Uh oh – ticks!!

I was awoken this morning by my younger daughter “Mummy, there’s something nasty here and it really HURTS”.  I open one eye to see a hand being waggled at me.  Between two of her fingers was a tick.  I try moving to find I am pinned to the bed by sleeping cats.  I reach over and expertly pluck the tick out.  “Can I watch TV please?” is my daughter’s grateful response.  Crisis over then.  I wake up about an hour later, still pinned in the same position by the cats, firmly holding the tick between my fingers.  Phew.

I can’t help but wonder why we pay to have to the yard sprayed when my daughter wakes up with ticks.  Has she had deer in her room for a sleep over?  Could my indoor cats get Lyme through my daughter’s discarded ticks?  I decide not to pursue this line of thought but might get the bug spray out and give the girls’ room a good spray …

When my children go to play in the garden, I have to spray them with the deep woods version of bug spray as our house is on the edge of the woods.  I am endlessly fascinated with the list of ‘nasties’ that the spray works on, chiggers and no-see-ums are my favorites (although their bites are not).  Anyway, the girls are meant to do the tick dance before coming back into the house and I am meant to check them every night.  Obviously we are not doing it properly.

My younger daughter is much tastier than my older daughter judging by the amount of ticks I’ve pulled off her, not that this consoles her.  Last year she got a tick in early March that was so firmly embedded that not even the doctor could get it out without breaking it.  It took about two months to get rid of all the tick bits and she still has a scar.

Her reaction to ticks has improved over the years, and the screaming hysteria has subsided.  For a couple of summers the following scenario would frequently take place …

The girls will be about to get into their pyjamas or into the bath and I will catch them, naked, for a quick tick check.  Oh how they hated this and trembled in fear of me finding one.  As my scanning slows over any marks they squeal in horror “Mummy, it’s a mole!” or “It’s just dirt Mummy, it’ll wash off I promise”.  They cringe as they wait for the dreaded words “Hold still” as this means I’ve found something interesting.  If this is followed up by “Aha!” they start to wriggle out of my grasp screaming “GET IT OFF ME!” and run around the house, naked, paranoid and screaming.  If I am patient they will eventually run past me in their terror and I can catch them, otherwise I just chase them.

“GET OFF ME, LET ME GOOOOOO!” yells the pitiful, captured child as I pin her to the floor/sofa/bed – depending where I corner her.  Of course I don’t let go, I have a tick to extract while the other child watches in fascinated horror, still naked.

This year we have been promised a bumper crop of ticks, bugs and other nasties due to a huge decline in the bat population and a mild winter. Oh joy!

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