And there I was sitting on the couch next to Clara. It was 7:45 am on a Tuesday morning and I had miraculously gotten everything done five minutes early. Five minutes before leaving with my two kids on the 20 minute walk to Clara's school. I wish I had been late. I wish I hadn't sat down.
There was innocent Clara - sitting beside me - coat on, backpack on. She told me something - I can't remember what - and I looked over at Clara. She was in profile...and as I looked at her - a bug crawled out of her braid - winked at me - and disappeared back into her hair.
Silently I collapsed inside. I split into three personalities - first - the freaked-out mom - screaming inside my head: "LICE! LICE! AHHHHHHHHH!"
Then there was the calm, cool., collected mom: "Lice - I can handle this. Nothing a little trip to CVS and hours of combing a crying four-year old's hair won't cure."
And lastly - the insane, unhinged mom - "What can I do here? Maybe jump out this window? Shave all of our heads? Set every item Clara's head has touched in the last week on fire?"
I cycle through these different personalities for about thiry seconds and settled on a manageable combination of Calm, Cool, and Freaked-Out Mom.
Lice are truly disgusting and I only remember the one time I had them as a kid from the perspective of a kid, who didn't have to do any of the actual work associated with getting rid of lice.
So, metaphorical sleeves rolled up, I walked the kids to CVS - purchased lice shampoo - enough for all three of us lovely ladies and Gerald, and marched home.
Total Spent: 53.00
I had the girls strip down to their undies or diapers and slathered lice-killing shampoo in their hair - and then mine. Spent the next ten minutes trying to distract Freya from wiping her head on the couch and then bathed Clara, Freya, and then myself.
Kids dried off for a bit and I stripped all beds - took all sheets, blankets and pillows as well as Clara's recently worn clothes and hats and got them ready for the wash.
Got kids sort of dressed and put five loads of laundry in to wash - on hot.
Total spent: 7.50
Went back upstairs. Slathered conditioner in Clara's hair and began combing with the lovely lice comb. After each comb through her hair I wiped the comb off on some paper towel. I tried not to notice that some of the black specks were still moving. 20 minutes later...
I combed Freya's hair - no lice.
Then I took a deep breath and combed out my hair. Luckily, I was able to keep from going totally insane because I too, was free of lice.
Bathe in turns - Clara, Freya, Me.
Get dressed - turn over wash downstairs. 5 more loads.
Total Spent: 7.50
Waiting for prescription lice shampoo - won't be at pharmacy until 4:30.
Condition and comb through Clara's hair for second time. Half as many lice. Good sign. Still shuddering. While doing this Freya pours a liter of seltzer on the couch.
Make a late afternoon appointment for a lice-check at Clara's doctor. She won't be allowed to return to school without clearance from her doctor.
Bathe Clara again. Over the day I condition and comb and bathe Clara 2 more times. No lice.
Collect 5 loads of laundry and start folding. Somewhere in here the kids eat lunch and Freya naps.
3:00 - I get a car to take us to the doctor - I can't bear the idea of walking in the rain after the day I've had.
Car to and from Doctor: 13.56
Get to doctor - sign in - Clara is cleared. Doc says to use prescription shampoo in a few days to make sure nothing was missed. Pay co-pay.
Total Spent: 25.00
Got to pharmacy near my house - a coupon bring the cost of the prescription shampoo down from 50.00 to 10 dollars.
Total Spent: 10.00
Get home. Make dinner, Clean up. Put kids to bed, all the while scratching my head worrying about phantom lice.
So, thank you, little winking louse, for irrevocably altering the trajectory of my day. Thank you for reminding us that the tiniest thing can change the course of our lives. I hope you're enjoying lice heaven.
Grand Total: 116.56.
And thank you to Clara - who totally kept it together and never cried once.
|That blanket got washed too.|