Some of you know we've been dealing with a fairly scary-ass (generic-style) parenting experience: nits and lice. I am loathe to type those words, but I feel the need to explode the myth. Plus, I need to vent. And then brag.
In brief, urban schools are rife with the problem. I mean, when I was growing up, no one had it. But now it goes around and around and it's very stressful, if ubiquitous. M managed to avoid it for 9 years. Since the summer, she's come down with it twice. The first time she caught it at camp. That episode was resolved reasonably quickly by the Lice Squad (no joke, keep this number on hand - best $250.00 I ever spent). The second time, recently, has been more difficult to quash. Not only was the case more advanced by the time we discovered it, but M's very silky, long and fine (yet plentiful) hair is extremely challenging to comb effectively. And then there's the fact that her hair is the same colour as nit casings (ooh, nice!). We've gone up and down, investing dozens of hours (a couple every other day) for the last month. And while we're sure the problem is licked, every second time she's checked (just to make it interesting), they find some kind of empty nit casing.
Pls. note: The vast likelihood is that it is simply a remnant of the problem we killed a month ago. And yet, every time they find anything of any description, we're back to square one on the "treatment" and hours of cleaning and worrying. Not to mention the mean (if prudent) isolation of our little kid.
Well, a couple of day's ago, on the heels of another nit-sighting, I lost it. I decided, unilaterally, unquestionably, we were cutting the hair off - and getting it coloured. Note: Less hair means less combing (if it manages to be inevitable) and nits can't really land in colour-processed hair - which is why mothers get them so rarely and daycare workers all have nice dye-jobs.
Before you suggest - as my mother did - that a) it won't necessarily resolve the problem and b) it will traumatize the child and c) only crazy Hollywood people have the hair of their children of single-digit age dyed - you live through a month of working 9 hour days, commuting, getting home, doing homework while making dinner, combing out hair of frustrated and tired child under fluorescent lives of kitchen for 90 minutes, checking your own hair, heat drying bedding, vacuuming furniture, boiling instruments and starting all over again 2 days later.
Seriously, it was the action of last resort.
M did not like to hear about the plan at first. There were tears. Then I reminded her about how we'd save hours a week in combing and finish this problem once and for all. She said she wanted blond hair. (Truly, I'd have said yes to pink hair at this point.) Over the walk home, our negotiations yielded tenuous agreement and a detente.
The next day, she brought her American Girl catalogue to the salon. She asked to look like Kit Kittredge:
Poor thing was itching like crazy under the plastic hair cover. All I could think was, if there's anything living on that scalp - it won't be for much longer! Then we had the moment of truth with the cut. M was very complicit having seen her fab new colour - which was not as blond as she would have made it a) because I felt that was unnecessary processing and b) because I'm not interested in Hollywood-style upkeep, nor do I think a 9 year-old should look like Marilyn Monroe unless that's the way God made her. FYI, this is her hair colour bleached 2 shades lighter - which turns out to look more strawberry than blond.
Shiny, shorn result...
That cute little face doesn't look traumatized. Don't you agree?