Talk about Rising to the Challenge

DSC_0669My husband, who normally manages and oversees most of the morning routine with the kids (makes breakfasts and lunches) left early Wednesday morning on a business trip. So I was up extra early, showered and dressed for work before I woke up son #1, David, at 6AM.  He leaves to catch the bus at 6:30, then Eliza leaves at 7:25, and Jack and Sam follow at 7:35.  A rather tight hour I might add.  So I was buzzing along until Dave yelled out that he was going to miss his bus (he blamed it on the hot cherry peppers he ate the night before, but I won’t go into any more details on that).

My mind started spinning with this new logistical challenge – as driving him to school takes close to 35/40 minutes round trip.  The domino effect had begun; all four children were going to miss the bus and have to be driven to school.  Sam for some reason, was already very self motivated that morning.  Before this challenge hit, he had elected to put his whole lunch together himself.  He made his PB & J sandwich, packed two drinks, a banana and a snack (and a napkin) and had everything in his lunch bag by the time I left. Luckily I had the other lunches made, and breakfasts were ready to be eaten.  I ran out the door, leaving Eliza in charge, and pleading that everyone eat breakfast, get dressed, go to the bathroom, brush teeth and get shoes on and be ready to go when I returned. (This is a major feat, you see, because I’m typically negotiating them out of bed, dressing them myself as they are too groggy to do anything for themselves, coercing them into the bathroom; the morning routine is rarely a stress free production).

I figured I’d get back and then take the next car load to school – as I was sure we’d miss the bus.  I walked back in the house at 7:33.  Jack and Sam were sitting on the couch, coats on, backpacks on, ready to go.  Eliza claimed she did nothing to help them.  I was pleasantly surprised, ah maybe I should say pleasantly blown-away.

Jack ended up catching the bus, but Sam held out for my previous promise of driving him to school.  After the bus picked up Jack, I drove Sam and Eliza to school, and then treated myself to an Eggnogg latte for my drive in to work.

I was very proud of these two, and decided at certain times they can function much better without me.  I think I may just disappear more often in the morning.  No telling what heights they can achieve if I’m not there to coax them along!

Mommy Mode, Even During Times of Crisis

Kimberly-MunleyMuch has been written about the heroism of Sgt. Kimberly Munley, one of the officers who fired on the Ft. Hood gunman last week and stopped his deadly shooting spree. But, I was even more impressed with her heroics after reading Debbi Wilgoren’s article in The Washington Post — Fort Hood cop’s priorities: Blood loss, day care. Here’s an excerpt:

In an extreme example of the multi-tasking familiar to moms everywhere, one of the police officers hailed as a Fort Hood hero says she had two priorities after she and another officer stopped a gunman who had just killed 13 people.

One: get a tourniquet applied to her thigh, bleeding heavily where a bullet had pierced her femoral artery.

Two: arrange for someone to pick up her toddler from day care.

Sgt. Kimberly Munley, 34, was interviewed on NBC’s “Today” show Thursday morning along with Sgt. Mark Todd, who also responded to the shooting. They appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” Wednesday afternoon. …

The petite police officer, who stands 5 feet 2 inches tall, said she was hit by three bullets. One struck the knuckle of her right hand; one passed through her right knee, then hit her left leg; and one pierced the femoral artery in her left thigh.

“I knew from the amount of blood and the color of the blood that was coming out” of the thigh wound that it was gravely serious, Munley said, sitting in a wheelchair with a blanket spread over her legs.

The soldiers who ran to help her knew it, too; even as she urged them to get pressure on the wound, they were fashioning a tourniquet.

Bleeding stanched, Munley immediately entered what “Today” hosts Ann Curry and Meredith Viera — themselves working mothers — dubbed “Mommy Mode.” She located her cellphone and arranged for someone to pick up her 2-year-old daughter (an older daughter, age 12, presumably gets home from school on her own).

“So the balancing act of motherhood and being a police officer did not end, even at that moment, for you,” said Curry.

“Absolutely not,” Munley said, smiling slightly. “It never does.”

Regardless of the ages of our children, slipping into mommy mode is as automatic as breathing for most women. And, all of us have had moments where we’ve had to juggle the needs of our children at “inopportune” times while dealing with life’s other demands. While hopefully none of us have ever faced as extreme a situation as Sgt. Munley, I’m curious about what (and how) other Wise Women have had to multi-task their motherhood duties with work/volunteer/other life responsibilities. Do tell.


