About two weeks ago, M complained of an itchy head. On cursory inspection, it was clear there was a whole battalion of lice breeding on there, to which my first reaction was this.
But to be a bit Pollyanna-ish about it, it turned out to be rather pleasant: every night the kids have a bath, have their hair slathered in conditioner, then I comb their locks until every one of those beasts is destroyed. They like the sensation, and it’s probably the first bit of physical bonding I’ve bothered to do with them since I carried them in my Haribo-flavoured womb. And do you have any idea how satisfying it is to pick those suckers out?
I asked J (who took the easy route out by shaving his head) if he’d do the same for me, and once the kids were tucked up, conditioned my own head to be combed free of the creatures. It turned out to be one of the most painful experiences of my life (and I speak as someone who just had gas and air for my labours hahaha, etc.). To be fair, there’s no reason someone who’s never had hair longer than 90s curtains would understand that the way through a hair knot is not to jag on it, harder and harder, until the only solution is to yank the hair ball entirely free from the scalp; but I lasted about ten minutes before I could stifle the sobs no longer, and thanked him for his efforts.
So by the time my mother arrived for her usually weekly visit last night, I was looking forward to seeing her more than usual (due to my dad taking a tumble on his daily run, she hadn’t been since The Louse Invasion). To give you some idea of how desperate I was, this is a woman I swore wouldn’t come anywhere near my hair since she’d offered a ten-year-old me a trim from my long plaits, and hadn’t let me rise from the seat until I looked like this. NO I’M NOT OVER IT. But (having frisked her for scissors) I sat down in front of her and handed her The Comb.
She combed my hair for over an hour. Over an hour. Rather than making fun of her accent or mocking her inability to start a single sentence without the word ‘appayently’, I should be giving that poor woman a medal, or at least letting her sleep in a bed, rather than her car, when she visits*. Poor thing.
But then the thought occurred to me: ultimately, whose fault is it that I don’t? Personally, I blame the mother.** And then we all lived happily ever after.
*of course she gets a bed. It just happens to be in a room without curtains.
**haha just kidding my mum! Please don’t stop your childcare! And being awesome! Hahahaha!