Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Hot Flashes? Really?

Last month during my yearly physical, the doctor seemed extremely surprised to find out I still had all my girlie parts. "Does my chart say I am 70 years old or 40?"

Around 2:30 AM I woke up. Why? I was unbelievably HOT! I pushed back my comforter and the blanket. Surely with outside temps going down to 16 degrees tonight I would be ok with just a top sheet right?

An hour later I was still awake. I was still too Hot. Oh my goodness! Could this be what hot flashes are like? Have I reached that “new” plateau in life? But I am only 40 years old. Shouldn’t this happen much, much later? I decide sleep is still necessary so I take a bath to cool off. This should work right? I tossed and turn and the more I thought about the “change of life” the more I worried and the hotter I became.

At 6:30 AM I give up. No point in trying to sleep now. I get up and get everyone else moving. When I let Pup out I was relieved by the burst of freezing air which rushed in the kitchen door. Ok, I cannot stand at the open doorway all morning. I will let all the heat out of the house. I can hear my father’s voice “We’re not paying to heat the whole outdoors.”

On my way out the door I fight the urge to leave the house coatless. As I passed through the living room I sort of glanced at the central air thermostat. Holey Cow! Who set the heat at 80 degrees?! No wonder I was hot!

Instead of yelling at my children I turned the heat back down to 72 and laughed it off. At least it wasn’t the change of life out to screw me up. It was my children making me feel old. Great way to start the day…relieved.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

What’s a Mother to Do? The Horror Continues…or Am I just Paranoid?

Thursday at lunch time it started to snow as I drove ManSon to work. School was closed but Snow White went to Daycare as usual in the morning. During lunch, on my way to drop ManSon off at work the Daycare called. “Momma’s World, we saw a bug in Snow White’s hair. You need to pick her up right away.” I look over at ManSon in the passenger seat and say “Am I awake or am I dreaming? This just isn’t possible.” He couldn’t believe it either. What in the world! I was so angry I could have spit nails!

I dropped off ManSon and went straight to the Daycare. I just could not believe there was yet another freaken bug! How can this happen over and over and over again? She had been lice free for 10 days. This is actually the longest length of time she has been lice free while attending both Daycare and school. When she was home for Thanksgiving and Winter breaks she was fine. I started having thoughts of taking her out of school and daycare forever. Maybe even shaving her head and letting her wear a wig too. No, no, that would not do. That would be like punishing Snow White and she has done nothing wrong.

I spoke with the Daycare director who informed me they had to spray all the coats around Snow White’s, vacuum and dust and pretty much do a good deal of housekeeping. She was a little irritated but could still manage a smile. I felt the same way. I told her we have been doing the same things at home in addition to the hours and hours of hair treatments and changing her bed every day. All of her toys had been taken out of her room. Now there is just a bed, dresser, book shelf and desk. I was out of ideas so I said “We are definitely using the dog shampoo again.” To which the director snottily said “You SHOULD use the stuff that ACTULLY kills them.” My blood went straight to boiling and I snapped back “It is the ONLY thing that has kept her lice free for longer than 3 days!” With that I grabbed Snow White’s hand and walked out.

I called a neighbor to see if she could come over to watch her for the rest of the day. She would meet us at the house. As soon as we got home I took out Snow White’s braids to inspect her hair. I was SHOCKED at what I found….nothing. Absolutely NOTHING! No bugs, not one! No eggs, nits, nothing! I was both angry and relieved at the same time. Angry that the Daycare had Snow White excluded from the other children which made her feel bad. I was running late getting back to work and there was no reason for it. On the other hand, I was relieved that Snow White and I did not have to endure the grueling hours of treating her hair again.

I called the Daycare “I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that Snow White does not have any lice, live or eggs in her hair.” The director quickly responded “That is not true! I saw it with my own eyes! Valerie saw it first and then she showed it to me. IF that bug crawled off of her into our office then it is surely dead now. We sprayed the office completely.”

I continued with the bad news “The bad news is I think Snow White picked up that crawling bug from the Daycare. She did not go to school today. She has not been itchy, she hasn’t had any eggs, lice or signs of lice in her hair for days and days.”

The director interrupted me “I saw it with my own eyes! There was a bug crawling in her hair! You CANNOT bring her back today! Well, maybe if you take her to the doctor and have them inspect her hair and give you a letter stating she is ok to return.”

“I have absolutely no intentions of taking her back to daycare today or even tomorrow. I am now thinking the lice might be coming from someone at the daycare. This will give you the weekend to make sure the daycare is clean enough for her to return. I cannot keep going through this. Snow White cannot keep going through this.” The director kept insisting the bug could not have come from the daycare. We both agreed to disagree and hung up.

Snow White was happy to be home. She would much rather be here playing with her DS Lite and watching TV than being at the noisy Daycare all day. I laughed and said “Well, you got your wish. You get to stay home until school starts back up next week. No Daycare until it is absolutely necessary.” Then I went back to work. The computers were down. Later that night my parked Lincoln was in an accident. This was just not my day huh?

After dealing with the accident I talked things over with my sister I thought maybe I should take Snow White to Daycare the next morning. I was not going to leave her there. I would only let them check her hair and see for themselves there is nothing in her hair.

