So where did I leave off?
Oh, right… I was doing the happy dance, as I’d convinced myself that I’d managed to save my son’s glorious hair from being taken over by the dreaded, intrepid head lice. We’d done two treatments. I’d become a serious nit-picker. In fact, any strand that had a nit on it would be extracted from his little head with a quick pluck, followed by an “Ow!” and was then flushed down the toilet. Buh-bye lice. We won!!
Or so I thought.
A few days after his second treatment, I was giving his head yet another once-over (always checking furiously) and instead seeing lots of super-glossy black hair, I was pretty sure I was finding more nits. More nits than the last time I checked, like an hour or so ago.
Each time I tried to unwind one of his little telephone cord curls, I would see two, four, six nits over here… and on the curl next to it over here… and then over there…
Oh god. Oh god. Oh god.
I had warned Oliver after his haircut, and again after the second treatment that if I kept finding nits, we might have to cut all his hair off. I explained this to him many, many times over the course of this plague that it was a possibility. Each time, his eyes welled up with tears that spilled over, and he’d bury his face in the crook of his arm, and sob. Sob, I tell you.
But. I. don’t. WANT! to. have. my. hair. cut…
I told him he’d still be handsome, and that it was only hair. That it would grow back. This didn’t help him feel better at all. Le sigh.
But, it had to be. It was the only solution I could see, other than spending hours and hours, combing and nit-picking and combing, and still with no guarantees they’d be gone forever… so it was the only way.
That evening I said he could have his pick of any dinner he wanted, and then afterwards, daddy and I would cut his hair for him. He decided on sushi. We ordered lots.
His hair looked like this:
I knew he’d cry during the process, but I still wasn’t prepared… I’ve never, ever seen him so upset before. Martin and I looked at each other, and kept trying to pep him up, telling him how great it was going to be! And how awesome he was going to look! And not to worry, darling boy, it will grow back!
He cried and cried and cried. My poor baby.
Ava Scarlett stood in front of him while he sat in the little chair, and put her hands on either side of his head and averred with all her two-and-a-half year old seriousness, “Issokay, Ol’ver! Don’ worry! Issokay! Don’ cry… you wan’ my blanket? You wan’ rabbit?” Cutest. Thing. Ever.
But it was when she offered up her thumb-sucking thumb to her inconsolable brother, taking it from her own mouth and trying to push it into his mouth that I had to turn my back and dab at my own eyes for a minute.
When it was all over, and he was cleaned up, and finished with all the crying, we all took a look at him and smiled. He looked splendid. Truly. (Though he wouldn’t let me get a picture of him until the following day, and even then, he balked.)
Martin and I shed a few tears after he went to bed. It was his second haircut actually, but it was still a first for us all. We hugged. And then we drank a lot of wine.
After his first day at school with his hairless head, he hugged me and nearly cried some more. He said he felt like some of his friends were laughing at him. I told him I was certain that they weren’t but that they were just really surprised at the change – after all, he looked REALLY different than he did the day before. How brave he was.
I think he felt very naked and exposed. And out-of-control about how people reacted to him. Some friends and neighbours gasped and looked positively SHOCKED when they saw him at first. I don’t think that helped much. (Though, it’s a natural reaction, I understand.) Others came to him and said things like, “Oliver, I think your haircut looks just awesome!” and he would smile, shyly. And I would thank them quietly with my eyes for their kindness…
At home, I hugged him, and stroked his suddenly-smaller, little head. It’s shaped just like mine, only a bit broader, like daddy’s. He hugged me back, and stroked my head likewise. We were tete-a tete. We were the same. He said he liked feeling the rain drops on his head earlier in the day.
So, the lice is gone at last. No one else seems to have it, thought I’m still watchful and checking anyone who so much as twitches anywhere above the ears. I will continue rub a few drops of lavender oil behind his ears and on the collar of his jacket in an effort to repel those nasty parasites, just as I did last year. (I understand tea tree oil is also an inhibitor.)
In any case, ’tis the time of year for surges of this kind of thing. I implore you to have a close look at your school-aged kids heads now and then. It’s not fatal or anything, but when it comes down to it, stigma or no, it’s really a gigantic pain in the ass to rid your household of. You do not want this pox on your house!!
The up side? His smaller head has opened up a whole new world of hats for this child! Sadly, the other awesome ones he’s been wearing are gigantic and rattling around on his tiny noggin, so I’ll be forced to go shopping and get the boy some new chapeaux before the chill is in the air for real. Besides, styling your kids right is important – I’m sure there’s a fedora out there with his name on it… I’ll post a pic when I find one!