Putting Old Wives Tales To Rest
For all of y'all who've heard that old wives tale that black people don't get lice, guess what, YES, we do.
Early this evening, my eldest son, nine year-old Mr. O, filled me in on how the nurse checked his head for lice today.
"Lice?" I asked. "You don't have it, do you?"
"Nope. But she said I have nice hair," he replied, and then he proceeded to ask his younger brother if he got checked by the nurse as well.
Mr. T said he hadn't been checked. "But my head IS itchy!" he complained.
I promised I'd wash his hair really well when we got home, and promptly forgot about it -until it was bedtime and Mr. T complained, "Hey, you said you were gonna wash my hair!" As I combed out his hair before washing it, I thought, weird, dandruff was sitting in his hair - and it wouldn't come out. How'd he get dandruff like THAT all the sudden? Was it the chlorine from swimming lessons drying out his scalp?
Three shampoos later, the damn dandruff flakes were still there - and then my brain made the connection to the conversation I'd had with Mr. O earlier in the evening. A quick Internet search confirmed that yes, indeed, my kid had lice symptoms.
I think I may have said some bad words, one after the other, in rapid succession.
I'd always heard black people never got lice. When I was in elementary school the nurse wouldn't even check the black kids. "Oh, you all don't get lice," she'd say. They said it was because of our hair products, and even though that always sounded ridiculous to me, I never had it, my sister never had it, none of my cousins ever had it - and come on, what bug could survive being slathered in Blue Magic?
Not that I really ever thought the "hair grease kills lice" myth works, but DRAT my refusal to basically massage colored, scented petroleum jelly on my kid's hair!
When I found an actual hatched bug, I was done. Here was my thought process:
1) There are bugs in my kid's hair.
2) They might spread.
3) He's a boy.
4) I have clippers.
5) And a razor.
6) Time to get to work.
Wikipedia disagrees with my head shaving methods.
"It is not recommended that children's heads be shaved or even be given a short haircut for prevention or control of lice due to the psychological effects children might experience. Infestation with lice is not a disease and the medical symptoms are normally minimal. In any case, health providers and parents should try not to create emotional problems for children during examination and treatment"
Uh huh, screw you, wikipedia entry writer! There'll be some REAL emotional problems in this house if those damn lice get in mommy's hair! Plus, I don't have time to sit around and comb nits out and wait for BUGS to infect the rest of the house and, well, I was freaked out, my kid was freaked out! He wanted the hair off!
Guess what, little Mr. T is now bald. And he thinks he looks like hot ishtar! He was all UP in the mirror massaging his newly bald head.
His bed linens have also been stripped and washed in hot water, his pillow and stuffed Mickey Mouse bagged in plastic...
Sigh, it's been a busy night.
The moral of the story is that you should never believe everything you hear about black folks, and especially don't believe every old wives tale you've ever heard about our hair.