By Friday morning I had changed my mind. The roads were still a bit messy with the snow and ice. Why should I subject Snow White and myself to a treacherous drive on the slippery roads just to prove my point? Instead, I let her stay home and I head straight to work. On my way to work I called the Daycare. They were still insisting that they do not have any children with lice nor do they have lice anywhere in their facility.

The owner just happened to be there when I called. She insisted that they have cleaned the daycare center several times over the past few months “With all the money we have spent on de-licing the facility we should now own stock.” I told her I felt the same way. I also explained that I my fear of these heinous insects is far to great for me to allow her to come back to daycare today. “I just cannot do it. We don’t want to spend our entire weekend treating her hair again. At this point I don’t know if it is the Daycare or School but she didn’t even go to school yesterday and you said you saw one in her hair.”

The owner and director were obviously getting a bit testy. “We spoke with the school and we KNOW there are kids in her class infected with lice. Snow White is the only child we have seen here itching and scratching. Your daughter is the cause of lice in the school and here at the daycare!”

I almost lost it! What? How dare they say such a thing!

“Yes, there are children in her class with lice. There are also many other classrooms infected. What I don’t know is how many of them have contact with other children at the daycare center. Snow White is NOT the only child at the daycare center who attends that school. I am angry that other parents are taking their children to daycare/school and NOT telling anyone that they have lice! I let the daycare and school know about it as soon as we discovered it on Snow White. I have kept everyone informed all through this. I was outraged that the school knew about this outbreak for months but did not alert any of the parents! Maybe this is how it is handled here in this state. The daycare and school grind down hard on everyone but makes them feel like they are each the one and only cause of the problem.”

Owner: “Have you been retreating her hair with the shampoo after 14 days?”

Me: “No, I have not. We were doing it every three days because they seemed to come back every third day when she is in school and daycare.”

Owner: “Three days is too soon. You need to wait the full 14 days otherwise it does no good.”

Me: “If she has live lice in her hair I cannot wait 9 more days to re-treat her hair. That is ridiculous!”

Owner: “It sounds like you are over doing it then.”

And then my head explodes.

Is she kidding? First she says I am not doing enough and that my child is the cause of all of this. The she says I am over doing it? sheesh!

We spoke for a bit longer. The owner and director still insisting that it was all Snow White’s fault. Every class from 2nd -5th grade has 2-5 children per class infected at the school. A bug was crawling on Snow White at the Daycare center on a day she didn’t even attend school. I cannot see the logic in their argument.

I know I was getting angry on the phone. When we both reached the point of yelling I knew I had to stop and just take a breath. “I do not mean to yell at you. I am just angry and far beyond frustrated with this entire situation. Snow White will not return to the Daycare center until school starts back up next week.”

This morning while checking Snow White’s hair she asked me why I was checking again? Because I am paranoid. What does paranoid mean? I thought for a moment and said “It means you are so afraid of something that you think you see it even if it isn’t there. Like when I see a tiny piece of lint or dust in your hair then Freak Out!” She paused for a moment then a light seemed to go on and a big smile came across her face “Oh you mean the lice made you crazy?” Exactly!

When I dropped off Snow White at Daycare, one of the staff comes over with such a sour look on her face. Not the normal sweet “Hello” or “Good morning” with a smile. This morning it was a very stern “Hey, you cannot leave until we check her hair.” I knew they were going to check her hair and I was really looking forward to it. What did they find? The same thing I found…NOTHING!

While saying goodbye, have a fantastic day to Snow White I noticed something different. Four girls at the Daycare no longer had long hair. Apparently, over the weekend they all got short hair cuts. The same thing has been happening in Snow White’s school. I have seen more than 10 girls in different classes and grades all of whom have their hair shorter and shorter from week to week. The tell tail signs that NO, my daughter is not the only one who has been afflicted with this horribleness.

Just after 10 AM I received a call “Is this Momma’s World? This is the School Nurse.” I was ready for it. I was going to loose my temper. Everyone in the vicinity of my office was going to hear me give it to her! But then…

School Nurse: “I received a call from your daycare center saying they found lice on Snow White Thursday. Although school was not in session it is our policy that children found to have lice in school must be treated before they return.”

I explained to the School Nurse that I did not treat Snow White’s hair for lice. Why? Because she did not have any signs of lice when I picked her up from the daycare. I checked her immediately after picking her up.

Me: “I checked her hair this morning. Nothing. The daycare checked her this morning. Again, nothing.”

School Nurse: “I checked her myself this morning and I did not see anything. It is my responsibility to tell you what our school policy is regarding lice. I did check Snow White along with other students Wednesday morning before the break. I found no signs of lice on Snow White.”

Me: “Yet, the daycare said she had one crawling on her Thursday afternoon. I know exactly what the school policy is. I have picked her up from school several times now. If you do find lice in her hair ever again (deep breath) she will not be returning to school until I have proof from the Health Department that the school is finished with this plague. Does the school have a policy that covers private home tutoring for children who are unable to attend school due to illness?”

School Nurse: “Why, I just don’t know about that. I have never heard of such a policy myself.”