Dealing with the Post-Halloween Candy

candy1Right after Halloween this week, I heard a couple of stories.  First, one of my neighbors told me that they pay their kids each $20 for their candy, and then throw it away.  There were also a couple of local dentists collecting candy, paying $1-$2 a pound, and then sending the candy to the troops.  I started to think about this, and loved the idea of removing those 7:30AM arguments about candy consumption from my house.

So I thought I would give it a try, and see how my young boys received it.  I decided that I would let it be their choice – and if they wanted to keep their candy – that was fine – we would obviously just have to limit the daily consumption of it.

So here was my deal.  I told them that I would buy all their candy for $10, and then take them to the toy store so they could pick out something special that costs $10 or less.  They both took me up on the offer without hesitating, and negotiated to keep two pieces of candy.

One friend pushed back on this scenario a bit – vocalizing that Halloween is one of those special occasions – and it wouldn’t be right to take away the candy.  My response was that candy today is so prevalent – I feel like almost everyday somehow candy is in my kid’s lives.  When we were kids it was candy at Halloween, Christmas and Easter – but not much beyond that.

Anyhow, the boys were very happy with their trade.  Jack bought a Yankees bear, Sam a little stuffed cow (of course, we don’t need anymore stuffed animals in the house either!).  It was very cute watching them walk around the store with money in hand, looking at different prices and deciding what they could afford.

So now I will share all my candy with my co-workers.  See, everyone is happy in the end!

A Year of Redistricting Battles Come to a Close

images-1Last fall my husband and I were embroiled in a redistricting battle with our School Board, which I wrote about last September.  It was a long year of letters and speeches to the School Board, Mayor, and Board of Reps, talking to the press, and rallying neighbors.  It was a frustrating year, because at each successive meeting, it was clear that we as parents were much more familiar with the numbers behind the recommendations then the Board – and concerned that the long term impact, including the costs of the plan had not been taken into account before the recommendation was laid out on the table.

All along, we were very sensitive about not making this a school vs. school issue, and when we lost the first round, we banded together with parents throughout the city and tried a new approach.  At our last major appeal before the board, we laid out a compelling argument, backed my numbers.  The Superintendent stood up and refuted our claims, leading to the School Boards’ vote against what we were proposing.

My husband and I looked at each other aghast, because the Superintendent was clearly wrong, and the Board had made their final decision on faulty information.  We then were able to get a meeting with the President of the Board, the Superintendent and the Director of Research who had put the plan together – to walk them through the numbers again, to prove what we were proposing was correct – and would be a much more balanced solution.  Finally, they admitted we were right.  One second later the President of the Board said, “It’s too late now.  The Board doesn’t have the appetite to open this back up for review.”  My husband replied “But you made your decision on bad information.”  They all held their ground.  By this time it was April, and we had lost our battle.  My mind was racing with some pretty nasty editorials we could write on how this was handled, but whether we took the high road, or were just exhausted from dealing with this all year, we accepted our fate.

Come May, I heard that two of my neighbors had applied for “Out of District” placement, and had been accepted to remain at our current school.  I then applied, and heard in July that we were denied.  By this time I was angrier.  There was such a small number of families from my neighborhood that had been redistricted to the new school – now all of a sudden with two families being granted permission to stay, that redistricted group got much smaller.  We appealed the decision, and submitted another request to remain at our current school.

Meanwhile, I figured we had to accept the inevitable, and I started to work on getting the boys comfortable with their new school.  We made visits to the school’s playground (very cool playground), we went over and met the Principal and Vice Principal, both who walked us around and gave us a private tour.  We all really liked the school – very nice facility, lots of space, nice administration.  I heard great things about the teachers that both of the kids were assigned.

Then the moment of truth.  The Friday before school started, we were called to a meeting downtown with the man who handles all out of district placements.  He told us our application was in order – he just needed one more piece of documentation, and then we would be granted permission to stay.  At 5PM that day, we received the call confirming that we could stay at our current school, as an out of district family.  Talk about the 11th hour.

Wow.  It was a moment of mixed emotions.  If it happened two months ago – when Jack was repeating daily “I want to stay at Northeast” it would have been so much easier.  One of Jack’s closest friends was going to the new school with him, and they had been assigned the same teacher.  Sam was very excited about his new school.  First I called Jack’s friends mother to tell her the news.  It was heart wrenching to me that this friend might be the only child from our neighborhood going to the redistricted school. Secondly, when I told the boys the news, Jack just looked plain confused, and Sam broke down into tears.  “I want to go to Davenport,” he said.  Oh no, I thought.  I guess I did too good a job selling the new school this summer.  I certainly had that voice in my head saying “Am I doing the right thing?”

