Feeling Lousy

After decades of parenting, the vermin odds finally caught up with us. Lice have violated my child’s scalp.

We did once have a relative report that they were infested and we responded with shampoos and linen laundering, but bugs were never seen. This time, it was so horribly obvious that we immediately quarantined all of the offspring in a single room for insecticide shampoos while their bedrooms were stripped down. Everything that didn’t fit in the washing machine was sprayed and the de-funking activity didn’t cease until the house reeked and everyone was surly. Some were more surly than others.

The youngest child aka patient zero, was up several hours past his bedtime and the skin under his blond curls was raw from me repeatedly combing it. In an attempt to dry his tears and mine, I offered to let him sleep late instead of going to school in the morning. His response was not cheer, but relief. School is misery to him. Forced to stay in the classroom during daily recess to finish the work that he is too wiggly to complete during the many hours of worksheets, there is no joy in his school day and nothing he cares about missing. He fell asleep as I was tucking him in bed.

The next morning, he wisely remained in bed until his father left with the car that would have allowed a late school morning check-in. Dad didn’t approve of this day off from school. “He’s not sick. What will you write on the note?” “I will write that he was absent for personal health reasons.”

Once the transportation left without him, a calm child chirped about the house with sincere appreciation for a day off from school unaccompanied by the usual illness that removes the pleasure from such luxury. He was so chatty and cheerful that I didn’t have time to stop him when he zipped out the door to beat the mailman to the box.

“Why aren’t you at school today?”
“My hair is full of fleas!”

The mailman took off with a speed that I didn’t think was possible in one of those doorless old cars. I have avoided our mailman for the two weeks since that encounter and I think a few more weeks of distance are still needed… just to be safe.

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