Let’s talk about something typically verboten, ok? I’m not asking you to out yourselves or throw your own children under the proverbial bus, but I did want to start a conversation about a topic generally not discussed in a volume above a whisper….shhhh….lice!
About 2 months ago, I noticed that my youngest (fortunately the child with the least emotional attachment to his shiny, straight hair), was scratching at his scalp. Immediately, I recalled the note I had recently received from his school about unnamed classmates being treated for the annoying little critters. Great, guess who had climbed into my very own bed just last night? I took action…
After a quick trip to the pharmacy, armed with RID treatment, I went to work. I washed his hair and got to business looking for something(s). Despite the results from my Google image search to guide me, I wasn’t really confident that I even knew what I was seeking. I couldn’t find anything though – no crawlers (lice don’t have wings), no eggs (gross), no evidence of anything other than a dry scalp. To be cautious, I went ahead and did two weeks worth of laundry in a single day washing sheets and towels and coats and everything else I could fit into my front loader. We moved on feeling lucky.
Last week, our luck ran out. As Quinn and I sat at the table Friday morning, something literally fell out of his hair and landed on his spelling homework. This time, though, there was no doubt. Horrifyingly enough, the poor boog was just loaded with them – live bugs and the promise of more to come. Yuck. I began the process from the last time, but this time I had the added satisfaction (?) of knowing that there was, in fact, a real problem to treat. Without a doubt, my boy had bugs.
Recognizing that the nit-picking process would be simplified if there were less hair with which to contend, I decided (after consulting with his dad, a master nit picker, as it turns out) a semi-dramatic haircut would lighten the burden. Since the barber shop refused to accommodate my little pariah, I took matters into my own hands and, with a friend’s hair clipper set, buzzed my boy within an inch of his life. Or maybe it was the 5/8″ attachment we used? Whatever, the end result was a boy with a charmingly uneven buzz cut and a winning attitude. He really rocked the whole process without complaint and made me seriously proud.
Now, here’s the thing, the stigma of lice is HUGE. I remember my own childhood experience, I believe it was 3rd grade. I sat between twin brothers who lived in an area we called the Club Car. This was not a compliment. As a 9 y/o I knew that I was getting lice from them because they were dirty. From my current vantage point, I know that is not necessarily the case and I sincerely regret any meanness I showed the Edwards boys.
And a final observation, thoroughly eliminating lice and their remarkably sticky and minuscule eggs is a tremendous amount of tedious work. I think I’ve done 7 or 8 loads of laundry and the time involved with combing and picking the nits out is ridiculous. I really think there is opportunity for an entrepreneurial type to develop a service to address some of these challenges. Maybe a discreet van that could pull up in front of the house and whisk the infested child away, returning them deloused and perhaps even fed? Seeing that lice are kind of a nightmare, it only seems reasonable to counter that reality with a dream, right?