If you receive a text informing you that one of your beloved children was exposed to head lice, you know it’s going to be a bad day. If you get that same text late at night — long after your own child has gone to bed and right before you yourself are about to crawl into bed — you know that the next 24 hours are going to be horrendously horrible and, more than likely, incredibly hectic.
The ill-fated text arrives and the words exiting my mouth are far from graceful. Do I wake up my child to treat the blood-suckers possibly festering and maybe reproducing in my daughter’s long blond hair? Do I just get up a little earlier the next morning and deal with it before school? Deciding that the damage is either already done or non-existent, I plan to get up the next morning and deal with it before school.
Being proactive against the inevitable worry that is sure to plague my mind, I take a sleep aid to insure blissful sleep. At least that’s what the bottle promised. The sleep aid never worked.
After thoroughly cursing my misfortune of a possible lice infestation partnered with insomnia, I move to the couch to try and find those elusive Z’s. I am also escaping the nasal rumblings of my bed-mate that mock the fact that I am still awake after taking a sleep aid while he is sleeping soundly after consuming caffeine. But that’s it’s own blog-rant for another day.
I finally find my Z’s — at least until 4:30 a.m. when my brain decides to get back to the business of worrying about lice. I decide to move back to my comfy bed. After all, most of the world’s greatest problems are solved by lying for hours in a dark room listening to a snoring spouse.
By 6:30 I resign myself to the fact that I will never sleep again. I may as well get an early start to make sure that I have enough time to preemptively shampoo my daughter’s hair and do a thorough head-check before breakfast. I certainly don’t want to be “that mom” who sends her child to school with a farm of creepy-crawlies frolicking on her head.
The morning checklist moves pretty well: wash face (oh look, a zit!), makeup (cover that sucker up!), clothes (nothing with sleeves ‘cause we gotta shampoo the lice!), and grab the blessed bottle of lice shampoo!
Hair shampooed. Scalp checked. All looks good. Gargantuan sigh of relief!
With the lice threat neutralized, I feel I can navigate life with a little more peace. I enter the boys’ bedroom and nudge the preschooler awake. Why is he wet? And what is that smell? No, no, no, no! I don’t have time to change bed sheets because we leave the house in 15 minutes!
Whatever, I can take care of that later.
While in the process of getting the middle-school daughter to school, I am now informed that my other daughter was also exposed to lice at her school. Oh, double the pleasure! Another head to check and shampoo. Another set of sheets to wash. At this point, I’m thinking it might honestly be easier to burn the house down after shaving my children’s heads.
Back at the house and back to the shower I go with another child in tow. Mid-shampoo, one of my sons urgently calls to me saying that I must come immediately. I can’t. I’m defending my other daughter’s scalp against nasty, blood-sucking vermin. But I am told that I need to come now because it’s an emergency. With the command to sit and not move, I leave the chemical-covered daughter to investigate the urgent matter needing my attention.
Our pet fish has died.
With tenderness that only a mother can give, I inform my two sweet boys that (1) yes, the fish has died; (2) no, we are not going to bury it; (3) yes, it is going in the trash; (4) no, we are not going to get another one because I am the only one that takes care of the fish and I refuse to get another one that will soak up more of my free time – plus I can’t talk about this now. I need to finish killing potential lice that might be festering in my daughter’s hair.
Walking back to the bathroom, my phone rings. Caller ID lets me know that a mother from my older daughter’s class is calling through. She informs me that she won’t be able to bring my child home from school this afternoon because her daughter (my child’s best friend) has left school early with a stomach virus.
Oh, happy day! Possible lice and vomit all in one day! Please stop — the blessings in my life are too much! (By the way, have I mentioned that it wasn’t even lunch time yet?)
By this point, I’ve given up on any sort of successful parenting. “Uncle Walt Disney” is going to babysit for a couple of hours so I can take a nap. After all, I still have a parent meeting to attend, bed sheets to wash, and piano lessons to get to before dinner. Yay!
Other than oversleeping on the nap and running a few minutes late to the meeting, the rest of the day goes surprisingly well. A haphazard dinner of hot dogs, frozen waffles, salad, and fresh strawberries fills the bellies. Kiddos are down to bed on time in freshly cleaned sheets. Heads are free from lice.
The night is ended with mindless TV and thick, fuzzy socks. Some days that’s all a mom can ask for.
Disclaimer: No actual lice were ever found or harmed in the events of the day. A fish did die, but it truly was not my fault. In fact, I had spent the previous week trying to nurse it back to health.