Two heads, 22 inches of silky fine hair, seven hours of combing, 18 loads of laundry, 78 eggs, and six of the worst creatures on earth: Yep, L-I-C-E, a word so scary, we dare not say it in our household.
This is how I have spent the past 72 hours, and while I dare not torture you with an article on the details of de-lousing a household (You're itching already, right?), I will say that above-mentioned experience has brought to light some aspects of motherhood.
Mothers go to great extremes to protect the health and well-being of our children. Something about the whole "I made you" business makes us highly invested in making sure our children come to no harm, so when disease, parasites, or injury threatens those we have born, we take it PERSONALLY.
I have had a vendetta out against those tiny evil-doers, washing and drying anything that may provide them safe harbor. I have combed every strand of hair and and victoriously celebrated their every little death. Most of all, I have educated myself on all aspects of the pediculosis capitis.
I am an uncertified expert on the life cycle, mating habits, and treatment of the you-know-whats and can add this to my ongoing list of medical credentials I have obtained since becoming a mother. Didn't you know, motherhood comes with an honorary M.D. in all things child-related?
Motherhood has required me to become knowledgeable in communicable diseases, rashes, gross motor delays and early childhood development, ear infections and ear tubes, high fevers, low muscle tone, nutrition, and the list goes on.
Not only am I an expert in my field, but I have fellow moms who, because of their specific Mom, M.D. credentials are the first I call when I have concerns about a possible bladder infection, digestion issues, behavior concerns, bed wetting, night terrors, etc.
If you think about all the hours we moms have logged researching and worrying about the possible ailments of our children, they must add up to some kind of degree. They don't. I've checked.
So why do we do it? We stay up, staring at the computer looking for for an answer, "How do I protect my child?" There's not a single answer for that. Sometimes life crawls (literally) in and wreaks havoc when you least expect it, and all we can do is react.
So we kiss the boo-boos, and treat the colds, and show them extra love, and cheer instead of scream when we catch a bug crawling in their hair (blech!). We smile for the kids, and worry when they aren't looking.
We were given the name "Mom" way before we ever earned that title, and we will likely spend the rest of our lives building our credentials to deserve that distinction.