Oh, the excitement of school pictures –a sliver of one’s youth immortalized by a mediocre photographer. School pictures made me anxious as a child and still do even though my only role is to cut a check and send my kids to school nicely coiffed. My anxiety culminated when I was flat-ironing Claire’s hair (okay, I’m that mom) and discovered a louse.
WHAT is this? Then it clicks as I remember the letter we received from the school nurse last week.
Head Lice. On school picture day. Nice. Not wanting to alert Claire of my panic, I continue to iron her hair as I assess the situation. I excavate three live lice and I hope the heat from the iron destroys any nits. I send her into the kitchen where her dad is preparing breakfast. As she walks ahead of me, I flag him and pull him into the bathroom for an emergency conference.
Me: Claire has lice.
Him: What do you mean Claire has lice?
Me: What do you mean what do I mean? Claire. Has. Lice.
I realize that I am wasting valuable time and I abort the useless discussion. I immediately check Edwin’s head. Clear. I head to the twins’ room. I check Cate’s head. Clear. I check David. Damn. Another man down. This is not our first battle with lice, so luckily I remember the drill. Quickly, I develop a plan and the deployment begins.
Unnamed Husband brings Edwin to school while I feed the twins and dress Cate. I strip all of the beds and begin washing sheets, blankets and comforters. I fire up the dryer filled with about 20 stuffed animals and load all of brushes and combs in Ziploc bags. I then realize that my hair is wet and I have no brush. I quickly scavenge through the house and find an unused American Girl doll brush. I finish getting ready while trying to avoid thinking about the pile of work I was supposed to do today. Unnamed Husband returns from the drugstore with the least toxic of the toxic combat chemicals.
As directed, I wash Claire’s hair. Wait 10 minutes. Rinse. Wash with Dawn dish soap — that wasn’t in the directions but I remember it worked for Lucy’s fleas. Desperate times, desperate measures. I then begin the process with David. Wash. Wait. Wash. All the while, he screams. Then begins the fun part – nit-picking. Hence the colloquial term, nit-picking is so tedious that it took me almost two hours to finish. I call the school nurse and recount our morning. She tells me that once the treatment is complete she can return to school.
We arrive at school just before lunch and just in time for school pictures.