Critters

Parenthood really is a gift, that  keeps on giving.

Long after they had stopped bringing me worms or snails, the boys began to share other creatures with me.

Alien creatures.

Like these :

Yes, Head lice.

Head starting to itch? Yes? Good, so is mine.

Hard to explain the feeling when you discover your child has nits.

It’s also difficult to mask the disgusted look your face will twist into.

I will never forget an hour before I was leaving for a girls weekend, having to wrestle nits as large as mice from the scalp of CM.

Although desperate to disappear into a vat of wine, I chirruped merrily while defeating the beasts, watching CM’s eyes grow and hearing him say:

“Wow, mummy, THAT’s a BIG ONE”

I swear, I could see that one flicking the V’s at me, while it disappeared down the plug hole…

Shudder.

But it’s just another parenting rite of passage.

It doesn’t mean you or your child is dirty, but I do think you have to act.

(Insert pause to reflect on families who consider nits natural,and refuse to do anything).

At the boys school there are regular nit checks (my friend K, I LOVE YOU) ,and as they both have short hair, it’s been well over a year since I last faced them.

I admit it, I had got a little slack over the lice routine.

And then just when I really don’t need the aggro, after BW having a tiredness related meltdown, there they were.

Smiling and waving.

Nasty little creatures*.

So, here are my tips for conquering the beasts.

Tools of the trade

1. Headrin Once 15min spray

I try to avoid using chemicals on the boys where I can, but sometimes, needs must. This spray is great. It doesn’t have a strong smell, it’s quick and very easy to use. It works by smothering the critters and contains a chemical that penetrates and kills the eggs. Which stops the cycle starting again.

3. Tea tree Oil

Readily available and inexpensive, I add a splash to the boys’ regular shampoo. It pongs, yes, but that’s the point. The beasts hate it and are unlikely to return.

2.Lice Breaker comb (Nit ease)

Mmm, ease isn’t a word I’d use. It is a brilliant comb as each tooth has a spiral so catches even the smallest beast. However, it is metal and sharp and particularly for a child with sensory issues (BW) it can be a bit harsh. However, BW tells me that most combs hurt anyway, so there you go. Use after shampooing, add loads of conditioner (white) and comb away. There may* be squealing (*probably, almost definitely).

So there we are. An introduction into nits.

Next week. Worms.

JUST KIDDING!

Do you have any tips on treating head lice?

*Not what I actually said, but you get the idea.

Disclaimer: This is purely what we do in our house. I have not been paid to promote or endorse these products in any way.

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The Edge

Ever had one of those days where you feel you are being pushed to the edge of madness?

Yesterday was one of those days.

Boy Wonder woke “with the devil in him”. From the minute he opened his baby blue eyes, I could do no right. He refused to eat breakfast. Told me he wasn’t going to school. “Everything” he said “is your fault”.

GOOD FUCKING MORNING to you too, I thought.

As with most of BW’s moods, they are prompted by something. So I cajoled, I soothed, I stroked his hair. “Are you worried about something?” “Did you have a nightmare?”.

He couldn’t explain why he felt so rotten. Tears started falling (not mine, for now).

Finally, Boy Wonder told me he had seen 1am on the clock and then 3am and I realised that he’d slept really badly. A duvet day was in order.

I snuggled him up on the couch with a duvet and hot water bottle. He seemed content to doze. Or so I thought.

At 9.45am I heard “Is it lunch time?”

Fark, this was going to be a long day.

I became the “Worst Mum Ever” again when BW realised that no, a day off to recover from a poor night’s sleep did not mean a day of playing Skylanders. I explained that CB didn’t play it when he was off sick, so he would have to wait until the end of the school day.

“How many more minutes?” He asked. Rinse and repeat until 3.30pm.

A nuclear meltdown occurred at tea time. It is ALWAYS witching hour in our house.

BW would happily eat the same 3 things every day of his life. Beef burgers, salad and macaroni cheese. I explain to him that my job is to make sure he has a variety of different foods so he grows big and strong. I also wanted to cook THE SAME meal for 3 people.

Oh I should explain he and his brother won’t eat what we eat, so each day I can often cook 3 different meals. Yeah, yeah, I know SUCKA!

What I really love about BW is that he often “goes off” meals, just as I finish cooking them.

Last night he had “gone off chicken stir fry”. He was rude and shouty and definitely NOT going to eat chicken stir fry.

I negotiated (The UN so need to employ my services in the Middle East) I cajoled, I soothed, I stroked, I begged.

I shouted.

Not proud of myself.

BW spewed hatred at me and threatened to hurt himself and me. I was scared.

He was sent to bed.

I poured a glass of red whilst trying not to hate myself for not coping better. I know he has Asperger’s, I know he can’t help it. But do you know what? I am not a saint. I had tried, I really had.

And this morning? A huge hug and an apology from him (and one from me).

But I can’t shake off the fear.

Guilt

I’m sure there isn’t a female blogger alive who hasn’t written about feeling guilty about how they parent their children.

Yesterday, I stuffed up big time. School discos for both boys on the same night as Boy Wonder’s art class. I’d planned dinner. I thought I had the logistics of getting everyone where they needed to be, at the right time, nailed.

Except, I had remembered my own personal disco times and not the ACTUAL disco times. Cue Cheeky Boy arriving to his disco at the end. A frantic phone call from The Saint with Cheeky Boy crying in the background made my heart sink to my boots. Balls (not what I ACTUALLY said, but you get the idea).

Bless him, with chocolate and Skylanders, Cheeky Boy rallied. “it’s not your fault mum, everyone makes mistakes”. He said, mouth full.

Why can an 8 year old accept that people make mistakes, but I can’t?

And so the spiral of guilt began.

What was my excuse? I don’t work. How could I mess this simple thing up?

I’m a bad mother.
I don’t do enough,
I don’t love them enough etc., etc., etc.

I am so scared of getting it wrong and messing them up. I wonder if somehow I am to blame for Boy Wonder having Asperger’s.

Where does this come from? Why do I feel so guilty?

My own childhood was sad. I think I probably carry some of those experiences with me. In my quest to give my children a better start than I had, maybe I am setting my standards too high.

I also think that as much as I love them, maybe motherhood hasn’t turned out how I had imagined it to be.

Oh god, there I said it.

I love them, I do. But Lordy, it’s hard. It definitely doesn’t come naturally to me. I look at mothers who declare that having children has made them a better person, or has completed them, in wonder.

I don’t recall screaming like a banshee very often B.C., so no, I can’t say my kids have made me a better person. I think of myself as a work in progress, so I am as incomplete now as I was B.C.

Then I stop for a moment. I remember that my children are blessed to have two parents who love them, and each other very much. We might not get it right all of the time (or some weeks, any of the time), but we are doing the best we can.

As I always remind my boys: “Your best is good enough”.

Boy Wonder all set to wow them at the disco