So we got the phone call from school I’ve been dreading, telling us that Chaos Peanut has lice.
I’ll give you a second to go and frantically scratch your head. You don’t have them, most likely.
But Chaos Peanut did/does. I know every parent dreads this, but me more than most because of Chaos Peanut’s sensory issues. Chaos Peanut would barely let me brush her hair. I figured if she ever got lice I’d have to shave her head.
However, she’s got this great aide in her classroom who just loves to do her hair. Part of it is a sensory activity and part of it is, I think, that they don’t get a lot of girls in autism programs so Chaos gets to be the little princess. And I am not so good with Chaos’ hair, plus we’re always rushed in the mornings, I mean, REALLY rushed, like rushed even for rushed people, and sometimes I don’t even have time to brush it if she even lets me. But she was letting me brush it more and more, and even put it in ponytails or pigtails. And that’s all thanks to the aide at her school. Certainly not to me… I’d rather give up than fight most battles. I say things like, “we don’t really need to brush her teeth, Bishop, she hates it so much!” I’d rather have peace than challenge my strong willed girl, and I’m not really proud of that.
But the call about the lice, that just sucked. My sister recommended some natural stuff that’s supposed to kill the lice and their eggs, so I got something similar to what she recommended and I put it on Chaos’ head and she screamed and cried and howled as I was putting it on (but she let me comb it out! Go figure!) and then we washed it out and…
It didn’t work.
So OK, fine, it didn’t work. We got a note home from school telling us in great detail how many live lice they’d found on her head (retch) along with suggestions that basically came down to POISON. POISON THE F OUT OF THEM AND THEN POISON MORE AND THEN COMB AND THEN MORE POISON KTHNKSBYE. They don’t have a no-lice policy at her school so I didn’t have to keep her home or anything, but the daycare she goes after school DOES have a policy and also, ew.
So on day two of the Lice Fun, I got some POISON and I put POISON all over her head and this time I WASN’T KIDDING AROUND. I put Chaos in the bath and I COATED her head with that poison like it was hair dye.
(In an aside, I know kind of a lot about hair dye because back in the early 90’s I worked for Clairol in New York and I used to dye all my friends hair.)
So I just treated the poison like dye and I did a root application of it and I killed those lice DEAD but DEAD. Really they were DEAD. I don’t even think the Bishop felt guilty about it.
It was a shock that first night when Chaos let me comb, but she did. I coated her hair with special lice repelling conditioner and comb it with a big comb for tangles, and then I get into the roots. Chaos will let me comb, but not for too long, so I combed her as best I could and I pulled some nasties out of her hair. It was really gross but after a while, sort of satisfying too. But Chaos will only allow so much combing before she is DONE WITH THAT and ready to move on to other things and I don’t want to push her because I don’t want her to dread the combing and start fighting it.
I had the school nurse check her the next day and the school nurse said there were some nits left but they were DEAD and DEAD but that I should comb her again which I was going to do anyway. Today was her birthday, but she didn’t escape a soaking with vinegar and water, a shampoo (finally!) and another comb-out. And I’ll comb it out again tomorrow.
And I’m sure we’ll have to do the whole thing again when the lice come back, because I’m told they usually come back and it can take several tries to get rid of them.
And each time you have to wash all of Chaos’ bedding, plus her bear (which is washable, thank heavens) and her pillow and vacuum the couch and her stuffed animals, and it’s just a big huge PAIN and just a whole lot of laundry and the clean stuff is still in a pile on my bed and if you think I’m going to sort it NOW, you’re delusional, as I’m going to shove it back into the bag so I can lie down! And that’s all I have to say about that. Lice! On my little Chaos Peanut!
Except this. Tonight we were at a Hanukkah party and the Bishop calls me over to him. “Does Baby have dandruff?” he asks.
“NO!” I said, and I came rushing over. But what was in Baby’s hair, really DID look like dandruff. It was big and flaky and didn’t really look much like nits. And it slid out of his hair easily. But it seemed awfully coincidental, doesn’t it? Chaos gets lice, then baby gets “dandruff?”
But then I noticed it looked like food.
Like baby cereal.
Like the powdery flaky baby rice cereal Chaos has taken to dumping into her food in great dusty quantities. That stuff gets everywhere. Everywhere! And baby WAS crawling around on the floor right below where Chaos was sitting. So yeah. Phew.
Not lice. Rice. Rice!