Bry was on a 3 day-work retreat last Spring when I decided to give the boys haircuts. Tanner, took his normal spot on the back patio bench, holding the squirt bottle while I evened out the front. Then on to the ears when- what’s that? I dart closer. No. NO! My fingers frantically pull near his temple as I discover (and oh how this memory is etched in my mind) hundreds of tiny.nearly transparent.LICE villains! Everywhere. Clinging to his shaggy (don’t judge) curls for dear life, and no doubt duplicating by the second.
So I do what any normal single mom does. I FLIP OUT! NO!!!! Like NOOOOOOOO! (I’m hyper-ventilating) Tanner’s eyes are the size of frisbees and Ty is jumping on the trampoline fighting imaginary bad guys. I’m pawing at his hair like a mad woman, scouring, squinting, HATING these stupid lice. Here goes our night of making cookies and watching Wreck it Ralph.
My head jerks up and over, and tractor beams on our youngest. TY! I’m trying to be calm, like, “Hey bud, can you come here so I can weirdly assault your noggin?” but it comes out. “COME HERE.HURRY! LICE HAVE TAKEN OVER!!!! Oh. Just wait. It gets better. His brown mop is cuh-vered. All over. I can see lice jumping over each other and playing hopscotch and patty-cake. These lice are so freakin’ happy on their new blondish-brown playground. OH.MY.WORD! NOOOO!
I’d like to claim insanity at this moment. Perhaps I checked out of my body or took a mental pause because it suddenly hits me. Hmmm. My head’s been itching recently and AHHHHH! MY fingers fly into my desperate for a color mane. I run to the boys room and press against their full-length mirror where the evening sun catches every.single.tiny.lice.spawn clutching to MY ENTIRE HEAD.
Seconds later I’m on the phone with Bryan, who is lounging, ahem, “working“ by the pool and I’m like, “GET OVER HERE. WE ARE COVERED IN LICE!” When he finally manages to understand what I’m saying, he calmly asks, “What would you like me to do?” I want him to come home and shave our heads is what I want, but I’m like “It’s fine. I’ve got this!”
And I stare at my lice-infested reflection and point my finger at the mirror. “You’re going down SUCKERS! Stupid lice.” From the backyard, “Mooooom. We don’t say stupid.”
You know who your people are when you send out an SOS and they drop what they are doing, never mind that they have three boys at home to feed, and run to the store to buy LICE stuff and bring it over.
And for the next six hours- yes, 3 hours per son- I coat them in tar (it might as well be) and pick through every.single.curly-cue.strand, and, with my thumb and pointer fingernails pinched together, I pull one nasty lice villain after another. Smearing them on a paper towel and cackling at each one as it dies. This mixed with a flurry of stripping sheets and doing 10 billion loads of laundry and trying to figure out how to shove the sofa in the washing machine. Side note: lice can’t survive off a noggin, so the furniture was fine. I discovered this perusing dear Mr.Internet in a sane moment.
Tanner and Ty, stripped to their undies, and side-by-side on the bench, watch shows on repeat. Minutes melt into hours as midnight approaches. “Stupid, stupid lice,” I mutter. “Mom, we don’t say stupid!” “I know, but about LICE, we DO!” Stupid, bossy, grabby lice.
And then, Jesus in the form of our dear dear friends, swoop in and help me shower boys and put them to bed. And, as if them coming to help isn’t enough, oh yes she did, Donna makes a party of it, and out pops the sangria, and I believe there was candy or sweets involved, and for the next 2-3 hours, they douse my head in grease, and I’ve got one person LICE-KILLING on the right side and another LICE-KILLING on the left, and the three of us are laughing and gabbing and welcoming the wee hours of the next day in a LICE CONQUERING SANGRIA STOUP.
And to this day, if you ask our boys what they thought about LICE NIGHT, they’ll laugh and tell you, “It was so cool. We got to watch like 50 shows in our undies.”
“And what are the only things we ever say are stupide?” I ask.
In unison they yell, “The flu and LIIIIIIIICE!”
Stupid, stupid lice.