Monday, September 14, 2009
Scratch, Scratch. Does Your Head Feel Itchy Too?
They say it never rains but it pours. So true of Hong Kong. And I'm not talking about the driving rain and howling winds from Typhoon Koppu. I'm not talking about the fact that our driver has been out sick with flu-like symptoms, leaving me trying to find and hail empty taxis from the school pick-up line (very rare) in the pouring rain (near impossible). Nor, am I talking about the fact that a typhoon signal 8 was recently hoisted. (For those of you Stateside, this means that school will be cancelled tomorrow.) Exactly what we need after a week of school closure due to the swine flu. If I receive a notification for Virtual School tomorrow, I may have to have words with someone. I don't know who that someone is, but words I will have.
I am talking about a type of school notification that is, if you can believe it, so much worse than another Virtual School announcement. Oh, some schools send home notices on pretty pink paper, as if the cheerful pastel color will lessen the horror. Sometimes the school nurse calls, as if the human touch will lessen the pain. And sometimes you just notice the head-scratching yourself.
Yes, I am talking about the H-bomb. Head lice.
Ever since Guinness started preschool six years ago, we've received the classroom notice at least twice a year. So far, we've been like Muhammad Ali, miraculously ducking and weaving to avoid the lice threat. But every time we get the notice, the reaction is always the same. I find it not unlike the stages of grief:
Denial. It's probably just a birthday invitation, right? Come on! It's on pink paper....
Anger. What! But we just got a notice 3 months ago! I'll bet they didn't even clean the classroom!
Bargaining. Just let us escape it one more time, and I promise I will stop being lazy about bringing the kids in for regular haircuts....
Depression. Who cares? I'm not going to do anything. We're just going to get another notice again anyway.
Acceptance. My head feels itchy.
So, no, we were not able to dodge it this time. I got the notice about head lice in the class while I was still at school. The nurse hadn't had time to check the rest of the students before the end of the day. Of course, my head immediately started feeling itchy, so Idecided to take the little one down to the nurse's office to get it checked out. And with an expert diagnosis in hand, I quickly realized that there is a fine line to tread between making sure your kids don't feel self-conscious about anything and teaching them a little discretion. Because, to take a line from our lice shampoo pamplet, "head lice are ... generally considered to be socially unacceptable." This I am thinking as Ellington cheerfully tells three different teachers about the bugs on his head, and how he got them from one of his friends, but now Mommy is going to wash his hair with medicine to kill them. And as he and Cayman cheerfully and loudly chat about it on the public bus going to the local pharmacy (since I never was able to hail down a taxi from the school pick-up line, in the pouring rain, with children with headlice).
Hey guys. You know how it's okay to like your zoo animals underwear, but you shouldn't show it to everyone? Well, let's not talk about the bugs right now. Okay?
And nonononono! Seriously. Get your head away from me!
And so the fun begins. It took 2 hours to get everyone's hair washed, treated, combed, dried, and re-combed. We had to strip everyone's beds. We had to rewash all our towels. All our stuffed animals and throw pillows are sealed in garbage bags. Everyone is forbidden from sitting on our couches until we can vacuum them tomorrow. Perhaps I am overreacting. But as you know, I have issues with bugs, whether they be microscopic ones crawling around inside my pillow, sesame size ones crawling around my child's head, or tropical size ones crawling around my house.
I've gone through my hair with a fine tooth comb three times and didn't find a thing. But, I swear! Does anyone else's head feel itchy too?