Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Charlotte Goes Bug-Hunting.

Just when you think it’s safe to raise your head above the parental parapet, the Gods of Motherhood catapult another cowpat at you.

This week, dear reader, it’s nits.

I spied my daughter surreptitiously scratching whilst she was watching telly. Our eyes met. Mine narrowed.

“Have you got nits, Arabella?” I got up slowly, like a lion in the Serengeti approaching its prey. “You’re scratching…”

Arabella, who is not daft, leapt up and started backing away like a particularly itchy gazelle. “Er no, no scratching. Me, scratching? Not me Mummy….” She looked wildly at the sitting room door, immediately clocking the baby walker that blocked her escape.

I bared my teeth in a parody of a smile. “It’s alright” I purr, “I’m not going to hurt you.”

For a moment, I was sure I saw her consider the window and then suddenly, she darted to the left. I launched myself across the pine trunk that serves as my coffee table and in - (what is in my mind) Matrix style slow motion - soared across the room, grabbing only thin air and howled in frustration as Arabella hurdled the baby walker and scurried upstairs quicker than I could yell ‘nit comb’.

The problem is, that not only does Arabella loathe having her hair brushed, she has correctly cottoned on to the fact that I rather enjoy nit-combing. In fact I love it.

I never understood the draw of fishing. Sitting there by the side of a canal, waiting and waiting until finally you pull something out that’s not only ugly but inedible. But oh! That was before I discovered nit-combing.

The pure unadulterated pleasure you get when you snare one of the little buggers and gleefully deposit it into a jug to face its watery death! The joy when you get a Really Big Louse. A Mummy Louse. The One that Keeps Laying Dratted Eggs. The delight when you get a crop of lice, all in one comb sweep. (What is the collective noun for head lice? Answers on a postcard. I’d suggest an itch of lice but feel free to suggest your own below.)

No, poor old Arabella (wise beyond her six-years) knows full well what the next week will entail. Endless baths with her hair drenched in conditioner whilst her mummy, humming in a slightly manic fashion, drags a nit comb across her scalp, yelping in merriment each time she finds a bug.

I’m thinking of providing myself with a thermos flask of metallic tasting coffee and a round of beef-paste sandwiches to complete the experience. Hey – it’s cheaper than a rod and licence and far better than therapy.

The only problem is... er...

I'm not scratching. Promise.