“Ewww,” the hairdresser said, “Yeah, those are nits.”
“Shave his head!” I almost shrieked.
“Sorry, ma’am. We can’t touch him.” You’re on your own. All I can do is sell you $45 worth of useless water here on our shelf. Was that a smirk?
OK, maybe she didn’t actually say that last part, but that’s what I heard. I grabbed the hand of my contaminated son, and we headed to Walgreens. Surely they had something toxic to dislodge these nasty visitors from my sweet, precious baby’s head!
“May I help you?” the clerk asked sweetly.
“Um, well, we. Well, (cough), where‘s the lice treatment, please?”
“Oh.” Was that a step back she took? That was definitely a step back. “Yes, well, that would be on the very back shelf.” Waaayy over there, far from me. And can you let this other clerk check you out, please?
My boy and I take the walk of shame, and we head to that back shelf to figure out which one of the poisons to buy. All the boxes pretty much say - may not work, even if you light his hair on fire and call a witch doctor. I buy the needed chemicals, and we head home.
I open the box, and my boy is suspicious. “Are you going to wash my hair?”
“With that? It smells like gas, Mommy!!”
I can’t deny that. It really does. I’m wondering if my great-grandfather’s cure of kerosene on any ailment has gone mainstream.
Now, how am I going to do this? I don’t want him in the bath tub, getting this all over his little body. So I somehow talk him into sitting on the edge and leaning back a little.
“Arggghhhh! Nooooooooo! Stoppp!” he starts to scream.
If we haven’t been turned in to Child Protective Services (CPS) before tonight for child torture, I’m convinced tonight is going to be the night! The neighbors have to be hearing this!!
“Sweetie, it’s OK! We’re going to just get this off really quick, I promise!” I calmly lie.
I get him rinsed, over to our bed, and turn on a great show for kids. I get a bright light, the gel spray, and the dreaded lice comb.
If the neighbors thought I was torturing him before, they must now be convinced he’s being killed.
“Son, please! We have to do this so these don’t hatch in your hair and bugs are everywhere.”
“I like bugs! Leave them there! Stop pulling my hair! No! Don’t touch me!” the little precious one screams.
“Knock it off! I have to do this! I will not have lice in my house! “ I therapeutically counsel my beloved.
We repeat in the morning and the evening, only this time with the $45 kit from the hairdresser that did contain the Terminator comb. For days. And we are still doing it once a day. Maybe till he’s 18.
When I thought about it after doing the cleaning/exorcism required when something this vile has been introduced into your home, I did realize it was torture to him. He has sensory processing disorder (SPD). While he seeks sensory input in many ways, he avoids it in others. Especially anything to do with his hair. Brushing it with a clothes brush (you know, just a little sturdier than an infant brush) elicits grumbles. Washing, combing, or cutting, his hair is really hard.
For a brief moment, I did consider just accepting our fate and choosing names for the hatchlings on the way. Hopper? Biter? Itchy?
There are many children that have SPD. You are not alone.
Connecting with other parents can be a great way to share ideas with others who know and understand.
Living with a child who has mental health issues can come with a lot of unknowns just like having a child with physical health issues. But society can treat both children very differently.
I have two boys. One is 10 and the other is 8. Both of my kids have disability labels. One has a physical disability and the other has emotional and behavioral issues. One disability you can see, the other you don’t – but it is there.