Today something happened that will forever be known as "The Tick Incident." Right now, as the kids are getting ready for bed, they are talking about praying about not having nightmares about ticks.
It all started innocently enough. We had two Cub Scouts who needed to hike at least a mile and observe nature. We all went on this hike with our scouts. It was only a mile, and we were headed to the "big city" afterwards so we could do things exciting things like get the oil changed in the car and buy groceries.
We hiked. It was more like a leisurely stroll. It was overcast and muggy, having rained last night. We stayed on the trail,but there was a lot of green vegetation and grasses in the area. We've been having a fair amount of rain for our area all summer, and things are greening up again. Both boys and I were wearing shorts on the hike. My girls were smarter: they wore pants. We talked about ticks a bit on the hike, and how Jessie had one crawling on the back of her neck once a few years ago from walking around this same area.
After the hike, we loaded up into the car and headed down the mountain. About 20 minutes later, Kacy said, "We didn't do our tick check." I think a tick check sounds like a good idea, and I kid you not, right after Kacy said we should have a tick check, Will, who is in the front seat, points to something on his sock and says, "Mom, what is that?"
It was a tick.
We pulled over at the first turnout we came to and we checked ourselves. We all had ticks in our shoes, between our shoes and socks. I myself had two in my right shoe. We flick them off, and I check everyone's armpits, necks, and back of the knees. I tell the kids to check between their toes.
We look good, so we load back up in the car. See this picture? The one of NOT MY MAZDA but my new to me 9 year old car that I LOVE? Oh, and the girls, with Kacy brushing a tick off her sock and Jessie running away with a smile on her face?
Study it, and then reference back, because this was the first stop. This was the stop where we were slightly creeped out by the ticks in our shoes, but we felt like we handled it. Take THAT, ticks!
It fell apart about 200 yards later.
Not two minutes after continuing our journey, I hear a blood curdling scream emanate from Jessie's mouth. She looks like she is going to break the bonds of her seat belt from trying to get away from herself. "PULL OVER! MOM!!!! MOM!!! PULL OVER NOW! AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!"
There was a tick crawling up the outside of her shirt.
Kacy freaks out. Kacy's kryptonite is small insects crawling on her. She flips. Total panic mode.
I yell to the back that I can't pull over, I have to wait until the next turn out. I tell Ed to smash it for her, but Jessie is totally losing it. She is hitting herself, crying, and trying to rip her shirt off of her body. Ed very calmly says, "I don't want to touch it." I hand him a full water bottle and tell him to use that. Anything to get her calmed. Will looks at me like I'm crazy and says as much.
We only had to wait about two minutes for the next safe turn out. As soon as the car is in park, the girls flee the car. Reference above, except maybe picture a crying tangle of flailing arms and girls jumping up and down.
I grab Jessie and using my bossy voice I tell her to hold still and calm down so I can look for it on her shirt. I can't see it on the front, and Kacy lifts Jessie's shirt up a bit in the back. The tick is crawling on Jessie's back, and Kacy FREAKS OUT.
I can't even describe how Kacy lost control of her usually calm and cool demeanor. In her best "The house is on fire" voice, she shouted, "Oh my gosh Jessie it's on your back!" (so fast!) and then dropped Jessie's shirt and stepped away. Even I was alarmed.
Jessie promptly screamed for a full two seconds at the top of her lungs (think "murderer with a knife just killed my mom and is coming after me next" kind of scream). Then she threw herself on the ground.
What is a mom to do? I'm no fan of creepy crawlies, but... really? Really, girls??? What is this?
(It was all my fault, really. I didn't spray them with repellent. Before we did the tick check I told them that ticks are like spiders because of their 8 legs. I told them about Lyme disease. I told them how they suck blood. Too much fresh information about blood sucking spider cousins that can give you a disease, perhaps?)
I made the girls take their shirts off and I examined their bodies and their shirts. I got the tick out of Jessie's shirt. I got a tick out of Kacy's shirt. The boys were clear. The boys were also calm, and hanging out in the car the entire time the girls were running small circles and screaming in the dirt turn out.
After this, the girls did NOT want to get back in the car. After I told them they had to, they then refused to put their shoes and socks back on. All 4 kids rode down the mountain with their feet up on the seat. We all kept randomly scratching our bodies. Ed did what any other enterprising brother would do and kept trying to tickle Jessie lightly on the arm to get her to think a tick was crawling on her.
We did the only thing I could think of. We headed to the big city, ditched our itinerary, and we went to Walmart. We bought the following: three packs of underwear, four new shorts, one skirt, five shirts, five pairs of flip flops, tick repellent for carpets and tents, and flea and tick shampoo. Then we headed to my parent's house, and my mom let us use her bathrooms. We shampooed ourselves with the flea and tick shampoo. We quarantined our hike clothes in a garbage bag. Those clothes are now sitting in my bathtub, soaking in some flea and tick shampoo.
In case you are wondering, I wouldn't put in in my eyeballs or on super sensitive skin, but the doggy shampoo worked just fine and made us all feel better. Even made my head tingle a bit, which made me feel good. You know, knowing that I was killing any possible little critters that had decided to make a nest in my big ol' bushy hair and suck my blood out later.
Kacy's big question of the day was this: "Why ticks?"
Because she knows that most insects serve a purpose. Even the pesky ants that she hates, she understands the role they play in nature. But she cannot wrap her head around ticks.
Neither can I. Even with my tingly head.