Rachel has been sick this weekend, which I suppose is a blessing in disguise. We left her home while we all went to sacrament meeting, tucked in on the couch, with her favourite show on, with snacks galore and a cell phone so we could communicate at will. The law in North Carolina is that no one under the age of eight can be left alone because of fire hazards. But she's almost ten. Plus I told our neighbour that I was leaving her. This neighbour has a child Rachel's age and we've done the same for her (been on call in case of dire emergency).
The emergency wasn't with Rachel, however.
The emergency was with Miriam.
We were in a bit of a rush as we were leaving the house because obviously playing Barbies is more important than finding shoes or brushing hair. I instructed Miriam to grab a brush and a headband—she could do her hair in the van. So that's what she did.
Choir practice is before church, so although we're typically a few minutes late for choir we are wildly early for sacrament meeting. Still, I wasn't really going over my children's appearance because I was singing in the choir and then trying to make Zoë behave for the few minutes of prelude.
Soon Zoë spotted a nursing cover in the diaper bag, which reminded her that nursing is fun. Daddy told her that she wasn't going to nurse during sacrament meeting and she started throwing a hissy fit, so the two of them spent most of sacrament meeting wandering the halls.
I was sitting with Miriam and Benjamin, trying to convince them—Benjamin, in particular—to behave reverently. I happened to glance at Miriam's head as I was reaching for the water tray and noticed a little wriggling insect dancing about on the crown of her head. My heart sank and I pulled out my phone (yes, in the middle of sacrament), opened my browser and searched for "head lice" because, honestly, I haven't spent a large quantity of time dealing with head lice and had no idea what to look for. But that thing on her head did seem to match the picture on the screen.
It was a Big. Fat. Louse.
The minute sacrament was over, I hissed a warning to Benjamin about sitting still while I was gone, and then dragged Miriam into the hallway. We eventually ran into Andrew and Zoë and I dragged them outside with us.
"She has lice!" I cried the minute we were outdoors. "Look at this!"
I pointed out the louse to Andrew. Evidently they don't run for cover all that quickly. Who knew?
"We have to get it off her head," I said. "But I don't want to touch it."
"Neither do I!" he said.
"Lice!?" she screamed. "Get it off me!"
Andrew used a stick to try to get it off, but that was wildly inefficient so I impatiently snatched it between my fingers, squished it, and wiped it on the grass. Then we checked her all over, finding nothing but what we assumed were nits—maybe 10–12, total.
In retrospect, we probably could have continued life as normal (since there weren't any other adult lice) but instead we decided that Andrew would take Miriam home, stopping for a lice treatment kit on the way home. After all, we couldn't be certain there were no more lice in her hair and we wouldn't want to spread it to anyone else!
We returned to the chapel for church bags and van keys, I quickly checked the younger two for lice, and then we sent Miriam and Andrew on their way.
The rest of sacrament meeting was a bit of a joke. Benjamin was playing with a little girl sharing the bench with us, which was fine until their playing started getting out of hand. Benjamin started making too much noise, in my opinion, was lifting toys high into the air and flying them around, and refused to sit down. It was all very distracting. I eventually dragged him over to me and held him in place—since he'd refused to listen, he'd forfeited some agency (seriously, dude, you could have kept playing if you would have kept your voice to a whisper and sat on your pockets; your choice, not mine).
While I was holding him down, Zoë made a break for it and started climbing the stairs to the stand.
Probably because I'd taken her up there when I sang with the choir, which was a mistake. I swear the organ is magnetized when it's turned on and all Zoë wanted to do was press one little (or ten little) key(s)! Fortunately, I kept her from that. But she was like, "Oh, going up on the stand isn't taboo? Who knew?"
Anyway, I brought her back to our bench, and then pulled Benjamin back onto his seat pockets. While I was doing that, Zoë found a little baggie full of veggie straws in the diaper bag. We technically have a no-snacks rule for the chapel, which hasn't been too hard for us to follow in the past because we've never really packed snacks for our children to have during sacrament meeting. These just happened to be in the diaper bag and she just happened to find them and she'd already been denied nursing so was pretty well positive she wasn't going to be denied these as well. And we just happened to be sitting in front of a passionate no-snacker. Because of course we were.
I let her have them anyway because...pick your battles. At least she wasn't running up to the stand anymore. And it left me free to wrestle Benjamin, who suddenly seemed intent on making Zoë cry.
We made it through sacrament meeting and then headed to nursery. I checked my phone and there was Andrew, asking if he should cut Miriam's hair before treating it (just so there's less to work with).
I was like, "No, no, no. Stop. Put the scissors down. Ponytails are great for preventing the spread of lice and her hair barely fits into a ponytail as it is. Please say you didn't cut her hair. Did you cut her hair?"
"K" Andrew texted back.
"Shave it," I said. "Just kidding. Don't. Please don't."
"She's processing this very, very clinically," Andrew told me.
Apparently she was listing all the bald men in the ward probably won't ever get lice because they have no hair. She wondered if nits were related to gnats.
Andrew sent me a picture of lice treatment kit. It came with a comb. I told him to make sure he got a nit comb. That's about all I know about delousing.
"Sure?" I said.
And then he didn't text back for a long time. This was due, in part, because they'd purchased the kit (after a long discussion about oxen and mires and things like that; she was very concerned about "breaking Sunday") and were in the process of leaving the store. But then I got this text:
"We just got rear ended, PS."
Because WHY NOT?!
"I was backing up out of the parking lot, but I stopped because there was a pedestrian behind me. But then this lady started backing up on the other side and didn't look or something. We're slightly scratched, she's slightly dented. Not a big deal. She felt really bad..."
They decided not to worry about it.
We made it through the rest of church, Andrew came back with the van keys and then took his scooter home, I drove the kids home in the van. And then I examined Rachel's head for lice (and found nothing, which is good news because they like to have sleepovers and stuff on the weekends but they didn't this weekend because Rachel is sick), then I went through Miriam's hair with the nit comb and got a few nits that Andrew'd missed, then we finished up like 20 loads of laundry (Miriam's sheets and Benjamin's sheets (because she'd been in his bed to read stories) and the couch cover and clothes and...) and put stuffed animals and pillows into plastic bags to sit in the shed for a few weeks, and...
I really hope we caught this early enough that it won't become a huge (multi-child) ordeal.
The only time I remember having lice was when I was in grade four and we lived in Calgary. I'm pretty sure we all got lice, at least I'm pretty sure it wasn't just me. We all had to use that stinky shampoo and then we packed all our stuffed animals up in plastic bags and...then I'm pretty sure we just went to my grandma's house while we waited for the lice to die. At least, that's what I remember.
That and the name of the shampoo: Nix.
Miriam's shampoo is called Rid. And we'll be doing it again in 7–10 days, just in case we happened to miss any nits with all our fine-toothed combings.
So that was our Sunday. It was kind of a crazy day.
Almost has me looking forward to Monday...