The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Tag: kids are gross

The road not taken…by my kid…on the can

I just found a dried booger on my shower curtain.

It’s about two feet off the ground, on the outside of the curtain, right next to the toilet in my kids’ bathroom.

After three kids, very little surprises me, and yet—there is something intriguing about the decision making process that went into this random little DNA deposit.

Picture this, if you will… Continue reading

Lice to meet you!

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.

Literally.

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?

Don’t.

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.”

Aint nobody got time for headlice at The Bearded Iris

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/Dr. Dennis D. Juranek

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.

Yours truly,
Leslie

Family Game Night stinks.

Family Game Night: love it or hate it? I’m sharing some of our family favorites over In The Powder Room today. Come join in the discussion.

And you’ll never believe the new game that Bucket Head keeps trying to get us to play with him.

photo of bucket head with a naughty grin

I know. His hair is awesome, but he's up to no good. Believe me.

 

Read Me In the Powder Room!Or maybe you will. That kid is a nut.

Okay, c’mon. Quit stalling and let’s play! It’s my turn to pick the game. And I hope you brought that 7-layer-dip I like so much.

Leslie (aka “Iris”)

The best laid plans often turn to biohazards. No? Just me?

Damn. It. To. Hell.

I had big plans today! BIG plans to write something serious and heart wrenching and important.

And then my friend dropped her 5 year old son off at my house for an early morning play date and preschool carpool so she could go volunteer at her older child’s school.

Now normally, this would be a pretty uneventful morning. Bucket Head and his “Little Buddy” are really cute together. They play well, they take turns, they keep their clothes on (for the most part); they’re very low maintenance as a dynamic duo.

Well, there was that one time that I walked in on them taking turns touching our dog’s butthole and saying “It’s okay to touch it on the outside, but don’t put your finger INSIDE it. He doesn’t like that.”

Boys.

I like having Little Buddy around. He keeps Bucket Head busy so I can write. Which is exactly what I was doing when I heard him come out of the powder room and say to Bucket Head “You know what took me so long? I was pooping. And it was a little messy. But don’t worry, I cleaned it up.”

I rounded the corner faster than a pageant mom chasing her long lost youth.

There, in my hallway, stood Bucket Head and Little Buddy, holding hands and walking toward the play room.

{GASP!}

Suddenly everywhere I looked was tainted with a brown cloud of micro-bacterial filth.

“HOLD IT RIGHT THERE, BOYS!” I blurted, probably a little too loudly. “Buddy, did I just hear you say you had a messy poop?”

“Yes.”

“What exactly do you mean by ‘messy poop’?”

“Well, when I was wiping? I got a big blob of poop on the toilet paper. And also on my hand.”

(Oh my God.) “And then what did you do?…uh, Sweetie.”

“I wiped the poop off my hand with toilet paper. And then I used more toilet paper to wipe the toilet seat. And the handle. And the wall.”

(NOOOOOOoooooooooooooo.)

“The wall?”

“Well…I was reaching for more toilet paper and I accidentally touched the wall.”

“Oh…I see. Okay. It happens. Then what did you do?”

“I washed my hands.”

“With soap?”

“Yes.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes ma’am.” (We live in the South. That’s considered good manners, especially when you’re scared and want a grown up to like you and not think you intentionally smeared feces on their wall like a rabid howler monkey. Uh, just guessing.) 

“Did you use LOTS of soap?”

“Yes.”

“Are you sure, Honey? Because we need to make sure you don’t have any poop on your hands.”

“Yes ma’am. I’m sure.”

“And did you dry your hands with that towel over there?” (As I pick up the hand towel by the very corner and carry it toward my washing machine like it might detonate any second.)

“Yes.”

“Okay. Just to be on the safe side, I think we should ALL wash our hands again, m’kay?”

“Okay.”

And so we did…in another bathroom, because I couldn’t even fathom the thought of touching those sink handles until after I had time to don a Hazmat suit and break the seal on a new bottle of Clorox.

So yeah. And that’s why I’m once again writing about poop instead of something more important like mental health, or civil rights, or The Bachelor hometown visits.

Poor Buddy. I hope his mom doesn’t mind that I gave him a Silkwood shower.

Or that the kids were late to school.

Or that we’ll only be doing play dates at public parks from now on.

Suddenly dog proctology seems so normal and sanitary.

