How My Son Set Me Straight About Lice

I will keep this stuff until the day I can't keep stuff anymore. Call me, lice.

It was a rough fall in 2012. We sold our house at the beginning of the summer within five days. We had no house to move to in mind. When we finally did, it slipped out of our hands and into another. That happened more than once.

Then my husband's identity got stolen.

That sort of messed things up.

Add it all up and it equals my family of four living with my sister and her husband in their clean house for 3 1/2 months. 

Their orderly house.

Their germ- and bug-free house.

Their pristine house.

Trying to keep my boys' lives contained so that they weren't spilling all over my sister's entire house wasn't easy. Sometimes things got messy. Sometimes things got germy.

Sometimes things got LICE-y.

"Why is he itching the side of his head like that?" I asked my husband as we watched our son sing Christmas carols at Barnes & Noble with his class.

"I don't know. Does he have some sort of tic?"

"I hope not. What if he does?"

That afternoon, it hit me.


"Come here, come here and come here," I said to him as a wielded my comb in my trembling grasp. "I need to see if..."

My mouth fell open.

There were a bunch.

Within milliseconds, we were at CVS paying for RID and then back at home pulling off sheets and submerging stuffed animals into bags.

"Not that one!" my boys cried.


I had no mercy.

"Okay," I said in a serious tone as I started to prepare my children. "We will tell your aunt about the lice but not right away. I want to get things under control and washed and everything else first, okay?"

"Okay," they said in unison.

"So, don't blurt anything out about the lice. I know you had to stay home from school today and we had to get your hair cut and all that, but let's try to keep it quiet for a little bit."

"Okay," they said as they looked at each other.

Whew. I was glad we were on the same page. I was already freaking out enough for five hundred people. Five hundred and one would have just made things worse.

Fast forward to my sister coming home from work and asking the boys how their days went, like she usually did.

"I stayed home from school," my oldest shared.

"You did? Are you sick?"


"Is there no school today?"


"So, why did you stay home?"

"I had bugs in my hair."

I wanted to fall through a hole.

The poor thing. What was he supposed to say?

But, still.

Later, after I stammered to my sister over why I didn't reveal that new little family members had moved in, I asked my son why he told her about that lice when we had gone over why we were going to keep it quiet for a little bit.

He looked at me dumbfounded and scoffed, "I didn't tell her I had lice. I said I had BUGS in my hair."
Well, yes. Yes, he did.

(Sorry, sister.)

And within a few days, we all had bugs in our hair. Well, that older son did, my younger son did and I did. My sister, her husband and my husband all managed to escape. I have suspicions that the lice got paid off, but since I never witnessed the exchange of currency, I just can't be sure about it.

And the craziest thing about it all?

I sort of liked combing through the hair and finding the lice. I just would rather it not be in my hair, my kids' hair or my house.

What I'm saying me if you need someone to go on a lice hunt.

I'm ready.