My blood just ran cold for a moment. The bag. I forgot to change the bag. Ooooh. All the dread.
It all began when I noticed my youngest doing a similar dance to that of a flea-infested dog who’s just eaten chocolate. While my inner dialogue was finding god and begging whoever was listening to please, please, please not let me find what I thought I was going to find, my outer mama was doing the STOP EVERYTHING thing. Get a flashlight. And Come. Here.
Ah, shit. With the same urgency one would employ whilst dealing with the impending apocalypse, my focus narrowed. A couple of phone calls, texts and one very manic trip to the drug store later, both of my boys were shorn and very much free of the unspeakable bugs I spent far too much time studiously combing out of eldest’s head. Divide and conquer was the only way to deal with this particular crisis. One at Dad’s, one at Mom’s. The big boy wasn’t super cool with having his head shorn. And so, although I am fairly confident I could have lived out the rest of my days without it, I now have a deep and profound understanding of the expressions ‘nitpick’ and ‘Go through it with a fine-toothed comb’. Oh yes. That little clicking sound the comb made every time it encountered one of these little passengers is imprinted in my memory now, I’ll have you know. Right up there with the desperate statement made by my eldest during said nit-picking session: ‘Umm…Mom? I think there’s one on my face. ….Yep.’
Inner voice: ‘$%$##$ hell. ohmygodohchristhelpmeplease.’
Calm, outer mama-voice: You know what honey? I really think it would be best for you just to shave it. Really. Okay? Okay.
Itchy yet? Yep. I get it.
Both kids shorn. Then there’s time to really freak out. Then it’s time to head down to the local laundromat, where I must say there really is a hugely disproportionate amount of ass-crack compared to pretty much everywhere else I’ve ever been (and not the pretty kind), and utter something utterly foreign to me: ‘I’d like 40 dollars in change please.’
I have never cleaned with such gusto in my life. I thought of keeping a running list of how many times I washed-the-bedding-cleaned-the-pillows-vacuumed-the-mattresses-stripped-the-beds-laundered-clothing-sanitized-towels-clorox-wiped-every-surface, but I was too busy checking my own scalp in the mirror. It’s been two weeks, and I’m still carefully combing through my own hair with that magic purple comb at least once a day. Today when I spied a piece of lint on the box-spring while I was vacuuming it (yep, still doing it) I actually let the mattress fall on me while I pounced on it with WHAT ARE YOU???? screaming inside my very fragile brain. A friend of mine likes to scratch his head while he story-tells. That’s been banned. Any head-scratching performed in my presence from this day forward will result in a thorough going-over by me, seasoned nit-picker. You’ve been warned.
So that was enough crazy for one week, right? Nah. Not even a week later, Child #1 is spied head-down, listless and very much not hungry during the lunch hour by the supervisor. One mama-hand to the forehead sends a chill down my spine. He’s hot. Like drop-everything hot. Sick. One day later, I’m down. The next, little man is feeling pretty crappy as well. There is a curse upon our house.
So, half a bottle of Adult extra-strength Tylenol, one box of Emergen-C, two boxes of tea, half a jar of honey, several good doses of Nyquil, one bag of Epsom salts, 21 loads of laundry, one humiliating visit to the medical clinic (because we had to wear masks, not because of Isaac’s delirious fever-induced hallucinations of people racing all around him), …
countless coughing jags – two of which ended with us laying on the floor, daily vitamins, and 12 combined lost pounds, I think we are finally coming out of it. Little one back to school yesterday, only to just about put me over the edge by jumping, screaming, out of his seat at dinner last night looking hysterical – I couldn’t tell whether he was laughing or crying.
Me: WHAT HAPPENED???
Him: I BIT MY FINGER!!! (Crying)
Him: I THOUGHT IT WAS MEAT!!! (Hysterical laughter mixed with tears)
Me: I give up. Well. At least you’re eating. I’ll get a bandaid.
So, half of my sick days for the year are gone, and it’s still September. But hey – it’s not cancer, right? Could be worse!