Well, my sis-in-law’s visit has turned out to the be gift that keeps on giving. Katy has lice. The irony abounds really because back in Des Moines Katy had a classmate who had lice, continually it seemed, for two years and despite her long curly hair, she never did get it. The reason for that of course is that lice isn’t that easy to catch. According to the health unit nurse I spoke with this morning (and my best friend in Iowa who is a nurse as well) it really takes head to head contact such as sharing pillows, bedding and hats. So, even though it is remotely possible that Katy could have picked up the offending insects at school or child-minding at the fitness center, the most likely suspect is Rob’s niece who slept up in Katy’s room on the trundle bed. Katy loves the trundle and played on it, building tents and such for days after. Also, it given the time span needed from contact to infestation (7 to 10 days), Rob’s niece fits the profile (the girl had her hands in her hair constantly -raking and rubbing). When Rob saw the title for today’s blog he said, “So you are just going to blame my niece for this then?” “Yep,” I replied. He just shook his head and laughed, “I hope my sister never finds and reads your blog. She’ll never speak to me again.” Ah, if it were only that easy to rid one’s life of drama-makers.

So, in addition to the hair-treating – mine too probably because I have long hair and Katy is in close contact with me – there are beds to be stripped and washed……..again. Clothes to be washed. Stuffed things and dress-up clothes to be bagged. The cat, according to my best friend, should be dipped in a flea bath. (And the cat is becoming a saga onto herself anyway at this point. One more straw and Rob is going to reassemble his old shot-gun.) Rob volunteered to work from home today to help out. The last lice scare, which was the first time Katy’s daycare sent home a note, I stripped and quarantined stuffies while Will walked in circles – something he was wont to do because of the dementia – oblivious, unable to even give moral support. I commented yesterday on Alicia’s blog piece about how hard it is to be a single parent. I made the observation that even having a second adult around didn’t change things in some respects. But I didn’t mean with the heavy lifting, like today. Rob will help with the cleaning and head dousing. For me the emotional aspects of parenting have always been and continue to be the toughest thing. I just find it draining to be on call to another human being from infinity to beyond. Katy is very demanding and has been since moment one. She doesn’t make the demands on Rob or anyone else really that she does of mean in terms of needing my attention and needing me near. And I am a person who needs down time and to retreat into myself in order to maintain equilibrium. Perhaps because double parenting is so new to me I went into it with expectations that were too high. I really thought I would be magically altered and that the things about Katy – her clingyness and incessant questioning and her difficulty entertaining herself – wouldn’t bother me as much anymore or that Rob’s presence would abate this somewhat.

Rob and I talked about this last night. I told him that I just don’t find joy and fulfillment in the kinds of things that most mothers seem to. Sitting for 45 minutes in that nasty waiting room at her ballet school for instance is beyond boring, but their our moms their happily nattering away like it was an outing for them. Last spring we were visiting my folks and tagged along to a t-ball game of my 6 year old nephew, I was so bored. The coaches do their best to move those games along but it is still painfully slow. My sister though had a grand time with the other parents. Clearly this is social for her. Just thinking about years of this kind of thing to come doesn’t give me the same thrill that many parents seem to get. Rob’s late wife coached their girls even, but I was a basketball and a volleyball coach when I taught middle school. Did that for years, but only because they paid me. I couldn’t imagine doing it for any other reason. Coaching is thankless and the kids’ parents are maddening to deal with. My friend Meg literally sacrificed her free time for her three girls. Nothing superseded their activities, not even her own needs really. She was quite Buddha like in her contentment about it too. I sometimes think that years and years from now Katy will sit around with her friends and say this like, “I love my mom, but she just wasn’t quite cut out for motherhood.”

Mounds of lousy (maybe an exaggeration as we find just a few bugs and no nits yet on Katy) call me from the basement below. Rob should be back in the next little while with the shampoo and treatment stuff. Fun awaits.

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