A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of enduring such a week.
It started with the twins throwing Hawk in the oven. OK, I’m being dramatic. They didn't actually throw him in the oven. They just opened the door allowing him to burn his little hands. I’m pretty sure I was more traumatized than Hawk. This incident caused us to spend over $200 in burn supplies and gauze at Rite Aid.
A couple days later I fell down the stairs, hurting my back. That night I laid in bed and thought, “Well, things can’t get much worse.” Oh, spoken like a fool.
The next morning, the kids had a 2 hour delay. I woke up and my back was feeling a great deal better. Not 100%, but definitely better. I spent those few extra hours taking my time, smiling, and saying to myself, “see, things are getting better already.”
That morning, everything was so under control I called out to Jovie, “Jo, come here. We actually have time to do your hair nice this morning. Want me to braid it?” Our mornings had been so chaotic before that and I hardly had time to brush her mop let alone style it.
I pulled a dining room chair into the living room for her to sit on while I braided her hair. She sat and happily sang a little song as I brushed away. When it was free of knots, I used a comb and parted her hair. I looked down, gasped and jumped back in my seat.
Jovie turned around, looking frightened from my reaction. “What mom?” she asked.
I composed myself. “Uh, nothing.”
I hesitantly sat back up and peered into her hair, probably looking like I do when I open up a putrid diaper. I reluctantly used the utmost tip of my finger and pushed a little hair to the side, jumping and gasping again.
Jovie leapt from her chair, “What? What is it?” she demanded.
She quickly sat back down, looking terrified. I ran to the boys’ door and yelled down, “Boys come here now!”
They emerged from the basement as I was pulling all the dining room chairs into the living room.
“What did we do?” they asked. Obviously, my tone made them believe they were in trouble.
“Nothing. Just sit.”
They all sat down and I began combing through their hair like a crazy person.
“What’s going on?” Jagger asked.
I ignored him. I was panicked and didn’t know exactly how to handle the situation. Looking back now, I didn’t handle it well.
“Mom…….Mom……Mom…..Mom, what’s going on?” Jagger wouldn’t stop.
“LICE JAGGER! WE HAVE LICE!”
“What’s lice?” Jet asked.
“BUGS! BUGS IN OUR HAIR!” I wasn't trying to yell, I just couldn't help myself at the moment. I was in a state of total meltdown.
“BUGS?” Jagger didn't like the sound of that.
I check all the kids, and luckily, only Jovie and Jude had lice. After I finished, I stood and stared at all my kids as they stared back at me, all lined up on chairs, looking for some sort of response. I put one hand on my hip and the other on my chin and thought.
“What do we do now?” Jet asked.
“Um….I’m not sure. Let me go wake up daddy. Stay put.”
I ran upstairs and tried to wake up Adam. “We have lice Adam. LICE! I really need some help.”
“Don’t worry, the reservation isn’t until later.”
I sighed, realizing Adam’s contribution to the day would be no more than cheering me on between snores. I walked downstairs and called the school. Talk about embarrassing. My kids just started at this school and here I am telling them we are disease carrying trash. I let them know that Jovie and Jude were the only kids who had it and they may want to check the rest of the kids in kindergarten and 2nd grade.
I hung up the phone and sat thinking. I looked over at my kids (still on chairs) and picked up the phone again.
“Yeeeeesssss.” My brother’s groggy voice tried to sound cheerful, though I knew he was probably ready to kill me for waking him.
“I need help. We have lice.”
“Huh?....(yawn)…..Why do you need rice? It’s like 8 in the morning.” My brother is only slightly more coherent than Adam in the mornings.
I turned the phone so my lips were touching the mouthpiece, “No, LICE. LIIIIICE!”
“Oooh. Ok, I’m coming.”
I hung up the phone and looked at the worried faces of my kids (still on chairs). I felt horrible. I knew I had just scared the crap out of them and it wasn’t really that bad. “You guys can take your uniforms off. You get to stay home today. We all have to wash our hair with special shampoo. Why don’t you go downstairs and watch some tv.” They all jumped up and ran down. I called after them, “Don’t sit on the couch, please. I’m going to have to clean it.”
Jagger let out a moan, then yelled, “I JUST WANT MY LIFE BACK!”
While I waited for my brother, I started on washing bed linens. I had to get a move on it. I knew it was going to be a whole day event. Never do I wash ALL bed linens in one day.
My brother appeared and I made yet another trip to Rite Aid. (Remind me to buy stock.) I dropped $100 on lice shampoo. $100! Big families should not get lice. What a rip off.
I got home and my brother and I started cleaning kids. We started with Jovie and Jude. We combed and picked through their hair, looking like primates, for almost 2 hours. While we worked on them, my brother’s girlfriend came to help, too. She asked what she could do. I suggested turning the laundry around. She came back up with a frown and something behind her back. “What?” I asked, knowing it wasn't going to be good. She pulled Jude’s brand new 2DS out from behind her, “This was in the washer.”
My stomach lurched, “Oh no. I didn't even check his bed for those types of things. We just bought that for him.” I looked at my brother, “Well, that’s another $100 down the drain.”
It took 7 hours to shampoo and pick through all the hair in our house. It also took 13 hours to wash almost all of the bed linens. And guess what? My dryer broke. Ok, so it just takes double the time to dry as it used to. I imagined it coughing and spitting as I dried the last few loads of comforters, “hack….hack….Why are you doing this to me lady?....hack, hack…Can’t.Go.On...wheeeeeeze.”
Oh, and don’t forget my sweeper broke, too. I watched it smoke for a good 20 minutes.
At the end of that day, I sat at the table with Adam, Clayte, and Emily. We all looked haggard. I mumbled, “I can’t believe how much money I’ve wasted this week on nonsense.” I leaned back in my chair, “Burnin’ Benjamins.”
Clayte chuckled, “Yeah, you’re a baller.”
The best part of the lice epidemic? The school nurse telling me they checked all the other kids and no one else had lice.
“Do your kids go to daycare?”
“No. But my house is like a daycare.”
“Have you shopped at the Red, White, and Blue store?”
“Have you been anywhere with a lot of kids?”
“Nope. We never go anywhere.”
“Then I have no idea where they could have gotten it.” She looked me over and I could only guess what she was thinking.
Lesson 179: Being such dirty people that lice can just spawn out of nowhere = white trash
The rest of the week I was very cautious. Peering around every corner and waiting for things to spontaneously combust. Things weren't too terribly bad, but in the last 3 hours of my week, I came down with a cold, Stone’s fingers got smashed in a door, Jovie’s ceiling light got broken, and the police showed up to respond to a 911 call made from my house.
“Dispatch said it sounded like kids,” the officer told me.
I guess dumb things just needed to squeeze themselves in before the week was up.
That night, I couldn't jump in my bed fast enough. I threw the covers up over my stuffy face and offered up a prayer of thanks. Thank you God for this week. Thank you for my kids being healthy enough to have hair to have lice in. Thank you for our beds and warm blankets to break a dryer. Thank you for medicine to help Hawk’s hands, my back, and now my sinus pressure. Thank you for family to help me through stressful moments. And most importantly, thank you for helping me survive with a few shreds of sanity still intact!