Wednesday, March 11, 2009

They would be so surprised

This lady I know was telling me today how her 6-year-old girl got sent back home because the school nurse thought she had lice eggs in her hair. HOW TERRIFYING, right?!

Not sure if you have any experience with lice... but it's terrible, terrible, terrible... so horrifying! It's one of the most vivid memories of my childhood. I feel like I ALWAYS had them. Partly, because I spent my summers staying with my grandparents. There were always tons of kids and my own little sister and cousins to play with. As soon as one of us got them, everybody else did. As soon as one of us got rid of them, somebody would pass them back on. Jeeeeez.

My mom tells me that the first time I had lice I was 3. I had been sent back from kindergarten and the teacher instructed my mom to give me and everyone else in the family a treatment. So, she did. She covered me, herself, dad, grandma and grandpa up and then locked the house so that people would think nobody was home. They didn't want to tell me what was going on because they were afraid I would go around and tell everyone I had lice. So, instead, she told me everyone was getting a hair-mask so we would be more beautiful.

OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! I kept saying. Just imagine how surprised people would be if they showed up at our house and saw how beautiful we all are!!!

Oh, yeah! That's right! They would be VERY surprised!!! my Grandpa replied.


  1. Oh, I loved this post!
    I am a Bulgarian and I remember how terrified I always felt when a nurse would come to class to check students' heads for lice, they did that quite a lot in the early 90's. I always had lice too, and I felt so ashamed when i'd get singled out for that in front of the whole class.
    I thought they don't do this like that anymore. I don't know, it seems quite upsetting for a young child to be, in a way, condemned as lousy in front of their classmates. Or perhaps I was just a little too self-conscious of a kid myself, and always felt really embarrassed about it.

  2. How funny. That's a Bulgarian experience I did not have a kid, but it seems it's a fairly common thing in the US as well.

  3. To be honest, I didn't even want to write about it because I was afraid it would bring me nightmares. Bulgarian school authorities were not very sensitive to children's psyche during communism, I don't think. Our teacher had no qualms about public shaming: poor grades, lice, "bad" behavior... She would just announce it in front of everyone. I loved her to death but I was terrified of her.

  4. Haha, I got these little buggies in 3rd grade from the typical little girl idea of letting everyone play with your hair/braid your hair. I had really long hair. I'm pretty sure mom cut my hair short because it was impossible to do otherwise and get rid of them.

    They were more kind to the psyche in my school (in the USA) though. We went into the nurses office one by one and I think they called our parents IF we DID have them. So we just went home and found out we get special shampoo and bitchy mothers! :D

  5. Oh yes! I wear MAC's Ruby Woo, thats the only one I ever use, and its amazing, make sure to get a matching lip liner too xx

  6. my mom was a nurse and she would always be the one checking for lice in my school. she was the one who would give shots, too. the kids in my class loved her, but i hated it. at least it spared me the embarrassment of being publicly condemned for having lice....

  7. Working in schools most of my life, I was told by school nurses that lice prefer clean hair,as it's easier to get to the 'meal'. The nurses would check all the kids with chopsticks and those who had them were sent home and had to be rechecked a couple of days later before being allowed back to school. So everyone always knew, but so many kids got them that it was less about being embarrassed than dealing with bitchy moms, as Samantha said. (Parents were instructed to wash all bedclothes and stuffed animals, as well as using that nasty shampoo.) I guess my kids had dirty hair because I never got that call! My similar horror was getting worms! My cousin and I were four and we both woke in the night to find our parents hovering over us in the dark with flashlights. All of us were appalled. They come out at night to 'play'. I think we got them in the sandbox.