Zeph is pretty downcast. He’s had a bad day at school. There’s been nit talk in the playground and he’s cheerfully said that he has nits and has become a pariah. Poor Zeph. Actually he doesn’t have nits because I quickly drycomb his head most evenings. To catch the lice which seem inevitable after a day at school and prevent them spreading. So it seems my diligence makes him feel like he always has nits. Which in fact he pretty much never has.
I feel heartsore and as if it ‘s all my fault. It doesn’t help that the most outraged and offended small person is one of his bestest friends. At bedtime he cries because she has told him to stay away from her and he thinks they’ll never be friends again. I remind him of the gazillion times they fall out, flounce around and are unbelievably dramatic and then make up the next second. ” She told everyone to stay away from me!” he wails. I feel dreadfully guilty.
My mum ran a playgroup and mother & toddler group in the mornings and a drop in centre in the afternoons when my sister and I were at primary school. The result was we pretty much always had lice. I was always taught that it’s nothing to be ashamed of, easily treated and an inevitable part of schooldays. A quick poll around mummy friends confirm they all regularly comb and treat as well. Some of them are at “nice” schools. You know what I mean, a lower proportion of free school dinners and more ballet lessons. Their lice may be more cultured and score higher in league tables but they certainly are still ever-present.
I’ve been dry combing Z’s hair after school most days for the last few years and often find lice. He doesn’t usually get nits. I’ve assumed this is because I’m kind of on top of it. We always describe it as looking for nits or baboon time and joke about it lightheartedly. I’ve kind of welcomed it as quiet talking time.
So when they start talking about it at school he launches into his jokey routine. He was casually unbothered and has, as a result, found himself shunned. It’s more painful for me because I feel like it’s my fault and because if everyone checked heads more regularly maybe I’d find less lice.
I wail to Steve – “he’s the cootie kid! – what if he’s a social outcast from now on!” “he’s not you Laura, it’ll all be fine on Monday”
True, but I remember the ongoing misery at junior school because of my jumble sale clothes and weird hippie lunches. The constant fear that someone would find out we didn’t have a TV. The tyranny of flea-darts. I resolve to stop projecting and panicking and serenely assume it’ll be okay.
To please him I treat and comb his hair. Not a single anything. He heaves a massive sigh “they won’t believe me anyway” he says dolefully. I try to combine briskness and sympathy in a get-overself consoling fashion. Not easy to pull off I can tell you.
I had the best time in B&Q and have bags of sharp sand. Whoop! L sensibly delegated the returning to her other half. We had a lovely time idly looking at timber, fuses and paint. Is this middle age?
I make slab laying plans for Sunday which is supposed to be sunny. That is if tomorrows march goes okay. I’m a lot more worried about the coach journey with a toddler to be honest. I joke about packing a gin miniature – “for me!” when I catch the horrified look on my friends face.
I get an email from J – it includes a great picture of her wearing the longest scarf in the world. (I may of given her a slightly too short scarf for christmas, look – I ran out of wool, okay.) On our recent visit she teased me gently and I resolved to knit this:
As I stuffed it into a jiffy bag I did think it was possibly a leeetle narrow….Luckily she’s decided to humour me and pronounce it the perfect spring scarf. Aha!
Todays best BT’s come from the riotous hour in the swimming pool after school. Ida is convinced she can swim independently, “let go, let go!” she demands, thrashing wildly. I don’t today but think it won’t be long.