Of Lice and Little Girls

When I dropped the girls off at school on Friday, I got a notice from Poppet’s teacher that gave me chills.

Of Lice and Little Girls

I had lice a couple of times when I was a child. I remember foul-smelling shampoo, and sitting still while my mother combed through my hair with that fine-toothed comb. I remember feeling somewhat jealous of my brothers, whose lice treatment was as quick and easy as a shaved head, although I lacked the courage to tell my dad to shave mine too.

As I absently said goodbye to Poppet while reading the notice, her classmate Cowboy came to greet her. Cowboy’s head was shaved, leading me to believe that Lice Patient Zero was right in front of us.

My one hope was that Poppet had been absent on Lice Day, so I tried not to feel too stressed out about it. “She doesn’t have lice,” I said when I got home, dropping the notice onto the dining room table.

But I couldn’t help playing the scenario out in my head.

Poppet has gorgeous, waist-length, thick curls. The thought of combing through all that hair to look for lice and nits made me want to cry. Poppet freaks out when I tell her she’s having a haircut; there’s no way I would ever convince her to shave her head.

When I fetched the girls from school that afternoon, Pixie’s teacher handed me an identical letter.

I checked the girls’ heads that night, and the next morning, and the next night. No lice, but there was still a sense of vague panic lurking in my belly.

Of Lice and Little Girls

On Sunday morning, just before we left for church, I noticed small white flecks in Poppet’s hair. Cue: Freak Out.

As I tried to investigate Poppet’s head without messing up her hairstyle (because: church in ten minutes) I may have raised my voice as I asked, “WHAT IS ON YOUR HEAD?”

She huffed. “Pixie poured salt on me.”

Salt.

The relief I felt in that moment – Salt!

Later, I noticed Pixie had glitter in her hair. “Poppet did it,” she said. “Now I’m a princess.”

On any other day, the girls would have been in trouble, but in the wake of the Lice Scare of 2015, I let them get away with it.

Have you had to deal with lice yet?