Ahh, the good old summertime. Texas style. Blue cloudless skies, sizzling sultry days, sprinklers whirring, lemonade and popsicle stands sprouting up, the smell of outdoor BBQ, squeals of laughter and then, of course, there's the inevitable sound of my bored children bickering. My least favorite sound in the world (right up there with nails on a chalkboard, Marks-a-Lot on cardboard and Styrofoam rubbing together) would have to be hearing my kids fussing at each other over petty and mostly ridiculous offenses towards one another. I like to think I am a pretty patient mom but the arguing really sparks something in me and I just get righteously annoyed when my kids get into it with each other.
At the beginning of the summer I would lovingly get involved- kind of like a concerned therapist with a neutral attitude- and I would help them calmly sort things out. I would say things like: "Michael, how did it make you feel when Patrick stole your Lego and then kicked you in the knee when you tried to get it back?" and then: "Patrick, it's disrespectful to kick your brother in the knee. Please apologize." That lasted for a few weeks. My approach then morphed into something more along the lines of house detective as I became determined to figure out who was instigating the problems. "WHO STARTED IT?" is something you might have heard me asking in my authoritative mom voice. "I want to know who touched who first!" This would be answered with a trio of mumbled "I dunno's" in unison followed by three identical shoulder shrugs. Tell me this: Why is it that they can be going at it like prizefighters but when mom steps in, suddenly they stick together tighter than spandex on an opera singer? I don't get that. Another of the many mysteries of childhood psychology that eludes me.
It seems to me that as the temperatures creep up into triple digits, my level of patience sinks to practically zero. Here lately, if there is any kind of scuffle coming from the direction of where my kids are playing I just walk into the family room and belt out "KNOCK IT OFF RIGHT NOW!!!" to no one in particular. No questions, no fact finding, no interest whatsoever as to the cause or blame. Just squash it immediately before it turns ugly. Maybe I won't be up for parent of the year this year but it seems to be working. The incidences of nitpicking and griping are way down and that makes Mama happy.
Speaking of 'nit picking'...I was recently appalled to discover that for the first time ever...our family had become the unwilling hosts at a party we never planned. Yep, that's right. Head lice. "Eeewwww" you might be saying to yourself right now. That's okay...I couldn't agree with you more. I said it a lot myself at the beginning. Then I did what all moms do in a crisis. I rolled up my sleeves, girded my loins, got all my ducks in a row and then sat down at my trusty laptop to surf the net in an effort to discern what the best course of action might be. I mean, this is war, right? I'm not fooling around with this nonsense for a second longer than necessary. The result? I got lucky and I found the perfect one, two punch to get rid of lice immediately and for good and it was completely NON-TOXIC! Since I'm a nice guy, I'm going to share my new found wisdom with you just in case you ever find yourselves in the same situation.
First thing you can't do without? A Robi Comb.
I can't say enough good things about this nifty little gizmo. One AA battery and you are off to the races on your hunt for the lousy little critters. Mattie and I actually made a game out of this and laughed until we cried and I had to make a detour to the potty to avoid an embarrassing incident. It really was actually fun. We got a Ziploc bag and turned on the comb and as it finds lice or the little eggs, it ZAPS them with an electric current and they stay in the comb for you to brush into the bag. "Bzzzz" the little comb would say and then Mattie would open her bag and say "trick or treat" or "buggies for the baggie" and we would laugh like hyenas. The best thing is that this comb can be used indefinitely to detect and kill any lice. Great product that really does what it says it does.
The second thing you absolutely must have is this: Lice Freee Spray.
This is totally non-toxic which is great because you can use it as often as needed and it is safe. Best part is you probably won't need to use it again because it actually kills any active lice and the eggs instantly. I treated everyone in the family even though only 3 of us had symptoms. You simply spray it in, comb it through with the little metal comb, and let it dry naturally. This worked for all of us without fail. Only one use and all the lice were gone and we never saw them again. Killed the eggs, too. Awesome stuff.
The only down side (which didn't bother any of us) is that it has a strong smell of Anise or black licorice. If you don't like that smell, this may be a problem for you. Still, I would use it anyway. It works!
Of course we followed conventional wisdom and it was a lot of work to wash all the linens and vacuum the mattresses and the furniture, etc. We made it into a war game and the kids really got into it. "Kill the buggies!!" we would say as we dragged the sheets to the laundry room. "Take no prisoners!" I would shout as we sprayed each other down out on the back deck. "I won't say it twice...death to lice" and so on. It was a team effort and we were victorious.
Last year we had the summer of Strep. This year, major surgery, recovery and various episodes of nit picking. (Don't even get me started about the dog getting sick all over the carpet.) I'm not gonna lie... I really need a vacation! We are getting ready for our annual sojourn to Dallas and to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado to visit family. Yes, 20 hours in the car (with the dog) is always an adventure. There will be laughter. There will be Buc-ees and turkey jerky. There will be multiple potty emergencies. There will be beautiful countryside to admire. Mostly it will be great fun but sometimes it will be lousy. (Not literally, I hope). There will be barking and there will be bickering. So, here's to the Kingsbury road trip extravaganza. We may be a mess but I don't mind. Come what may, I love my family and I love summer. Happy trails, everyone.