It’s not quite a full ‘banshee’ morning but it’s not far off. My voice has been raised for at least the last 20 minutes as my unresponsive children are systematically ignoring me. Shouting is having little impact; but the reflex is too strong to resist nevertheless.
The little one whines “Can I have the TV on?” which I choose to ignore. I am distracted as my daughter is absently scratching again; in irritation I flick her hand away from her scalp, and reach for her comb and hair bobbles. As I tug her head backwards, accompanied by the inevitable squawks, I notice something.
This has been a deep worry for me over the last year; would I notice if something was wrong with my children? What if I couldn’t see it? Could I miss some crucial clue? My instinct is on high alert; I just know something is not quite right.
As I slowly comb through her fine pale hair something catches my attention. Angling the comb a little and causing a yelp in the process, I scrape up a small black speck. I slowly transfer the comb closer to my face only to see the black spec….move.
In amused horror I realise my instinct was right, but my bemusement is interrupted again;
“Can I have the TV on?”
“No!” I hear myself yell again, “you can’t; your sister has nits!”
Thankfully my children are curious creatures, and indeed small creatures living in my daughter’s hair are suitably fascinating and exciting; that is until I mention the fact that we need to shampoo their hair. Now.
Shampoo is my children’s archenemy; so this is not good news.
“Can I have the TV on?” follows me about as I muster the big one into the shower room. She succumbs to the showering and rubbing in of repellent Lyclear in good humour; wrinkling up her nose in mock distaste.
The little one is mischievous and instinctively winds her up, unaware of his own fate. I side step furtively in his direction but he catches the look in my eye, and before “Can I have the TV on?” falls out of his mouth again he is running down the hallway shrieking. I manage to rugby tackle him at the bottom of the stairs and the next 7 minutes are wet, noisy and highly satisfying.
As my weary husband ambles through the door that evening I greet him with a fine toothcomb and the bottle of Lyclear; a salacious smile on my face.
Of course I can see nits.