We're A Close-Nit Family
I looked down at Isla's head. It was teeming with bugs.
If you're a parent you've undoubtedly opened your kids' Frozen backpack and found that disturbing letter from the school announcing the presence of head lice at the school. Please check your child accordingly.
And then you gingerly sift through her hair, hoping to hell you won't find any. Back in Canada we'd always dodged the lice bullet. Well, let me just say, after what we've just been through, it would have been a cakewalk dealing with the little fuckers privately, in the luxury of your own home, with a water source that doesn't involve a bucket and a stream and without marauding turkeys chasing you around.
We were at a campground in Australia when I first saw the lice festival happening on my daughter's head. There were loads of live bugs crawling around. And, they'd gone and laid eggs on pretty much every single strand of her hair. No one had sent a letter to our campervan telling us to check for lice. Who knew? (This lice fiasco is particularly annoying because we haven't even been around kids, let alone rubbing heads with any.)
Since we're all sharing the same campervan and tent, if Isla has picked up hitchhikers, chances are we all have. I checked Oskar's head and sure enough he was hosting a little lice nest too - albeit, not quite as bad as Isla's. But, by some stroke of good fortune, neither Rob or I were stops on the lice tour.
I trekked off to the chemist to get the lotions and combs. And we rolled into a holiday camping park that had showers and laundry facilities to begin Operation Lice Removal.
The lice goop had to stay in their hair for an hour - I left it in for three, so the kids were trotting around the campground in shower caps. And the only place to rinse out the licey goop was in the shared showers.
We suspected people were tipped off to our little lice operation when we hauled out the lice combs and started picking through their hair for 2 days smack in the middle of the campground. It didn't help when we'd gone through our fourth roll of campground toilet paper and sent Oskar to the bathroom to get more. He couldn't get the whole roll off, so he pulled out reams and reams of paper.
"Hey, kid, what are you doing?" one of the many senior citizens who seemed to populate the campground asked.
"My mom needs this to get the lice off the combs," he replied in earnest under his mop of greasy, medicated hair.
To compound matters, the campgrounds in Australia are rife with wild bush turkeys. And who knew they'd be so attracted to the smell of the lice medication? The whole thing took twice as long because I spent half my time shooing away six curious turkeys.
When I left the combs and shampoos outside for the night so as not to reinfect our tent, by morning the turkeys had hauled off with the entire bag. Fuck. Seriously? So, it was back to the store with another $50 to buy the second dose of treatment and more combs. And a turkey baster. Who cares if they're a protected species. Not as far as I'm concerned.
This is how the campground looked when we arrived.
A day after we began this whole procedure... we noticed we were the only people in our section of the campground. Although, many more turkeys had moved in.
As a reward for sitting through hours and hours of nitpicking (I'd actually never thought about where that expression came from before), we caved and broke our "no McDonald's" rule. Happy Meals all round, kids. What the hell!
But, as some sort of sick joke, the toy in Isla's happy meal was a pony with blond hair and a comb.
F-you McDonalds. The last thing my cramping hands and aching eyes needed to see was another mini-comb! I bet if your blond little ponies got nits you wouldn't be handing these out so freely.
As of the writing of this post, I'm happy to report we are no longer a close-nit family! Also, if Isla so much as sees a lice comb, which I occasionally pull out as a precautionary measure she runs in the opposite direction screaming I DON'T HAVE LICE! I DONT HAVE LICE! I DON'T HAVE LICE!
And we continue to be a very popular Canadian family abroad.
Care-free, lice-free and happy at Rainbow beach in Austraila.