As a 40 year old woman* who's given birth to three children, there's not all that much about my appearance that I can be thrilled about. What with my varicose veins, wrinkles, pot belly and post-breastfeeding boobies, I'm not quite the young, firm goddess** I used to be.
Still, there's a modicum of atttractiveness that I still cling to, one feature of which I can be rightfully proud: my long, lustrous, curly, brown hair.
So why, oh why, is motherhood conspiring to take that away from me too?
Now, before you jump to conclusions, I am not going grey, and I am certainly not going bald. But my hair is being hijacked in an even more insidious way. By lice.
Yes, my family has been hit by a lice infestation again. As my daughter says, it's like Santa Claus has come and given her lice eggs instead of presents***. A Santa Crawls, if you will. And, though I don't have lice this time, I have had it before (though please do not ask me to speak of it. The memory is still too painful.) So when my daughter has lice, I need to whack on the lice treatment. Otherwise it will be me teeming with hideous insects too, and god knows I've got enough problems to deal with. Like children. And a husband.
It happens time and time again. Off goes my daughter to school, freshly scrubbed and beaming, only to return seven hours laater with dozens of horrid little visitors in her long, fair hair. So not only must I spend hours chasing her around the house, plyinng her with lice-remover and torturing her with a fine-tooth commb, I must then spend my own precious child-free time engaging in evil-smelling preventative anti-lice measures.
No more good hair days for me. I skulk around the house topped with creams and potions, my sticky hair buried under a shower cap for hours at a time. When I venture out, it's with a tight plait slathered in layers of conditioner in the hope that the remaining creatures will perish due to lack of oxygen.
Of course, my husband doesn't have enough hair to warrant treatments, and will never know the torment of dragging a tiny comb through about 20 million hairs. The insects check him out, decide the terrain is too barren, and start looking for other, more fertile heads to plague. Like mine. So, as with weak bladders, cracked nipples, caesarean scars and stretch marks, lice are a cross the mother must bear on her own****.
And now I shall go and rinse the lice foam off my hair, and plaster on some more preventative goo before I venture out in the world. Then I'll pick up the children, with my hair in a bun, hoping that today, my kids are coming home alone.
*using '40' in the sense of 'was 40 very recently'
**using 'goddess' in the sense of 'just your average woman who hasn't given birth to three children
***(quite an interesting metaphor coming from a little Jewish girl)
****except, I suppose, for men with really thick, long hair, but they tend to be World Championship Wrestlers, or rock stars from the 70s, neither group of which is likely to come in contact with young children with lice