Domestic Bliss Report

Motherhood is hard work. If we don't stick together, we'll all fall apart.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Damage controlled

A few years ago, the summer after Dale was born, we as a family had our first experiences with head lice. [No, we're not dealing with it again.] Neither of us parents had ever had it--kind of remarkable, considering all the facts. The horror of it was overwhelming.
My husband asked me, "What do we do if Dale has them? He's not even six months old!"
I told him, "Boys are easy. You shave their heads. Girls, if you want them to keep their hair, are much tougher." It was irrelevant, anyway; he didn't have them. He needed hair first.
Madeleine and I, however, were right infested.
The Late Great Christina came over and went through my head. She even brought some homemade eucalyptus oil, or some scent we humans didn't mind but the little critters did. We joked about a pin she had: "Friends help you move, good friends help you move bodies." I said it needed a third line: "Really good friends come over and pick your nits."
Anyway, we dealt with the little suckers twice that summer. The second time, I told my husband in tears that he couldn't leave me with the situation. There was no way I could do all of the necessary laundry, check Madeleine's head, and take care of both small kids on my own. I didn't care what he told them at work but he was staying home to help me. He did.
When I found out where we'd gotten them, I was really kicking myself for my softheartedness. I had continued to take Madeleine to her aunt's once a week to see her cousin, even though I was home for the summer. One of the other little girls, whom I'll call Jenny, imported the bugs... twice.
It gets longer than that. Where was Jenny getting them? Hmmm. This little girl had an older brother. He had one daddy, the little girl another, and Mom was married to a third guy. Jenny spent alternate weekends with her father, who had a girlfriend. Jenny would go with Daddy to visit his girlfriend, who had daughters... that for some reason, couldn't manage to eradicate head lice.

I've thought of that lately and the environment my kids are growing up in. Their friends, their cousins, their parents all come from two-parent, married-couple families. It's all they know. My son even noticed enough to ask where Grandma's husband is on his own. ("Heaven," his big sister told him. "That's Mama's daddy and he's in Heaven.") I want this to be normal for my kids--Mom and Dad married to each other. Period. I don't want to explain parenting time, custody arrangements, holiday transfers, step-relatives, or any of it. I don't want that to be normal.
I read some study that found that even if children come from stable two-parent homes, if a significant number of their classmates don't, it raises their incidence of at-risk behavior. From classmates.

You know, maybe head lice isn't the worst thing they can pick up from school. At least you know when it's gone.

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At 3:04 PM, Blogger HISchild said...

All I can say is AMEN!

At 6:33 AM, Anonymous Becky said...

I second the Amen. Hubby and I have been unable to have children so far (four years of trying...), but if we ever are blessed with little ones, I do not relish the thought of trying to explain to them why Grandma and Grandpa live in different states, and how come Grandpa has a wife who isn't Grandma.


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