Me: “Well, if she catches it again that is the path we are taking. There is no way I can continue to send my child to school to be re-infected again and again. This has been going on for months. She is fine when she is home, away from school and daycare. I refuse to continue like this any longer.”

School Nurse: “Have you taken her to the doctor? A doctor might be able to help you.”

Me: (is she kidding?!) “Yes, she has been to the doctor. I have told you before that we went to the doctor. We tried the prescription shampoo and later with an antibiotic. The doctor even started to “Google” for any other solutions. When a doctor has run out of ideas and results to “Googling” you know he is at his wits end. He doesn’t know what else to do for her.

School Nurse: Well, we have to go on the parents word that they are doing what they are telling us.

Me: “I cannot believe that someone would say they are doing all of these things and not actually do them! Why would someone do that? Why would someone let those nasty things exist in their child’s hair? I have been through hell trying to get rid of them but I never just gave up. Who would do that?! It makes me angry that someone would allow their child to go back to school with it.”

School Nurse: “We don’t have the authority to go into their homes and make sure they are actually taking all the precautions.”

Me: “As I said, if it happens again, Snow White will not return to school until the school is cleared by the Health Department.”

Now I have a headache.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Things That Go Bump In The Night

It started to snow around lunch time. By the end of my work day there was only a few inches of snow on the ground and it was still coming down. I took it easy and made sure not to go up THAT hill on my way home.

On my way home I stopped by the gas station to fill up and use the ATM. I wanted to have cash on hand for a cab for ManSon and maybe some Pizza delivery. As I pulled up in our driveway I thought of parking the van at the very bottom to deter the snow plow from burying us in. I decided to pull the van all the way up to the side of the house. This way less snow/ice would accumulate on the windows and I would have more time to relax before picking up ManSon.

I had not decided yet if I would venture out to pick up ManSon myself or have him call a cab. When I came home Snow White informed me there was a new episode of Inuyasha On Demand. She knows she cannot watch it without my supervision. I look forward to spending this time with her and I have a bit of Anime addiction myself.

I decided to watch this episode with her and then pick up ManSon. We settled down on the family room couch for a relaxing half hour. As soon as Inuyasha started to play my cell phone rang. (stop movie).

It was Oldest Daughter wanting to know if I would pick her up tonight or tomorrow night since she is also off school tomorrow. I explained about the snow, it maybe tomorrow night or even Saturday morning depending on the roads. We chatted for a little bit and laughed a lot. After awhile she needed to go so we said our goodbyes.

Snow White was getting a little anxious about watching Inuyasha so we started the On Demand again. What was that? That noise? Is someone pounding on our front door? (stop movie). We listened for a little bit but heard nothing more. (start movie).

We are just past the intro and then I heard an even louder banging! (stop movie) This time I was sure someone was banging on the front door. When I opened the door there was a man, shaking and stuttering slightly. At first I wasn’t sure what was wrong with him. Then he pointed out in the darkness to where my Lincoln should be. “I am soooo sorry. I hit your car.” But where was my car?

I was looking in the wrong direction. The car was much closer to the house than I thought it would have been. The man apparently hit the back end of the Lincoln, spun it around and pushed it up the driveway directly behind my van. The Lincoln was no longer perpendicular to the house. It was now parallel to the house! Parked sideways near the top of the driveway.

The man’s silver Volvo SUV was halfway into my neighbor’s yard. It apparently missed my mailbox by about 2 inches and stopped on top of my neighbor’s hedge. I was shocked at the sight. I asked the man if he was alright. I would have been a nervous wreck, shaking and crying hysterically, if it had been me.

I went inside to get paper and a pen so we could exchange information. I watched the man write down his name. He was shaking a bit and that made his name a bit difficult to read. He couldn’t remember his insurance number but did write down the name. He promised to call me with the number as soon as he was home. That sounded a little fishy but then again I didn’t know my insurance number right off hand.

The man wanted to move his car so I could move my Lincoln back to where it was before the accident. Or at least move it so it was not preventing my van from getting out of the driveway. I helped guide the man out of the hedge. It was then that the next door neighbors came outside. “We were wondering why someone was walking around in our front yard. Glad it’s only you.” Then…”OH MY G** What happened to your car?! My hedge? What happened?!” I explained the situation and they thought it was best to stay outside with me. They are really wonderful neighbors. They wanted to make sure this stranger wasn’t going to do me harm.

I ran back into the house to get the keys to the Lincoln. Problem, I couldn’t remember where the keys were. We haven’t used the Lincoln in so long. Finally, I find a spare set but the battery was completely dead. No problem I have one of those generator, charger thing-a-me-bobs. Oh, it’s dead too. I forgot to plug it back in after loaning to the neighbors to jump start their vehicle. That’s ok, the man had jumper cables. They were only about 2 feet long. I had never seen such little jumper cables. It was taking a good while for a charge to take so I called ManSon’s work and said he should take a cab home. Not to worry about the cost, Mommy will take care of it. We finally got the Lincoln started and moved it so the van was no longer blocked.

