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February 22, 2006


Yesterday my daughter brought home the dreaded Head Lice Memo, stating that somebody in her kindergarten class has contracted Pediculosis Capitis (literally, "hideous little leaping scalp critters that, if they were 5,000 times larger, could star in a horror movie chasing Sigourney Weaver"). So I informed my wife via a long-distance phone call to Italy, and she instructed me that Sophie's hair had to be done in a pony tail, to make it harder for the enemy lice to jump onto her head.

As a husband and father of the male gender, I have learned that there is no arguing with instructions given in a Certain Tone. So this morning I had to put my daughter's hair in a pony tail, which for me is harder than brain surgery, not that I have ever performed brain surgery, but I just know it would be easier. Anyway, I finally made a sort of tail out of Sophie's hair, such as you might find on a mutant pony-oid creature from another planet, and that is how Sophie went to school. And if you do not think that I had to take a picture of this pony tail and email it to my wife as proof that her daughter is being cared for properly, then you do not know much about being a husband and father of the male gender.

UPDATE: For those of you who've been asking for a picture: Here you go.


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So where's the pic, Dave?


Just don't wash her hair. Seriously, they seem to like clean hair better. (and that's one less thing for you to do, right?)

1. that was kinda like a mini-column - Yay!

2. not first

Woo-hoo - I got a bronze medal in posting! Ok, a simulpost with s'girl for the silver, but hey, I'm a good sport.

yes, Annie, you certainly are. ;)

I'm sure she's telling all her friend at school that her dad did her hair (eyeroll, please!).

Keep her home from school and play with her all day. No lice and she'll love you forever. Though she may be a little young to eulogize you properly once your wife finds out.


So post the pic already! Inquiring minds want to know! :)


Annie, they may guess that on their own, even without the eye-roll. No offense, Dave, I'm sure it was lovely, really.


As a mother of the female gender and a former wife of a man of the male gender... What was I saying?

Oh! Put it in a LOW pony-tail, Dave. Men have mega-trouble with high pony-tails and pigtails, but most men seem able to master a band around the hair at the base of the neck.

Sophie: No sharing hats, no sharing combs, and for GOSH SAKE do NOT balance old library books on your head! (Speaking from experience here.)

Hey, it could have been a lot worse--she might have required you to put your daughter's hair in a French braid! Now THAT I would loved to have seen!

What about getting her hair cut Dave? You know a mullet is sort of like a pony tail..

and don't let any of her friends help 'fix' her hair. Have joy, not lice.
KOW - this lice thing will take at least a few days. You can't keep a kid out for that. Nice thought, though.

"We traced the crawl...the lice are coming from....inside the house!" Aaaaaah!

Dave - please ignore Sean. For your own good.

Hey, the dreaded Head Lice Memo is better than the ultra-dreaded "she has head lice, come pick her up so we can subject you to scorny and judgmental looks" phone call.

From one who knows.

Whoa - I just landed 4 simulposts in a row. That beats a triple lutz, right? Or at least 3 of a kind.

Makes me thankful I don't have knee-biters yet... Although I have a pony tail I call my very own. And one just like it I cut off about ten years ago hanging on a wall at the house.

ahhhhhh yes, the joys of early-childhood parenting (and early-childhood teaching jobs, also). been there, done that, many a time.

OH yeah - and post the pic Dave - if it is just the back of her head, you wont be violating any child labor laws, or pre-nuptual offspring publicity agreements.

Hmmm...this is a tough one to spin. Mom travels, Dad's in charge, Sophie gets head lice. You're going to need a heckuva combination on your long program (i.e.-LIE!) to come away with anything.

Can you send her to school with a shower cap on? No?

"...pre-nuptual offspring..."


could be worse, could have been the dreaded leaping carp memo. then you'd have to send her to school wearing a garbage can lid.

Nannie, that's just cuz Coast's ponytail is too tight. NTTAWWT.

Add me as another member of the: "We want to see the picture!" crowd. So, where's the pic?

