Last year, one of my worst fears came true. I had always prided myself in the fact that I had never experienced this and so far my children hadn’t either. Whenever I heard of someone dealing with this the ick factor would set in and I just couldn’t fathom it happening to me. Well, it did happen to me and through it I learned a few lessons.
One summer day last year, my daughter desperately needed a nap. She had been particularly wild that day and by the 2 o’clock hour I knew that she was overly tired and needed to sleep. And Mama needed a break, you know what I’m saying? Reluctantly, off she went to her room and soon fell fast asleep. She usually only naps for around an hour so when 3:45 rolled around I couldn’t believe she was still sleeping. I figured she needed the rest so I didn’t wake her even though I knew this meant she would be going to bed past her usual bedtime. Around 4 o’clock I was in the kitchen starting to prepare dinner when I heard loud cries coming from her room.
I ran upstairs to see what was going on thinking she may have rolled off her bed during sleep or something. When I walked into her room, she was sitting up on her bed crying and her hair was all over her head. She had taken down the braid I had given her that morning and she was frantically scratching her head. She has experienced mild excema in the past and it flares from time to time so that was my first thought.
I went over to her bedside to hold her and to look at her scalp because she was visibly upset. She said out loud, “What’s wrong with my hair mommy?” I said, “Let me see” and began looking through her hair. I looked through the front and didn’t see any sign of a rash or anything like that. I moved toward the back and I noticed something right away that sent a chill down my spine.
With a background in cosmetology and a trained eye I knew right away what I had seen but I was in a bit of denial and decided to keep looking through her hair. I sectioned another piece of hair away and one of my greatest fears were confirmed. I believe I started saying “Oh my God” out loud over and over. Every piece of parenting advice I’d ever received about staying calm for the sake of not upsetting your child was thrown right out of the window. I was screaming, she was screaming and my mind was racing about what to do about the fact that my daughter had LICE. How could I have missed this? I fix her hair every single day! How could I have not noticed this yesterday and all the days previously? All of this was going through my head as I was melting down. Way down. Further down than I care to admit.
Around this time, while still looking through Sophia’s hair in disbelief, my door bell rang. I told her to sit tight and calm down and that mommy would be right back. I opened the door expecting a delivery or something but lo and behold it wasn’t the mailman. It was a couple of family members. Now I was in a frazzle when I opened that door. I’m sure I looked as if I had seen a ghost looking at them. They had stopped by to use the restroom and change clothes because they had to be at the soccer field.
Of course, I did not mind at all, but I had 368 thoughts going on in my head and I’m sure I seemed off. I was conflicted about what to tell them and I had to say something fast because they were standing there at my door. I told them to come on in because I wasn’t really sure what to say. I didn’t want to tell them not to come in because I didn’t want to seem unwelcoming. In my head I was thinking, “Should I tell them what’s going on? Nah, probably not because I know they will think that we are just disgusting and never want to step foot in our house again.” Maybe I should have said, “Come in at your own risk?”
I totally should have been honest about what was going on but pride stepped in and I was so embarrassed. How terrible is it that I did not warn them they may leave with lice? Like I said, I had seconds to figure all this out while trying to keep my composure. One of my family members could hear Sophia upset. Being the sweet person she is, she asked if I needed help with Sophia upstairs and I was like, “Oh, No! She’s okay, she’s just grumpy waking up from her nap”….downplaying and trying my best to prevent her from catching our lice! All the while, Sophia is still crying upstairs. I didn’t lie, it was the truth. She did wake up grumpy. I just left out the part that I had moments ago found her with a head full of bugs and that I was loosing it. My goal was to keep them from coming in contact with any lice bugs without having to tell them anything until I figured out what to do.
Definitely not my best moment. If anything, this person would have helped me calm down and encouraged me. She has been a mom longer than I have so I’m positive she would have had some good advice for me that day. I desperately needed it but was too prideful to let her know. God taught me a good lesson that day.
I like to try to keep my kiddos really clean. What mom doesn’t? I’m big on wiping dirty faces, clean clothes, baths every night etc… With that said, my children are young and they run through puddles, get food all over their clothes and love to play outside in the dirt. They get dirty and I have learned to be ok with that because life isn’t perfect. However, each morning we start off really clean. I think that I prided myself in that fact. I associated lice with something dirty and that’s just not the case. The cleanest person in the world can catch lice standing in line at Wal-Mart if you’re close enough to someone who has it. It can literally happen to anyone.
I had always had a huge fear of my kids getting lice and my reason is two-fold. First of all, yuck! Second of all, it is a CHORE to get rid of. I already had 6 loads of dirty laundry that day. I certainly didn’t need to add to that pile by washing all the bedding, pillows, stuffed animals, clothes and everything else you can imagine! I also happen to be a bit of a clean freak so the thought of there being a single louse in my house made me want to throw up and burn the whole house right down to the ground. I imagined our house being tented and bombed to kill all the bugs like they do to houses when termites strike. Luckily, none of that was procedure to rid your home of lice.
You know what? Life happens. It happens to you and it happens to me. I never thought we would deal with something like lice because I am so careful to make sure everybody stays squeaky clean. Not that that is a bad thing. I do feel it is important to keep clean and have things in order. It was the fact that I was trying to impress everyone else with our cleanliness that was the problem. For one of my kids to get lice was in my mind a mom fail. God has since showed me that I need to let go of unrealistic expectations. Let me tell you, it’s still a work in progress.
I was so worried that someone would think I was a terrible mother or that we didn’t keep our kids and home clean or something crazy like that. Pride made me think that way and it prevented me from reaching out for help. What’s crazy is that God may have sent her to help me that day but I missed that opportunity and instead dealt with the situation awkwardly. It always pays to be honest and transparent.
I have resolved in my heart and mind to no longer have a prideful spirit. I don’t want it to keep me from asking for help when I need it or prevent someone for asking me for help. It took a good dose of humility for me to realize that I was being prideful. It brought me to my knees. God wants to peel all those layers away from us in the glory of His presence. It is in that place of trust and vulnerability that He can make us look like His Son.
I’m happy to report (for those that have to be around us) that after many loads of laundry, a complete disinfection of our entire house and a hair treatment that we have been lice free for 9+ months and have not had a reoccurrence. No one else in our family caught any lice and Sophia had a very light case. For that I’m thankful. I can laugh about this now but it took a few months. I feel empowered, like a mom that can face anything. What could be more gross than lice?
I said in a previous blog post that there is always a silver lining if we look for it. The silver lining here is that my house got a good spring cleaning in the middle of summer and that does my clean freak heart so much good.
Here are some pictures of my fun-loving baby girl.