Chances are good the children will bring something else home with them. It is the dreaded “L” word — lice.
So what do you do? Reactions vary. Many parents of head lice infested children cry. If they are of that persuasion, many say ugly words. One mom I know thinks this situation merits going to bed, getting in the fetal position and sucking her thumb.
Although I know more than a few parents who have battled and won the war against bugs in their child’s hair, I will let them remain anonymous. Personally, I think they are supermoms, but they even whispered when they told me about it.
So what do you do when you see lice laying eggs — they are called nits — and turning summersaults in little Magnolia’s or Ferdinand’s hair?
Most are too embarrassed to ask friends or family members for advice. That is a dead giveaway. Although you claim you are asking for a “friend,” you are afraid they might see through you and the truth will be out — YOUR CHILD HAS LICE.
The word will circulate in the neighborhood that you are a nasty housekeeper and bad parent. Although your children got lice from their children, the neighbors will herd their children inside and lock the door if they see you coming.
There is one book someone believes should be required reading for all mothers. She read it herself when her children had lice. I will not divulge her name because I do not want her to have to sit by herself at meetings of the PTA. It is “Bugs in my Hair” by David Shannon.
In that book you can read all you need to know about head lice and nitpicking. It gives advice on how to get rid of them. Let me be quick to say you do not want to try everything it suggests. After all, having your child walking around with his head in a giant mayonnaise jar might be considered child abuse. You might even find yourself in jail with cellmates who keep scratching their heads.
Shaving the hair of everyone in your house might work.
Many of us have a well-loved hairdresser. Do not, I repeat, do not, take your lice infected head or those of your children to the beauty shop.
That might cause their business to be shut down temporarily until major work using gallons of disinfectants is done.
Even the bravest in the hair dressing business might need to go to bed, get in the fetal position and suck their thumb, too.
It does not work either to leave the lice feasting on your children’s blood and declare they just have dandruff. Lice are not suicidal. You must do something to get rid of them.
About 60 years, ago a high school teacher told members of the class of 1956 at Sparta High that most of the jobs we would have did not exist at that time. She was a wise lady.
Do you recall the movie “Ghostbusters?” When someone discovered their house was haunted, they called a business named Ghostbusters.
Now, there are companies that employ professional nitpickers. Honest to goodness, you can find them right here in Cherokee County. They will come to your house in unmarked vehicles, kill the critters and their soon-to-hatch eggs and counsel with you about ridding your house of lice without burning it down.
If you are gifted in making lemonade when life give you lemons, when your children have lice, you might get a reality TV show. You could teach the viewing audience how to identify head lice, the fine art of nitpicking, how to treat people with lice and how to avoid getting them.
Just think, you and your family might become as well known and beloved as Mama June, Sugar Bear and Honey Boo Boo.
One of the most important things for you to remember from this column and “Bugs in my Head” is to not throw away the ammunition you used to make your family and household lice free.
You will need it again when a new family of lice moves in.
Now for a quick question. How many times have you scratched your head while you read this column?
Marguerite Cline is former mayor of Waleska.