Sunday, November 18, 2007

This one will make you scratch your head...

Seriously. It will. I am not kidding... you won't be able to help yourself.
My friend Cathy told me I needed to update my blog, so here I go.

I know I've been neglecting my blog, but I do have a good reason. Sarah received a most UN-welcome birthday present from one of her classmates. Head lice. (And at that, how many of you readers are just reactively scratching your head?)

I have lived in this town for 19 years, and all of my kids have attended the local elementary school. I have had at least one child in the school every year during that time. Often two, and occasionally three. Every year in the fall, there comes a notice home one week that a child in the school has head lice. This is the first time in all those years I ever remember the notice coming home every week for a few weeks. In 19 years, none of my kids have gotten them. Until 2 days after Sarah's birthday. The call came from the school nurse just after 10am. "Hi Kei, this is Deb (the school nurse). As you know, we've been dealing with head lice in school for a few weeks now, and there are a few classrooms that I've been checking daily. I just checked Sarah, and I found 2 on her scalp. You'll need to come get her. I'll check William's hair before you get here." Hmmm... okay, after I get over being mortified, I remembered that at some point during the night, William got up and crawled into bed with Sarah and spent the remainder of the night sleeping snugged up with her on her pillow.

I got to the school and the nurse came into the office to give me the CDC handout about lice. She said she checked William, and there are no signs of any on him. She had checked Sarah the day before and she had no signs of lice. Sarah's classroom is one that she has been checking daily. I brought Sarah home, she took a shower & shampooed her hair, then I checked through her hair as I blow-dried it. I found 2 live buggers. I had never seen one before in my life. IN MY LIFE!!! Ew ew ew. Afterwards I slathered her hair with olive oil... thoroughly, put it up in a little bun, then put a shower cap on her. I rounded up all the bed linens and pillows... hers, William's & ours. Sarah's stuffed animals went into a big plastic bag, sealed, and labeled 'quarantine'. The laundry was piling up.. I laughed as I walked into the laundry room ~ it was piled up to my chest... pillows, sheets, blankets, comforters, clothes, towels. I was very thankful for having the 'sanitize' setting on our washer. Then I vacuumed the carpets and sofas.

Sarah was a great sport during all this, and we set out to learn more together. Google 'truth and myths about head lice' for some great resources. She said a number of kids had been out of her class with head lice. Mostly the girls. After about 8 hours of the olive oil treatment, we shampooed her hair with tea tree oil shampoo, followed by tea tree conditioner. Afterwards I combed through her hair and found one dead lice. She went to bed that night on nice clean sheets~ but I was still only a third of the way through the laundry pile. I checked her hair early the next morning (I had checked William's head the night before & found no signs of little buggers), found no signs of lice. I checked William's hair again, found nothing and sent them both off to school.

When Sarah came home after school that day, she said she had gone directly into the nurses' office first thing in the morning, checked thoroughly and then off to her classroom. For the next week, I checked Sarah and William twice a day, morning and night. I also checked Robert & me. I had gotten a lice/egg comb, which did find some eggs in Sarah's hair. They were so much tinier and darker than I thought they'd be. I always put Sarah's hair in a ponytail in the morning before sending her off to school. After several days of no signs of lice, eggs or nits, I finally felt confident enough to check once a day. Meanwhile, Sarah still has a classmate who keeps getting sent home after the nurse checks. This is going on a month of dealing with this at school. The nurse keeps sending notices home, that with everyone's cooperation, we can get rid of these critters once and for all. It will just take committment from the parents to thoroughly check their own child's (children's) hair daily. Until those notices stop coming home, I know I'll be diligent checking my kids.

The time together during checks has been fun though. Sarah & I have had some pretty interesting discussions, from fun things like Webkinz to serious topics like how some people being biased against people with disabilities. I have to say~ Sarah is a pretty amazing open-minded person. She has such a pure heart.

So that's what's been keeping me busy. I did need a day of 'shop' therapy though, after doing all that cleaning and laundry.