The 2nd Grade Head Lice Dilemma & Other Tales

The Wet brush - best detangling hairbrush -

It was 1993 and the summer in between sixth and seventh grades when I first went to sleepaway church camp for the first time. There the youth group engaged in tons of church (naturally), playing ping pong, gender-segregated swimming, lots of checking out the opposite sex (naturally), and the usual amount of dorm hazing. In short, it was glorious to a newly minted teenager.

Until about midway through the week when the girl who was bunking next to me was found sobbing in the hallway. “They say I have headlice, but I DON’T.” I patted her back, oblivious, eyeing her head. But all the girls had smooshed the bunk beds in the back corner to make one big mattress area, and I didn’t think twice about it.

However. This conversation immediately came to mind a few weeks later as I found a bug crawling in my hair. Ummm, what? Upon closer inspection, there were bugs! In my hairbrush! Huh? My mom’s face when I told her is something I will never forget. And that was the beginning of the ultimate horrific experience of my young life. I sobbed in the shower as my mom scrubbed my head raw and was convinced that I’d pretty much be the laughingstock of the entire junior high, where also resided the meanest 8th grade boys you’ve ever seen in your life (aren’t they all?). My mom sagely told me not to tell a living soul, so I heeded that advice and didn’t breathe a word of it.

(Aren’t you glad you aren’t in junior high anymore? There is nothing more angsty than a seventh grade girl. NOTHING.)

So imagine the PTSD that sprung up in me when Jude’s school sent out the email that the second grade has been hit hard with lice. The kids are dropping like flies, getting called to the office for inspection.¬†Seventh grade me that’s buried deep down inside pretty much died of embarrassment at the thought of it.

Internet, parenthood ain’t for wimps. I may or may not have been obsessively combing Jude’s hair nightly like a mother monkey picking the bugs off her young as well as fastidiously inspecting my own scalp and scratching anytime I think about the nasty little critters. And loads of texting with my girlfriends about the awfulness of it all.

All I can say is this: thank goodness for mothers.

And also anxiety drugs.

Because PTSD from 7th grade summer camp lice.


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