As the man left I thought maybe I should get his license plate number. He did not write that down, nor did he write down what kind of car he had. As he drove away the neighbor’s daughter and I made note of the license plate. I went inside to get my camera. I might need photos when the insurance adjuster comes by. The neighbor’s daughter took photos with her cell phone and I used my digital camera. We must have taken photos from ever angle, the Lincoln, hedge, tire tracks. I think we were out there for a good half hour taking pictures. Then, a policeman drove up. We thought maybe someone called the police for suspicious “flashing”, you know the camera flash? Apparently, my next door neighbor called the police and then went somewhere. Her daughter and I had no idea she called the police or that she had left. The police officer said we pretty much were doing everything we should and there was nothing more he could do for us. So we let him go. Just as he left my neighbor called her daughter’s cell phone. Apparently she wanted us to file a police report but it was too late now. The policeman had already left.

ManSon couldn’t believe how bad the Lincoln was damaged but he saw the silver lining…Maybe this is God’s way of saying ‘Get rid of that old Lincoln and get a car for me.” We all laughed! Yes, maybe it was. See, everything happens for a reason.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Grossest Childhood Illnesses

One of the Grossest Childhood Illnesses

Children in Daycare or school have the opportunity to be with many, many other children. They grow with them and make many, many close friends. Friends they tumble with, hug, hold hands in line and while playing ring-around-the-roseies. They might trade cardigans or hats during recess. They also share their colds, the flu and many more other common, contagious illnesses. I can handle the colds, the latest strain of the flu and even the many viruses that stump even the Doctors. “It’s a virus. Something that is just going around.”

We had to deal with a brand new nemesis. November 12, 2007, I received the call from the school nurse I completely FREAKED OUT! I have one child who graduated from the public school system and one who will graduate this spring. We never had to deal with THIS problem. Never! I was not going to write about this childhood illness but I have discovered there are Mothers all over the US suffering through this along with me. I am not alone in this. Some of these Moms might be dealing with this for the first time, just like me.

Have you ever read about my fear of insects? It is HUGE! The call from the school nurse had me scared out of my mind. Oh My Gosh! She has head lice! My baby! I didn’t know what to do. The one thing I did know was I would be the one who had to take care of ridding her of those gross things. That creped me out more than the time I had to pull 3 yr old ManSon’s matchbox car out of the toilet.

I picked up Snow White at the school and listened to the directions from the school nurse. She was actually surprised that I had no idea what to do. The nurse told me to find a lice shampoo at a local pharmacy/grocery/Walmart store. I never noticed how many different products were available to rid your child of lice. Walmart had a full side of one isle in the pharmacy department! Shampoos galore, dozens and dozens of different combs, sprays, and kits.

The nurse said shampoo so I read all the boxes and selected Knix. I must have read the directions ten times before I started. I followed the directions to perfection. I stopped a few times just to double check the directions. After using the shampoo I sat Snow White down in my bathroom to combed out all the tangles. I gave her a book to read, then continued the decontamination process by combing out her hair with the little, bitty, fine toothed comb (came with the shampoo).

What was I thinking?! Snow White cannot read a book while I do anything to her hair. Her scalp is EXTREMELY sensitive. She screams bloody murder when I brush her hair while getting ready in the morning. Now here I was using this very fine toothed comb to scrap her scalp and her hair. Doing this one square inch at a time was so nerve racking! I would have much rather preferred to sit through 3 hours of fingernails scraping a chalk board or have all my teeth pulled without Novocain.

After scraping each square inch, I had to twist that section into a tiny bun then bobby pin the bun in place. With Snow White’s waist length hair this process took 3 hours. Three continuous hours of her screaming and crying. My back and feet hurt from standing bent over her all that time. The instructions for the lice shampoo said I had to repeat the same treatment in 14 days. Thank goodness we had two weeks to recuperate and try to forget the horrible treatment.

The hours of her torturous moaning and my back aching… I was near tears. We finally finished up at 1 AM! On a school night! I gave her a few minutes to calm down while I changed her bedding and put her clothes in a plastic bag. It all had to be done and it had to be taken care of that night. She cannot miss school and I could not take off work.

The next day she went to daycare and I pulled one of the lead staff members aside. I explained there was an outbreak of lice in Snow White’s school. Before we left home that morning I explained to Snow White that she must put her coat in her back pack. “Do not hang it up at daycare or at school. We don’t know who else has it and we don’t want to repeat all that painful work.” She immediately agreed. The daycare staff could not believe Snow White had managed to be contaminated especially since she wore tight braids nearly every single day. Our normal school night routine was to put her hair in braids after her nightly bath. This meant we could skip the screaming from hair brushing in the morning. I am all for a peaceful morning.

Friday, only three days later…the school nurse calls again. Three days! The shampoo said it would kill and repel lice and eggs for two weeks. It LIED! Ok, maybe it was my fault. I had never had to do this before. Maybe I missed a few during our grueling hours upon hours of “treatment”. There I was, at work and I had to leave early again to pick up my daughter from school. She was not allowed to stay in school due to the live lice. I was sure daycare would say the same thing so we went home at 2 PM and repeated the process.

Sunday night, Snow White started itching again. Advice - check every single morning, afternoon and evening. Do not wait for itching. Itching means live lice. I give up on the Knix and buy Rid. For this application I use half the bottle instead of the recommended portion. We repeat the process and we are up until 10 PM. Not as late as before but the process still took three hours. Still changing her bed clothes each night and placing her clothes in plastic bags.

