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02/03/2010

Pediculophobia

Lice_image01 When our kids were young, we lived in the Cincinnati Public School district. Our older daughter went to kindergarten and first grade at an amazing, art-focused magnet school. During the summer after her first grade year, we moved to a smaller community with it's own school district and, as a result, we were no longer eligible for the magnet school. I contemplated the local school in our new neighborhood. It seemed o.k., and I knew other families who sent their kids there... Then IT happened.

A friend of ours down the street from our new house told me that their older child had lice. Apparently there was an outbreak at the school. This was the first time I had heard of “an outbreak” of lice. I never had lice as a child, and I never knew anyone else who had lice. My friend might as well had told me that there was an outbreak of snakes at the school, or evil clowns. All I knew was that home schooling all of a sudden became a very reasonable option. At the time I had only one friend who home schooled her kids, and even though I thought most home schoolers were nut cases, I thought, “We have to do this!” I discussed the home schooling option with my husband who, no doubt due to his “fringe political beliefs”, agreed that this sounded like a great idea. He was sold. I'm pretty sure I didn't discuss the lice reasoning of my home school decision with him. I didn't want to sound like a “crazy”.

But back to lice...

My kids ultimately made friends with other kids in the lice neighborhood. Long story short.. Birthday party, pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, shared blindfold. When I'm trying to ignore scary situations, I prefer the fingers in the ears, “la-la-la” approach. Some people call that “avoidance”. So I “avoided” noticing my kids violent scalp itching. For a while. When I finally accepted that they were stricken, we were at infestation level. Lice shampoos and lice combs were simply no match for the war being waged in my kids' hair. Days went by, and nothing seemed to work. I was defeated, depressed, out-numbered, out-maneuvered... It was the darkest period of my life. We were left with no other option but to shave the kids' heads. That didn't go over too well with the two girls, but neither did not being allowed to play with their friends. Our white surrender flag translated into the new hats I sadly sewed for my freshly shorn kids. It was over.  The war had finally ended.

Perhaps it's a kind of post-traumatic-stress-disorder, but something happened after that infestation. I can't even hear the word “lice” without feelings of doom. I look at other kids' heads as I enter the rec center. I don't lean against chairs at movies or on the bus. I tell my kids they can't play dress-up at other kids' houses.

“Hi, my name is Sharon, and I'm a pediculophobiac.”

“Hi, Sharon.”

At least we've never had pin worms.

Original post to Ohio Moms Blog.

When Sharon is not wondering why you've just itched your head, she sometimes writes things in her blog, Sharon H. Bell's House of Vice and Virtue.

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