I think very hard.
I need to work out what country in the world will be enjoying Wednesday whilst it is only Monday night here?
I give up.
I need to find a way of expanding time so that I won't look like an idiot for posting Wordless Wednesday on a Monday night. Fortunately, I have a very scientific brain, so this should be easy to solve.
I decide to insert a scalpel in the world, pole to pole and add another semi circle of extra globe. The result is a ripple ball, with extra mountains and valleys and a few tectonic plates bumping into each other. I am not entirely happy with the result and I've only bought myself 12 hours. What else? Aha. Double the size of the globe and magically I have gained 24 hours. Brilliant! I may also have saved the world from global warming with one executive stroke. Now the world is under-populated. I suspect some people are frying because they are nearer the sun. Other people have frostbite and no idea why. I decide I am a big meany. World chaos just to save face with my three readers. I think. I decide that as usual, lying is the best policy. I'll say that I hit the wrong button, by mistake. Three people are late for work or discombobulated all day because of me. They will sue me and then we shall be poor and homeless in a huge, empty, unfamiliar, bumpy landscape.
I am renowned for the efficient manner in which I run my household. Now that they are all at school full time, I finally have a chance to catch up on four and a half years of household neglect. I am ruthless. I discard some twenty, old, moth eaten towels which have always been stacked within easy reach. The spills, floods and misfortunes of life are always dealt with swiftly, but enough is enough. As they have grown older, the pile has been whittled down slowly from about 35 to a mere 20. None of those little wimpy scraps of wiping cloths around here, oh no! We have gallons of mishaps and mountains of mop up facilities. This is an easy equation to calculate because I am also exceptionally good at arithmetic. 3 children absent from home for 6 hours of the day means 360 minutes of less spills.
I pick them all up from school just after lunch, whisk them away the to shops and then return home in under an hour, a new world record. I clean my bifocals and then carefully read the instructions, as I don't want to burn their heads. I do myself first, so that I can assess how much agony will be involved in this exercise. I supervise homework with my hair sprouting out all over my head. The volume of screaming is considerably lower than usual but that might just be the soap in my ears. I try not to drip of them or their homework, as I scoot around the table to help each one.
Once satisfied that no pain is involved, I start on the first one. They've only been in school three weeks and now they're contaminated. Once again, I am jealous of homes choolers with their freedoms and their germ free existence.
“Are your “headlights” gonned mum?”
“Yes, dead as door nails.”
“Is mine gonna be deaded too?”
“Sure as eggs is eggs.”
“Are dah eggs gonna be gonned too?”
“Absolutely, we're gonna kick them from here to kingdom come.” I release the first froth head and start on the next one after setting the timer for ten minutes.
“Gosh Mom, we only washed our hair last night!”
“I know dear, but we need to nip this in the bud.”
“How long is it gonna take?”
“I have no idea, not one iota.” I send her on her way for her ten minute down time and brace myself for the little one.
There is absolutely no pain involved. No pain, no pain, no pain. I seek him out. I find him hiding in a corner under three adult sized bean bags, quivering and clutching the toilet brush. I wipe the sweat from his brow and lead him to the kitchen sink, the only one with an extendable spray attachment. I wonder for the first time ever, how far it might actually extend? At best, I think I have about three feet until I will be at the end of my tether, or rather, faucet.
He baulks at the last minute, rears up and off, to disappear in a flurry of rooster noises. I track him down. It's easy. I find him under the bed. The duvet has been dragged off the bed and is stuffed all around him, a barrier of protection that fails to muffle his barking. I remind him again. One good session now, means that we may avoid repeating the exercise in 10 or 14 days time.
I suffer a severe sense of humour failure when the kitchen sink decides that it no longer wishes to drain. Why on earth did I throw all of those old towels away? I pause in my deliberations and let him escape whilst I go on the hunt for the toilet plunger and more towels to stem the flood. Since this handy household appliance is my son's favourite talisman at the moment, I anticipate a long search as to it's whereabouts. He has acquired the habit of hiding treasures such as the toilet plunger, as he fears my arbitrary decisions re contraband. I am a staid individual at heart and it's difficult for me to adjust to his collection of long handled items. I am uncertain of their current purpose in his life. Whilst many a child might wield a toilet brush as a substitute gun or sword, in this household it is more of a crutch.
Why couldn't this have happened to a family with an only child instead?
We reach a consensus of opinion. The active ingredient in “Rid” is Piperonyl butoxide. It is the stinkiest thing in the whole wide world ever, unless it's the other one, the Pyrethum extract, since we have no yardstick of familiarity. Her assessment that it smells bad enough to make her puke, is born out by her little brother. The sofa and carpet suffer, but he suffers far more so. I remember that Jamba Juice is now off limits, as the stench of the fruit is beyond his capacity to endure. It is hardly surprising, that this formula has made him vomit. His screams of “I cannot breathe! I cannot breathe! I cannot breath!” isn't strictly truthful as he gasps, gags, coughs and splutters.
I have abandoned my rule about the filthiness of chewing gum. We have managed to get through a whole box of gum, which only partially succeeded in distracting two of them, as it's not an option for the little one. I watch his toes massage a piece of discarded gum with his toes. I am uncertain whether to laugh of cry, so I concentrate on combing whilst I think of the best method of removing it from his digits? The sticky strands effectively glue his foot to the floor. I am beyond caring.
I release him like a cannon ball and start on the next one.
“Um I was wondering?”
“Do you ever leave the…….boundaries of the house……er the garden…..I mean the property boundaries?” Gosh, spoken like a true lawyer!
“? Er..yes I do.” She must have spotted me watering the garden late at night.
“No. I mean, while we're here?”
“Yes, you know I do. Then Daddy looks after you, like when I nip to the supermarket.”
