I could hear the teenagers in the bathroom beind a closed door. Just a quiet murmur and a follow-up giggle as I moved past on the landing with a basket of washing. Hmmm.. She’s eighteen, thought I as I silently scooped up a rogue sock, do I leave ’em to it and pretend I don’t know (cue loud internal whisper) WHAT THEY ARE UP TO IN THERE? Or, do I plant a flag in the summit and assume both parental and household authority by rapping sharply on the door? God knows, I wouldn’t want to barge in without knocking.. shudder…
Eventually she says from behind the door: “Are you alright mum?”
To which, once I’d retrieved the startled grip I’d lost on the basket and juggled the assorted underwear as it fell, I replied: “Er.. yes, fine. You guys?”
And the door swung open to reveal daughter sitting on the loo, lid down, brushing conditioner through her long hair whilst the boyfie balanced on the edge of the bath making comical quiffs with his fringe using my BEST nit comb.
“So,” says daughter, “Tom scratched his head last night while we were watching Breaking Bad and found a head louse on his finger. I’ve just combed my hair and found seven!!”
“I’m quite enjoying it actually,” grunted Tom, sculpting his hair into a cow lick and giving us a King of Rock and Roll sneer, “I’ve never done it before.”
“But I don’t know where I got them from,” whined daughter. And my itch set in instantly.
“Elvis has left the bathroom,” said the boyfriend, handing me my comb and heading back to the the telly.
Sometime later, when I had the place and MY STUFF to myself, I gave my head a sullen once over. Nowt. Then I checked my reluctant son’s head and told middle teen she needed to check herself. We all came up clean. Cleaner than the bloody bathroom after they’d been at it, that’s for sure. Since then, she’s romped through the hot water, conditioner and tissues with the same alacrity she and boyfie romp through the fridge – not only is the food cupboard bare but the mirrored one above the bathroom sink is too.
Later, working back using the calendar and the trusty timeline in The Little Book of Nits, the eighteen year old surmised she must have picked up the head fleas whilst babysitting a few weeks ago. There’s a lesson there for us all, I tell her, about never taking your eye off the ball, I mean, comb. And I decided better get more supplies in pronto, in anticipation of a few more romantic bathroom dates. Afterall, you can leave school but you are never to old to get nits. (Damn, I wish hadn’t used the word ‘romp’ earlier – it has made me feel quite queasy).
Ps. No teenagers were hurt during the writing of this blog.