... apparently I've given you an open invitation into our world, and you've finally joined the party.
To my shock and horror, there is no policy about sharing this information with other families. There's a stigma, apparently, that goes along with having these little creatures crawling all over your head. Who'd have thunk it. So to avoid said stigma, we should just pretend it doesn't exist. I should send my loves off to school with a head full of bugs, and let them hug it out with every kid and teacher they see. (After all, they really are LOVES!). If I choose to share, I run the risk of being ostracized. So where does that leave me (and my head full of bugs?).
Are you judging me? I guess it's true, I've probably judged you, too. Really wondering WHY your kid got lice, how clean you are. Now I know. My kid and I had it, too. Before you un-invite us to your birthday party, just know that we've treated it... both at home and at a lice clinic (yes, they DO exist). 10 hours of cleaning, bagging, drying everything that has even a speck of fabric on it. 5 hours of combing through my daughter's hair, 5 hours at the clinic. 72 hours of itching (psychosomatic, or otherwise). We're the cleanest family you've ever met.
So, here's the bottom line... stop judging. Chances are, you'll be here one day. And when you are, I'll be there to pick up your call. I'll bring you my lice comb and a bottle of wine, and tell you to put your big girl panties on and get in there! The struggle is real, people.