133EA163-9A0E-4311-8F0D-9989F1E2855BWhere do I start?  I’ve been jotting and bursting out on the page for days about public and personal and private things.  There never seems to be enough time to edit and organize.  And I’ve missed my two half days of good weather to get into the garden.  And on Monday, I had a whole, impossible list with the ambition of the first cup of coffee residing in my belly when the school nurse called.  

Lice.

And any thought of business and house and garden and writing slid off the plate like an omelet on a Calphalon Fry Pan.

Backstory: We’ve been dealing with obsessive picking and scratching her head for a few months now.  It got worse after traveling and at the beginning of school.  Me and all the experts diagnosed anxiety. When Julia scratches, there are tiny flakes of skin in her hair.  At some point, those flakes “became” (via spontaneous generation, of course) nits (lice eggs) and I ignored the change.  Also, and of most embarrassment, during the weekend, Julia took a bath and was combing out her hair and reported to me that she saw a bug in her hair.  I said something like, Julia, don’t blame anyone else, including bugs for your scratching.

So, when the nurse called, I had that moment of Mother Blame:  my fault . . .  I should have . . . why don’t I . . .  bad mom.  Also, I could have listened!!

But I had promised to pick her up in 20 minutes and I had to google ‘lice,’ change my shirt and brush my teeth.  When the nurse called, I could hear Julia in the background complaining about being sent home and missing school.  She was not quiet or subtle about it—so, ok, not appropriate behavior for a 17 year old but yes, silver lining: she still likes school. 

I picked her up and stopped at the drug store and bought the recommending brand of infestation stopper and borrowed a RobiComb.  And then, we spent the rest of the day treating and combing, rinsing and combing, and dry combing with the RobiComb, that zaps lice electronically (Thanks to friends who lent me that magical tool. Who even knew?).  And washing (A quick nod of thanks to my wonderful washing machine that has a hot, extra long washing cycles.  Still have one more load to do this afternoon.) Yes, the kid has thick hair and plenty of it.  And it is long.  I finished at 5:15. We had dinner, did some long division, read 20 pages of Color Purple, played cello and journal writing and then went to bed.   

Around 2 in the afternoon, the thought passed through my head, why can’t we just catch a break?  I mean, I’ve been fighting to get her to school on time, I’ve had lots of case manager/teacher/aide conversations to make classes work for her, I worked all weekend and the last weekend too on assignments that typical students would have quickly dispatched on Sunday night, we are pre-reading Color Purple and we watched the movie on Saturday and I didn’t go to a party I wanted to on Saturday because Julia could not shake a cold and she would have been bored at the party.  Shouldn’t that be an inoculation against lice? 

Yes, I can hear the gods chuckling.

The me who had made the impossible list right after coffee, let out a big eye-rolling sigh after I kissed Julia good night, and thought, ‘complete waste of a day.’  But the somewhat better person contradicted.  Although Julia was not happy coming home, she was cooperative during the entire day.  She did not complain once and a lot of the time, combing the same place over and over and over again, was boring beyond words.  She did not make a fuss about missing cheer practice or about doing work at home when she was finally released from combing.  And we had a good time watching two movies while I combed (How many of those marvel comic hero movies are there? And how did we possibly miss Thor-Ragnarok in the theaters? Considering that Rick Riordan covers some of the same ground in Magnus Chase, The Ship of the Dead, my lack of Marvel comic book world experience did not confuse me in the least.  Or perhaps I am watching too many hero adventure movies.). In sum, it was not a bad day.  We worked hard and together and finished up the day pretty lovingly.

So, there, you chuckling gods!

I fine combed and Robicombed again last night and then turned the Robicomb on myself.  Of course, every itch or tingle I feel must be lice!  So far, so good, for me and for Julia.  I hear that one treatment is rarely enough, so we will be vigilant for two weeks and I will listen a little better next time Julia says some ‘outlandish’ thing.