Bugs in My Hair by children's author David Shannon (No, David!) untaps the humor in the frustrating experience of going to war against lice, from the metal lice combs to the never ending laundry to the lingering scent of tea tree oil.
As you itch your way through this book you'll be treated to all the hallmarks of a David Shannon story: The harried look of the illustrations, the googly eyed characters, and just enough grossness to even draw in older readers, like my eight-year-old boys. He even throws in helpful lice facts!
This is a must-read for anyone who's had lice.
Our own journey with lice started when my son complained of an itchy head. The following morning, an ominous email landed in my in-box. It came all the way from my sister-in-law in Turkey, whose son had just spent a couple of weeks with us, and it carried the news that my nephew had lice.
I knew then and there that my son, too, had lice.
So I called grandma, who was lucky to be hosting lice boy over for an overnight, and broke the news. I could imagine my boy in grandma's tidy house, dropping exploding populations of lice into every nook and cranny.
"Meet us at the lice salon," I yelled into the phone.
"Where is that? What? Who?" my mother yelled back, confused.
The lice salon made a nice profit that day. They checked our family of four, plus grandma and grandpa and three of our friends. In all, four of us ended up with lice, including myself. While we were there, the phone at the lice salon rang off the hook and many other families came by. We weren't alone in our battle.
Lest you think you don't have lice because you aren't itchy, be forewarned. I didn't feel anything, not a single itch and I had lice. One of my sons was adamant that he didn't have lice. "I DON'T HAVE LICE," he screamed as I dragged him into the lice salon. He ended up having "too many lice to count" as I found out on the lice count sheet the salon supplies.
I washed our bedding every single day. Vaccummed. Nit picked with the special metal comb. Doused our hair with professional lice fighting shampoo. Did the whole nine yards over and over again until our follow up check at the lice salon came up clean. My OCD cleaning tendencies went into overdrive.
Having lice wasn't terrible, just a great big hassle. I didn't feel any stigma against it as we'd been receiving those lice notification starting when my boys were back in preschool and they are in fourth grade now. I knew it was only a matter of time.
While I'm not happy about being inducted into the lice veteran category, I'm relieved I can look back and laugh about the experience.
If you've not yet had to battle lice or if you're paranoid about lice, then knock on wood and carry on. You won't get it.
For the rest of us, I say let's grab David Shannon and get together for a giant group hug. Just don't let our heads touch!
This is an original post to Chalk and Cheese Chronicles.