Sunday night I noticed a sort of rash on the back of my 4 year old's neck. She has Grade A supersensitive skin and she'd been saying the day before that she was sweaty. I figured the rash looking area was heat rash or eczema. I figured I'd give it a day to see if it went away on it's own. Monday night it was looking scratched up thanks to fingernails that needed to be cut. But then she commented that her head was itchy. Not her neck. Her head. Like last week when she commented her head was itchy and I did what I thought was a paranoid spot check of the head. Right. Cue the chills running down my spine.
I immediately shoved that kid's head back under a lamp and did another spot check. Nothing was moving but there was stuff at the base of her neck. But that girl hates having her hair washed. It had been 2 or 3 days since it was washed. So I wasn't sure if it wasn't just "hair that needs to be washed" stuff or "Oh, my word we're infested let's shave everyone's head before the lice take over our existence" stuff. I'm a lice newbie. I've never even performed a lice check let alone seen actual lice. I wasn't sure I'd know it if I saw it.
So I did what any good mother would do in that situation. Scoured the internet, of course! By the time I was done I was half convinced the kid had scabies. But I talked myself down from the ledge and thought things looked better after we washed her hair. I even took the kid to the day care on Tuesday. I know. Merry Christmas, other parents with children at that day care! Although, technically, one of your kids gave it to mine so I'm kinda sorta not as sorry as I probably should be but whatever.
Tuesday night I nearly flipped my gourd when I discovered a moving organism on her head. After her brother had already gone to sleep. After I had no way to get to a store to buy any stuff to get rid of it. And way after that kid's mental breaking point. She passed out on her bed with the lights on so I decided to just let her sleep and work on the Infestation o' Lice in the morning.
Which would be today. Rather than overseeing the training I've been planning and coordinating at work for several weeks now, I was at home combing strand by strand through that kid's hair. That's after I bribed her with a Kit Kat bar to leave the RID shampoo on her head for ten minutes. The combing was the real ordeal though. My neck hurts just thinking about hunching over like that for an hour and a half. No really. She watched all of Cinderella while I was working.
I'm sure lice suck at any age, but I'd just like to say lice on a 4 year old is especially annoying. 4 is old enough to know your mom can't do much about your hair unless you agree to it but old enough to understand when something is going to suck big time. She also still fidgets and can't sit still for an hour and a half.
I let her wash and comb my hair first. That helped her start off pretty agreeable. She quickly decided it was taking too long though. By 30 minutes in I offering up a trip to Target to try on high heels to keep her seated. An hour in it was lunch out and letting her order lemonade like a big girl. And by the last 10 minutes when she had to look down the whole time and was crying off and on, I think ice cream got mentioned. It was rough. I'd have agreed to anything. All I could think about was how close we were to being done.
Which is remarkably naive since I discovered some nits behind her right ear while we were brushing her teeth tonight before bed. We're clearly not done. Because that means I either didn't do as good a job as I thought I did going strand by strand earlier today or I missed some surface in the house that needs to be submerged in scalding hot water. Either way, sucks to be me.
I'd love to provide a more in depth explanation about the myriad reasons why it sucks to be me today, but I've got to go crane my neck in the mirror to see if there's anything moving on my own head. Because the only thing worse than your husband out of town and unable to help hold your kid down while you do a lice check is the rampant paranoia inside your head that makes you think your head itches because there's no one to look for nits on your own head.