Still Jealous?

Carla: So last week I was away from my family for about 30 hours. I went to my parents’ house for a little gathering of my beloved aunties and a few girls cousins, then spent the next morning and part of the afternoon sitting by the lake, soaking up the sun, reading a book, and generally reveling in being alone. I mentioned this on Facebook and Caryn of course flipped me the virtual bird. Can’t say I blame her. I would have done the same thing.

However, I returned home to a situation that more than makes up for my brief holiday. Misery, thy name is Head Lice. That’s right. Lice.

In 12 years of parenthood, this is our first bout of head lice and I pray with every ounce of faith I have that it is our last. If you’ve had it, you know that it perhaps the greatest bane of motherhood.

It isn’t even the ick factor that makes lice such a pain in the patootie. It’s the work. I have spent–and I’m not exaggerating here–a minimum of 4 hours a day hunched over my children, picking through their hair one strand at a time to remove nits. We’ve washed–again, no exaggeration–at least 20 loads of laundry in the last few days. And I’m still itchy.

While I think we are lice-free (Dear God please let us be lice free!), it will take me at least two months to feel like we have truly recovered. In my new favorite book, The Passion of the Hausfrau, author Nicole Chaison compares the battle of the Head Lice to one of the epic battles fought by the likes of Ulysses or Hercules. But honestly, I’ll take a run in with Harpies over lice any day. The kids can’t play with anyone, I feel like the whole house is a potential site of re-infestation, and we can’t even hug each other without suspicion.

I have no greater point here. However, if in two weeks we are still lice-less, I will share my then-foolproof method for irradicating lice in less than a week.

I hope you’re happy Caryn.

Caryn: Well, I’m just amazed that my “pox on your house” curse works from this far away! Normally, I’m only able to shoot it within the Chicagoland area!

Seriously, though, I am both sorry and horrified that this happened (not to mention wondering if I still do want to stay at your house during Christianity21 as we had once discussed….). And I totally hear you on the gross factor not being the biggest issues—but the added work.

Except for the 30-hour breaks that some of us get every now and again, I think most of our lives are pretty tightly strung. Not that we’re overly scheduled with park district activities or back-to-back playdates, but that for things to happen as they need to (dishes to get washed, laundry put away, deadlines met, etc.) we can’t have things happen that require 4 hours of literal nit-picking.

I know from a bit of experience this weekend alone—I could tell you about the huge bunny cage scrub this weekend that resulted from finding something unpleasant flying around inside. But we’ve had enough bug-talk for one post.

Anyway, I’m sorry this happened, Carla. And no, I’m not happy. Especially for your kids. Especially for you. Hope you stay lice-free and get a bit of your life back.

Maybe should we find out what are some of the other things of mommyhood that throw the Rev-ers off track and mess with their lives a bit? Make them crazier than usual?

Carla: I’ve gotten to the point where if something involves more than one step, it’s not going to happen. My eldest needs to go to the orthodontist for a pre-braces assessment. No big whoop. But making that appointment involves me finding the reminder card and/or trying to remember the name of the orthodontist and then looking up a phone number and then making the call and then looking at the calendar and thinking through which day a month from now will work best for us knowing full well I will end up having to move the appointment anyway because some immovable event that I don’t know about yet will fall on that same day. And that’s just more hassle than I have mental space for.

Thankfully I have plenty of days when neither vomit nor a flooded basement nor a lost dog nor any combination thereof can derail me. But other days the simple request for a play date feels like it will put me far, far beyond the edge. This time the lice hit us during a good run, but if those suckers come back in January, they have a pretty good chance of winning.

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