“No I mean…..alone?” You would have thought that with all the OCD that I have been recently plagued with, it would be easy enough to spot? I think I should award myself this week's 'thick as a brick' prize.
“No. Never. I never leave you alone, ever.”
I think of the new Jazzercise class that I have so carefully orchestrated for them at school. Oiled wheels, social stories and a goodly deal of hard cash, times three. No school means no Jazzercise. I consider myself lucky to have missed my own hair appointment and the undoubted additional humiliation.
The wet beds are stripped, the laundry mounts up. Sleeping bags are the only option. Catering has come to a halt and we are reduced to hot dogs, Goldfish crackers and probably the last bottle of Ensure. Everyone is delighted that their nutritional needs have been abandoned. The boys have taken it in turn to have numerous accidents on consecutive days. I foresee that all too soon there will be no clean clothes available in the entire house. The carnage that follows a weekend and two more days at home, due to the head lice, means that we look like a war zone. For some unaccountable reason I feel a little teary, quite possibly due to the foolishness of blitzing my daughter's room. Three hours straight of tidying, resulted in the entire contents being strewn in orderly piles all over the carpet. Then, the call from school commanded a premature and untimely halt to the process. I know that some half finished projects are doomed.
I remember to spray the car seats and all of the upholstered furniture in the house. I dither about carpets because they spend so much time rolling around there, one way and another.
My youngest son is mentally prepared for the torture. His head and shoulders have been off limits following his first lungful of air at birth. Whilst his brain fully understands that he has to have lice free hair, his body is completely unable to co-operate. Since his head of hair is inextricably attached to the rest of him, we are in a severe quandary. I limit his combings to ten minute periods, as that is all he is able to withstand. I worry greatly, as he is a writhing target and I have a metal comb with sharp teeth as a lethal weapon. This is probably the most terrible thing I could do to this particular child. He screams at level ten throughout. The others cower in other room, praying that it will be their turn soon, so that the sound barrier will truly be broken, if briefly. For the first time in living memory I wonder if a number 1 buzz cut, would be a kindness in the long run?
I am so glad that the instruction leaflet was accurate. It does indeed take between one and two hours to remove lice from a head. My recall of a similar incident with my daughter over twenty years ago is somewhat hazy. By the time spouse comes home, early, at just gone seven in the evening, I have the wrinkled hands of an octogenarian after six hours of combing wet hair. During the last few days I have only seen adults during a brief visit to the supermarket and on the abortive school run. I have become an unwilling hermit and very crabby.
I hear the garage door and my cheery spouse appears.
“Ooo have you been swimming?” he asks innocently stepping over soggy towels, clothes and cloths. I pause, poised with the nit comb in mid air, a visual clue.
“New hair style?” I point at all the empty bottles of Rid on the kitchen counter. He steps over towards the counter and picks one up to read it, since fortunately, it is an unfamiliar product. He loses his grip as well as his hold on the bottle, “Ooer, off to the nit nurse for you lot then!”
“No! Nurse is nice. Mummy is dah bad evil wimmins!” Ever my lot in life.
“You have to move with the times dear,” I warn, as I know that he's about to buried in facts.
“Nits are not nice. I am not liking dem in my hairs.”
“Dey are be dah great swimmers too!”
“Dey are be hold der breafs for ten minutes, so dey are not be drown.”
“Nits are be living in dah clean hair ONLY. We are being too clean.” A likely story.
“Dey are be deaded at 100 degrees!”
“Mom is kind she are not boil our headses.” He points at the pan of boiling water, full of hair brushes, combs and hair accessories. I am sorely tempted to go and boil my own head in the hope of inducing clarity.
“Mom been done killed my headlights. Mom been done killed the wee little beasties. We are victorious!” Somehow I feel somewhat less than a vanquished hero, more of an over zealous Nero. Their father picks up one of the inferior purple combs and takes his daughter next door to continue the work in progress. We have turned into a troop of grooming monkeys. I can hear them chat because I am an earwig at heart rather than a louse.
“Mom says it's a good thing for the boys.”
“Really! Has she lost her marbles, again?”
“No Daddee, don't be so daft. She said it was good, well kinda good.”
“How could this possibly be good?”
“Well only sorta good, coz it must mean that the boys are getting close to their friends, you know, making contact and all.”
“There's only so much socialism I can cope with. ”
“Never mind, I just think your mother needs her head examined sometimes.”
“I already did.”
“Examine her head, for the nits. She's gonna check your head later.”
“Hmm your mother the nit nurse! Now there's an……intriguing thought.”
I yell at him from the other room, “stop thinking aloud! This is a uniform free household!” He appears in the family room and leans on the door jam, “maybe there's some other sort of service I could provide?” I glance up at him and his suggestive Grocho Marx eyebrows. There are few things further from my thoughts. “I'm sure I could dig out a white coat!” he grins. I try and find my sense of humour but it is buried under a funeral pyre of wet laundry. “I can't think about that right now,” I sigh weakly, more than ready to fall asleep on the spot.
“No, I was thinking…first, er…maybe I could…..later…..give you a massage?” I examine the nit picker through my fusty bifocals, “well ….that would certainly be a very welcome ….start.”
“How about….after the children are asleep…..you could bathe?”
“Ooo yes a bath would be lovely.”
“How about a quick shower instead, speed things up a bit.”
“It would be quicker.”
“Well it would save time if you ran the bath.”
“But I thought you were tired. You don't want to waste time having a bath.”
“I thought a bath might be part of it?”
“Part of what?”
“The relax, unwind, be comfortable, a lovely massage and then…..who knows?”
“Oh no. I just want you to be clean. It looks like a dandruff factory in here.”
Now where exactly did I put that metal comb with the sharp pointy little teeth?