Category Archives: Family

Parenting, Living, Family.

Let’s Talk About Lice…

This is a re-post of a topic that is always great to know more about, so that you don’t really have to deal with it more than once, but also since the weather is getting cold, and we are all inside, in close-quarters, sharing our spaces. So I updated this old post, and am sharing it with you today.

lice-removal

So…Let’s talk about lice. Gross, you say? Why do we have to talk about it?

Let’s talk about the fact that I sort of live in fear of those little buggers. Let’s talk about how you can’t really – not even possibly talk about lice really…unless you’ve lived through it. No….it isn’t the worst thing. Yes, we can get rid of it. It isn’t permanent. But it stinks. Like, sucks the life right out of a sane person, stinks. And now, no matter how clean my kid is, I don’t want my kid to ever do any of the following:

• Share any hair accessories
• Try on hats
• Get her hair brushed by another person’s brush or comb
• Perform gymnastics on a carpet
• Use a friend’s or a school issued helmet

I get a bit crazy about it. There are so many chances that my kids can get lice, that I am almost crazy trying to avoid it! Back to school? Back to more opportunities for lice exchange. Free ropes course? I see this as a way my kid will probably share a helmet, and therefore possibly get lice. Renting ice-skates? Awesome. More helmets that I don’t own, and now I am going legitimate (to my kids’ opinions) crazy with the lice prevention and worry.

I wasn’t always like this. And I truly paid for it. Literally. It cost a ton of money.

Unbeknownst to myself or my husband ALL four of my kids had lice for over a month.

Yes, I said a month. Yes, I comb their hair. Yes, I wash their clothes and sheets. Yes we bathe every night! Before you judge me, and I sincerely wish you wouldn’t, let me explain some facts, not the least of which is that lice is extremely hard to see.

Know This: Lice, take two weeks to form from a microscopic egg, into a bug. They change color, these little eggs from black specks, to grey eggs, to white shells of a hatched egg, leaving behind the shell. After that they just multiply like crazy.

These 4 weeks of infestation, brought lots of tears to the kids… and myself. How could I have missed this? Am I not paying attention enough? Clean enough? So much guilt and shame ensued. But we got rid of it. We survived. And now I have some tips for anyone who has never dealt with the head-bugs, as we call them, and also for people who are dealing with it now.

  1. First, do a regular check on your kids every week. Yes, every week people. Like I said, the life cycle is 2 weeks, so if you comb their hair out once a week, you are cutting the cycle in half: grabbing the eggs before they hatch, and scanning for bugs at the same time.
  2. Second, shampoo on a regular basis with a shampoo that has a scent of tea-tree (Trader Joe’s) or is marketed for anti-lice (Fairytales). I personally am on the fence for this one, but I know people swear for its prevention ability.
  3. Third, and finally, follow these guidelines to avoid situation as mentioned above:

• No sharing combs, brushes
• No sharing towels,
• No sleeping on another’s pillow case
• No somersaults on carpet
• No using a joint helmet- but if they have to, tell me so I can comb through more often.

IF you do happen to get the bugs, I recommend looking up a Lice Removal Franchise. We did, and it was crazy expensive but it is also free of the chemicals that I didn’t want to put near my kids because they were so little (drugstore brands). If you are just doing a comb through, use coconut oil or just washed hair for the kids and comb it out on a regular basis. If you are in the midst of removing live bugs or lice, comb every day for the two weeks without fail, and no matter what you put in the hair for chemicals, you will remove the eggs, and the bugs.

This is key: The bedding, towels, clothes that the kids have worn have to be washed, but more importantly, dried at a high-heat setting for at least 50 minutes to kill the bugs. I put most anything that could go in the dryer, in for this amount of time. The bedding has to be dried only (not washed) nightly for the two weeks. Anything that cannot go in the dryer, bag up in a giant trash bag for the two week period. This means anything with fibers, such as stuffed animals, or dolls with hair (not hotwheels or hard-plastic items).

