They say God never gives us more than we can handle.
And I truly believe that.
Which is why I am not the least bit surprised that I had 13.5 years of motherhood under my belt before head lice was dropped into my lap.
That’s right y’all, one of my chil’ren recently had the cooties. And I made this incredible discovery while he or she was snuggled up to me with his or her head on my lap.
(NOTE: I do know the gender of my child. I’m just trying to protect his or her privacy.)
Are you itching yet?
It honestly wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
Frankly, I’m feeling like Mother of the Year over here because I battled these beasties and I PREVAILED.
But I suppose I should start at the beginning…
Discovering Head Lice
A few weeks ago, one of my kids was scratching his or her head like he or she had just worn a poison ivy bonnet in the Easter Parade.
“Quit scratching! People will think you have mange,” I chided.
“I can’t help it mom! It’s SO. ITCHY!”
“Oh Cheesus Crust. Did you stick your head in a fire ant hill again?”
“Really Mom! It hurts. Will you look at it?”
“OMG. (rolling eyes) Please don’t have lice. We already don’t get invited anywhere.”
I looked, but didn’t see anything suspicious. So just to be on the safe side, I advised my child to covertly swing by the school nurse’s office the next day and ask for a lice check.
“The nurse said it’s just dandruff,” was the report I got the next day.
PHEW. I felt totally relieved and proud of myself for seeking a professional opinion.
“OH THANK GOD!” I said. “Because head lice? Ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat.”
But lo and behold, even after a deep moisturizing treatment, the next day was more of the same: itchy itch, scratchy scratch.
My baby was still in total agony, “Mom—my hair actually hurts. It feels like I have bruises on my head. Are you sure it’s not lice?”
photo courtesy of the CDC
We were sitting on a park bench in the bright sunshine at the time, with my baby’s sore head resting on my Levi’s. There, in the sun, with my hand gently stroking my child’s shiny locks, I started to notice numerous teeny-weeny cream-colored oblong specks on individual hair shafts. They were about the size of strawberry seeds. I’m talking TINY. And stuck. Stuck like glue.
“Huh,” I thought. “That can’t be dandruff. Dandruff would flake off.”
(And I was right! Here’s a great “dandruff vs. nits” article and photo gallery if you need help.)
So I asked, “Have you been playing in a sandbox at school? There are tiny little grains of sand or dirt or something stuck to some of your hair.”
“No. There isn’t any sand at school.”
“Weird,” I said aloud, and then to myself: OMG! Is this what lice eggs look like?
The second we got home from the park, I started to Google things like “What does lice look like?” and “pics of lice eggs” and “are lice and crabs the same thing?” and “can lice crawl through denim and granny panties?” (No, they like to stay on heads, thank God.)
One thing lead to another and the next thing I knew I had my dog’s flea comb in hand, trolling for live bugs…on my child…the precious, itchy, fruit of my loins.
And sure enough…with the help of that thar flea comb and The Google, my suspicions were confirmed.
IT WAS LICE!
Oh Holy Mother of God. There were teeny tiny micro lobsters of doom crawling on my sweet baby’s scalp.
(In defense of my school nurse, it was a pretty mild infestation, but still. Damn.)
Listen. I read the fine print and I knew motherhood was going to be gross when I signed up. I was fully aware there would be ear cleaning and toenail clipping and epic diaper blowouts. I’ve been puked on, peed on, sneezed on… in the mouth. I’ve scraped vomit off a popcorn ceiling. I’ve nursed my various children through a circumcision revision, “mega colon,” two bouts of ring worm, and a festering puncture wound. And I have a magnifying mirror that makes my upper lip look like an angry poisonous centipede; so believe me when I tell you, I know gross. But discovering a lice infestation on a child who just had their head in my lap? The word repulsed doesn’t even scratch the surface for how I was feeling.
I immediately recalled the time we invited some friends over for dinner and they had to cancel because the whole family had gotten lice and was stuck at home with shower caps full of mayo on their heads.
Oh God. This could be bad.
Panic started to set in.
What if we ALL had it?
Couldn’t. Stop. Itching!
Well, if you’ve got to eat a louse, may as well quit staring at it and dig in, right? (Or something like that.)
Suddenly, my fears abated and I knew with a singleness of purpose I haven’t experienced since the night before tax day that I and I alone could save my child and the rest of my family from this pestilence.
Aaaaand, that’s all we have time for today my pretties. Tune in next time to find out how I rid my child of lice, strengthened our relationship, and discovered a hidden talent!
May your weekend be filled with love, laughter, and no lice.