Monday, November 22, 2010

Pulling My Hair Out... Literally

Last week I noticed Fiona scratching her head. I took note, but tried not to worry about it too much. Then, the very next day I noticed her scratching her head again. I had a feeling of dread. That same feeling of dread that I have had before that some minor health issue was going to keep Fiona out of school and me out of work. And then I feel guilty because my daughter has a health issue and my bigger concern is that I'm missing work. But if the health issue was serious, of course my biggest concern would be my daughter. As a working parent, my biggest beef is that daycares keep kids home for every minor ailment - but that is a topic for another blog.

For now, let's redirect to the original topic, my daughter's scratching. A part of me almost wanted to keep it to myself, but I decided to do the right thing. When I dropped her off last Thursday I mentioned to the teacher that Fiona was scratching her head. The teacher didn't seem too concerned and told me they would check her. I hadn't even made it to work when my cell phone rang. I picked it up and got the horrifying news:

My daughter had head lice... Ick... Head lice... Ick...

When I was in school there was a stigma with head lice. Only the dirty kids got head lice... or so I thought. And truthfully, while I keep my kid's bodies and clothes clean, and I do clean their bed sheets frequently, honestly out of necessity because both of them, even Fiona at 3 1/2, make frequent messes in their sheets, the rest of my house is not all that clean. I am lucky if I manage to vacuum once every couple of weeks - and most people would be horrified that I let my 8 month old roll around on our carpet. But I'm keeping it real. Knowing about my aversion to vacuuming, I had to ask the teacher,

"Is there anything I could have done to prevent this?" Really, I didn't think I would have to deal with head lice until my kids got to the public school. I didn't think 3 1/2 year-olds got head lice.

"Lice doesn't mean she's dirty or anything," the teacher reassured me, "Lice is spread through head to head contact."

I was somewhat relieved, but still had the mortifying task of calling my boss to explain that I would miss work because of Fiona's head lice of all things.

To be continued...