Friday, May 08, 2009

free at last, thank God Almighty, I'm free at last

Yesterday morning at the breakfast table, the Sober Husband noticed some tiny white dots on Lola's scalp. We tried blowing them off (this is the test we were taught to distinguish little scalp flakes from lice eggs: lice eggs are glued on the strands of hair, but dandruff and miscellaneous dreft are loose and may be blown away). They stuck to Lola's hair, but some could be scraped off. "But she's using that lotion every day, that's supposed to loosen the nits," I argued. "It could be nits." The Sober Husband blew at Lola's scalp again. "It's nits," he said resignedly.

The Sober Husband became deeply depressed at this and dragged himself off to work in a dark cloud. "We're going to be spending $1,500 a month for the rest of our lives at the Hair Fairies. I can see no end to this." When I tried to cheer him up from this pessimism, he snapped at me. "I don't call you crazy when you think bugs are crawling in your hair. Why are you saying this is crazy?"

Lola had won herself a day off school, to older sister Iris Uber Alles's great displeasure. It wasn't a particularly fun day, as we spent most of it waiting for a call back from the Hair Fairies lice service, who ended up not getting back to us until mid-afternoon and who couldn't fit Lola in. Today Lola had another day off school, but she balked at going back to the Hair Fairies. She'd had more than enough of sitting still and having her hair picked through.

"It's not lice! It's glue! It's little pieces of paper!"

I was unmoved. I forced her to get dressed and go over to the Hair Fairies, where she sat sullenly in the chair, refusing to make conversation with the kindly young woman treating her. To our great surprise and pleasure, Lola's specks were diagnosed as "dandruff, sticky dandruff" and (slow, building drumroll) since Lola's last visit, a whole week before, had yielded only eight nits and no bugs and this visit showed a completely clean head, Lola was declared to be free of lice and cured, by God, cured. Iris had previously gone over a week between clean headchecks, and my own head had been declared lice free. It seems that we are over the lice.

I was stunned and happy. No more daily changing the sheets and pillowcases, no more boiling all the hairbrushes every single day, no more elaborate lice shampoo-and-lotion regimes!

Meanwhile a blonde upscale woman had brought her foreign au pair in. The au pair was diagnosed with lice, and the blonde woman was not the most sympathetic. It seemed obvious that the au pair would be paying for her own treatment at Hair Fairies ("You have money, right?" the woman asked). The blonde herself was not willing to pay for Hair Fairies and loudly made an appointment for her children somewhere cheaper on her celphone, right there in the Hair Fairies. The blonde woman also first offered her au pair the day off due to fear that the sweet, soft-spoken au pair would contaminate her blonde children, but then reneged on that offer after considering the inconvenience of caring for her own children personally that day. "You can just play with them OUTDOORS. OUTDOORS. Okay?" I wondered why this woman felt it was less likely the lice would pass from one head to another outdoors than in, but held my tongue.

Later in the lobby, as I was leaving, the blonde woman set up for her au pair to come back the next day, presumably at the au pair's own expense, but loftily informed the Hair Fairies woman that she would be taking herself and her children somewhere cheaper.

Lola and I were happy as we left, Lola sporting a pretty braid with cobalt blue streaks. "I tried to lie before," Lola confessed," about it not being nits, but I was right. I tried to lie!" We laughed and held hands.


Missy said...

Hurray! Congrats! The Season Of Lice is Over!

LaVikinga said...

I hate for the first comment I make here (been lurking & laughing forever) is going to rain on the parade, but Adventures in LiceLand isn't over until every darned kid the girls come in contact with in class is lice free as well.

We went thru this when my twins were in kindergarten. They'd go to school lice free and within a week -- BAM! Lice! We put gel in their hair and even finally broke down & cut their hair. Buzzed my son's hair to a close crop -- he loved it. I cried when I cut my daughter's gorgeously thick waist-length chestnut hair to the tops of her shoulders. We had no Hair Fairies here :( The incubator turned out to be the little boy who sat next to them in class. His parents "had issues," to put it politely . I was lucky in that I never got them, but I too, had the phantom itchies.

snowqueen said...

I never used lotions etc on my kids - I just did the loads of conditioner and then a good going over with the nit comb method because, as LaVikinga says - it works until they sit next to the kid who has lice. The lotions are pesticides - obvious if you think about it. Why bother washing an apple when you lather straight into a child's skin?

Here in the UK headlice are endemic. It's largely because of overuse of pesticide lotions. I expect it's the same in the US. Daily combing picks up any lice that have jumped over hopefully before they've laid eggs. Lice love clean hair so putting some kind of oil such as tea tree through the hair deters them from wanting to populate your child's head. Keep your children's hair tied back as much as possible.

I went through 9 years of this until they both went to secondary school.

Anonymous said...

Snowqueen, in California lindane, the ingredient usually used in anti-lice lotions, is illegal (Calif. has stricter environmental laws than the rest of the U.S., most of the rest of the world, in fact). So the stuff I was putting on their heads was depressingly herbal. I don't know if it actually did help loosen the nits.

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