Yep, the reason that the Eldest's hair is standing on end (not to mention mine) is that he thoughtfully brought home lice. Lots and lots of lice. His father, veteran of many a buggy menagerie, kissed his loving wife and went off to get his head shaved. Meanwhile, a horrified mama tried to get the Eldest to stop scratching long enough to get shampooed and combed. Hours later, she was still combing and he was still scratching. When asked by his exasperated mama why, oh WHY didn't he mention it if his head was itchy, he simply said, but Mum, I'm always itchy.
Which, alas, is true.
On the other hand, as we learned at Whatsisname's clinic, there may be a simple reason for that itchiness: things that crawl. In this case, dust mites. Both boys are, apparently, quite allergic to dust mites - allergic to an extent that startled our famous doctorish person, and offered us a key that may unravel a couple of puzzles:
* the Toddles' reaction to fish has been...runny nose, allergy shiners, eczema.
* the Eldest's endless eczema is caused by...??? Hm.
* the Toddles' reaction to soy has been...runny nose, allergy shiners, eczema.
* the Toddles reaction to other people's homes, some group gatherings (but not all) has been...runny nose, allergy shiners, eczema. Oh, and have I mentioned that eczema is hell on sleep? Yep.
Which leads us to wonder. If we can control the dust mites, will the Toddles be able to eat trout and tuna? soy? Will the Eldest stop his endless scratching? Will both boys sleep at night? The allergist had a range of suggestions for us, from foods we could challenge (oats!! poppy! green peas, lima beans) to foods we should skin test (tree nuts - the Toddles, lentil, mango, zucchini, pumpkin) and if negative, challenge. It's quite a list of possibilities, and we're freely committing the sin of hope.
But not in front of the children.
In the meantime, it turns out that the initial cleaning for dust mites is remarkably similar to lice, and the washing machine hums (and occasionally whines) endlessly. Much, I must admit, like our buzzing parental brains.
Oh my, oh my.