I knew Monday’s orientation would be tough for Sam.  I had been talking to the Assistant Principal at our current school over the weekend, so she knew that we had gotten in, but I wouldn’t know who Sam’s teacher was until that first morning.  I knew Sam would be walking into a classroom that wasn’t prepared for him – no name on the wall, no cubby, no seating assignment.  To make matters worse, on orientation day when I went to Sam’ class (he had already been called to go there with his teacher)  – Sam was missing – sent to the principals’ office since he wasn’t on the class list.   I turned around to see Sam walking down the hall, with quivering chin, trying to keep it together.  That first week, we had a few tough mornings, with Sam not wanting to get on the bus.

Now, everything is fine, even great.  Sam loves school.  Jack loves school.  They love being at the bus stop with our neighbors (if they had gone to the redistricted school, they would have been alone at the bus stop – as all other neighbors were grandfathered).  So here’s my positive spin on this very challenging year:

  1. Never give up.
  2. Never assume the other side knows more than you.
  3. There’s always something good in what you don’t know – and you have to approach a new situation with an open mind.
  4. While it was a time consuming, aggravating year, we met a lot of new friends – not only in our neighborhood, but also across the city.

    So to wrap it up, while I convinced myself I was looking forward to meeting a whole new group of people, and would have to step up my involvement at the new school, it’s nice to be back “home” at the elementary school I have known for ten years.  I also hope that I never have to go through another redistricting cycle again!

Steps Toward Independence

10151Guest blogger Sonya wrote a great piece last Monday about the heart break of watching your kids grow up – their steps toward independence and the small signs along the way that they don’t need you as much – or at least in the same way.  Her daughter went off to sleep-away camp this summer – as did my daughter – but it was my daughter’s fourth summer at camp.  The change in her amazed me after that first summer when she returned – so mature and independent in a very good way.  Now an 8th grader,  I also like the fact that camp provides an escape from the middle school drama that naturally takes place locally, especially among girls.  Camp is her special place where she has her own special friends.  The following is a little essay I wrote about the drama of a 7th grader – and the great escape and sanctuary that camp provides:

A SPECIAL PLACE

I wish I could just skip to high school, now, Alyssa thought to herself, as thoughts raced through her mind about the latest round of girlfriend drama going on.  Fortunately for Alyssa, she always held a firm stance – independent minded, friends to many, not too caught up in the he said/she said and whose best friend was who types of games, typical for the average 13 year old.  Her graceful, tall stature allowed her to stand above it all, yet it was such a part of the every day of the typical 7th grader, it was impossible to completely not let these friend issues weigh on her mind.

Take her friend Jesse, for example.  Jesse was a little obsessive, and had to have a true best friend at all times.  Of course these “true best friends” rotated rather quickly – depending on any given moment of any given day.  Alyssa saw through it, and tried to maintain a steady course.  Yet it wasn’t always easy.  She had been Jesse’s true best friend for a while.  Jesse’s definition of best friendship was non-stop phone calls, text messages, non-ending online chats and no doing anything with anyone else but her.  Being Jesse’s true best friend was like being smothered, and Alyssa only felt suffocated.  There was no freedom to do anything with anyone else … and if Jesse found out that Alyssa in fact had done something with someone else it created a firestorm.

For these reasons – Alyssa couldn’t wait to escape to her own special place, a place where she could go to and leave behind all the trials and tribulations of the typical 7th grader.  That place was Fernwood Cove – Alyssa’s summer camp in Maine.

Four years ago, when Alyssa was only nine, she had begged her parents to let her go to sleep away camp. She wanted to go to a place where she would know no one – and she did all the research to determine where she would go.  A girls’ camp on a lake in Maine was her choice – and off she went, never looking back.

To Alyssa, camp is that special place to escape to – a whole new set of special camp friends from all over the United States, where the silly tribulations of daily life with a wide connected web of friends is left behind and locked up.

This summer had been particularly special.  It was so fun to reunite with her group of friends – friendships that had been building over four years – friends who had this special place to share, a place where time stood still and life was very simple.  Fernwood Cove opened up a whole new world to Alyssa – it taught her greater independence, challenged her to do things she would never do at home, gave her access to so many new experiences.  Plus, the food was to die for.  The nightly campfires, locking arms and singing silly songs, tip toeing with a buddy out to the bathroom in the middle of the night with flashlight in hand – trying to stifle giggles as someone went tumbling over a tree root, were just some of the simplest things that made camp life almost better than anything.

