As you can see from the illustration on the right, this is NOT a post where I complain about a lousy Christmas.
Well, in a way, it is.
In the morning of Christmas Eve, Tornado went to kindy for just a few hours, perfect for me to pack in the last presents and stack everything in the car. We were off spent Christmas on “Gilligan’s Island” (ours is in Moreton Bay off the coast of Queensland) with my In-Laws and their little zoo. They have 4 cats, 3 dogs and 3 chickens – it’s always great fun for Tornado. I am fascinated with the abundance of wild birds, there are always stone curlews and kookaburras to observe right from the patio. One a sidenote, my MIL’s husband, originally from Wyoming, had a dramatic encounter last year with a carpet snake that he found rolled around one of the Shih-Tzus (He got bitten but saved the dog, the snake was released unharmed). Indeed, not all animals on the island are all that cute…
Given the proximity of all that water and bushland, I usually start itching already on the ferry, because it seems that any blood-sucking animal on the island is just waiting for my arrival. Two years ago I got stung about two dozen times by SOMETHING, and the painful itches turned into bruises and red marks that lasted for an incredible two months! I will have at least some “mozzie” bites, no matter how much I spray myself, sitting in the dizzying fumes of a (non-working) outdoor repellent candles, spirals or spray. And admittedly, I am always a little apprehensive that we will bring home some “rural” parasite from the island back to our dogs. So much more hassle to bath a 65 kilo dogthing than a little Shih-tzu to get rid of fleas!
After dinner, I went to put Tornado to bed and while brushing his teeth, he scratched his head. Just a little, but since the light was so good and there had been a lice alarm at kindy a few weeks back, I had a quick look.
I immediately saw two head lice!
Mami was not thrilled : Here I was with zero experience with head lice (there were just not that common where I grew up) but I knew that sleeping in the same big bed with my child for the night, being on an island with closed shops and no pharmacy over the Christmas holidays wasn’t exactly an ideal situation. Also, while there seem to be more efficient treatments out today, I was already dreading it, since even washing Tornados hair with ‘tear-free’ baby shampoo is a nerve-wrecking battle that has probably already reduced my life-expectancy of about 2 years so far.
Fast forward through a night where I numbed my fears with a yummy ‘Christmas Coctail’ (vodka/lemonade/strawberry cordial – hey, it was red!) and got stung about a dozen times (Gilligan’s mozzies), then Christmas morning, an avalanche of presents for Tornado, a long Christmas lunch (doing nothing and eating A LOT, those are the best meals) and then we packed everything and everybody in the car and went back on the ferry. That evening at home, of course I found more head lice – on ME.
Obviously, by then, I was itching permanently and everywhere, while Tornado only run a hand through his hair very occasionally. Only the next morning, on Boxing Day, I finally got to a pharmacy and bought a fast working, non stinky oily treatment. I used it immediately. On me.
To make things easier I asked Awesome to use his clippers to reduce Tornado’s thick beatnik hair-do to a short crew cut. When I came back to the bathroom, the two had decided that it would be just as well and kind of COOL to give Tornado simply the same hair cut as my husband which is basically NO HAIR. It is also completely lice-proof :I managed to stay calm so not to alarm my son but silently grimaced to husband in shock. I am just glad that my beautiful child still had hair on the Christmas photos and am thinking he’ll have a bit of a ‘fur’ at least for his first day in school, end of January. It seems to be some sort of bonding experience too for my two boys (more than me sharing lice with my son) and after all, it’s summer (even if it rains day and night). So it’s all good. I’m getting used to my son’s new bald look and Tornado can go back to kindy on Wednesday, no problem.
On the other hand, I am still itchy as hell. I will have to use the treatment again. Also probably need more vodka.
The odd link : on my research for illustrations I found this website -www.giantmicrobes.com. They sell bizarre but cute plush toys of microbes and parasites along with an information sheet on the actual symptoms and treatments. Fun idea. Still itching.