Saturday, June 4, 2016

Lice and Other Stories

I got a call on Thursday night that Eleanor, Calliope's best friend, had lice. Almost her whole class had them. Naturally I was freaking out inwardly but I managed to remain calm. For point of reference, the last time we had them was two days after my mother's funeral. Not a great experience.

Friday morning before school I combed Calliope's hair briefly, for 2-3 minutes, based on the advice of a friend that said that should be sufficient to diagnose a case (not to treat one, though!). Not an egg anywhere, never mind a bug.

Friday I took C to school then left for most of the day for a staff meeting. I picked C up at 2:30 and hung around for 10-15 minutes because one of her friends' parents was running late. Her teacher and I have been friendly for years. All was well.

On the way home, Calliope casually comments, "Amy Binin [her teacher] saw a bug in my hair and said I have lice."
I freaked out. Asked a bunch of questions. Calliope couldn't give a lot of details. But was sure of her story.

I was so upset. I couldn't believe the teacher would forget to mention this to me! Teachers are usually so panicked by lice and worrying about epidemics. I was there for quite a while. How could she not say anything?

As soon as we got home, I got out the fine tooth comb and a spray bottle (the toddlers LOVED) that and combed her hair for a good twenty minutes while hanging out with Susie and the littles, wiping it dutifully on a white paper towel to check for the tiniest of eggs.

Again, nothing. Not even a speck of dandruff. (Jealous!) Clean as a whistle.

I sent her teacher a panicked text message (prior to combing) saying, "Calliope said that she has lice?!"

Never heard back.

That night I sent her a longer email explaining I had combed Calliope prior to school that morning, based on her best friend being infested, and a much longer comb that night, and I still had seen nothing.

Got both a text message and an email back this morning.

Calliope fabricated the entire thing.

Apparently she wanted to have lice in solidarity with Eleanor. 

How's that for best friendship?

And the end of an era: that of naively trusting my child. Parenting just got a lot harder.


  1. I am sorry but I am laughing. I love that Calliope faked having lice. That is a future blackmail story if there ever was one!

  2. wondering why a second time mom, RN and works at a school is feeling so panicked over lice. Such a common issues you must see kids with it everyday or at least every year

    1. Yes, it's common. And not dangerous. But still a lot of work to eradicate.

  3. This is a great story! Fiona has made up many nonsensical lies. I would feel really upset, I think feeling betrayed. But then I read up on it and, of course, it's a fairly typical stage of development.

  4. I had lice in second grade, and I was so excited and proud about it, I told everyone. Even random people at the grocery store. I figured that if adults were making a big deal about it, it must be an exciting thing!

  5. I love this story!
    And Calliope was bragging about it too, admittedly only to the parents of her best friend. And our nanny. Who know her well and were very amused.

  6. My sister & I had lice a couple times as kids & nits once. WHAT A PAIN to treat!!! Soaking our heads in vinegar for hours was torture. Luckily we could just shave the boys heads if they ever get it but Paul Mitchell has a conditioner/lotion that repels lice. I believe it's lavender. A friend who's daughter has been in daycare since infancy has had great success with it. Twice in the last year her preschool has had an outbreak of lice with the majority of kids in Canan's class having it & Canan has never had any. My sister started using it on niece since her hair has gotten longer. May be worth looking into just for self assurance.
    PS, I can't believe how big the girls are getting!!! So beautiful!