It all started at the dinner table.
There we were, enjoying a surprisingly tranquil break in our Wednesday evening. Dinner was finished, our bellies were brimming and our two boys were sitting quietly, engrossed in some homework.
For anyone who knows our family closely, such serene scenes are few and far between. Boy, are we LOUD! We shout, we yell, we squeal, we stomp! Mornings are a manic flurry of “FIND YOUR SHOES!” and “FORGET THE iPAD, IT’S TIME TO GOOO!” (usually at about three minutes to nine!) Evenings too, are a finely-honed, hectic schedule of drop-offs, pick-ups, after-school activities, and then intense negotiations over computer time, school readers, and “Just-exactly-how-many-more-mouthful-do-I-have-to-eat-mum-until-I-get-dessert?!”
Even as I type this, my boys are in the bath together, giggling maniacally. From my spot on the couch I marvel at how quickly they seem to oscillate between squeals of pure joy one minute, to sudden screams of injustice the next. There are always the token laughs of mock horror too, after particularly large splashing sessions, usually followed with cheeky observances like, “Mum’s not going to be happy about that!” and more peals of laughter.
More often than not, my children’s cackles, shrieks and play-fights (and our subsequent outbursts of tired frustration and defeat) reverberate so loudly they can be heard from the street. I spend a lot of time wondering what our neighbours must think about the racket coming from our household. Yep, it’s true – we are definitely one of those LOUD families!
Tonight though, we were one child down. Our youngest, five year-old Ruby, was having a night at her Grandparents’ place. As I revelled in the weird and wonderful moment of silence we were experiencing in her absence, I chuckled at how different our home felt with our youngest away.
We affectionately call Ru our ‘little tornado’. From the minute she wakes up in the morning, to the moment her body succumbs to slumber at night, she is a whirlwind of pure energy. She talks and sings constantly, even when playing on her own, and throughout each day, her lively, funny conversations are often punctuated with moments of melodrama and an impressive array of heightened emotional responses whenever things don’t go her way. I think we can safely say there’ll be a Drama Captain’s badge pinned to her pocket at some point down the track!
Tonight, with Ru away and our boys acting unusually calm, it was, quite frankly, astoundingly quiet. Jay and I glanced at each other in mutual disbelief across the dinner table. Was this really happening? Were we about to enjoy a rare and wonderful, actual grown-up conversation while our children huddled over their homework nearby?
HA! Nup. (As if!)
The very second that glorious little idea flew into my mind, was the exact second I caught my eldest son performing a minute gesture that sent all thoughts of peace and tranquillity fleeing from my mind…
While silently absorbed in maths sums, that little darling of mine started to SCRATCH HIS HEAD. He scratched again, and again…he couldn’t STOP scratching!
OH GOD NO!!!!
Now, NORMALLY, the mere thought of having to deal with the discovery of these little fuckers blood-sucking parasites and the subsequent annihilation quest that ensues is enough to send me a bit cray-cray. Let’s just say, that USUALLY I start scratching my own scalp immediately, and have, in the past, been known to spend a minor fortune at our local chemist buying multiple medicated lotions, mousses and sprays in order to properly de-louse the house.
Years ago, following a particularly distressing infestation that seemed almost uncontainable, I slept with my hair coated in various nit-killing concoctions like olive oil and even mayonnaise(!), wrapped up in glad-wrap, to try to prevent any lice taking up residence on my long locks. When that just left me looking slimy, smelling like a sandwich and still couldn’t stop the itching, I went to my hairdresser and demanded she chop it all off instead, despite her reassurances that I was, in fact, completely nit-free.
I’m not the only kooky nit-hater. I’m pleased to report that the parasite-aversion gene runs strong in my family. My sister has been known to comb her carpets like a crazy woman upon discovery of nits running amok on her children’s scalp.
Until tonight, I thought that this was just the way it would always go down in our households…that any sign of an itchy scalp would trigger an intense innate reaction in me that I could not control.
That was, until tonight.
TONIGHT, this little bald lady totally kept her shit together, and handled the nits.
LIKE A BOSS.
Being bald is pretty beautiful today, peeps!