Hmmm - Mrs. Blog has been away for a couple weeks. Sophie is still in one piece. The house hasnt burned down. Gene has come and gone without any ill effects on said child or house. If things keep going this way, and Mrs Blog returns home say Feb 28th from Italy, what do y'all say we get together around the end of November for the baby shower.

Why do I keep picturing Krissy from Three's Company?

Make sure Sophie follows Tamara's instructions. Otherwise, if she actually gets one of the little critters, you'll have to:
1. Wash her hair with shampoo that smells like it came from a toxic waste dump,
2. comb it out with the "guaranteed to snarl, tangle and pull until she cries" comb provided with the shampoo,
3. wash every article of clothing she owns, as well as her bedding and every towel in the house,
4. vaccuum every piece of fabric in the house that cannot be washed, and
5. for good measure, burn her mattress and rip out the carpeting.
Oh, and be prepared for YOUR head to itch for the next two weeks or so.

psst...Annie....if I counted correctly, (and I believe I have), that was my fourth as well. Two of which were shared w/you.

OKay Okay - pre-nuptual agreements regarding publicity shots of any post nuptual offspring - sheesh. I shouldda knowed better than to leave that out there on the table for y'all.

Just get Ted Habst-blue ribbon-Gabre to do her hair..He has a way with the coif.

SNORK! infestation now migrating at Crossgirl from the leaping carp thread.

Bill, I second that.

We lived in a rent-house on the wrong side of town for one year. The school was not very nice and my daughter (then 7) got a super vigorous strain of lice. I Nixed, Rid'ed, and combed. I washed, vacuumed and sterilized daily. Finally, I had to get a prescription from the pediatrician and 'bombed' the house (the key ingredient kills roaches, fleas, and lice).

I don't expect we'll ever get to see a pic of Sophie, her being a minor and all. But please keep posting those super sweet cards to Mom's and Dad's, okay Dave?

My head itches.

I completely understand your trepidation and I must say you're a bigger man than I...figuratively, not sure about literally, of course.


I've raised a passel of children myself, and had to deal with memos like that. Just in case they didn't explain to you how to check your child to see if she has been infestated... infestioned... has lice, I've looked up my notes to see how I did it. I'll transcribe them here for you:

Me: Hey, you! The short one. You're Derek, right?
Kid: No, Daddy. I'm Rachel.
Me: Yeah. That's what I meant. Does your head itch?
Kid: Uh... no.
Me: Are you sure? It's okay to tell me if it does. No... stay over there on that side of the room, Sweetie. So you're sure it doesn't itch?
Kid: *blank look*
Me: I really need to know if your head itches. Okay? So tell me if it does.
Kid: WAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!! MOMMY! Daddy's scaring me again!

Hope that helps.

Forget the mullet.. You definitely want to go with the basic crew cut... 1/2 inch all over.
All the other girls will admire her boldness & fashion sense & be lining up for theirs own at the next sleepover!

Joel, it would take a bigger man than Dave to best this, literally.

Did we mention the lice can live...in your car?! Bomb the house all you want, but they'll be waiting for you in the car.

Interesting note...and I kid you not about this:

The best natural protection against pediculus humanus capitis is dirty hair.

That's right; the cleaner you keep your hair, the more likely you are to become infested. Natural human scalp oil makes it difficult for lice to hold onto the shaft of the hair with those funky hooked legs of theirs, and interferes with their egg-laying. The eggs are the "nit" of "nit-picking" fame, and are glued around the shaft of the hair. Unless it's defended by its own natural oils.

Speaking of being a father of the male sex; learning this was a moment of triumph for me. My wife, being a typical woman of the female sex, was convinced that my lack of fanatical hygene comparable to hers was going to be the end of me. When SHE got head lice, she assumed that I, who do not wash my hair every one to two days, was to blame. Yet it turned out that I did not have lice.

