Spoiling my family with a night out

November 27, 2008

We took a field trip as a family tonight.

Even had us a picnic of sorts.

Only thing is, it was at a laundromat.

Normally we chip away at laundry at home, but with our washer out of commission (a timer is on order but it’s gonna be a week) and some potential lice to murder, the heaping of piles of clothes, sheets, and pillowcases just couldn’t wait any longer.

Plus, I can only wear this pair of underwear for so many days before people at work start assuming I shit myself.

So we loaded up the van and headed for the laundromat right after work tonight. Made a good night of it too, running around the joint chasing The Hurricane, pushing her around in those laundry carts, ordering pizza from a place further down in the strip mall and scarfing it down at the little tables jammed between washing machines, going into the pet store to play with the kittens – ‘Mow’ as The Hurricane calls them – and whatever else we could do to keep the little one busy.

In a weird sort of way it was a fun night out (oh my God that sounds so lame), because it was a break from the every day, post work routine – cook supper, feed The Hurricane, try to eat before she screams to get out of her chair, play for a while, have a bath, give her a bottle and put her to bed, and then The Boss and I crash on the couch.

So yeah, weaving in and out of tables in a laundry cart is a fun night out for us party animals.

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A shotgun clarification

November 25, 2008

Apparently, I haven’t been as clear in my previous postings about how and why lice have landed on our daughter’s head.

So here’s what’s happening in our part of Ontario.

Apparently, there’s a lice outbreak in schools from Bowmanville to Belleville, about 200 km apart. Our daycare provider’s kid has eight people in her class with lice, and they don’t send them home like they did in our day, they just try to contain things.

So, our daycare lady has been religiously cleaning and washing everything in her house, after the health unit told her there was nothing to worry about, health wise, for all the kids she takes care of.

But I guess a few slipped through.

But, other than being itchy, lice aren’t really that bad, as we’ve found out from our online research. They aren’t like fleas – they don’t jump – and they die a day or two after leaving their host, and I’ve had friends who have hung on longer than that, because the vacuum cleaner wouldn’t take care of them.

We certainly don’t live in a pigsty, and lice have nothing to do with cleanliness anyway. They just have a bad rep.

So there you go. ‘Nuff said.


Burning down the louse

November 24, 2008

My head is soooooo itchy.

Right now, I can feel something walking across my scalp, it’s disgusting little legs, feet, tentacles, whatever, leaving a trail of eggs in its wake.

It’s driving me mad. And not pissed off mad, but crazy, I’m-a-snooty-English-bloke mad.

And I think it might just be my imagination.

To recap – we found a few lice on The Hurricane on Friday night. After pulling the actual bugs out of her hair, we have found nothing since, except a few eggs or nits, or something else that keeps me awake at night, which Amy removed with a comb and her fingernails. Our washing machine hasn’t been fixed yet either, so we’re in a state of flux, not knowing if we’re all going to die before we can wash the buggers away or if we’ll just be itchy for a while, before we wash the buggers away.

So far, The Boss and I are unsure if we’re bug and/or egg and/or nit free. The problem is, she has about 18,000 pounds of hair, and mine is predominantly black (with some stylish and I’ll assume goddamned sexy white mixed in), so it’s impossible to search our scalps for tiny, bloodsucking creatures (think Tom Cruise in Interview with the Vampire, but tolerable).

So, theoretically, we could have a giant colony of lice on our heads, holding backyard barbecues after their kids’ little league baseball games, with the Dads drinking Blood Light (zing!) and all the Mommy lice gossiping about the slutty louse just south of my bald spot, who would sleep with anything with 4,000 legs if he’d look after her kids.

But we have no way of finding out, because our heads are impossible to search. I lost a giant branch off the front yard tree in The Boss’s hair, while searching for the toothpicks that were sucked into the vortex and are likely being used as teeter-totters by the despicable little aliens.

But, on a positive note, The Hurricane hasn’t been scratching her head lately, so maybe, once we shave our heads and have ourselves a good old-fashioned genocide, our house might be back to normal.

Note: I had a helluva time titling this post, y’know, trying to come up with something clever that tied in lice or louse. I landed on the Talking Heads song from the 80’s called ‘Burning Down the House’, and I only know that song because of my babysitter/cousin, who should have known better for listening to such shitty music because she was a good Glam Rockin’ chick back then (and even still too!). If you have a better title, pitch it to me in the comments section, because I know there’s something out there I’m missing, but I can’t concentrate while I’m digging this pen end into my scalp like a psycho.


Of Lice and Men

November 22, 2008

Know what pisses me off?

Lice.

And we think our house — and our 16-month-old — might be infested with the little creatures.

The Hurricane has been scratching her head a bit lately, and last night we went exploring on her scalp — no easy feat since she is absolutely against sitting still for longer than three seconds, and despises cuddling, so it was a no-holds barred, strap-her-down-and-pick-at-her-scalp affair.

Not very pleasant for anybody, and it drew the real tears, those big dallops that slowly roll out of her eyes and suspend themselves halfway down her cheeks so Mom and Dad can stare into them as they grow fatter and wetter, until you can almost see your own reflection in them.

Unfortunately, we came up with a couple tiny brown bugs, and that can mean nothing else but lice. Fan-fuckin’-tastic. Gotta love daycare. Or else The Boss is cheating on me with a monkey, and that option is still on the table.

So, with a quick web search, we discovered that the main problem is getting rid of the nits, which are essentially the eggs of the little bastards, and what are soon to be the bane of my existence.

