Sergio Heng
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Wed 07 December 2016 Wed 07 December 2016

The following opinions expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the other members of the house in which we live…but what the hell do they know anyway.

It’s been an exciting couple of weeks here (when isn’t it? I mean really, can you say “karma calling?”). I am still steadily trying to climb out of the abyss I fell in some weeks back.  The climb is gradual and contains a plateau or two, but goes mostly upwards, despite my continued existence as a magnet for eventfulness. It’s the only way in which I can describe it. There seems to be only rare moments of rest over the past 46 years (46 right? I think it’s 46, might be 45. I get that wrong a lot). Nothing in that has been any different over the past few weeks here at Camp Chaos.

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The 12 year olds have decided to hang out at their fathers for the last week, and despite my prior requests for the occasional phone call, they still only initiate contact when they want something.  I have always tried to be very vigilant about not making them carry my emotional baggage as best I could or burden them with my needs.  I begin to suspect that this has been a terrible mistake, since they don’t current really seem to be aware of anyone’s needs but their own. Perhaps it’s a function of being 12…or perhaps they are the jackass result of my bad parenting. The matter is still under investigation. I will admit to being surprised at how much my hurt feelings have built up after a summer of being thought of only when I might be of use to them. Being their mother lately makes me feel like the worst kind of patsy there is.

Pat-sy ~ (pat-see) noun, plural pat·sies. Slang.
1.a person who is easily swindled, deceived, coerced, persuaded, etc.; sucker.
2.a person upon whom the blame for something falls; scapegoat; fall guy.
3.a person who is the object of a joke, ridicule, or the like.
The 6 year old has shifted the Attachment Disorder board game ENTIRELY over the last few weeks. New game pieces, brand new board, new rules entirely. I didn’t get the memo on this, so once again I was behind in the curve trying desperately to catch up. Attachment Disorder is like playing Jumanji. At any moment you can fall through the floor, get attacked by African bats, monkeys might explode out of the closet or elephants stampede through the house before turning into sandwiches or a swarm of mosquito’s. Who the hell knows. The only certain thing about it is the amount of energy demanded in reaction. If we could only find a way to insert Miss 6 Year Old into the inner circle of the North Korean leadership, I’m telling you, it would be problem solved there. That guy thinks he’s got the market cornered on craziness, my girl has strategies for mind games and psychological thrillers that would turn that guy into a jibbering mess in no time at all.  It’s taken 3 weeks (since school started, big surprise there) but I think I understand the new terrain well enough finally to start bringing some strategy of my own to that situation. It’s Game On Girlfriend.

Another thing I discovered is that you can call me about my kids and tell me about bleeding, broken bones, trouble breathing, fights and any other number of things. I will respond clearly, quickly and efficiently. I am very good in a crises. It comes from lots and lots of training. But if you call me and tell me that my kids have been exposed to lice, it will turn me into a panicked, hysterical mess of idiocy. The nurse at the kids school who was on the receiving end of my call to yank them the hell out class at the speed of light can attest to that. When she told me to calm down, I think I might have screamed at her “No!” It’s a blur.

I lost my lice virginity 20 minutes later when she called back to tell me to come and pick them up and start the washing machine.

Welcome to an intensive 4 day stretch of toxic chemicals, home remedies and the kind of family bonding through monkey-like grooming behavior that made me start to expect Jane Goodall to show up in our backyard to start observing us and taking notes.

Now we come to the public service part of the blog post. Here’s what I learned about lice:

Lice makes me panic. (see above).

Many men don’t understand lice. (I may or may not have yelled at him, “I don’t care about your stupid lunch, I want that kid buzz cut right now. RIGHT NOW! What the hell is wrong with you?!!”)

Lice and Autism do not go well together. Picture the cutest, most miserable 9 year old ever seeing his Dad in the middle of his hair cut and suddenly bursting into tears, wailing, “But I don’t want Mice!”

However, lice and attachment disorder go together like PB&J (drama combined with intensive personal attention? Hello!).

Lice can make other moms crazy and judgmental. It is a shameful secret that must be kept from everyone…(hence this blog post, which springs from my own perversity about not every wanting to feel judged and yet constantly putting myself into situation where I will be judged. What can I say. I’m a conundrum).

Lice can almost end a friendship. No matter what you understand about lice intellectually and scientifically…you’re still looking for someone to blame. (The Dragon Lady and I tried to subtlety blame the other for a day or so before we finally decided this was the kids fault, and yet another example of the heaping on of insult to injury that can often be the basis for the parent-child relationship).

Lice like clean hair (seriously, they just are. Like ants and and allergies and the setting of the sun. It isn’t about a parenting hygiene failure).

Buzz cut whoever you can talk into it (at this moment, the 4 year old totally thinks he is a soldier).

I really, REALLY thought I wouldn’t get lice.

It can end up with you sleeping with a cheap plastic shower cap on your head…next to a man with a cheap plastic shower cap on his head.

It is a romance killer (see above).

I now have a use for all those complimentary shower caps I’ve been nabbing  from hotel rooms for years.

It won’t make you bitter (This is a TOTAL lie).

It makes you love laundry (again, totally NOT true).

It does make me wonder almost continually if the Beckham kids or the Jolie-Pitts have ever had lice.

There is usually a point at the end of the first day where you are so exhausted that you stop caring if they get re-infested. You must push past this moment.

And finally, being quarantined with your children for 3-4 days does NOT help with depression, nor does it strengthen the bonds of familial affection. It should NOT be attempted without a stiff drink, in my opinion. You WILL develop Tourette’s.

Anyway, for treatment, we went with this method…

Additionally, we added a couple of steps.  The extremely helpful Ciaran Blumenfeld at Momfluential really came through with the tip on baking soda (stroke of genius!). After the overnight Olive Oil treatments every 4 days, take the almost useless nit comb the give you in the kit and dip it in baking soda repeatedly while you are combing through the olive oil soaked hair. Yes, it’s messy, but it creates an abrasive paste that helps to strip off the eggs.

After that, wash their hair several times so it’s really, really clean and then find yourself a flat iron. Set it at 350 – 400 degrees and do the hair in thin sections, the heat kills them instantly and the remaining eggs will literally fall off.  Then, put on a set of drugstore magnifying glasses (some of us already own these) and go outside and groom each other like monkeys for several hours. Do this more than once. Then do it again. And again…And again. Crying and drinking doesn’t hurt anything either.

So, that was my week. The really great news is that I am getting paid absolutely buckets of money to do all this…no, wait…that’s wrong. I apparently agreed to do this for nothing. WTH is that about?

As always kids, I have ended another week without becoming a horrible local newspaper headline, so that’s a freaking win folks!