I had always equated nits (head lice if you’re nasty) with John Hughes-era, backwoods elementary schools in dirt-road Appalachia. I mean, really, who gets lice?
About three weeks ago, just as school was about to end for the year, Cole mentioned that his head was itchy. As this coincided with the first days of a Southern Summer, I chalked it up to sunburned scalp. Just a week ago, he had his mop cut into a smooth, swim-friendly cut. The hairstylist clearly didn’t notice his head was, uh, apparently home to parasites.
How did we not know? Well, because you don’t know what you, uh, don’t know? He never complained of itching, sans twice in three weeks. I would have never even thought to look. Until we thought to look.
Tonight the kid has suffered through my cleaning mania, which is far more focused on the child than on the house. I find my own behavior a tad uncharacteristic, because I have a tendency toward obsession in terms of a clean home. The way I look at it, though, is that the bugs don’t live for long when not lovingly attached to a head, so fix the kid, fix the house. That translated to an hour and a half spent in the bathroom, first washing his hair with tea tree oil, then with Nix®, followed by the gel and a metal fine-tooth comb. He was a trooper, shedding just a few tears from the initial pull of the comb. At 10pm, he is asleep, his head clean but coated with a big-ass glob of Pantene hair mask and olive oil, in a hopeful attempt to get the last of those fuckers. And while I write here, relatively safe on a leather couch, Matthew washes all manner of bed and furniture coverings, God bless him.
It’s nasty business.
Funny thing, though. As much as it’s a giant pain in the ass, I am not… freaking out (much). It’s unpleasant, yes. It’s tedious, mmhm. But in the mammoth vastness of bad potentialities, this is small potatoes. And for the first time in a week or more, Cole and I had a quiet conversation. As I combed through the gel plastered to his hair, inch by excruciating inch, we talked.
Am I saying it’s been a blessing? Hell no. But I’m saying that sometimes it takes a little inconvenience to slow me down and jar me into awareness. Cheers, universe.