Friday, January 9, 2009

As The Scalp Itches

"Dad," Thing 2's voice whimpers from the answering machine, "my head is really itchy and it won't stop. Can you come pick me up? Call me back at school."

You, undoubtedly, have read or heard about parents who develop momentary superhuman strength to be able to free their trapped children by dead lifting tractor-trailers or Thomas Pynchon novels. Yet in this instance, I am simply unable to simultaneously grab the receiver before my boy hangs up and Google "lice."

After a good guttural scream normally reserved for Mets' bullpen collapses and phone calls from my Mom (after she's been put on mute, of course), I ring the school. Meanwhile, images like these flood my computer screen:

close up of hair with head lice
I immediately regret not washing down breakfast with the surplus holiday eggnog I found in the basement fridge.

(Have you developed phantom itches yet? Don't worry, you will. Keep reading.)

The school receptionist says Thing 2 has left the office. Nice. My boy is undoubtedly rubbing his creepy crawly head against every finger painting and essay on Martin Luther King Jr. on display in the hallways at this moment.

Maybe this will make it easier for me to beg out of the spring bake sale?

"Could you track him down and have him call me back. Kinda important," I tell to her.

I run upstairs and strip the sheets off the bed. My bed. The one the little parasite-toter staggered into about 3 a.m. I hope I have bleach. Or a gallon of Tabasco. Could I Ben Gay the bastards?

The phone rings.

"Dad …"

"Little Dude, don't move," I say. "Do. Not. Move. Do not touch anything or anybody. I will be there in five minutes."

When I arrive, he's seated in the front office. He's wearing a Corbin Blue concert T-shirt, coat on his lap, Spider-Man backpack at his feet, his face red and glowing with sweat.

But he's very, deathly, still.

"Grab your stuff. Quickly."

We make it to the Minivan of Manliness, missing the villagers wielding torches and cans of Raid.

"Dad, why is there a garbage bag on my car seat?"

"Hold on," I say, "I've got one for you to slip over your entire body."

Once home, I consider dangling him by the ankles into the icy heap remaining on my porch from other day's snowfall. That is not a recommended treatment for lice, but Thing 2 doesn't know that and it would definitely improve my disposition.

Instead, I sit him down at the kitchen counter, fire up a 500-watt halogen light from my workshop and start scrutinizing every strand of hair on his oversize blond head.


Not a flake of dandruff nor even a stray green clover or blue moon marshmallow from breakfast.

"Does your head itch anymore?"

"No. It feels fine."

"What the Donavon Frankenreiter? Was this all a scam so you could come home early and play more Nintendo DS?"


Then it hits me.

"When was the last time you showered?"

"I don't know."

"Were you at recess right before your head started itching?"


I take him upstairs and start the shower. While I fetch the shampoo and conditioner, Mr. Monk will fill you in:

monk explains it all
Now, smelling of coconut Sauvé, I help Thing 2 towel dry. I kneel and look him squarely in the eye.

"Dude, I don't want you to be the stinky kid at school that no one plays with and everyone makes fun of. You need to shower at least twice a week. And, for crying out loud, we've had this talk before, put on clean underwear and socks every morning. Recycling is not an option for underclothes."

"OK, Dad. I love you."

He didn't say the last three words. But I'm hoping he'll realize the need to someday.


  1. lol... needed to come home to shower. sounds like my boys!

    glad it wasnt the plague! i mean... lice!

  2. Glad it was a false alarm or I would have had to burn my computer screen. Even so, I feel the need for a "Silkwood" shower 'cause my head is starting to itch...

  3. I live in great fear of lice. And yes, now I'm start to itch all over! Last night while I was snuggling the littlest bit, she started scratching her head and all I could think was "Oh dear God, please don't let it be lice!!" There was an outbreak at her school last year and I know that I would have to be institutionalized if I ever got the phone call. There aren't enough margaritas in Kansas to cover that mess!

    On the other note, my 7 year old did announce on her way out the door one day this week that she was wearing the same socks she'd had on the last two days. Great mom that I am, I just went with it -- I was glad she had socks on.

  4. Hahahahahahaha =snort=

    But thanks for the lice education ...

  5. showering is a good thing...lice is not.

    even the cleanest kids can get it...though.

  6. You ever want to know how it really goes down when you get The Call, lemme know.

    Also, lice hate coconut shampoo.

    Just sayin'.

  7. Funny. But only cuz he didn't have lice. This suckers are HARD to get rid of. Although Ben Gay seems like a pretty good weapon!


  8. Apparently lice runs rampant in English schools. I have already been warned by two mothers at my daughters school. I swear if she brings it home I will burn all her clothes and sheets and start fresh.

  9. Boy and bathing? Why is this so hard?

    When Thing2 hit 12 yrs old, showering twice a week is just not going to cut it.

    Nice proactive behavior on your part though!

  10. Here's a glimpse into last night at my house:

    Me: "You boys need to get cleaned up tonight. Things smell funky around here."

