Tuesday, August 5, 2014

My Chemical Warfare

With Summer drawing to an end, most mornings at our house begin the same, a pile of warm, sleepy bodies tangled up like puppies as we try and decide what we're doing with the day. "Swimming?" "Too crowded." "Library?" "I haven't finished my books yet." "Back to school shopping?" "..... *tortured glare*...." Yesterday, however, was different.

"Mom, my head itches."  You heard the ominous music, too, didn't you?

Ever since the Great Head Lice Epidemic of Last Fall, in which the entire third grade was practically mobile with the things, we've been gun shy. An errant twitch brings back my Head Lice PTSD and suddenly it's Late September and an evening haircut has gone SERIOUSLY WRONG, and the Flake is out of town , and I have no idea what I'm doing, and DEAR GOD I HAVE TO BE IN NEW ORLEANS IN THREE DAYS, I CAN NOT BE CARRYING THE CAST OF "A BUGS LIFE" ON MY HEAD. But the Z's statement didn't trigger any of this. His hair is thick and shaggy, in desperate need of a back to school cut. It's hot, he gets sweaty, his head itches. NBD. But to appease him, I dug out a leftover, unused lice comb, all ready to pat him on the back and promise a haircut later in the day.

The music just got louder, didn't it? Because no such promises were made, there would be no haircuts or back to school shopping or anything even remotely approaching fun... that is unless your idea of painstakingly examining EVERY SINGLE HAIR on the head of a 9 year old is fun. As I stared at the comb, little brown dots mocking me from inside the narrow tines, all I could think was What the hell? We haven't been ANYWHERE. We've been practically reclusive the past few weeks! The question plagued me as I filled a shopping cart with shampoos, new pillows, and enough guacamole to  appease happy hour at Mi Gusto Grande Rancho Cantina*. When I'm stressed I like guacamole. And then the phone rang and all of my questions were answered. One kid, the only kid who had been inside my house besides my own in two weeks, was my undoing. One Saturday morning visitor with a raging case of undetected head cooties.

Her mom was mortified, but please. Head lice, while a massive pain in the ass, isn't something to be embarrassed about. It happens. Besides, I had my doubts that ONE kid dropping by for fifteen minutes on a Saturday afternoon could really turn our heads into a veritable nursery. It was like an episode of "I didn't even know I was pregnant" up in there. But, according to our pediatrician, it was totally possible. "Oh yeah," she chuckled. "You get a couple of mature over achievers that make the move onto your head and 36 hours is more than enough time to get things going."

Great. I had the freaking Rhodes Scholars of head lice setting up shop.

So I laid waste to the house (the Flake had already high tailed it out on a business trip... how the HELL has he gotten out of this twice now? He spent the evening drinking a glass of wine and treating his own hair while watching baseball.  I tried not to sneak tequila shots while strapping my 9 year old to the chair while he screamed "JUST SHAVE MY HEAD AND BE DONE WITH THE AGONY!").  I bagged every pillow, every sock monkey, and stored them in the shed. I stripped every bed and vacuumed every mattress. And I waged direct chemical warfare on the sweet, sweet heads of my children. No hair uncombed. No bug left standing... or, um, crawling. Or whatever.  This is under control.

But if it happens again? We're shaving our heads and burning the house down. No doubt.

*Mi Gusto Grande Rancho Cantina is not a real restaurant. But it should be. I bet they'd have great guacamole.