Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lousy with Louses or Balding Gracefully

On Wee 'Burb's first day of her new daycare, I saw the dreaded note on the door. Parents of the center daycare will know what notice I am speaking of.

It's the infectious disease report, usually a one-page note letting you know one of the rhesus monkeys your toddler has been sharing spit-laden toys with has come down with some sort of plague.

Given it was her first day there, I didn't pay much attention until I caught another look at it.


When I was growing up, lice was like herpes. Every girl dreaded getting it, and we all avoided talking about it as long as possible if we got it.

For half of my life, I had hair down to my butt. Thick, beautiful hair. Thick beautiful hair that I didn't want to lose.

For you see, my first experience with lice was when it made its way through my elementary class, somewhere around third or fourth grade. The dreaded note came out and my mother did her usual check, and all was clear.

The next day I went to school. There were two girls, sisters, who I was sort of mildly friends with. Inasmuch as I was friends with anyone at that age. I was painfully shy and withdrawn.

Anyway, we'll call them the M Sisters.

The M Sisters were on the playground, being actively avoided by the other kids. I approached and then took a step back.

The M Sisters were BALD! Their newly shorn pates shining brightly in the sun. The M Sisters were possibly the whitest kids in our school. They were borderline grey. Their naked scalps were nearly transparent.

You guys? They did NOT have lice!! Their mom just freaked out so much given this was the third or fourth outbreak of lice, she took preventive action. By shaving their heads.

From that day on, any time a letter came home about lice I would sob hysterically while my mom checked me, positive that my luscious locks would be shaved as soon as one of those egg sacks was found.

Thank God it never happened (and my mom assured me years later, she NEVER would have shaved my head).

But to this day, when I see the word "lice" I immediately grab my hair protectively, positive someone will show up with a razor and leave my scalp exposed.

Do you think shaving a head is kind of crazy? Have you had to deal with these infectious outbreaks? Has your child ever been Patient Zero on any of these? Do you admit it? Are you itchy now just thinking about it?


Sparkling said...

It sure is better than soaking their heads in kerosene like they did in the old days. I never had lice and always wondered how people would get it because I never saw anyone sharing hair brushes, which is how they always told us it would spread. Every so often in the middle school where I teach, they will do a lice check because someone has it, but they are really dumb about it. By middle school, a kid doesn't spend the whole day with just 24 other kids. They have different kids in each class. But the nurse only checks the kids in that kid's homeroom. Really DUMB, if you ask me!

Bonnie@TheFragileXFiles said...

OMG! I can't believe she shaved their heads and then sent them off to school like everything was ordinary! And yes, I'm itchy now.

The Woven Moments said...

There are a LOT of things I do that I have to put a dollar in the therapy jar for. Gratefully, shaving my kids' hair is not one of them. I mean seriously. WTF?

Julie @ Pickles and I Scream said...

Oh, no I'm super itchy and skeeved out! Luckily that's one plague that we have not experienced with daycare yet. But if we ever do I would never consider shaving my poor babies head!

SmartBear said...

Oh, that is just so sad! I had a group of siblings I worked with whose mother did the same thing to all the kids because she couldn't get rid of the lice and nits. Even the little broke my heart.
That sign has been on my son's door. Did you know they sell PREVENTATIVE shampoo? I will have to get the brand for you. If you start using it when there is an outbreak in the class, it keeps them at bay. After that, you can use it once a week or so, just in case.
P.S. Yes...I am itching!

Rach (DonutsMama) said...

I cannot believe their mother did that. That is awful. You know, they have this comb you can use now--no icky chemical-y shampoo required either.

Charlotte said...

Uhm, yes. I think it's TOTALLY TOTALLY nuts. But the thought of head lice just also made me itch all over.

Aleta said...

Never had lice, thank God. But I remember the checks at the school. If there was one case, all the kids had to go see the nurse.

Mads said...

Sick! I am itchy!

I can't remember a lice outbreak in elementary school, but I definitely would have remembered two bald girls. Absolutely bizarre.

Erica@PLRH said...

Yes! I'm itchy!! Thanks a lot.

There was a lice outbreak in my nieces' school this spring. The girls got lice and so did my sister. We opted not to go to their house for Memorial Day.

Kat said...

Oh dear Lord. I feel like this is the sort of thing that you could call into KDWB with. And yes, my elementary school-aged mind would have wandered in the exact same direction as yours.

When I worked at Girl Scout Camp as a lifeguard, we had to do the lice checks and check-in and I was so scared that we would find someone with lice, because what if the little beasts could jump from their hair to mine?!

Amanda @ It's Blogworthy said...

Yeah, totally itchy now! Shaving a childs head is crazy and unnecessary. Who does that? Their mom prob nevertheless thought it would cause such a lasting impression. We never got that sign bc our daycare sucked :)

Mama Spaghetti said...

Wow...shaving the head seems a little excessive. But then again, lice totally creep me out. Thanks for giving me something else to look forward to as my kid grows up!

Kristen said...

haha, lice is such a gross thing! Thankfully I've never had and neither have my kids (knocking on wood right now)..... We had a patient once who had lice & scabies.... talk about putting a full head to toe protective gear before going in that room, and then STILL feeling like you needed to bathe in bleach when you left it! gross!