Lice…Not Nice

Hello Friends,

Long weekend for us, last Friday being an Institute Day and all. Unfortunately, we spent the second half of the weekend dealing with head lice, everyone’s least favorite part of Elementary School.

I’ll give some quick background on our experience, then dispel some misconceptions. Last week ended with warm weather, so the girls were playing outside on Friday. Since it was a day off, we skipped bath time, too. When Sweetie was itching her head Friday night, we just thought she was grimy. When she was still itchy Saturday morning, wife busted out the nit comb. After a few dry passes, we thought, maybe, we found an egg, or maybe a couple of eggs (“nits”). We decided to call Hair Fairies, just to get the experienced inspection, and booked an afternoon spot for a treatment (if necessary).

Right off the bat, “Nick”, our Hair Fairy technician, started wetting Sweetie’s hair. He then used conditioner to section off her hair and glide the nit comb through it. And he immediately found adult lice (simply referred to as “bugs”). We had the time, so we committed to the treatment: two hours of combing, facilitated with essential oil conditioner. Nick combed until several passes came out clean, about a hour and a half total. He then blew Sweetie’s hair dry and did a dry inspection around her ears and any other areas the nit comb didn’t reach easily. Lastly, he put the Hair Fairy shampoo in Sweetie’s hair and put her hair in a bun.

Part of our visit was inspections for all. Nick found one bug on Cricket, but no nits or larvae. He declared her “one and done”. Nick inspected Wife and me as well, and we were also clear. Sweetie has a follow-up in four days, and apparently we (I) have some laundry to wash.

I definitely learned a lot during the visit. First, head lice are parasites, not predators. They need a hosts head to survive. We were concerned about bombing the entire house, but that is not necessary. They don’t move well on anything but hair, only lay their eggs on hair strands, and they die in two days. So head lice are not like fleas that jump around, or ticks lying in wait – head to head contact is really their gig. But again, pillow cases and sheets, things with direct head contact, all went in the washer on hot. Second, head lice is a part of Elementary School life. Nick congratulated us for making it through this rite of passage. He corrected my perception of a headlice infestation from unique and traumatic to common and treatable. So more like a common cold, also a part of school life.

Hair Fairies is not the only provider if lice removal and treatment, they’re just who we chose to visit. I kept tellng other parents that it felt more like a spa visit with all of the essential oils and the gentle lighting. I told Nick many times that he made the experience alright (ok, good) by correcting our ignorance and removing the drama from Sweetie’s infestation. We have since corrected our methods, and worked out the schedule for our inspections. Kudos to all of you facing had lice at home by yourselves, it worked best for us to seek a professional opinion.

Sweetie returned back to school with little fanfare. I want to give a big shout-out and thank you to our St. Viator Commnity. Parents expressed concern and support for Sweetie and us, and that was great. I was projecting a mild fear that we would be avoided, and I was mistaken. Sweetie’s experience has been more of a hassle than traumatic, and that’s great. Here’s a sketch from today showng her take on this whole deal:

So again, head lice are common and treatable, but infestations are also preventable. Inspect every 4 days, use the essential oil bug sprays, encourage your kids not to share head wear, and girls and long-haired boys should wear tight pony tails or buns.

All that being said, sheesh, who else is itchy?

Following a Yellow Brick Road

Hello Friends,

This is another family adventure from our weekend. With such a beautiful late summer day on Saturday, we had to get out. Wife Googled parks in the city and found “Oz Park ” in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Who knew?

The main draw was statues of the main Oz characters. Obviuosly, here the girls are sitting on Dorothy’s pedestal. Arranged around two sides of the park, these statues help set a playful tone.

Nick Chopper, a.k.a the Tin Woodman guards the northeast entrance of the park.

Just inside that entrance stands the scarecrow. He is near the “quiet area”, his gentle nature an appropriate reflection of this calm patch. Filled with flowers and decorative plants, it stands apart from the playground and greenspace of the park.

The Cowardly Lion stands at the southeast corner of the park. He has the bonus of being app-enabled and can call you and talk with you. More importantly, he defends the pickle ball court. And yes, the people who play there too.

The playground at Oz Park is amazing. Shade is abundant and kids climb all over multiple ornate wooden structures. There’s tennis courts, pickleball courts, baseball diamonds, basketball courts, open space, the playground- really something for everyone.

We broke for lunch and headed down the street to Chicago Halal. Not much more than counter tops, this place has some kind of magic to their food prep. The gyro meat was cut small and had a delicious searing on the edges.

The girls ate well on their cheeseburgers too. So overall, our family dug Chicago Halal. I know that’s a weak review, but maybe some of you foodies out there can drop them a visit and do a proper one.

So here’s a weird thing about the afternoon: the lack bathrooms. Despite the beauty and playground amenities, Oz Park does not have any bathroom facilities. Chicago Halal also lacks bathrooms facilities. We tried to pitstop at a Starbucks near the park, but no, no toilet. What?!? Bit of a downer on a our day, but we salvaged it. You know who had a bathroom? Same people who have old-school soft serve. Oh yeah, Dairy Queen.

If you haven’t been to Oz Park yet, just follow Webster east, about to Halsted. Visit with the friends from L. Frank Baum’s Oz series, or maybe get in on some wooden paddle and wiffle ball action. Lincoln Park holds plenty of restaurants, both new and fresh as well as tried and true. So food is easy to find around Oz Park. Just be sure you plan your adventure ahead, so you don’t make your own yellow brick road.