Now I know this is a pain in the neck for sure! I am not denying at all. You may think one week is fine, and you “think you got them all” but in this case I wouldn’t test it. You don’t want to chance your family getting it again. This 2 week process worked for us, so I am letting you know about the process. But you have to do it for the who time- especially combing, faithfully. That part you know, but you also don’t want to do, is to let the parents of the kids your lice-ridden kids have played with, or taken lessons with, or gone to school with know. The school may or may not have a policy of letting other kids in the classroom aware (anonymously of course) but best to let them know, so the lice can get treated and won’t revisit anytime soon!

I cannot tell you enough, how I still fear these critters, even two years ahead of them. I know how easy it is to miss them, and how awful we all felt for the two weeks until they were gone. If you have any questions, please let me know, and I can try to find an answer for you. Or if you have a suggestion that worked, let me know for sure! For now, I try to keep up my “once a week, take a peek” to at the very least take a good look at their heads and hair.

Emotional Life with Tweens & Teens: Inspiration for Moms

Tweens & Teens: Mom InspirationTweenagers.
Sigh.

If at any point today, you are staring at your little baby or toddler, thinking how “hard” it all is, remember that it will get easier…And then they will turn on you in about 8 years.

Sorry. If you haven’t had this experience, then I applaud you. And then I’d either call you a liar, or silently think that you will get your due in some fashion or another. Perhaps you had a baby that slept through the night after just 1 month too? So be it. You will get yours. The universe maintains its balance, my friends. This is my due, I guess. Now I am an expert in the emotions of young girls trying to assert themselves as independent and capable young ladies. It started at 8 year of age and has continued through until almost 12 years. I know that this will not end soon.

My best, best, best advice (not that you asked, but this is my forum, I guess, so I will go on….) is to remember the advice of the poet, W.H. Auden, who tells us

 ‘If equal affection cannot be, then let the more loving one be me.’

Words to heed. Yes. Yes, indeed.

Now don’t get me wrong- my beautiful, loving creatures still hold and love me dearly every now and again… but it can be fleeting. And the warm fuzzies are quickly forgotten after a short moment of good snuggles. The good and bad of it is that every day is a new one when you live with budding teenagers, and every other day they decide that loving anyone or anything around them is super hard. Liking anyone other than their friends is still harder. Dour moods and doom rule these dark days. If I am lucky, I manage to remember, how these moments must surely be harder for this precious child than for me…the object of their manifested feelings.

How hard it must be for the child, still figuring out their bodies, their minds, their emotions. Understanding comes with experience, and these kids wake up never having felt like this…their feelings high-jacked by hormones. I get it. I smell it too. The hormones are high during this time, my friends. But it is a sight to behold. You can see the dark moods coming if you are lucky or take care to pay attention, but beware the turn of the tide mid-day, when you think all is well…That’s when it comes in handy, these beautiful words:

‘If equal affection cannot be, then let the more loving one be me.’

Yes. My best self will say, “I am sorry that you feel that way. Do you want some time alone? Would you like some mom-time?”

These are three little things that a mom can do or say, which tackle it all:

  1. acknowledge the feeling: “I am sorry that you feel that way.”
  2. ask them if they want to go to their room and leave everyone else out of this thunderstorm of doom: “Do you want some time alone?”
  3. see if they just need a hug: “Would you like some mom-time? Let’s talk.” (WARNING! You aren’t supposed to really talk at all, as this creates more problems. Really, this means “You talk all you want and tell me how unfair and horrible it all is and I will just nod and reaffirm that your feelings are valid.”  It’s best to time this one to keep it from going on and on. Leave it to under 5 minutes or it can make your day dis.ap…e.a.r…into the vortex of tween-dom emoting.

All good things, and pretty easy right?

But it starts with me shutting my big mouth, and remembering how much this sensitive and emotional time hurts my child way more than it hurts me. Love first.

Easier said than done. So next time one of my Tweenagers decides that I am the Enemy #1 and so “UNFAIR!” I will try to breathe in and out slowly. Exhale again for good measure and shut my mouth. If either of them wants me to answer, I will remember these 3 little things: Acknowlege, Alone, Hug. (Acronym to remember: A.A.H. as in “Aah. Isn’t that better?”)

‘If equal affection cannot be, then let the more loving one be me.’