Yours truly, and now with extra germ-killing action,

-Iris

The Space in Between

So yeah, I totally agree with you. The way I anal-retentively carve and lovingly salt-water-bathe apple slices for my children every day is borderline insanity at its finest. But lest you think I’m that conscientious about all my mothering tasks, you should really take a look at this…

"Peek-a-boo!!!" {Eewwww!}

That’s a public restroom, folks. And those are two of my three beautiful children, joyfully exploring the space in between the stalls: that magic box that exists only in public Ladies’ Rooms.

The very box where we deposit our used feminine hygiene products so they won’t clog the toilet. The box that millions of women touch with hands that have been just handling their dirty pads and tampons.

"Mom! My head totally fits in this hole!"

I can’t think of a more pathogen-laden germ hole in a public restroom than this magic box that is sooooo appealing to children of all ages.

So yeah… about these pictures. Before you call D-FACS, let me explain. Two things are happening here.

One, I have three kids. The first kid is the “practice kid.” You’d wrap that child in a plastic bubble if you could. You make him wear a helmet… everywhere. As a baby, when his pacifier would fall to the ground, you would boil it. You probably also had a number of back up binkies sterilized in your high-end diaper bag just in case this happened when you were out and about at a “Mommy and Me” infant swim class or story time at the library.

By the time the second kid comes along, you are a little more laid back. You know the drill and you’re not as freaked out by every little thing. If that pacifier falls to the ground, you quickly rinse it in the sink. You have a back up binkie, but you can’t find it. And P.U., how long has this dirty diaper been in my diaper bag?

Third child? Fuhgetaboudit. You are so tired and overwhelmed all the time that your previously high standards are out the window. When that pacifier hits the floor, you pick it up and dip it in your 32 ounce Diet Coke to wash it off, then you lick it. Good as new. Diaper bag? What diaper bag? You have one diaper, a stack of Chick-Fil-A napkins, and a juice box in the bottom of your purse. It will have to do.

So yes, I’m tired, I’m jaded, and my hygiene standards are low.

And if you’ve ever taken a 4 year old boy into a public restroom, you know how revolting and exhausting it is. They crawl on the floor. They touch EVERYTHING. They put their heads dangerously close to the toilet bowl to see what’s in there.

Like George Costanza, my 4 year old son must completely disrobe to drop the kids at the pool. And where do those clothes go when he starts ripping them from his body before I can free my hands to catch them? The floor. My apologies to this nice man who is likely to have a seizure if he reads this.

Your gentle pleas of “Honey, that’s gross, don’t touch that please,” quickly morph into verbal assaults of “STOP IT!” and “NO NO NO NO NO” and “OH MY GOD, GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF THAT TOILET!” You fear that if you utter any version of “No” one more time, you will snap. You will. And it won’t be pretty. So you accept the things you cannot change and vow to give the kid the scrubbing of his life when you get home.

The second force at work here is the fact that I am a writer, a blogger, a digital expositionist. Bloggers see the world through a different lens. Suddenly everything in your life has an angle and a story to go with it. If you can capture an image of it somehow, even better. My friend Kate sums it up best in her brilliant post, A Beginner’s Guide to Blogging:

Get used to disapproving looks from other mothers when your child falls in the street and you scramble for the camera instead of picking her up.

Guilty as charged. Who am I to look a gift horse in the mouth like this:

"I see you! Wait...what's that smell?"

Hey, at least the box was empty, right? I like to believe that even I would have put the kibosh on this rousing game of Peek-a-Boo if it was happening above the rising fumes of a freshly deposited maxi pad.

There is a very wide space in between the mother I was 11 years ago and the mother I am today. Just like the wide space between my over-the-top apple prepping standards and my apparently lacking maternal instinct to shield my children from blood-borne pathogens. And frankly, I enjoy that space. There is a lot of wiggle room there. Room to breathe and to make mistakes. It’s a good thing.

So please, know that the mom who buys a special cleaner to wash potential poo off the kids’ apples, also lets her kids stick their FACES in the dirty tampon receptacle… and photographs it. Awesome.

The space in between… clearly enormous and inconsistent, but also somewhat  entertaining in a trainwrecky sort of way, no? Next time you are beating yourself up for a parenting sin, come on over. I’ll wrap you up, {deposit you in a metal bin}, and make you feel better.

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