Wednesday, December 22, 2010

a very bakugan christmas

I was so smug. I was sure this would be the holiday we looked back upon and remembered as the year Bakugans hijacked Christmas. If you don't know what Bakugans are it doesn't matter. They are plastic toy balls that spring open into battling dragons and things when they contact a magnet. There are tons of them and Hamish wants every one and the "battle gear" that accompanies them. Sold separately of course.

But it's not to be. Instead, this will be the holiday everyone remembers as the Christmas we all had lice.

That's right. I'd never had it before. My one recollection of childhood lice was when at camp all the popular girls had it and it was therefore coveted, like a pair of skintight Jordache jeans. We were Sneetches then I guess. Do I need to clarify that I did not have lice that summer? My high status didn't come until I became a spectacle—the one Jewish kid at camp with the Goth look and a Walkman that forever played mix tapes of U2 and Depeche Mode and the cure.

Combing insecticide conditioner through my hair, through the kids' hair, seeing those brown insects fall from my seal-wet head into the bowl of the Corian sink like a thimbleful of burnt sesame seeds was strangely satisfying. Morbidly relaxing. I counted five, six, seven adults while the matte white vessel slowly decked out, ornamenting itself with dead bugs, strands of my reluctantly graying hair, a flurry of barely there nits. Infestive.

Did I take a picture?

Yes I did.

It's not worth showing. It's gross.

I read to the kids at eleven o'clock, books Hamish picked out to quell his little sister's tears—The Wizard of Oz. My Little Pony. A puppy board book with a built-in finger puppet—while Bryan did all the sheets in hot water. Our hot water heater is so small that there was nothing but cold left for our hair treatments, which I did not interpret as a cruel joke from the gods.

Because along with lice and plastic boy toys, this holiday season finds me doubting the existence of gods. It's refreshingly bleak. Bracing, I'd call it. Wind-whipped. And surprisingly liberating. There is a brawny strength, a supple surrender in the religion of hopelessness. Because with nothing to hope for, there's no disappointment. Everything is perfect in its dull mortal throb.

But I still pray those lice stay away from our heads.

And yours this holiday season.


Anonymous said...

rite of passage

vrexy said...

Not that I recommend this treatment, but it would have been funny (at least to me!) If you said:

"I read to the kids at eleven o'clock, books Hamish picked out to "Kwell" his little sister's tears...."

vashni said...

Ugh! It is everywhere and may very well be hopping on my daughter's head as I write. Did you know that there are actually people who remove lice professionally? They are called lice lifters. I dare say they have job security. Hope this is your last contact with the little bastards.

Ragan said...

My youngest had lice 3 times in 2nd grade. We did go to one of the Orthodox Jewish ladies way out in Brooklyn. I am now an expert lice picker. She kindly gave me all the important tips. You need a really good lice comb and lots of Pantene conditioner (or generic version). Put gobs of conditioner in and comb it out w/ comb. Wipe comb on tissue. Conditioner immobilizes lice and loosens nits. To get out the last few nits sprinkle baking soda over head and comb out. Not only will you have lustrous silky hair--but you don't have to use toxic chemicals. Now the fact that my youngest had them 3 times in a year might indicate that this method didn't work--but in fact the incidents were spaced widely apart and the repeats were due to his classmates love of sharing all things! At least it's not bedbugs!

Main Line Yoga said...

i had lice once, back when i was a hippie. knocked em out with stuff from the health food store, if you can believe it. and one of those tiny combs.

Justicia said...

zomg godspeed! hope to see you soon.

Elise Abrams Miller said...

hey you all, it almost seems worth it to have those little louses to receive your comments.

just scored a 2 for 1 deal on Pantene at my local CVS. Looking forward to combing and combing and combing...

and yes thanking my godless universe that it's not bedbugs.

Amelia Plum said...

oh my. i itch just reading about it. i am so sorry and let me tell you, i feel your pain. i learned more than i ever needed to about 'the lice' as oona calls them, back in september. like did you know they can hold their breath for 6 fucking hours?! the licemiester comb is supposed to be very good. unfortunately oona's hair is so fine i had to literally nit pick with our fingers to get the eggs out, the lice comb just went through like a normal comb on her hair. funny how a bout of lice can bring out ocd cleaning in the best of us, especially those of us with ocd-like tendencies to begin with. give me a call when the lice storm passes over. xox

andi said...

hey elise,

saying hi from vancouver, bc. love your blog and drop by to read all the time. just saw the documentary 'the business of being born' and think that you will absolutely love it, if you haven't already seen it. so random i know, but well i saw it yesterday and it was fabulous! just thought i'd throw it out there; think we are on a similar path of sorts - i'm a writer, yogi, vegetarian-turned-grassfed gal with mystery back pain as well!

Elise Abrams Miller said...

xox kim, I will call you soon!

andi, hi! thanks for your comment! I think it's on instant play on netflix, at least it was and I have been wanting to see it. thanks for the rec. and glad to know I'm not alone in this cold lousy world. merry happy!