And, despite ignoring her her dire warnings that I should start washing my hair at least daily, I never got them. Then I heard a hair specialist on the radio explaining the clean hair thing, and verified this through the infallible scientific resource called The Internet[tm], and was sure to gloat, with a page of printed references to prove my point, to my beloved.

Which, by the way, is the perfect way to make a marriage go smoothly. The more often the wife is faced with being proven wrong by her husband, the happier and more loving she becomes. The bedroom becomes a joy.*

Fortunately, I was responsible at that time for my kids' hygene, so of course since I'm a father of the male sex, they did not catch the head lice, as I have to be reminded to simply make sure they're changing their clothes once in a while. Hers went away when she stopped washing her head twice a day in an effort to get rid of them...dunno if that's a coincidence or not.

* OK, but the hair oil advice is true.

Kaz, as I was reading your story and came to the point where you gloated and proved her wrong, my immediate thought was, "Oh, there's a good idea!"

Yeah, seems we both learned THAT lesson, didn't we?

While I was teaching overseas, the Dreaded Letter came in the form of a large notice with Chinese characters on red paper. I asked my Dean what it said.

Lice breakout among the students, she said.

For a brief moment, I had a Mohawk as my team leader gave me a buzz cut.

The next day, I saw my shadow -- complete with ears that had not been a part of my shadow before in my life.

Uhm, Dave? Who is going to check you for nits?

Kaz, I heard the same thing. I heard that lice prefer clean hair. Go figure!


Having several hair stylists in the family, the big tip of the day is HAIR SPRAY. Lots of hair products in hair keep the lice away. It's guaranteed according to my sister, cousin, and childhood hair cutter.
Hope this helps. I suggest VAVOOM hairspray. This stuff can easily hold a 1 foot mohawk for 6 hours...trust me.

MOTW-Now see THAT's what we'd miss if Dave started using Margaret Atwoods remote book-signing device!

My daughter got lice when she was about 10 or so. She kept telling me that her head itched. I kept looking, but didn't see any of the little boogers.
About 3 months later, we were going to my mother in laws house when the kid bent over me and I saw something in her hair. Driving and freaking out do not work well together.
When we got to our destination, four hours from home, we had to buy lice shampoo and take care of the kids hair.
When we got home, she got a hair cut. Really short.
BTW, Fabreeze is supposed to kill the little boogers. They don't like that.

I think it's only fair to let Sophie style YOUR hair, Dave. Don't forget - lots of hair spray for both of you. And pictures, lots of pictures....

Does Sophie have a good sense of humor towards mom? Ok, here's what I'da done. Make that pony tail like Deb in Napolean Dynamite. Take the photo, send it to mom. Then do it right and send her to school.

Dave is a smart*ss.


Even better would be to put the pony tail in front - call it a unicorn horn. Of course then Sophie might not let you change it before she goes to school.

Wow, Dave; is that with or without the pomytail?


Words of the Sentient:
Never could any increase of comfort or security
be a sufficient good to be bought at the price of liberty. -- Hilaire Belloc

Wow, Manilow got a nosejob!

This is tragic!

First, the poor mosquitos being denied a square meal by the dumpy tree frogs, and now the poor head lice being denied a square meal by ponytails!

The only safe places left for hard-working tax-paying blood-sucking parasites are politics, corporate consultancy, and the media!

I had lice when I was 12. Horrible, horrible expreince, especially when combined with adolscent hormones and mood swings. *shudder* Very bad time for me.
If Sophie does get lice, make sure to vacuum all her stuffed animals too, or put them in a plastic bag for a couple days to starve and/or sufficate the little buggers.
Here's hoping the ponytail treatment works!

Note to self: preview button is there for a reason. *mutter mutter spelling! mutter*

Dux means that bagging them will starve/suffocate the lice, NOT Sophie's precious stuffed animals. I'm guessing she has a few...hundred. Stuffed animals, not lice.

I'm getting itchy to change the subject here...

Annie WBH- Dave with a ponytail and a little red bow? Cute !

Oh and I hear part of the treatment is olive oil. So there'd have to be lots of that.