I am torn in this remembering the soft, fragile and chubby babies, who are now becoming hilarious, smart, and wonderfully independent kids. I am moving forward and trying my best to mother them into becoming kind, empathetic, and strong human beings in this world. Trying not to yell. The struggle is real. I fail all the time. Acknowlege, Alone, Hug.

‘If equal affection cannot be, then let the more loving one be me.’

Yes, Please.

You may now reward yourself with wine. Or chocolate. Either will do. You are doing awesome.

Mom Stuff & the Holidaze

So fun all this Christmasing and shopping, and wrapping…and still having laundry to fold. Sigh. The nerve. My kids are on chore duty for sure this last week of work and school, as I ramp up to crazy-town, with all the shopping, baking, cleaning, putting stuff away… but this is the good news. They are learning that with celebration comes the preparation. The ready-making.  The tidying up. And then finally the cleaning up. It is all good for them. Good for all of us, though if you are listening, dear Santa, I wish I had bigger closets to shove things into!

I actually love every living bit of this, as I know we all do, and we all feel the crazy. My ceiling is intact this year [you can read about that in this older post], and my kids (knock wood) don’t have any major germs or bugs that will infest us…yet. So bring on the fun, my friends! The visits, the wine, the music, the laughter, the fun food, and presents to share! Bring it on, my lovely family, as I am so ready to celebrate and share some quality time with you all!

Here’s what I have been up to all weekend:

Baking:

Gingerbread Cut-Outs

Hello Dolly’s

Cherry Bonbons (from Averie Cooks)

Sugar Roll-ups (from Salt Tree)

Reading:

Absolutely nothing. Who has time to read?! Are you kidding me?! But I do have my 2016 Book Riot Challenge sort of finished! The only book I didn’t read was a non-fiction book about science, unless you consider “library science,” which is not even close to a science. It’s more a theory and practical trade. Anyhoo…I read a lot of weird stuff this year because of this challenge (italics are the category it fit into on the list):

  • Amityville Horror was the horror book that I chose that also was a book first published in the decade I was born. It’s about poltergeists and exorcism started a crazy fun conversation with my in-laws about a story they just read in Vanity Fair about a priest who solely does exorcisms. Different point of view of life entirely. Super interesting
  • Relish, by Lucy Knisley as a food memoir, but also is a graphic novel was so nice to read as though I was 10 again. Comic book style memoir is sort of interesting as a concept, but I liked reading it quickly but in chunks.

  • Wild Seed
    , by Octavia Butler is a classic, and also the first book in a series by a person of color, and science fiction, with gender-identity issues. So weird, but in an unexpectedly good way.
  • Zealot, by Reza Azlan was so interesting, like in the way, college was interesting. It opened up a scholarly point of view on the Bible and Jesus as a man, not as a Christ. I learned a ton. He is a very  interesting author, and I was very happy to have picked this one up. It fit into a book about religion. Duh. Of course it did.

Those aren’t super weird, but I like the Book Riot Challenge, because it’s like choosing books that you wouldn’t choose for yourself. Sometimes those are the best…what you need isn’t always what you choose. And then, some things I read off list have been awesome too, so I like to follow a list and then also just read to read, so it doesn’t feel like a job! (said the librarian-me!)

The new Book Riot, Read Harder 2017 Challenge is up…and it is weird too! I love it. I am definitely going to be reading outside of my comfort zone this year- as long as I am reading!

Watching:

New England Patriots by theglobalpanorama, on Flickr
"New England Patriots" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by theglobalpanorama

The Patriots/Broncos…but really just eating dinner and folding laundry, WHILE watching the game… I am queen this week, of this well known, crazy-making-mom-phenomenon, some call multi-tasking…like that makes it okay. It’s not. I should just sit down.

The new season of Ray Donovan. I binge watch, so I am doing this one first. Then the Affair, then Billions, then…

And as I type, my husband is reminding me to get teacher gifts this week….gift cards my friends. Never candles or mugs. Just saying. That’s what my teacher friends tell me- “Get gift cards.” So I listen. No more playtime, mom has to get crackin’!

Have a great and wonderful Monday, and stay crazy. But calm. xo