Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Picking a nit

So our children have headlice, and that's really annoying. And it's doubly annoying that no treatment known to man will shift them. And trebly annoying that people who find out are, frankly, rude about it, often without really meaning to be, but they can't help implying that there is something wrong with our children, or our care of them, when the truth is, they are not dirty, or uncared for, just victims of a parasite. (Parasites are featuring heavily in my life at the moment. I have a stomach problem that's lasted for way too long, and tests' having revealed nothing amiss, my doctor has prescribed tinidazole because his best guess is giardiasis. Tinidazole has some fairly unpleasant side effects -- of which I seem to have dizziness, stomach pain, blurred vision and a little bit of nausea -- the worst of which is that it interferes with the breakdown of alcohol in the liver, so drinking is out for the next few days. I have been putting off taking the tablets because the prospect of not drinking is so horrible.) It doesn't help that Zenella has long, thick hair, so clearing her of lice is close to impossible. Curiously, I have never contracted the lice, and that has a bearing on what is worst in this.

Which is that one of Zenella's friends will no longer play with her. Her dad has told her not to. He has not spoken to me about it: he wouldn't have the balls. He is not basing his orders to his child on anything rational or reasonable: you can't contract headlice by skipping with someone, which is how they mostly play. It has saddened Zenella, because now she has no one to play with at break time (she doesn't have a huge circle of friends because she is one of those girls who likes to have a best friend). And it has made me sad too. The guy has not moved out of the playground himself: he is like one of the children in the schoolyard who pointed at others and called them fleabag.

I hated those people then and I still do. I championed the underdog at school. If someone was being bullied, I did not join in; I took their side and stood up to the bullies alongside them.

But this is what people are like round here. Sometimes I go to pick Zenella up from school, and other parents are waiting for their kids. It's a mass of petty jealousies . Some days Parent X will blank me, others they'll talk to me, and I have no idea why they are doing either. Many of the parents are fundies (this is Brisbane's Bible Belt), who hate me because I took my kid out of the religious instruction case and was not afraid to express the opinion that it was disgusting that five-year-old kids are exposed to religious propaganda. (Sometimes, of course, you have to give in to it. Tonight, Zenella will go to the Guides for the first time. She's really looking forward to it. So am I; I was a Scout and it was great for a kid. But to be a Guide, you have to be willing to make the Guide Promise: which is to serve god, queen and country. So, look, on principle one ought to have Zenella refuse, but then she won't be permitted to be a Guide, and who will have been spited? Not their god, because he doesn't exist; not them, because they don't give a shit about others' beliefs.)

Ultimately, this is what I most dislike about the people here. They have no respect at all for other people, not for their beliefs if they differ, not for their choices if they differ, not for their feelings if they differ. Not for anything that isn't just the same. I've never been anywhere so conformist, where so many people hold the same narrow set of views. Not just in this suburb, I mean in Brisbane in general. For someone who enjoys discordant milieus, the creativity of chaos, the bubbling pot of a thriving society, it's like hell with palm trees.


Anonymous theminotaur said...

Here is a link with some lice-fighting strategies you might find helpful:

Cutting your daughter's hair might help somewhat, but of course if she really doesn't want to have shorter hair, it's not something to insist upon. When I was 5 and my daycare had an outbreak, my mom simply buzzed my hair right off. I was way too young to care, of course. I had lice again when I was 10, and by then a bald head was out of the question, so life pretty much sucked for the next month or so until my mom found an anti-lice shampoo that actually worked.

As far as that guy not letting his daughter play with Zenella: fuck him. It's hard on her, of course, but as long as she has other things to focus on, activities and such, she'll be okay. She is still young enough to feel that her relationship with her parents is the most important, and I don't doubt that you can give her the support and the comfort she needs. People can be assholes anywhere (although some places are definitely worse than others), but they are even worse when it comes to kids. I'm sure this guy will say: "I just worry about my daughter's health", as if it's not lice but leprosy that's in question.

August 8, 2007 at 3:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very odd our experiences of head lice was when our daughter got lice we did as well, but then you have short hair. There was no stigma attached at all the kids in her class/school got them at least once while in infants school and a single treatment got rid of them. The schools here hand leaf lets out on a regular basis explaining everything about them, how lice prefer clean heads etc.

August 8, 2007 at 10:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you looked for a clinic that offers Lice & Nit treatment?
Because Lice has become resistant, treatments are no longer effective in killing them or the eggs(nits) they leave behind.
look in your area.
In florida there is two of those clinics. If you will like more info you can also call them, look them up


August 9, 2007 at 11:44 PM  
Anonymous Father Luke said...

Man. I remember getting scabies.

The fucking doctor was a drunk, and prescribed dandruff shampoo. Sucked.

- -
F a t h e r L u k e

August 13, 2007 at 5:14 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home