The school year is back in swing and that means many of you will be discovering the joys of lice. I know, I know. How can there be anything good about lice? Here is how I turned it into a good thing for me.
1) My own children had it so many times in kindergarten and grade one that I decided to join the Lice Committee at their school. It was the first way I got involved in my kids school and I liked meeting the other ladies that volunteered and the sense of community it gave me with the other moms.
2) Unlike other parent volunteer jobs in the school, this one really let me get to visit with kids. And a lot of them! One by one, checking their heads (which is really rather personal and you feel a bit like a baboon going through another person’s heads with chop sticks), I got to have a little visit with the other kids in my children’s school. I knew kids by name and learned a little something about them so I could say “hello” on the school yard to so many of them.
3) I got very skilled at finding those little critters and their nits and differentiating them from hair casts and dandruff, so my own kids benefitted from my keen eye as I got better at “early detection.” I got a reputation as being the “lice lady” and could offer my services to moms who wondered, “Is this a nit?” “Go ask Alyson to check your kids head!” Ah, nice to share my talents and help others. I was developing my “social interest,” as Adler calls it.
4) When my kids had to be treated and have their nits removed, it was a nice quiet time together, usually involving hot chocolate and watching a movie together and often missing a day of school. Any “exception to the normal day” was a bit of a treat for us both. We made it an occasion.
5) When I was in the hallways doing the head checks, I could overhear the teachers in the classroom. This gave me a “peek” into various teaching styles that I never would have seen if I was “officially” visiting the class. Who doesn’t act differently when there is a visitor in the class? So it was a good way to get to know the teachers of the school too. The good, the bad and ugly of that.
6) I learned a LOT about lice and could calm people’s fears. Lice like clean hair, not dirty hair, for example. Yes, they are a hassle to deal with, but are they are not dangerous. And yes indeed, the incident of infestation does drastically drop after about grade two. I needed to see that for myself when it seemed a bit “perpetual” that first year.
So – if you get the note home saying, “Nits have been found in your child’s classroom,” don’t have a hissy fit. Check their hair and don’t pass judgment on others. This is a part of the stuff of life and if you get a good attitude going, you can find the upside to anything. Now shall we talk about pin worms? No – maybe not.