Monday morning - daycare checked her and said as long as she doesn’t have nits she can attend. This is when I found out the lice eggs are called nits. She clears this hurtle. Ring. Ring. Ring. “Ms. Momma’s World, this is the school nurse. You need to pick up your daughter. We found lice in her hair.” They have just gotta be kidding me!

I pick up Snow White from School and the nurse suggested that we put all of her stuffed animals, the clothes she has worn and her bed clothes in plastic garbage bags. My Mother laughs at me for buying up bed sets when I see them on sale “No one will ever need that many bed sets!” I guess I was thinking some day I might need that many. Ok, so all the stuffed animals go in to garbage bags. Unbeknownst to Snow White some of those stuffed animals actually went into the garbage. What kid needs THAT many stuffed animals. I did not toss out any animals with remote sentimental attachment or the Boyd’s Bears collection. However, every stuffed animal was put into garbage bags.

Lather, rinse, repeat treatment…1AM and we are done. This time I took some of the length off. She had waist length hair but now it comes up to her shoulder blades. I thought this might lessen the time it takes to twist her hair in to those tiny buns. Sure, Snow White and I were extremely sleep depraved the next morning but we were both on our way to our required destinations, school and work.

Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, Ring, Ring, Ring! “Ms. Momma’s World” said a different school nurse in a hoity toity attitude. “Your daughter must be picked up right away. She has lice. We do not allow that kind of thing here at our school.” I rush over to pick her up only to be lectured to by this other school nurse about how important it is to take care of “your child.” I did what I normally do when I am abruptly confronted without foundation. I took a deep breath and said nothing. If I had said anything I am sure Snow White would have been expelled…no school in the state would have allowed her to attend their facility…not even the private schools. I would get back to her via a phone call after the Thanksgiving break. When I cooled down a bit.

What did I want to say to that sassy nurse? I wanted to yell at her and explain all that Snow White and myself had already endured trying to rid her of these horrible things. I might have even waved my hands, arms and all body parts in her direction putting to shame any myths of Italian body language. I envisioned this would have accidentally caused some sort of physical impact on the sassy nurse along with real profanity, not the same sort of Mommy cursing of “Oh poop” or “You Giant Frosted Cupcake!.”

On with the story…Later, Rinse, Repeat lice removal torture for hours. Thanksgiving happened. No more lice! Ding Dong doing the Lice is Gone dance!...

Two weeks before Christmas the Nightmare returns! What?! No way! Snow White has been wearing tight braids every day to school! Her coat is never hung up at daycare or school! She puts it in her back pack. How?! How, could this evil thing happen AGAIN?! I know we live in the country now but Come On!

What did I do?....

Doctor Visit - prescription shampoo
Vet visit to dip the animals (cats hid from us for three days after)
Clothes and bed clothes in plastic bags (stuffed animals still in bags)
Purchase new mattress set
Had all of the upholstery cleaned
Purchase new coat, gloves and hat
Purchase lice and egg killing spray (available next to lice shampoo)
Purchase lice Zapping electric comb
Purchase hair flattening iron & 2 bottles of Windex
Purchase new bottle of olive oil (suppose to keep the nits from getting in hair)
Purchase 2 new sets of bed clothes

After using the prescription shampoo it was only two days until the next outbreak. I was determined to get rid of these awful things so the new mattress set, bed clothes, coat was all for the better right? I also used the spray on every fabric surface in the house including her new mattress set, the car and even on her coat (not suppose to use the spray on clothing). After treating/torturing her hair again…they came back!

What did I do next? I used the electric lice comb. I took Snow White out into the Sunroom so their dead little caucuses would not lay on my floors. She screamed and screamed and cried and cried. I had only swept 4 inches of her hair and her face was dripping with tears. This is how the electric comb works…it send out a “small” voltage of continuous electricity until it finds one of those nasty bugs or it’s eggs. I was fed up. I couldn’t take another 3 - 4 hour session of her crying. I actually yelled at her “Don’t be such a cry baby!” Then I showed her how simple this was going to be. I placed that comb against my head and that is when I realized how MUCH voltage was going through my poor little baby’s head!!! How in the world can they approve such a horrendous product to be used on CHILDREN?! The box shows a little girl around 2 years old!! It was about half the stun you would think comes out of a police stun gun! Mentally flogging those who created that ultimate child torture device.

On to the next solution. Repeat 3 hour treatment with prescription shampoo and add the school nurse’s idea of the hot iron and Windex treatment. 2 AM and we are finally done. Again it was a school night and we were both crying and dead tired. Next morning Snow White wakes up with her usual lice treated afro hair do. Most mornings after I do not have the strength to deal with her hair so I just put it in a pony tail or bun. This morning I decided a tight bun of hair encased in olive oil. The next night I notice that Snow White’s raven black hair is now sort of a light brown. That darn Windex and flat iron!! Oh well, everyone says her hair will go back to her beautiful black color.

