Wednesday, May 29, 2013

I Pulled a Tick Off Of My Daughter This Morning; How Was Your Day

"Are you almost ready for me to brush your hair, sweetie?"

"Yes," the Girl calls from the other side of the open closet door.  She was sitting on the floor, strapping her shoes to her feet. All I could see from my vantage point were Hello Kitty sparkles winking in the morning light.

She stood, shut the door, and skipped past me toward the bathroom.  Currently, she sports a squiggly crop of hair that defies taming.  Think young Merida, except blonde.

"What do you want today?  Ponytail? Floppy ponytails? Braided bun?" I asked, pulling the brush, detangler spray, and myriad elastics from the Drawer for Such Things.

"Pigtails!" she yelled.

Pigtails it would be.

I liberally sprayed her hair with the detangler, caught up a hank of it, and dragged the brush through it.  She screwed up her face in truly gymnastic ways, entertaining herself as I worked my way through her hair.  Because of the ariadnic (yes, I made that up) way that my daughter's hair knots itself together, I can't get the tangles out in one stroke.  Nope, I have to work at the tangles, layer by layer.  It isn't arduous -- the whole thing takes about five minutes.  But, it is a process.

Anyway, I brushed the hair back from her temples to the fistful that would become the pigtail.  And that's when I noticed the dark spot over her ear. A tick.  And not the cool kind, either.  It was small, and a little engorged, so it had been there for a little while.

This is one of those moments where you know if you freak out or make a big deal out of something, it's going to make the whole removal process much, much more dramatic than it needs to be.  So, I finished with the pigtails.  As soon as the elastic was wrapped around that second pigtail, I said, "Sweetie?  I just noticed something  next to your ear, and it's a tick. I have to remove it, and it'll only take a second, but I've done this before for you* and I'm very good at it."

"Oh." The Girl wrinkled her brow and frowned.  "Is it going to hurt?"

"Maybe a little," I answered. "But it will mostly be a weird tugging.  It'll be okay. Just hang on."

I went to the kitchen and grabbed a paper towel, some olive oil, and a sealable plastic bag. I went back to the bathroom, and my daughter looked even more concerned than she had before. She's only six, so I was kind of surprised that the wailing and the gnashing hadn't started.

"Ready?" I asked.  Before she had a chance to answer, I doused a small portion of the paper towel in oil, pinched it around the tick, and pulled.  It came right out, no problem. I dropped it into the bag, sealed it up, and took a look at it's creepy crawly self.  Which, why was  doing that?  I don't have a database of tick pictures in my head.  I can't tell a deer tick from a deer.

I resolved to compare it to pictures online later.  Lyme Disease, which is spread by the deer tick, is no joke. One of my brothers suffers from it, and his joints are perma-achy.

But, she was a trooper, wanting mostly to inspect the bug and then discuss the traits it shares with vampires.  There were no tears, and only a little flinching when I put the smear of antibiotic ointment on the bite mark.

Sniff.  My little girl is growing up so fast.

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