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.


Butrfly Garden said...

Wow, chica! Way to stand up for SW! That's exactly what I would think - that it was coming from there (I think I said that last time). When you have multiple kids in grade school, it's hard to know WHO is bringing it home, but she has no one to "share" with there.

I wonder if they're harassing the other parents as much as they're harassing you?

Stand your ground, hon! I would DEFINITELY pull her from daycare if they keep that crap up. YOU pay THEM - and while they have a duty to protect the children - that duty is to YOUR child as well. And certainly look into the school thing. Maybe bring it up to the school board? They might tackle the issue a little faster than talking to teacher/nurse/etc. individually.

Good luck!!

Canadian flake said...

omg I would totally wanna kill that daycare...that is totally nuts...I do NOT know how you stayed as calm as you did...

Lice totally SUCKS!!!

MommasWorld said...

You two are teriffic! I really appreciate you backing me up. I did want to slap someone but I didn't want to be arrested. Good thing I have my blog to vent when these things happen.

Pageant Mom said...

Oh you are way more patient than I would've been! I would have had a major lawsuit in place by now... Harrassment, pain and suffering, etc. I'd go for it if I were you. People have won a ton of money over a lot less trouble!!

You know they only harrass the parents that'll take it?

It would have been all I could do not to deck the daycare center folks.