    (insert appropriate dance break here since I used the word 'funky')

    Oldest Son (aka - When Will He Ever Realize?!) - "I don't need to take a shower! I just took one!"

    Me: "When?"

    WWHER - "Three days ago...I think."

    (Sitcom spit take here)

    I predict that when laundry is done tonight, I'll also only have about three pair of underwear in his pile for the week and a half. Seriously, boys can be so gross!

    (Not you, of course)

    Finally, I'm knocking on wood because we've gone this far in academia and never had a lice issue. I really think there should be an award given out for that fact at when you graduate high school.

  11. Glad it wasn't lice, but there are other issues that can cause general itching (and not restricted to the head)...bed bugs! Yuck! and double yuck!

  12. Glad I popped over. Read your comment on another blog and thought I'd take a peek. Thanks for making me simultaneously itch and giggle.

  13. ewwwwwwwwww. did you really have to include a close-up?

    dealing with lice sucks. be grateful.

    on the other hand, you could just shave their heads, kinda like "preventive care". think of the money you'd save on haircuts.....

  14. That's funny s**t right there. Over react much? :)

    I thought for sure that first pic was one of your son's scalp. Horror movie quality.

  15. It's a good thing you caught this right now. Last thing you need is a "Pig Pen" kid. Hard reputation to lose...

  16. As a smoker (how could I NOT know already, save the lecture) I have a bad sense of smell. But last night when my 2 year old nephew wriggled all over my lap while watching vids I shot of him in New Years Eve there was some definite funk going on there. Then to top it off, he tooted on me. I almost fell out of the chair. Boys.

  17. LOLOL! Love it

    (Dad, why is there a garbage bag on my car seat?"
    "Hold on," I say, "I've got one for you to slip over your entire body.)

    I had a hairdresser refuse to cut me and my best friends hair back in 1988, the girls stood away yelling at us to get out we had lice. My mom was mortified, bought us lice chemicals in a can which was probably ddt.

    As it turns out it was 1988. And we used an abundance of aquanet on our hair, and as any girl knows when aquanet, a hairbrush and water get lots of white shit.

    i never felt like such a lepper in my life

  18. Lice = ick.

    Dry scalp = thank God(dess)

  19. Holy crap, dude! You are almost as bugaphobic as me! This post had me rolling!

    So glad that it wasn't really lice!

  20. According to my extensive research, lice like clean children. Maybe not showering isn't such a bad thing.

    And that first picture...where did you get that? I will surely have nightmares.

  21. I was totally scratching phantom itches.

    I'm going to have to bathe Ethan first thing tomorrow. And I'm off to shower the heebie geebies away right now.

  22. I so feel your anguish!! We have been through two rounds of de-licing since starting school. You are not alone. It is an epidemic here in Fairfield County. If that makes you feel any better. Sorry man.

  23. "When was the last time you showered?"

    "I don't know."

    Ah, boys!

    Also, dump a few drops of tea tree oil in the kids' shampoo. Lice are repelled by the stuff (apparently).

  24. First off, that damn picture is making me squiggly inside. Thanks for that. Secondly, bwahahahaa! Your kid is awesome.

  25. New to your blog, this is some hilarious stuff! Let me be the first to depress you. Thing 2's lack of showering may get worse before it gets better. I have a 13 year old that has to be told daily to bath, brush his teeth, change clothes, don't wear his clothes to bed then get up and go to school with same said clothes. He is beginning to "notice" girls, so I tell girl'd don't like boys who stink, wears the same clothes daily, or has green teeth. It is nice having company here in hell! LOL!

    BTW - I also have a yellow lab namde Brutus. They are the best!

  26. it's my first visit here - but i liked it SO much (despite those creepy crawly pictures!) that i shall return!

  27. Poor kid...however, NOW? I am feeling itchy from just having looked at those pictures. Curse you!

    I sat behind that stinky kid in the 8th grade, seriously, the memories never go away, so don't let him go unbathed.

  28. Dude. Gross. But not as gross as it could've been.

  29. Showers and playmates go hand in hand.

  30. Thanks Monk for breaking it down for me. And those creepy crawly pictures? They put me off eating (which is a good thing)!

  31. Excellent. Found you via Intrepid Tuesday - congrats on both this entry AND not having lice in the house!

  32. So I find you again! Five Friday has your essay on the Tuesday board and it is great! I remember the lice I had to fight with my daughter. I don't think she had it, but her friend did. Ugh. And sometimes my nephew is s little ripe...hahaha!

  33. So I find you again! Five Friday has your essay on the Tuesday board and it is great! I remember the lice I had to fight with my daughter. I don't think she had it, but her friend did. Ugh. And sometimes my nephew is s little ripe...hahaha!

  34. Laughed my ass off. Been there with both of my kids, worked in a day care for a time too and can honestly say that I always lived in dread of the day the school would call and say, "come get your kid".


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