As the sun was dipping behind the lake, a large group of girls surrounded the flagpole and slowly brought down the flag, as they held hands and softly sang Taps in the orange glow of sunset.  This was the last night of camp, and as Alyssa and her friends looked around at each other, there were a few watery eyes.

Following the flag ceremony the girls picked up their candles, lit them, and walked down to Lake Harrison, setting them a float to drift.  This was a last night

tradition at camp. As Alyssa and her friends stepped back to take in the scene, she smiled to herself. The scene before her was heartwarming, nostalgic and beautiful. The floating candles cast sparkles across the lake and created a warm glow, illuminating those things that had contributed to so much summer fun. Within her range of vision, she saw the float at the end of the dock where she and her friends would dash to, starting high up on the meadow and ending up with a wild jump into the refreshing lake.  The water slide, positioned a little further out into the lake, was the next destination point – last one there got stuck with making all the beds up in the cabin the next day.  All around, there was evidence of fun – the kayaks, sailboats, crew shells, canoes, and speedboats for water skiing.  This is nearly heaven, Alyssa thought to herself, sighing.

While it was sad to leave this heaven behind, Alyssa was excited about seeing her parents, and yes, even her brothers the next morning.  And after a day traveling in the car, she would be back home, and excited to see her friends.  And throughout the year, when the typical middle school problems with friendships would surface again, Alyssa would think forward to the time and place next summer where all those problems would just evaporate, at least for a few weeks.

Not Mommy any more and other Signs my Children don’t need Me…

maya-getting-on-bus-first-day-of-first-grade-9-2-08.JPGGuest Blogger, Sonja, writes about the emotions of kids growing up as her final two head off to Kindergarten this week

So, it all started this past June, when my oldest, at the ripe age of 8, went off to 2 weeks of sleep away camp.  Wise hubby and I felt as if a limb had been forcibly removed and we ached for the full 14 days of her experience, yearning for a one lined e-mail or letter to tell us she’d made friends, managed the thunderstorms and her significant allergies weren’t landing her in the health lodge regularly.

Instead, in response to daily e-mails and a barrage of snail mail from us, we got 3 cryptic notes that we thought were ghost-written by a Kindergarten graduate and an 8 a.m. call from the health lodge announcing she had an infection and would be seen by a doctor, but was in fine spirits and was not available to speak with us.  Wise friends told us this was a sign she was happy and well and embracing the growth and independence the camp experience provides…don’t worry, be happy.

During the long car ride back from camp where she detailed her adventures, I asked if she ever missed us.  She paused, looked at me sheepishly and said, I can’t think of a time when I ever did.  Alrighty then!  I pursued, but what about in your tent (yes, she slept in raised platform tents) when the thunderstorms came (she has an illogical deep fear of thunder and I thought surely she needed us then)?  Mom, we never had any while I was there (aha, untrue, I checked the radar weather in her zip code every night and they actually had 2 severe storms).  I suppose you were too tired to wake up from them I said and I’m glad they didn’t bother you (lie).

Upon her return, we noticed other maturities, many of which we liked; looking adults in the eye and holding full conversations with them, helping her younger brother and sister, and doing things without being asked.  However, one change was killing me…I was no longer Mommy, I was Mom.  Ouch.

So, pile on the motherhood pain, my 5 year-old twins start Kindergarten this week.  I have no more children at home.  No toddlers to feed, no play dates to attend, no pre-school mommy friends for me, nobody who needs me all day (this from their mother who works 3-4 days a week and shouldn’t feel so empty).  I’d already bought myself an extra year of their being home most of the week by delaying their Kindergarten entry a year, as our son wasn’t quite ready to meet the challenges of the academic pressure cooker they refer to as Kindergarten now.  So, technically, they could be going to first grade in the great state of Connecticut that’s deemed anyone who is 5 by December 31st is welcome to class.