Awww... cute little booger - looks just like her daddy!

But Dave, are'nt you too ancient to have a schoolgirl ? I did not know fossils could reproduce. Let's hope (really hope) she looks like your wife. Although if she had your funnybone, that would be a good thing. But looks....no.

For the record, my interpretation is that Sophie came home with a warning about a general infestation at the school, not with head lice of her own.

Ergo the ponytail, to protect her from getting lice.

It may be that her father being in charge of hair washing, while mom was away, is why she did not already catch them.

Words of the Sentient:

Ocean, n.:
A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man -- who has no gills.

I always imagined Sophie having fewer legs.

my head itches :S eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek

i think i got inductive head itch from Sly

P.S coconut oil is good for the hair

Texas - ouch! Keep in mind you'll be old someday, unless someone has you whacked first for saying things like that.
Dave does not look old at all. Maybe comedy keeps you young... or olive oil....or humidity.

For all you bloglits who have never seen a pic of Sophie, I can tell you she is one cute kid! No, I am not stalking Dave and his family. Their pic (Blog, Mrs. Blog, little Blog) was on the cover of a special travel section in the Herald about a month or so ago.

I have always been a little concerned about my brother, who is the father of two little girls.

He's MUCH better at putting their hair in pony tails than I am.

That just seems really wrong.

Awww...she's as cute as a bug!

And I agree with Slyeyes. My head is now itchy.

Ooo! Simulpost with Annie and Angie! Three-way!

I thought she'd have a few less legs as well AT24. Thought she'd be a bit more opaque as well.


How lucky for you this was the subject of my second column ever.

Upon review, I'm not sure it's helpful. Of course, this was from before I had clearance to use verbs.

bwaaaahhhaaaaa dave. good one. ya got me! and can i add... ewww.

here is a photo of dave's daughter after the alleged 'event'.

suzy: why didn't *I* see that?

Referencing the triple and quad simulposts - I think the proper terms are "hat trick" and "grand slam".

Dave, even if Sophie, despite your most heroic efforts, somehow gets the awful critters, don't feel bad. It can happen to anyone.

Okay, I admit I didn't read all the comments above, but Dave, just shave her head, shave your head, shave there too and burn down the house.

When my daughter's friend got head lice, my wife waged full scale war on the bugs, washing, spraying toxic chemicals, re-washing, vacuuming, spraying and re-rewashing, etc. I don't think she slept in a week. My children suffered the most. First, they got shampooed with pesticides, then shampooed with something that smelled like licorice, THEN, they had to rub mayonaise in their hair and wear a shower cap ALL NIGHT. They smelled like a Shoney's salad bar.

Oh, and then she washed everything in the house again.

judi: I don't know. I assume you get The Herald. :)

It was a pic of them (face shot) in some obvious snowy place, they were skiing perhaps?

You want me to see if I still have it? Although I do take my recycling out every Sunday.

Christobol: Kudos on the humorous column. Very Dave Barry-esque. Not that I'm accusing you of immitating him; I've long told myself that I like Barry's style of humor because it reminds me of mine, not because I've been profoundly influenced by his genius.

It helps to have a huge ego, like this (points to own head).
Words of the Sentient:
So-called Western Civilization, as practised in half of Europe, some of Asia and a few parts of North America, is better than anything else available. Western civilization not only provides a bit of life, a pinch of liberty and the occasional pursuance of happiness, it's also the only thing that's ever tried to. Our civilization is the first in history to show even the slightest concern for average, undistinguished, none-too-commendable people like us. -- P.J.O'Rourke

Blue- Even Prince William got head lice after a vacation on Richard Branson's island in the Virgin Islands.

(That was back when Diana was still alive and William was little.)

pogo: Do you really want me to refer to a three-way amongst three women of the female persuasion as a "hat trick?" Hm?

