That’s Lice

Last Wednesday’s visit to the salon was the bomb.

Fortunately for me, and for an anxious 14-year old just back from camp in Canada, LA based Hair Fairies has a New York outlet and they were able to schedule an appointment within an hour of my call for help. Another enterprise, one that makes regular visits to the teen’s school for head checks, wasn’t able to confirm an appointment time when I called just before 9 a.m. or again at 10. So, a googling I went to find the competition.  And whew, Hair Fairies rose to the top.

Here’s the thing: I was aware that there are professionals who can check and offset the lice problem. makes me itch just thinking about it And while people do, it’s not necessary to throw out all of your furniture, stuffed animals, toys and have every lick of clothing sent to the cleaners. You may, but there are cleaning techniques and even companies that will do the cleaning/delousing for you. The bugs can only live off the head for 24 to 48 hours. And they don’t fly but are transmitted through direct contact. Remain calm. Within an hour of my request, we dashed “calmly” to the salon in the west 30s.

My fairy princess sat in her barber shop throne while the dedicated technician, clad in royal blue scrubs, a navy blue bandana around her head and gold earrings with Timothy written in script from one end of the hoop to the other, manually checked her hair and scalp. She separated the hair, fine tooth combing section by section first dry, then wet, from top to bottom, under and over, in search of head lice. At each interval, dry, wet and a third looksee with nit zapping cream, V-Marie stated her findings or lack thereof.  “Didn’t find anything yet,” she said.

Meanwhile, I checked out the salon scene. Long locked Hannah Montana played on a flat screen across the room, colorful kids playthings neatly arranged throughout included a kitchen corner, drawing table, game boy DS, a noticeable lack of fabric and teeny curly headed fairies hung down from the tops of each of the four window frames overlooking Avenue of the Americas.

And then, “Nothing,” said V-Marie with a smile. She completed the wet stage of her comb-through examination of the near waist-length Botticelli like curls of my growing girl.

As to why head lice seem to have gone mainstream, ie fancy sleep away camps, private schools, kids, teens and adults, it’s anyone’s guess. Perhaps they’ve developed a resistance to the pesticides that people use to rid themselves of the white bugs and eggs. No matter, they exist and deal with the prospect we did.

The morning after we arrived home, the early-to-rise camper cum glamour girl crawled into my bed, leaned her head against the fabric headboard and proceeded to watch a video on her laptop. I did my best to refrain from cringing over the prospect of little white bugs crawling from her head to my bed. I was touched, frankly, by her wanting to be with me after weeks apart. Besides, the worst thing I could do, I think, would be to show my anxiety and turn her away. If the bugs were in our house, they were in our house, my bed or not.  Freaking out about the unknown wouldn’t serve me or my daughter.

Caring for her, about her, is as simple as saying it’s my job. I would do anything for my children.  No matter what. The way a mom stands by her wretching child, holding her hair, gently stroking her back as she heaves into the toilet. Gross, yes, but of no import. What matters is trying to offer some sense of humility in an otherwise unpleasant time.

Yet somehow, with the bugs, though I did a preliminary looksee, it was to little avail. I didn’t really know what I was looking for nor was I forced to delouse her head or our home. Fortunately for this household, no bugs, no nits.  A giant sigh of relief. And next time, I’ll know who to call.

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