Yet, turning 6 at the end of this year, does nothing to subdue the hollow pit in my stomach that twitches when I think of them going to school with 800+ students, on a yellow bus – alone for 6 ½ hours a day, without me to help zip their pants, wipe their mouths and tell them to stop fighting (did I mention our great state also requires multiples be in separate classes, thereby reducing any need for my interfering in a fight).  Alas, I’ve spent the last few weeks, smooching them like crazy and continually telling them I can’t believe they are going to “big” school.  My son has often volunteered to stay home with me and keep me company (he’s a rather co-dependent, sensitive child).  He told me he really doesn’t need to go to this school and he can learn it all at home (there’s an idea – home schooling, which would last a week on my part).  On the other hand, my 5 year old daughter, has mused about every possible friend she’ll make and picked out a book to lend the teacher that she could read on the first day of school (there may be some debate about who runs her classroom).

So, what to do with that pit in my stomach…I tried to convince wise hubby that even numbers of children are best, less fighting, and wouldn’t it be nice to balance the family with another little boy.  I had the “we’re too old to conceive another” argument at the ready.  We’d simply adopt a young boy who needed a loving home that we could provide.  I attempted to appeal to his Christian sense of values in that we’d help another life – no deal.  All I got back was that I could happily have another child, biologically or not, but I’d need to find a new husband first.  Alrighty then.

So, out of options, here I sit.  A mere 36 hours from the start of Kindergarten.  My babies will leave the nest.  In my heart they are ready, it’s me that’s not.  I hope their new adventures will fill my heart with joy as I watch them grow and tackle these challenges.  Tonight, as I put my oldest to bed, and began to leave the room she said, “Oh Mommy, I love you TOO much”.  I love you TOO much too sweetie.  I guess, I’ll always be Mommy, no matter if they are at camp or in Kindergarten and I need to make sure these are the images that fill my heart as I struggle with their growing up.

Teen Cribs Fab 15 Countdown

mtvWhile channel surfing last week, I stumbled across MTV’s show Teen Cribs, a showcase for overly indulged teens, their toys, and their palatial digs. I’ll confess to having a sick fascination with the show. I even devoted 90 minutes over the weekend to the episode detailing the top 15 cribs. (My only defense was that I was sick in bed and it was either that or witness Tiger Woods blow his lead in the PGA tourney.)

If you don’t have an hour and half to waste invest in the full episode, just watch the promo for the Fab 15 Countdown; it’s the first minute of video, after the initial mini-commercial. And be ready to catch your jaw as it drops. As the promo teases, “We’re not talking run-of-the-mill McMansions here.”

Thinking about new Back to School Protocol

imagesJust back from a two week vacation in Maine, and reality is taking its grip.  Summer is coming to a fast close, school starts in a couple of weeks, and I’m desperately trying to lose my vacation brain and get ready for work and remember all those “to dos” that didn’t get done before I left.

However, I have been plotting all the new “good habits” that I’m going to enforce with my children when the new school year starts.  In a way I look at the Back to School season like New Year’s Resolutions – bringing the opportunity to have a fresh start.   I’m only hoping that I can stick to my guns.  Some of my new ways of operating include:

1.  One last ditch effort to enforce bed making in the morning.  My teenagers may be hopeless, but there may be hope for my kindergartner and first grader.

2.  For the two young ones, laying out clothes before bed, and having them get themselves dressed before coming downstairs.  I know that doesn’t seem like a big deal to most of you, but I find too often that I’m throwing on their clothes at the last minute before we race to the bus stop.

3.  No TV in the morning.  This may require me to proactively set up some activities at the kitchen table to keep them busy.  Giving up Sponge-bob in the morning is going to be a tough addiction for Sam to break.

4.  Setting up a sandwich bar, and having everyone make their own sandwiches, choose their snacks and pack their bag.  I’m hoping to build more independence by doing this as well as fewer complaints about what ends up in the lunch bag.

So far those are my big ideas for hopefully minimizing a bit of stress.  If anyone has any other ideas to minimizing the Back to School frenzy, please let me know!

Putting the Brakes on Reckless Teen Driving

race-carI may end up in the doghouse with the teenage set (in particular, my teens) by writing this post. I can already hear the howls of protest “You don’t trust me!” But I just have to share the results of a recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety on the effectiveness of in-car monitoring devices to thwart reckless driving by young drivers. The study concluded:

Electronic monitoring of teenage drivers can reduce the incidence of risky behavior, especially seat belt nonuse, which declined in all treatment groups. No consistent effects were achieved for sudden braking/acceleration for any treatment group. Consistent reductions in speeding were achieved only when teenagers received alerts about their speeding behavior, believed their speeding behavior would not be reported to parents if corrected, and when parents were notified of such behavior by report cards. Parent participation in the monitoring process is key to successful behavioral modification, but it is yet to be determined how best to encourage such participation.