After hog-tying The Hurricane so The Boss could do some more looking, we later came up with no lice and no nits.

So where does that leave us? We had proof, and then our proof disappeared, leaving no trace that it even existed.

But we do know that we now have to wash everything in the entire house in steaming hot water to kill the alien creatures, and that process began last night — we got as far as filling the washing machine with water for the first load.

And then nothing …

Not a click, not a bang, and certainly no attempt at agitation. Except on my part — I was extremely fucking agitated.

So now we have a louse infested house, no proof that they exist, a daughter with an itchy spot on the back of her head, and a busted washing machine with a dozen loads of laundry piled up in front of it.

And to boot, we spent $1,000 on car repairs on Thursday.

They say bad things come in threes, and I didn’t realize I’d pay so dearly for winning $90 in the lottery on Wednesday night!

So I guess the Rule of 3’s is what pisses me off moreso than lice.

They’re just assholes.


New Zealand creating good parents

November 20, 2008

New Zealand is expanding a program that forces parents of children with behavioural problems to attend classes.

“Parents of chronically disruptive children are now being sent on state-run parenting courses in a bid to address their children’s antisocial behaviour – some through court and Probation Service referrals.

“The 12 to 20-week group courses, which include homework assignments on how to play with children, teach parenting skills such as rewarding good behaviour, setting boundaries and discipline.”

Kids whose parents take part in the program have 75 per cent fewer behavioural problems after their parents complete the course.

I gotta say, I think this is a fantastic idea. Kids aren’t born bad. They aren’t born to be trouble. They’ll take as much rope as their parents will give them, and some parents either don’t know right from wrong themselves or don’t care.

The Boss works with troubled teens every day, and she sees these kids who have no support system at home, and who are having a helluva time at school. They get suspended for fighting, or drug use, or clowning around, and the school system is even ready to give up on them in some cases. Some of their parents or no better – missing appointments, or generally not giving a shit, despite the fact these people are trying to help their kid get off a path to drain-on-society-ville.

Now some parents are just overwhelmed by trying to put food on their table and pay rent while working one or two low-paying jobs, while others simply don’t have their own shit together, so how are they to raise a kid with the proper boundaries and discipline they need to succeed?

Kudos to the Kiwis for setting up this program and forcing parents to go and learn how to be good parents before their kid ends up in juvie, numbed on Prozac or pushing drugs.

Just because you don’t need a license to have a kid doesn’t mean a little training is a bad thing.


It’s moments like these

November 19, 2008

I slow danced with my daughter tonight.

It just happened. There were no big plans to turn on the (gag) country music station on the satellite, and we didn’t try to goad her into dancing so we could fulfill some messed up fantasy of what ‘good’ parents should be doing.

Nope, we were just playing around on the couch – her trying to get up so she could jump around, while I kept pushing her off and tickling her – when she grabbed my hand and pulled me onto my feet.

Before I really understood what she wanted, she was doing circles around me, as if saying, “C’mon old man, catch up would ya!”. Then she looked up at me and held her arms up, which even I understand as the universal sign for “raise me off the ground by using your arms you stupid moron”.

So I did.

And she put her right arm on the side of my left and put her tiny little 16-month-old left hand into my right hand and we danced. We did slow circles, we spun, we dipped and we made faces at Mom, who was our audience.

Eventually, it was Mom’s turn to dance, but I got a full song and a bit, and loved each and every second, even though the dizziness from all those spins – who can resist when she says, “Mo” after each twirl – left me a bit light-headed.

Once again, I’ve realized it’s the moments you’re not expecting to be moments that make being a Dad so awesome.


Santa must be on meds

November 18, 2008

I don’t know how the Big Guy does it.

All he wants is to spread peace, love, joy and presents throughout the world, one grocery store, hockey rink and freezing cold parade at a time.

And yet some kids hate him. The second poor old Santa puts out his arms to accept a youngster they start screaming and crying and kicking to get off, while glaring at their parents with this ‘what-the-fuck-are-you-doing-trying-to-take-my-picture-when-this-stranger is-holding-onto-me’ look in their eyes.

I saw that look on Saturday. And I still took four or five pictures, because sometimes your kid’s fear is funny (oops, I had better not trip on the microphone cord as I go on stage to accept my father of the year award).

The Boss and I took The Hurricane to see Santa at a local grocery store. We stood in line for 10 or 20 minutes watching kids that were over three be, at worst, cautious of the Big Ho Ho Hoer (and I don’t mean Mrs. Claus, despite the rumours) – it’s those in the one- to two-year-old range that don’t understand who Santa is and what he represents (didn’t he turn water into wine, or something?).

But still, they’re old enough to know something isn’t right.

Last year, when she was five months old, The Hurricane sat on Santa’s knee and gave the hugest smile for the camera, because she’s been a ham since Day 1. But this year she didn’t even get close to him before she was squirming out of his grasp. Luckily, The Boss had stayed in the vicinity and ended up sitting on Santa’s knee, while the little one sat on hers, just so we could get one shot – any shot – to say we are good parents.

But I wonder how Santa does it. This guy spends all summer growing this long, hot hair and beard – we have an ‘au naturale’ Santa in our town – just for these very events. Then, when he finally hits the big stage the little bastards won’t sit on his knee and are scared to death of the very sight of him.

Thanks for nuthin’.

But I guess when you’ve been delivering presents and listening to endless lists from endless lines of children for 2,008 years, you likely get used to the odd hostile kid.

But I wouldn’t doubt there’s something in his hot chocolate to make these ones go a little more smoothly.