Portrait of Play, Week 34

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It had been a dark week with lots of rain, and Charlotte wanted to have a picnic inside. She quickly gathered a basket, a blanket, and lunch items to take to “the park” (upstairs). She started pulling out random foods from the fridge: grapes, mandarin oranges, and eggs (I suggested that we boil them). Chuck grabbed some popsicle molds, and after explaining that popsicles wouldn’t be ready in time for our lunch, she decided to pack them anyways so we could have pretend ice popsicles. She lugged the picnic basket up the stairs, spread the blanket out on the bed, and we commenced picnicking, right there on the bed. On the bed where we lay our heads…Our heads, as it turns out, that were occupied by creepy, crawly lice. This was not a ladybug picnic. While we were relaxing and peeling our eggs and oranges (which are great fine motor activities for Charlotte), the lice were just hanging out having a fertility picnic on our heads that would lead to lots of extra fine motor activity for me through hours and hours of nit-picking. Upon the discovery that we had lice, I wanted to cover my head with a blanket and snuggle myself to sleep like Winnie did when she was tired of the picnic, but I couldn’t put my head anywhere. After the first wave of attack against the lice, I was able to deal with notifying all the people that could have been affected. I thought first about the friend with the newborn baby I had just visited, and then of course the kids that I care for in my house, my niece who I had just taught how to french braid with my hair, and my mother-in-law who had just shared a bed with Charlotte…the list kept getting more overwhelming. I felt so out of control. How did we get it? How long have we had it? Was it from the gym daycare? Is this worth the cost of freedom? Why is James away installing a 15-foot stainless steel vent hood that he made (which is gorgeous by the way) when I need him to comb through my hair? I set out to read everything I could about lice, but it wasn’t until I cut off my hair in an impulsive gesture of catharsis that I began to forget about feeling in control of the situation and just accept it. I realized that lice being traumatic for me is an indicator that I’ve got it pretty good. Charlotte sat (mostly) patiently through hours of treatment and nit-picking (television watching), and Winnie was content watching me tear apart the house and do load after load after load of laundry. It could be worse. It could be so, so much worse.

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