Nits and things


We have invisible pigs in our house. They come at night, wearing green velvet waistcoats and smoking hats, carrying very large combs and mess up the children’s hair. Unfortunately I have not been able to train them to remove nits. There is an epidemic of the dammed things and they are an interesting study in patience, tolerance, determination and shame.
Naturally occuring amongst all school children their presence endows a certain shame on the family. I know it doesn’t really, but actually, at a deep level it does. They are seen as dirty and need to be shied away from, the natural reaction of anyone you disclose the nit thing to, and eventually, after many letters from the school because they just re-infect one another, you find it has been several weeks of “dealing ” with them.
There is a hideous herbal thing that stinks but works well, then there is the chair in the doorway to get full light, with a child wriggling on one’s lap. Going through and cracking eggs is interesting. Patience, tolerance, a sense of humour go hand-in-hand with grim determination and a strong stomach. The live adult nits really chrunch and are bloody….. but that time with one’s child lyiing there is extremely wonderful. It is such a primal, old, across time, space and kingdoms, something that women have been doing for millenium. Something that monkeys do, too. It is strangely fulfilling in a world gone technical and high speed. To sit and stroke, pick and ‘deal’ with these tiny things is a powerful message in being grounded, and I really do enjoy it. I just hate the letters from the teachers. But doing this tiny thing that links me back into a worldwide history and the past, I love. What else does that? A natural labour. Grinding wheat (which I never get to do), physical imtimacy (without modern toys), cutting plants, bathing babies, cooking without machinery…….. It is quite fascinating to think about it.