A life ruined by lice

This disgusting picture comes courtesy of www.webmd.com

This disgusting picture comes courtesy of http://www.webmd.com

A few years ago Wife had a kid with lice.  Wait, that came out wrong.  She had a kid in her class that had head lice.  It wasn’t her kid, for that would make it my kid.  And our kids never had lice. Well, unless you conside…moving on…

You’re probably wondering why on earth this prompt a blog post?  I don’t know, pick a reason:  Bored, insane, creative, funny or extremely attractive.

Or maybe it’s because that comment is actually a half truth.  Saying that the kid had lice is like saying Kim Kardashian is worthy of her fame.  And that is utter bull shit and the reason I’m receiving counselling.  That kid had a full blown infestation.

D had longer hair than what would be considered normal for a 6-year old white kid in a conservative South Africa.  His long blond hair was hiding the nest.  A cozy place that housed nits, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation lice and more nits.  All of them nicely tucked away in that little hollow space where the human spine meets the skull.

“It was disgusting”, said the Wife.

“It remains one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever seen”,  said the Wife.

“I started itching involuntarily all over my head and I was in desperate need of a shower”, said the Wife as she subtly scratched her head.

I’m cutting a long story short.  Wife called Mom.   Mom didn’t realise D had lice.  Mom felt extremely bad.  Mom apologised profusely to Wife.  Mom took D and cut his hair.  Nest and lice was gone.  Wife still has a few nightmares to deal with.

The obvious question remains: How could the Mother not know?  Am I unreasonable to think that a mother of a 6-year-old would employ some level of parental care and notice her poor kid itching like a smoker on a twelve hour flight?  How is it possible for one *insert singular form of lice* to invite his whole extended family and then proceed to breed without the Mother’s knowledge?

Interestingly, this kid has probably been through worse as he was totally unaware of the embarrassment factor that comes with having lice.

We should have known.  It should have been a warning.  A lice nest might imply a lack of parental involvement.

Fast forward 10 years.

I was travelling, for a change, and my neighbour called me one fateful Wednesday morning.  Due to the annoying reality of caller identification, I went into immediate panic as his last phone call resulted in this.

It is a tree...In my driveway!

It is a tree…In my driveway!

It’s never a good call.  Like a tax auditor standing on your front porch with a wicked smile.

Fortunately this time the news was much less severe.  Some kids had vandalised all the exterior lights of the houses in our street.  For those uniformed people, South Africa’s version of a white picket fence is a six feet concrete wall with lights and they are used for visibility, not aesthetics.  These two brats were walking up and down the street with a pellet gun, shooting at anything that was breakable or didn’t move.

One or two or seven of our neighbours own a close-circuit security camera system, so we were able to identify the culprits, the juvenile delinquents.  Guess who?  It was D.  He had long hair again, we didn’t check for lice.

Here’s another attempt at cutting a long story short.

Mom heard of the incident/s.  Mom was furious.  Mom called the police to report her own son.  Mom was concerned about his future.  (A delayed response me thinks.)  It was not his first time.  D already had a criminal record.  At 16.

It might just be me and my twisted view of reality but WTF?  As a parent I have a full understanding of how difficult the job is.  I will be the first one to admit parents aren’t perfect and I have full comprehension that the choices children make are theirs to make.  We can’t blame our parents for the life we have.  Successes and failures is life’s way of teaching us.  Of making us stronger.  And hopefully we get up if we’re beaten down.

With all that being said, there has to be some credibility for basic parental guidance, when a Mom or Dad takes the time to identify with their kids, when they show interest, when they try and notice a problem before it explodes into something outrageous, like let’s say a CRIMINAL RECORD!  Shouldn’t we as parents at least try and influence or give support or I don’t know, pray for help.  Especially when the kids can still fit under one blanket.

I get anxious when I think that there might be something bothering Dude and Princess that I don’t know about.  It frightens me to even consider there’s something that troubles their soul and I am unaware of what that might be.  I want them to talk to me.  I want them to share their lives. With me.  (And the Wife, if she’s interested.)  But that implies a little action on our part.

We need to WANT to get involved.  It implies a sacrifice of sorts, a time-out with our kids, a focused session of attention every day of our lives.  Added to everything else we might be dealing with at the time.  It’s our duty, the pain that comes because of the pleasure.

There are no guarantees in raising kids and we still have green corn waiving in the fields, but with the grace of God I pray that a head of lice doesn’t turn into a criminal element.  I pray that I will be able to see any potential lice before it actually turns into a real massive disgusting heap of them.

Remember, it only takes one jumping fucker *or insert singular form of lice* to start an infestation.


10 thoughts on “A life ruined by lice

  1. What a good correlation you draw between the lack of attention early on and the results in the child later. I know exactly what you mean about wanting so much for your kids to want to talk and being scared to death that there might be something in their minds slowly eating away at their confidence and emotional state. It is a fear and it’s well done of you to point out that a bit of time each day to connect is the very least of what we owe them. “Bored, insane, creative, funny or extremely attractive?” I think none of the above. Instead, I suspect once again that you are watching, noticing, and taking part in the world around you and your children and voicing well-thought out conclusions based upon your experiences. Nope, am thinking you’re doing just fine!


  2. I recall having a very similar conversation a number of years ago, with a friend of mine who is a teacher. She was describing a situation in her classroom with a young person who was absolutely out of control. I asked her the question, “if we are sitting here as parents all agreeing that we would have handled this in a totally different manner, who & why are these children so out of control?”

    Her response to me was, “you are sitting here among a group of your peers who all share similar values in raising their children. You are under the impression that all parents give a damn. I am here to tell you , they don’t”

    In fact, when she made the decision to call this child’s mother at home, to attempt to discuss her child’s behaviour, when the mother answered the phone & began a conversation, her daughter was heard in the background saying, “is that that f@$king bitch on the phone?” Nuff said! There was not going to be any support from the parent!

    I think I can safely say that your children do not fall into this category!


    • Thank you for the comment, and the assurance about my kids.
      I am always appalled by stories my wife and her colleagues tell me about parents who doesn’t give a damn.

      It is an unfortunate reality that having the biology to create babies doesn’t necessarily equip you to raise them babies.


  3. As I sit here scratching my head obsessively, I think of this morning, when another mother told me of the notice she got from the school that houses our 3-5 graders saying that there has been a case of head lice, and all the children at that school ought to be checked. My immediate thought was J, a 1st grader, is of course at risk, and I didn’t get a notice.
    You are more than correct. A mother who doesn’t notice a giant nest of lice in her childs hair, in my opinion, should not even be called a mother. It doesn’t take much to discover that your child has a giant nest of head lice.
    All you have to do is look.
    Disgusting. No wonder he has a criminal record. Here, in liberal New Jersey, where picket fences are picket fences, and most people still don’t lock their doors, we get lice too. And I bet whichever kids’ got the lice (involuntary head scratch) has a mom or dad who didn’t LOOK.


    • Thank you. Thank you! And here I thought it was only me making that obvious connection.

      What’s even more sad is that this poor kid was totally oblivious to what the fuss was about, clearly indicating that his neglect lied a lot deeper than just his mom telling him to wash his hair.


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