Friday, April 29, 2005

Blabbermouth Syndrome

Children should be seen and not heard was the prevailing wisdom when I was a child. It led to a lot of self-esteem problems - why did no one care what I had to say? So I decided to take a different approach with my daughter, and let her talk as much as she wanted. Now I am starting to regret that decision since my daughter has turned into a blabbermouth!

I've been wondering lately if this ailment is more prevalent with elementary school girls than boys. I'm a magnet for young girls at the bus stop in the early morning because I actually listen to them, or to be more accurate, I have the appearance of listening.

There's two ways to look at the problem. If they are merely practicing verbalization skills, it's all good. If they are honing their thinking skills, I'm not sure I'm doing my daughter a favor by letting her talk non-stop about TV plots and what everyone had at lunch that day in the cafeteria.

Part of effective communication is knowing what NOT to say, editing the content in your head to deliver the most effective message. But if I tell her I don't want to hear everything, just the most important parts, I shift the focus to me - she has to decide what I want to hear and deliver it, rather than focusing on what she finds interesting.

I guess I'll keep letting her talk. It's always a balance to try to figure out whether I'm overly indulgent, or developing her self esteem. I have to admit that because I wasn't allowed to talk much as a child, I am now a blabbermouth, too. But it took a lifetime to allow myself this purge, and you can stop reading if it doesn't interest you.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Ugh! Lice!

When you have a cute little bundle of joy, you never imagine spending a half hour every week combing bugs out of their hair during their elementary years.

I first suspected lice when I noticed my daughter scratching her head. One of her friends had already had her head shaved. I pulled her close to a bright light, examined her head, and found... nothing. That's right folks, those lice are very difficult to find. It was only after another week of scratching that I finally broke down and bought lice shampoo, gel, and a fine tooth comb.

I had resisted the lice shampoo because it is toxic, but I finally felt I had no choice because I finally saw a louse. They are very tiny, about the length of a grain of short rice, and extremely flat and skinny. My daughter's hair is brown so they blended right in.

I was horrified! I ripped all the bedding off her bed and washed it. I took up all our rugs and ran them through the washing machine, along with all the couch pillows and stuffed animals. All non washable plush items got stored in plastic bags for two weeks to kill the bugs. I maniacly combed her hair each night, finding all the tiny bugs and killing them.

I must admit I felt like a bad parent. I blamed the other parents, casting a discerning eye toward the cleanliness of their children. After a little research, I found it really doesn't have anything to do with cleanliness. In fact, lice prefer clean hair.

Did you know that they estimate 10% of all elementary children have head lice during a school year? Did you know they have found mummys with head lice?

For more information on lice, visit They have a lot of information on alternative treatments like oil and the lice zapper comb. The only thing that has worked for us is combing with a lice comb on a regular basis.