What’s a four-letter word that starts with ‘L’ and sends chills down our spines?
Recently there was a lice alert at our school. We got an email saying that our kids had been exposed to lice – but I didn’t know until the end of the school day if it was my child, or someone else’s child, who had the lice – so my heart was in my throat until I picked my kids up and they told me it was some other child.
I was so relieved. As you may know, we had lice last summer. Ever since then I’ve been a bit paranoid – checking my children’s heads regularly, combing them out twice weekly, always looking – because once you have lice, as a mom, it’s really hard to get over the whole experience. And I sure-as-shit do not want us all to go through that again.
I had to wonder why I was so worried about it being my kids – especially since I knew how to deal with it pretty efficiently. As I drove away, relieved, my children started babbling about which kids they thought it might be – and I hissed at them to stop talking about it, immediately.
“It doesn’t matter which kid has it,” I said.
Whoever they were, they were sent home and were being treated for it. I told my kids not to repeat the name of whoever they thought it was or to talk about this with other children. Why? Because that would be unfair to the child who has lice, and to the family. It also doesn’t help to treat the kid who has/had lice as a leper – the only thing that helps is to always practice good hygiene, to not share brushes, hats, helmets or barretts, and to not touch other kid’s hair whether it be through contact sports, sleepovers, and so on.
I only knew this because we had gone through it over the summer – and it is a terrible experience. I wouldn’t wish lice on any family.
I realized then why I was so on edge about it potentially being my kid: the sanctimommies. I dreaded feeling judged, whispered about, discussed, and having my children referred to as the ones who had lice.
Anyone can get lice. The cleaner the hair, the more likely you’ll have lice, as a matter of fact – because the nit will stick more easily to clean hair than it will to dirty hair. So it has nothing, nada, zero to do with your mothering or how clean or dirty you are. But for whatever reason, the myth that equates having lice with dirty habits is still perpetuated, and people still judge those who get it unfairly.
Except for me. I’m not gonna go there. Whoever it was who had lice – and I do not want to know who it was – my heart goes out to them, because it sucks. And one year, it could be my kids.