Thursday, August 05, 2010

Pidocchi Blues

Dear Readers,

I love speaking a foreign language, and Italian is a sheer linguistic delight, full of lovely cadences, sensuous vowels and toothsome consonants. But there are some words in Italian that I'd rather not know. That is, be on intimate terms with. Meaning, possessing undue familiarity therewith.

Unfortunately, the word for lice recently crawled its way into my vocabulary.

The scourge of pre-school--we'd nearly made it through two children and six years' worth unscathed, when at the very end of my daughter's school year, this past June, she came home with an itchy scalp. Being somewhat of a nit-wit (sorry, couldn't resist the pun) in these matters, I let it go thinking it was nothing after a cursory check of her sassy little bob.

Well, a week later, she was even more uncomfortable and her sweet scalp full of insidious bite-marks. This time I had a good look and found those cursed nits all through her hair. By now, however, my scalp began to fester and I knew I was done for. Three hot, humid weeks later, after mountains of laundry and hours of nit-picking and combing and blasting our heads with DDT-like treatments, we seemed to be out of our verminous hell.

With a kick-off like this, I knew it was going to be a long, long summer.



[Many thanks to Lelia B., aka la streghetta, for bringing me a postcard of Pieter De Hooch's painting depicted above, A Mother's Duty. From the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam]

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