My wise husband always says that comedy = tragedy + time. If you think about it, it’s true - eventually, you can laugh at situations that make you want to cry when you’re experiencing them.
I’m not laughing about today. Yet.
I spent all morning helping to decorate the elementary school gym for tomorrow’s big event: Colonial Day. Yesterday, I said it reminded me of my class’s hands-on learning experience (we did a Mexican fiesta to learn about our neighbors south of the border), but today, with all the kraft paper and tape and tempera-painted murals, I was reminded of decorating the high school gym for the prom. The tradition at my small, rural high school was to hold the prom in the gym. In the neighboring, just-as-rural district, they managed to have their prom at some hotel in the nearby “city” of Harrisburg, PA. We Wildcats were sooo jealous of those Buffalo. They got to go to a carpeted ballroom with crystal chandeliers and a parquet dance floor. We danced on Saturday on the same floor onto which we had dripped sweat during second period P.E. on Friday.
Anyway, I’m in the gym, chatting with the other helper-moms, and a couple of them said, we shouldn’t let the kids try on the wigs at the (Colonial) barber shop, what with the lice going around, and I’m all, whew, dodged that one again, we’ve been so lucky to have avoided that whole ordeal!
I returned home and enjoyed a quiet lunch, read the newspaper, started some laundry, and generally revelled in my quiet house. It was nice. Oldest son returned home from school and while he was out walking the dog, the phone rang.
I recognized the number as the school nurse at The Boss’s elementary school – the same place whose gym I had just helped to transform into a colonial village. According to my clock, he would have already been on the school bus.
“Your son’s teacher sent him to the health room at the end of the day,” she said. “Because he was scratching his head.”
“Yes, and I checked, and found a couple of nits, and blah blah blahdeblah and nothing live, so he’s on the school bus, but blah blah blahdeblah deblahblahblah,” she continued, but I had stopped listening at “nit.”
(Alternate title for this post: “Nits? SHIT!!!”)
“Tomorrow is Colonial Day,” I said. “What do I have to do so he can be at school tomorrow?”
She outlined the procedure with the special shampoo and the comb and the washing in hot water of all the bedding (and the boys share a room, so the washing is times two) and coats and… “bring him to me first thing in the morning, and if I don’t see any nits, he can stay.”
And BAM – just like that – several extra hours of urgent work for me and the husband! Because in addition to the normal stuff that goes on in my house on any given weeknight, I had also promised to make dozens of Johnny Cakes, plus a batch of corn bread, for tomorrow’s delicious Colonial lunch. I started counting the hours of sleep I would have to give up and pondered whether to give them up on the front end or in the morning.
One $50-trip to CVS later, I was back at home and attacking the poor child’s head. And this is the kid with the long blond locks that everyone loves and comments on. The kid who looks like Owen Wilson, or some west coast surfer dude. He has vehemently refused haircuts, even just a trim, despite his bangs being in his eyes, and because his hair rocks, we’ve allowed him to let it grow.
But desperate times call for desperate measures. “If you wanna go to Colonial Day tomorrow,” I told him, “you have to play by my rules. We are CUTTING some of your hair off. I don’t want to be combing all night.” I brandished my scissors.
Realizing I was not asking, he acquiesced. We washed and dried and vacuumed and sprayed and replaced bedding and bagged up bed pillows. I washed and cut and combed and inspected his hair. In 12 years of parenting, this is our first encounter of the louse kind, so I didn’t exactly know what I was looking for, but I really don’t think I discovered anything foreign to the environment.
And the Johnny Cakes? Started ‘em at 10pm, and now it’s after 11 and I am almost done for tonight. Each batch is taking longer than I thought it would, so I’m blogging between batches. I have one more batch to make tomorrow, maybe, before I trot my shorn son to see the school nurse so he can be declared nit-free.
I swear, I will never use the term “nitpicky” again without thinking of today.
Filed under: cooking, kids, laundry, luck, motherhood, overextended family, overextended parents, parenthood, school, sick kids, sleep, social norms, Why I'm The Way I Am | Tagged: Colonial Day, haircut, Johnny Cakes, laundry, lice, nits, prom, school nurse | 17 Comments »