One day a few years ago, I got a call from day care. They never call you because your kid learned to juggle. When you get a call, it’s bad. It’s vomit. It’s blood. It’s a broken bone. This particular call introduced me to the colony of insects on my daughter’s scalp. Life is nothing but a string of sharp ironies, so of course I had been working on my debut novel at the time, which followed an entomologist. In my research, I had gradually become obsessed with insects in the way I hadn’t since I crouched with skinned knees to poke at ant hills with a stick in my front yard.
Insects, it also turned out, were becoming obsessed with my family as well.
Like most parents, I feign confidence, but most of the time I am mothering by Google. I picked my daughter up from day care and looked online for my next steps. We made a detour to Walgreens and purchased the required shampoo. I treated my 2-year-old’s scalp in the bathtub while she watched “Daniel Tiger” on the iPad. The non-drama of it felt like a crisis averted.
Here’s a lice fact: They can’t hop or fly. They crawl, and that crawling feeling isn’t in your head but on it. After another phone call from day care a week