She was fine until December 20th, the Thursday before Christmas. The school nurse called to say …It was Back! I made an appointment with the Doctor right away. Surprise, they would actually be open Christmas Eve! Yeah! The doctor prescribed using the same prescription shampoo along with an antibiotic. I wish I could share the name of the antibiotic but it is not listed on the bottle since there is no room for the name due to all the safety warnings. Snow White said it was the best tasting medicine she has ever tasted. I am not sure if that is due to the results or the fact that it truly does taste as good as it smells. She was cured…again! The angels sang and I wept tears of joy.

We had a wonderful holiday vacation from work and school. Aside from a few medical mishaps on my part. The dishes were out to kill me but that is another small post of it’s own. Anyway, after 11 days of being away from work and school it was time for us to go back to our normal routine.

January 7th , school nurse calls to say “You need to pick up your child.” NO! NO! NO! I did everything possible there is no way on this earth she has it AGAIN! Apparently she did not have nits (eggs) but she had live lice in her hair! How could this happen! Someone with lice must have come in direct contact with her that day. If she had lice all weekend she would have had nits in her hair but after an AM hair check at daycare and being at school for half a day she suddenly had live lice.

I do have to say the school was stepping up with lice control. Everything in the room is plastic or has a hard surface. The teacher implemented a garbage bag coat room. All backpacks, coats, hats, gloves, etc, must be placed in a garbage bag and hung from the coat hooks in the back of the class room. Can you imagine most teachers worst childhood illness during the winter is the flu and these teachers are faced with the possibility of lice?!

Also the new classroom rules include anyone teasing, starting rumors or picking on anyone they suspect of having lice results in an automatic Red Strike! There are three levels of stricks…Green, Yellow and Red. Red means a note home and in some cases after school detention. This may not seem like a big deal but these are 3rd graders and it is a huge deal to them. Both the Nurse and the Teacher told Snow White in front of me that if any student or staff treated her ill or made a remark about lice to her, she was to report them immediately. It was then that Snow White mentioned the other children making fun of her Lice Afro (result of all that twisting and pinning of the hair) which she never mentioned before, not even to me. She also burst the bubble of the school nurse who continuously tried to convince me that Snow White was the ONLY child in that classroom with lice. Snow White took this opportunity to tattle on classmates who were teasing other classmates who had lice.

The teacher and nursed both seemed to be taken aback that Snow White would reveal this information in front of me. I congratulated Snow White for sticking up for her fellow classmates, even those she was not friends with. Later, in the car I also said that it was very noble of her, she should not look at anyone differently but please, for the love of all that is sweet and tender in the world… “Don’t touch those children in any way shape or form! The whole lot of you might well be passing it back and forth between you!” She understood and agreed.

After picking up Snow White from school I called the Brownie troop leader to say Snow White would miss her first ever meeting/outing ever. I was out of ideas. Shampoos that claimed they would all kill and repel lice had all lied to me time and time again. Even with the added antibiotic! Each claimed to kill and repel for two weeks only to disappoint me after 2-3 days. The doctors tried to push it off as “There seems to be an extremely tolerant vain of lice” or “They are now immune to the over the counter products.” If product promises a two week limit I might be inclined to accept one week but for it to only last 2-3 days greatly falls short of it’s promise. Snow White sobbed to the doctor “I think I am just going to have to be bald. They wont leave me alone. I will always have lice if I have hair.” The doctor laughed and removed his hat…he was bald. Snow White didn’t laugh she only said “You are so lucky you are bald. You will never have lice.” On the way home Snow White verbally weighed out her options…scalp and hair scraping for the rest of her life or shaving her head and wearing a wig for the rest of her life. I felt so sorry for her but I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself about her thoughts of wearing a wig. “Maybe I wont have to go completely bald. I could just wear a fall. Do you know where my pageant fall is?” I almost fell out of the driver’s seat from laughing. “I think they are in one of the suit cases upstairs but really, you need hair to pin on a fall. You cannot be completely bald. Aside from that, Mrs. Madonna lives in Kentucky. We cannot have her travel all the way out here every morning to do your hair and make up.” The idea of a traveling of one of the top H/M persons and all costs had us both laughing. Thank goodness she was smiling again.

Well, here I was, out of ideas and nothing seemed to work. I took Snow White home, fed her, bathed her myself and washed her hair with Dog Shampoo! That’s right. I said dog shampoo. The dog shampoo worked the BEST! It made removing the nits easier. It killed the lice and even gave Snow White’s hair a smooth glossy finish. I would not recommend dog shampoo for any child. I exhausted every other avenue before attempting this. If you reach the end of your rope after repeated outbreaks after exhausting all other options make sure to read the label of the dog shampoo. Some are not to be applied to bare skin. The scalp of an adult can be sensitive and the scalp of a child even more so.

Snow White has been lice free since January 7th but I am not closing this chapter of the worst ever childhood contagious illness, not just yet. We are only on day 3 so I hope it is the last we see of lice but I am not going to count my chickens just yet.

A few tid bits of information given to me by the school nurse, daycare center and the doctor….

Anything that cannot be washed should be sprayed with lice killing spray and/or placed into garbage bags for 48 hours. Lice cannot live without a host more than 24 hours. I am sure nits (lice eggs) can live off of the hair they are glued to until they hatch which can be 2 days to two weeks. Snow White’s stuffed animals are still in the plastic garbage bags from the first outbreak in November. I don’t know if I will ever be brave enough to open them again.

