Sunday, February 7, 2010

We've been doing a lot of this:

I was doing the daily-cuddle-with-Reuben-so-he-will-be-pleasant on Tuesday. He started scratching his head, so I start looking, maybe there was dry skin, I thought. Well, there was something. Little tiny white things stuck real good to individual strands of hair, and little tiny shiny brown things on his scalp that were pretty hard to get off, and even harder to figure out what they were. Then I got to above his ear, and the brown things were bigger.

Then the internet research began.

Head lice.

Floods of horrible-mother feelings overwhelmed me. The fact that my sweet boy got head lice, and I let it happen. Reuben has this requiring nightmare about Dead Bug. "He's a bug, and is alive, but he is dead so you can't kill him, and he is scary, and mean, and a bad bug, and he eats you." Reuben is terrified of Dead Bug. He has to have the light on in a room before he will enter to make sure Dead Bug isn't in there. Now, his poor head had swarms of bugs EATING HIM!

I checked Simeon's head, nothing. I checked Justin's head, dandruff. I had Justin check my head. His exact words were, "I can't tell, your hair just falls out." I didn't sleep that night because my scalp itched. I canceled preschool at my house so we wouldn't pass it on. I sent Justin out to buy the shampoo. We stripped the beds. I posted on the Mommy's Google group so they would know to check. I had Justin check for reals, I was clear.

Then I found out that lice is one of those things like problems with nursing, and miscarriages. Something that happens to plenty of people, but no one ever talks about it until you are going through it.

From what I can tell he picked it up on the train or a bus, and from what I can tell I think I got them. I comb his hair with those little lice picks every day. We'll see next week if I really did. It is GROSS. And, while I am still embarrassed that it happened to us, I had to post it because people need to know that this isn't some rare thing and it doesn't mean that you are a bad mother. (I'm hoping that maybe I can convince myself of that.)


New York Nelsons said...

You're not a bad mom, for sure! It happens! I hope we can avoid it, but know that it is very common.

Reno said...

Last week, my boss hung up the phone, stood up, and announced to the office, "I have to run out for a few minutes. My children have head lice."

It was so not a big deal to her... apparently it happens once every couple of years to her kids. They deal with it and then it's gone.

It TOTALLY happens all the time - and to perfectly tidy, perfectly perfect mothers.

sallysue said...

I had lice. When I was around 8.
I visited my cousin who had gotten it from soneone at school.
I just remember the stinky shampoo. And those stinky combs. And that we couldn't go to four corners. :(
But I survived.
And it most definitely was not my mother's fault.

Dani said...

Thanks for coming out on this one so I won't feel as ashamed when it happens to my kids. I had it a couple times as a kid. Gross and embarrassing.

Jessica said...

Yuck! I'm proud of you for not throwing up on his head or anything though.

Lisa Brown said...

Just reading this is making me itch. I am so sorry!!! The craziest thing I learned about lice (we had an outbreak when I was teaching school) is that they like clean hair the best.

Kay Jones said...

One of my daughters got head lice when she was about 5 or 6 (she's over 40 now) We never did figure out where she got it, but we went through the special shampoo and comb bit. It was upsetting, and like your reaction, I felt that I'd been a bad mother, until the doctor told me otherwise. Good mothers, like you, clean up the head! Good luck on this!

Sandy M. said...

I remember the FIRST time Tammy had them! She had just started school. I was so horrified, I washed ever linen in the house through a hot wash, scrubbed everything in sight and applied head lice treatment to the hair of everyone in the family. (It was expensive and we didn't have much money but THIS was URGENT.) I was so horrified that I kept my hair treatment in all day (instead of the 20 minutes dictated by the instructions) - so that by the time put my head under the water in the shower it burned like crazy - I had actually burned off several layers of skin. My head was peeling off large pieces of dead skin for two weeks!

Ahh, the memories! You're not alone Brecken :)


ps We had them lots of times after that. Just letting you know :) And - in case there is any doubt - our home and children were always hospital-trained squeaky clean.
It does just happen. Have a nice day!

johnjen said...

The "lice scare" has gone through the elementary school that our kids go to several times. Thankfully, I've never had to experience the fun of cleaning up my kids hair. You're not a bad mother! Just like we can't help our kids getting viruses...lice is the same thing! ;)