Years ago I took care of my daughter while I worked nights and my wife worked during the day. All pictures we have of our sweet girl during those years she is wearing a baseball hat. Never did do a decent ponytail but I did burn her forehead with a curling iron and gave up. On the plus side she hung out with her brother and me and ending up plahing college basketball on scholarship.

When my kids were little, I told them that if they came home with head lice, I'd shave their heads.

Never had nary a one.

"Husband and father of the male gender..."

Ya know, in today's climate, that part about the male gender ACTUALLY NEEDS TO BE ADDED.

I knew this sounded familiar, but couldn't remember where I'd heard something like this before. C'bol, thanks, now I can sleep tonite!

s'girl - don't let the bed bugs bite!

The dreaded "dad ponytail"! Sophie, you have all my sympathy.


you must consider the psychological effects of ponytails,--- does she wear them all the time? Does she have big ears? DO NOT do this if she does.

If not...go with KAS advice, which was good. Logic says, if a lice is going to jump on your head, it's not going to care WHAT kind of hairdo you have.

Sounds like your wife has been watching a little too much ice dancing, costume, female stuff...she needs to come home. Rubber bands are dangerous in male hands, every wise woman knows that.

s'girl - don't let the bed bugs bite!

Posted by: Annie Where-but-here | 04:20 PM on February 22, 2006

Annie, I don't have bedbugs. TCK keeps 'em away!

s'girl - that explains a lot!

*waits for everyone to figure out what the hay I'm talking about...then maybe somebody can explain it to me*

Dyeing hair is also a treatment for head lice. You should let her pick her favorite color (at that age, my favorite was purple).

see girls? there is an advantage to having a TCK move in under yer bed...

Wait a minute, those were bedbugs? I thought they were....

um, never mind

Mrs. Blog here...Ciao from Torino...Just got back from speedskating, where the Dutch fans are PHENOMENAL! They all dress in orange and they have a brass band called "Kleintje Pils,'' which translates to "Little Beer.'' Among other things, they play "Hava Nagila'' and "La Cucaracha.''
One fan informed me that he is SO loyal that, and I quote directly here, "Even my d-ck is orange!'' (I took his word for it).
Anyway, want to say that I'm very proud of Mr. Blog for the beautiful ponytail he crafted on the head of KinderBlog. Ok, so there were a few clips for those runaway hairs he couldn't corral, but all in all, a good effort.
One bit of advice if any of you women are headed to Olympic Speedskating. Do NOT, and I repeat do NOT, use the middle stall in the women's bathroom. I did, and I am still regretting it. You see, once I closed the door, I realized there was not a toilet, but a hole in the floor. Figuring all the stalls were the same and that I had no choice, I proceeded to try and figure out how to do crouch and do my business without peeing all over my jeans. I finally decided to remove the jeans altogether and hold them above my head with one hand while balancing with the other hand against the stall wall (this might become an Olympic event!). Anyway, I did my thing, put back on the jeans, and then when I step out, I see my friend Missy Isaacson of the Chicago Tribune and she looks very relaxed and happy. I say, "Missy, did your stall have a toilet?'' She says, "Yeah, why?''
OK, I've blogged far too long here...Enjoy the rest of the Olympics. Sasha rocks!
Ciao, Michelle.

I would *SNORK* at Mrs. Blog's story, but since I previously promised not to speak in her presence (so as not to dumb the blog down too much), I will *snork* anonymously in the near future

*SNORK* at Mrs. Blog

In case anyone was wondering, that wasn't me. nope. Definitely not me.

Oh, my - I think I saw that move in the Curling competition.
"Welcome to Cafe Barry - would you like 'snorking' or 'non-snorking'?"
"'Snorking,' please."

Mrs. Blog - were you at least able to use one of those paper 'sanitizers' for your pit toilet?

Hi Mrs. Blog-I've never been to Middle Eastern countries, but I heard all the toilets there are like that.

Sasha was great! There were a surprising number of "spills" during ice dancing? Was there something wrong with the ice?

Lisa BFF - I believe the ice dancers were tripping over the execessive amount of bacteria in the ice.

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