If you’re intrigued by this idea and curious about what types of gadgets are available, check out the article The Latest Tech to Keep Tabs on Your Kids at the online car site Edmonds.com. Some devices rely on GPS technology, while others have a dashboard camera. There’s even a device, Speed Demon, developed by a young man when he was 16, after another teen from his town died in a car crash.

While my teen has had her license for a month, we’ve yet to let her drive solo in the car. But that day is coming. Soon. And, while she does not appear to have a “need for speed,” I can see how this technology could help educate any young, inexperienced driver. I can also see the Big Brother-ish aspects to it. (Although, for the record, I am NOT one of those people who oppose red light cameras. I’m a big fan of them, even though my picture has been snapped once or twice.)

I’m not sure where I come out on this issue of electronic monitoring of young drivers. However, we’re buying a third car for the family in the coming months, so the time to install a gadget, if we go that way, is quickly approaching. Thoughts, Wise Women?

Lice Is Not Nice

itchy-headToday’s guest blogger, Kathleen, gives you something to scratch think about …

No one wants to admit her kids have lice. No matter how many times the school nurses and Web sites and doctors all say, “Anyone can get lice. It has nothing to do with hygiene,” it’s still an embarrassment to admit there are vermin crawling on your kids’ heads. In an effort to help other Wise Women who many be confronted with this problem, I will, however, take one for the team and admit that my daughters have had lice – not once but twice.

About five years ago, one of my daughters caught lice at school. And of course once one child gets it, you can pretty much guarantee your other child is going to get it too. I fought that lice long and hard. For months I was dousing my kids’ heads with harsh chemicals, “guaranteed to kill lice and their nits.” Um, yea, right. Eventually I did manage to get rid of the lice. It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t pretty. But I got rid of it and crossed my fingers they’d never come in contact with it again.

Fast forward to this past spring. I’m drying my youngest daughter’s hair after a bath and suddenly discover things crawling on her scalp. “Um, does anyone at school have lice?” I asked her. “No, but some kids at after-school care do.”

Oh, great. Here we go again.

I tried what had worked before (lice-treatment shampoo every other day, even though they say you only need to do it every seven to 10 days). No go. I sat them in front of the TV and combed and combed and combed those nits out. No go. I washed all the bedding, bagged up all their stuffed animals, banned sleepovers. No go.

No matter what I tried, I couldn’t get rid of that damn lice. Every time I’d think I’d taken care of the problem, I’d discover they were back (or maybe I never fully got rid of them in the first place). I was convinced the only thing that would work is to wait until school ended and they weren’t around a whole bunch of kids, who were clearly passing lice back and forth to each other.

Ah, the best laid plans… The end of school didn’t make any difference either. And now we’re approaching time for Girl Scout sleepaway camp – where they check your daughter’s head for lice as soon as she gets off the bus and send her home if they find a single nit. Trust me, they were going to find significantly more than a “single” nit on my kids’ heads.

I turned to the Internet, searching, searching, searching for some miracle cure. I found better than that. I found the Lice Ladies. (OK, that’s not really their name. The business is actually called Lice Happens. They’re based in Annapolis, Maryland and you can find them at www.licehappens.com.)

I have only one thing to say about this company. These women are my saviors. They came to my house, complete with all the equipment they needed (and a ton of information to share) and spent nearly four hours picking every single solitary nit out of my kids’ hair. (And mine too, for that matter. As they said, “If more than one child in a household has lice, you can pretty much guarantee the mother has it too. But never the father.” I’ll refrain from making any comments about how clearly we moms obviously cuddle more with our children than their fathers do and thus pick up the lice as well.)

I can’t say enough wonderful things about this company. If you’re unlucky enough to run into lice and lucky enough to live in the Maryland-Virginia-DC area, give them a call as soon as you spot that first nit or lice. Don’t even waste your time trying to take care of the problem yourself. They aren’t cheap, but it’s worth every penny. Oh, and no harsh chemicals. Just all-natural products

And if you don’t live in the metro DC area, give them a call anyway. They can either give you advice over the phone or, if you’re lucky, point you in the direction of a similar company in your neck of the woods.

The true measure of success, however, is that I dropped off my youngest at Girl Scout camp yesterday afternoon – and I haven’t received a call yet telling me to come and pick her up.

Is anybody happier because you pass his way?
John Hall

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