Lice have crab like features. They cling to clean hair easier and can attach their eggs easier to clean hair. Olive Oil can help in making clean hair too oily for crawling or egg laying. This lead to Snow White going to school in the middle of winter with Olive Oiled hair slicked up into a bun. She still caught the lice so I am not sure how sound this advice was.

Windex and hair straightening iron - I do not recommend using this method. It did not make it any easier to remove the nits and it had ill effects on my daughter’s hair. A mixture of the heat and Windex made her hair lighter by stripping it.

All of this plus work and normal every day things made it difficult to post on my blog. I hope all of you understand. I didn’t leave my blog on purpose. I was just extra busy from the time I left work each night until 2 AM most of the time. The other time…well that was the dishes trying to kill me or God telling me never to touch another dish…or at least while I was on vacation from the office.

I hope all is well with you and that the plague of lice never visits your home.

Monday, January 07, 2008

The Week Before Christmas

Doing a little bit of catching up....

Monday work, some things went well but some did not. Brownies - the girls painted glass ornaments, had a little party which involved a gift exchange.

Tuesday, technical difficulties all day at work. This was also the day of the company pot luck lunch. I was first to sign up on the sheet. My dish would be pasta salad. This year I would not need to tote around my large crock pot. Lunch time for me now consists of driving ManSon to his job. Before rushing off to pick up ManSon at home I dropped off my pasta salad in party room. To my surprise 4 other people had decided to bring in pasta salads. Oh well, at least they did not all look alike. (copy-cats)

ManSon woke up sore from working the previous day. He could hardly lift his arms let alone get out of bed. He explained that he was going to call in to work and explain his pains. I knew that this was a seasonal job and they would likely let him go for not coming in. When he called they pretty much said come in now or don’t bother to show up again. ManSon was stunned. “Mom, I really liked my job. I mean I really liked it. If I go there and I am not able to work, they would sit me in the corner and I would be Looser Dude.” I tell him that if it were me I would take a few Advil and go anyway. He slumped down and the sad look on his face told me everything. I gave him some Advil and he went back to bed.

Since I did not have to take him to work I decided to finally mail Auntie D’s Christmas present along with her cell phone charger (she left it here on Black Friday). Well, I have been extremely busy lately.

Back to work, then pick up Snow White and do a little shopping. I never seem to have enough time alone to purchase presents. Tonight I was determined to buy a TV for ManSon and hope that Snow White could keep it a secret. I kept it in the back of the van since ManSon always seemed to be around when I had a few minutes to bring it in. My idea was to hide it under the kitchen table. No one eats at the kitchen since the dining room table is bigger.

When we arrive home there was a lot of cooking to be done… 17 chicken legs, 8 chicken breasts and 12 hamburgers. This may sound like it would last awhile but I have teenagers and they have friends. This “vast” amount of food would make a few casseroles, lunches and snacks.

Wednesday was a normal morning. Lunch time came and went home to take ManSon to work. I had explained to him the night before that it was the right thing to do. Either they would let him resume his job or they would tell him how to pick up his last paycheck. In stead of just dropping him off I waited to see what happened. He came out of the office happy. They wanted him to stay on.

He expected someone to yell at him and a few to give him a hard time but no one did. One fellow co-worker did tease him about missing work due to soreness. He was only kidding with him and explained it takes time for your body to adjust. I was extremely happy for ManSon. He so wanted to keep this job even though it is only seasonal.

That night I picked him up and apparently there was a bit of excitement that went on during his day. He always chatters on about how his co-workers carry on such. Tonight was a little different. Someone was caught steeling! From the packages! Apparently a few companies ship ipods and iphones by the truck loads through the facility. Someone was taking a few and stuffing them in their boots or socks or something. They eventually became greedy and started taking boxes and tossing them over the fence to pick up later. They were caught only after two days.

ManSon said he wondered why they had to be searched on their way out rather than their way into the facility. Now he knows. He said, “I don’t understand why they had to steel. They have jobs and everything. It’s Christmas time after all.” I agree with him. I have heard of much stealing and thievery on the news over the past few weeks. People feeling the pressure to have the latest and greatest gifts under the tree. It isn’t even for necessities. Not that it would be ok if it were for necessities. Now they have no job (income), were arrested and sitting in jail awaiting their court dates. They are being sued not only by FedEx but also by the company sending them and the companies who were to received them.

Thursday came and I tried to get everything at work taken care of before my vacation next week. My supervisor would also be off next week and he wanted to make sure to perform my annual review and advise me about the yearly bonus. Just before the meeting the school nurse called.

Apparently they had a second out break of lice in Snow White’s school and unfortunately she had been infected, AGAIN!. At first I freaked out!! This was the second outbreak in a matter of months! I had never heard of such things happening but after all this is the country. Since it was not an emergency I told the nurse I would pick up Snow White in an hour. This would give me time to go through my review without upsetting my supervisor first.

