Your Brain is Green
Of all the brain types, yours has the most balance. You are able to see all sides to most problems and are a good problem solver. You need time to work out your thoughts, but you don't get stuck in bad thinking patterns. You tend to spend a lot of time thinking about the future, philosophy, and relationships (both personal and intellectual).

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Eternal Lice Problem

A confession: until I made aliyah, I'd never seen a louse. You might not think that odd, since lice are simply not one of the things middle-class Jewish American girls are supposed to be acquainted with. But I'm a nurse, and I studied nursing in a hospital which had a large percentage of poor Lower East Side Puerto Ricans, Santo Domingans, and Haitians, homeless people, etc. Yet, they seemed to be relatively clean poor people.

However, lice are absolutely ubiquitous among small children in Israel, and for new olim from the US, the discovery that their little darlings are infested is one of the most shocking discoveries they make after getting off the plane.

I'm not sure why lice are so prevalent here. Climate probably has something to do with it, although lice do not spontaneously generate from sand (!) as some Israelis believe. From the time a toddler goes to a playgroup, until he/she reaches an age where children sit at individual desks at school (often as late as 4th or even 5th grade), parents wage a constant battle against the lice. It's because the little heads are so close to each other, you see, that the lice can jump from one kid to another easily.

The life cycle of the louse takes about 10 days from the eggs (nits) being laid until the mature louse is ready to lay some more. The nits are so small that it is almost impossible to get them all, even assiduously combing and manually picking them off the roots of the hair, so whatever treatment option (and nits are almost completely impervious to chemical methods) the parents adopt, it has to be repeated. And repeated. And repeated. It's much easier to let them grow a bit before attacking them.

The simplest thing to do is to shave the kid's head. I suspect this is why you see so many Arab kids with barely any stubble on their skulls, but it's a problem for girls, or boys with sidelocks.
The next line of attack is usually an anti-lice shampoo or lotion, but these have two main disadvantages. The first is that almost as soon as a new product is marketed, the lice become resistant to it. And, two, the stronger the stuff, the greater the chance it will cause skin rash or ulcerations. If you tell a toddler or preschooler to keep his eyes closed as you rinse his head, he will immediately open his eyes. This happened to our son once, and the resulting inflammation was really very serious. If you must use a chemical product, buy some goggles for your kid--or you might later need to buy him a white cane. There is some controversy over whether the chemicals can be absorbed into the blood stream via the skin, also.

Two traditional "remedies" are rosemary oil or a mixture of kerosene and oil. The former does make the hair smell very nice, and maybe lice don't like the smell, but in my experience they are hardly deterred. The kerosene/oil (or margarine) mixture can cause ulcerations and you can smell your kid for days.

This leaves manual removal, which is time-consuming and which both parents and the kids generally dislike. Children have the attention span of gnats, so a method is needed whereby you get them involved. Herewith is Antigonos' Patented Infallible Lice Removal Method, which should leave you and your child (or children) clean and not wanting to murder anyone (other than the lice).

You will need:
One lice comb. The best is Innomed, it has by far the finest teeth.
One regular comb, to comb out tangles and to separate the hair into sections.
Conditioner. Any brand is good, if you want, use one of the ones with rosemary oil, which may possibly be a deterrent.
Clips, to keep the combed hair sections from falling over the uncombed sections (and vice versa). The kind hairdressers use are very good.
A chair for you, and a lower chair or stool for the child, who can sit between your knees
Paper Towels. This is an essential, you'll understand why, in a moment.
A towel or bib, to put around the child's neck.
At least one video or DVD that the child likes. I used to use Disney's Fantasia, which is good because it's long. This will prevent the rapid onset of sitzfleisch.
A child, or children, in need of treatment.
Something for you to drink, preferably alcoholic. Alternatively, some form of calming medication.

And now, we're ready to begin:
[1] Wet the child's hair and liberally slather head with conditioner. Do not rinse.
[2] Put the child, with towel around neck ("just like Mommy at the hairdresser's") on the stool. [3]Insert video or DVD into machine. Inform child that if he's good, and lets you take care of him without undue tantrums or squirming you'll allow him to squash all the lice you collect at the end. This is very important: it is the major incentive for good behavior. Kids LOVE to do this. If you have more than one child to treat, make it into a competition to see who has the most lice. The winner will brag about this for months.
[4] Using the regular comb and clips, divide the hair into sections, starting with the hair on the neck. Comb out each section with the Innomed comb, and you will see the lice--usually still alive, caught in the conditioner and comb. Wipe the comb on a paper towel and put to one side (don't worry; the lice aren't going anywhere). Between their favorite video and the spectacle of the lice (white paper towels are best for contrast), the kids will be entranced.
[5] Don't forget to let them squash the lice. You can use a flat bottomed glass for this. If you forget, they'll never trust your word again and you'll have a devil of a time convincing them to let you comb them out again. Bloodthirsty little beasts, children.
[6] Shampoo hair with regular shampoo and rinse.

You'll have to repeat this every two or three days for two weeks, to get all the eggs of the original infestation, since they will probably only be caught by the comb, even the finest comb, once they hatch. The joker is that the child is probably constantly being reinfested. Lice cannot live more than 24 hours without human blood, so it isn't necessary to constantly change pillowcases or hair brushes. But those little heads are touching every day in class...

Sometimes parents can actually convince the other parents in their child's group to all treat their children together. But it is usually in vain, because the children are infested from other siblings, who are in turn infested by other play- and classmates in other classes and schools. While Americans are shocked, Israelis seem to take lice in stride as "one of those things" that happen to children...think of Treatment Time as Family Quality Time if it makes life easier .

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Political Cartoon I REALLY Don't Like

Elena Steier
Center for American Blogress
Sep 9, 2008

Generally, I will put up cartoons I find humorous or am in sympathy with. This one really turns me off.

I'm no friend of the evangelical Christian Right. But this one is not only extreme [note the "tattoo"], it is also far too misogynist, and demeans both McCain and Palin.

I find it interesting that the cartoonists are focussing a lot on Palin as a real bitch now, when a good many of my cybercorrespondents are focussing on pledges by both Presidential candidates to lower taxes. As always, the American voter [and voters in most other places, to be honest] is swayed by the state of his/her wallet more than almost anything else.