On my way to the meeting I stopped by the IT department to have a little work done on my laptop. This would allow me to work from home. My review went very well! A promotion, raise and a bonus. When he said “If there is anything you ever need, or anything I can ever do for you, just let me know.” I took that opportunity to tell him the school nurse called and asked me to pick up my daughter. I added that IT was already making additions to my laptop which would allow me to continue my work from home. He was pleased to hear I had a solution and happily wished me a Merry Christmas.

Off to school to pick up Snow White and then take ManSon to work. On our way I made a doctors appointment for Snow White. They cannot take her until Monday. Surprisingly, they will be open on Christmas Eve.

Friday I take Snow White to daycare but they wont let her stay due to the lice outbreak at her school. What do I do? I take her to work with me until school opens. School will allow her to attend as long as there is nothing walking around in her hair.

ManSon did not have to be at work until 2 PM today so I attended the Christmas Lunch. Every year the company has a catered lunch of prime rib, potatoes, corn, breads, cheese cake and other deserts. When you are finished they give you a grocery gift card, calendar and a cute little flash light.

I rushed through mine a bit since I had a few projects to finish. I was so engrossed with my work that I almost forgot to take ManSon to work. Before I knew it I was again engrossed in my work and almost forgot to pick up Snow White after School. Due to the holiday and nearly everyone leaving early (most had already left for the day) and Snow White could not return to daycare…well, I left work an hour early.

We went to pick up ManSon at work and had the funniest conversation on the way home. I am not sure how it started but ManSon said something about Mary and Joseph’s last name being Christ. “Because Jesus’ last name is Christ.” Snow White quickly agreed with him. I laughed so hard I cried! I laughed and laughed the whole way home! Eventually ManSon said “Well, if that isn’t his last name then what is it.” This stopped me from laughing briefly to think. I could not think of Mary or Joseph’s last name. When we arrived home everyone went for the Bible. We flipped through different books of the Bible but only saw Mary, mother of Jesus and such. I explained that people did not have last names way back then. “When you mention Jesus everyone knows who you are talking about.” To which ManSon replied “What about Mary Magdalene?” I thought for a moment then I remembered that Magdalene was not her last name it was a description of her “occupation”, prostitute. Christ is also a description meaning Messiah or Savior. I reminded ManSon of the lists of begats - so and so begat so and so then there were the references such as Name son of Name. A simple question turned into a nice Bible lesson. My parents and Auntie D all had a great laugh when I told them the story. Friday night with his friends he asked each of them what they thought was Jesus’ last name? They all thought it was Christ. This lead to a lengthy discussion and the use of a Bible. Not how you would think today’s typical teenagers spent a Friday night.

Saturday Pup wanted to go out at 4 AM! Due to all of his whining I figured he must really need to go so I got up. I set about doing various household chores. When the children woke up I made breakfast and we chatted about this and that. Eventually I started to run down. It was Saturday and there was nothing that had to be taken care of so I did the unthinkable. Something I vaguely remember from years ago. I took a nap!

Later I woke up more tired than before I fell asleep. Why does that happen? Was my body protesting, trying to tell me I need more sleep? I fought the desire to crawl back into bed and resumed my Saturday routine.

Snow White and I went out in search of a new TV for ManSon. Apparently the one I purchased from Walmart was damaged. A two inch wide band of purple and green shows up on the right side of the screen. The very helpful employees of Walmart informed me they have no more of these TVs nor do they expect any more to come in. I will bring the TV in after Christmas for a refund and in the mean time I need to find another TV. ManSon suggested that he be allowed to pick out the new TV and include money of his own to upgrade to the TV of his choice.

After dinner Snow White and I put on our coats and grabbed the gifts for our neighbors. We rang door bells and sang each one a Christmas carol then handed them their gift. It was fun! Well, at first I was a little nervous about singing in front of them but Snow White did not hesitate. Her fearlessness gave me the courage to sing right along with her. She truly enjoyed herself. As she skipped back to our house she gleefully said “Mommy, we made so many people smile tonight. It is a good feeling to make people happy.”

Sunday ManSon had to work today. They held a meeting earlier in the week and decided to work Sunday so they could have off for Christmas Eve. I had completely forgot until he reminded me. This meant we had just enough time to get there.

During the evening I was in the kitchen washing dishes when Snow White came in to ask a question. “Mommy, what would you like for Christmas?” I know exactly what I want for Christmas “I want everyone to be happy, healthy, jumping around laughing. I want to see the wonderful expressions on your faces Christmas morning.”

No Mommy what do you REALLY want?

Honestly honey, that is what I REALLY want.

What about jewelry or a new toy or maybe I don’t know…something fantastic.

I have the greatest kids, a loving family, a dog, a nice house, and a great job.

Oh! I know! I know! What about more money Mommy? That would be a good one.

My boss gave me a raise and a bonus so that is already taken care of. See God has been very good to us. We usually have every thing we need and a lot of what we want.

Really, I already have everything I want. The best part about Christmas Day is seeing everyone’s happy smiling faces. Your happiness give me great joy.

I remember asking my mother the same question, each year. Her answer was the same as mine. When I was a little girl I did not fully believe her. Now, I understood exactly what she meant. I hope my children understand that I truly want their happiness.

Side note Gas was at a high...$2.95 per gallon