Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The "L" word

Nope, not that "L" word

The "L" word that every parent fears. The "L" of nightmares and the heebie-jeebies. The one thing guaranteed to make your skin want to get up and crawl right off your body scooping off your hair from the top and using it to sweep up behind you. And you support the decision. Sounds like a good idea.

Here it is: lice

aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh run screaming nooooooooooowwww!!!!


Back in the fall of this school year, I answered the phone to a school nurse giving me a lengthy description of my child's head. In her description, she said things like, lice and nits and in her hair. The nurse must be an experienced one because she yammered on and on and barely gave me the opportunity to breathe let alone tell her how wrong she had to be. Because my children do. not. have. lice. ICK!!!! I know lice, ok. I have seen them take over a home and stop paying the bills. Lice chasing becomes a full time job for the whole family. And now there are immune lice. They don't care what toxins you soak them in. They will have friends over and stay up all night playing loud music and not even invite you.

As I tried to politely inform her there was no way this was happening, she continued to talk.

She said that she found nits, which are evidently the dead carcasses of eggs that hatched into babies. Babies that then apparently walked away. She said they were a few inches down in her hair so it appeared that Genea had had lice in the past that was treated, and left some nits.

Mmmm, no. Rest assured lady, that did not happen.
I would definitely remember.

I said well, Genea is adopted and only came to us last year. We hadn't cut her hair at all at that point. Must have been with the other family.

Mmmm, no, she said. Had to be in the recent past. Oh. ICK!!! So lady, what you are telling me is that some kid with a festering head transferred vermin to my little girl there in your school. Nope, I don't think so. Didn't happen.

MMMMmmm, ok , she said, you'll have to come and pick her up and treat her. She told me, she could not find any living bugs anywhere on Genea's head but we have to assume they are there, get the extermination supplies and treat her just in case some were still hiding. Having a party behind the left ear or something.

Ohhhh, man..... this is not good. I think she is serious. Awwww. Oh hell. For real. Now I am starting to think through the immediate future. I have Teena of course. I will have to get in the car to get Genea, teaming head full of insects and all. Do lice enjoy upholstery I wonder? They will all have to be in the back of the car together. No other way to do this. Then I realized not only was I stuck with this hot mess, I was functioning as a single parent that day as The Husband coincidentally scheduled himself a late night at work. VERY suspicious isn't it? Very.

So I am trying to figure out the logistics of this. I will have to go to a store to get the lice killer and manage these kids at the same time. Naw, they couldn't possibly want me in the store, could they? So I went to the drive thru pharmacy window and asked through the bank tubes, "can you sell me some lice killer here?". "No," she says "we're not allowed to do that", with a snot in her tone suggesting I had asked her to do something illegal. Ugh. You are not that important you twit. Fine.

Take the straps off my kids out of the car and into the store we go. Wouldn't you think something like lice killer would be right at the door? No. No signs pointing to "exterminate your kids head here" either. I got all the way across the store to the medicine aisle, and I can't find anything. Ugh! So I asked the Pharmacist on the inside. I would have been discrete, but her whole department had annoyed me from outside. So I loudly inquired as to where the lice remover would be. The Pharmacist recoiled, recoiled, mumbled something and pointed at the next aisle. Then she turned away and bolted around the corner of the drug shelf. You know, I think she had a lot of nerve to recoil. I mean, this woman hears about genital warts and moldy toes all day every day. She hangs out with noses of slime full of bacterial mucous every day and she is gonna run around the corner, with an attitude, about my little dead bugs?

Ok so I finally find the lice killing shampoo. Only there are like 5 different kinds. Well what the hell do I know about what I need to do here!!! This one comes with comb, this one you gotta buy the spray separate, etc. I am trying to compare prices and levels of pesticides, ounces to the bottles when I said to myself, Self, is this really a place you think is important to economize and find the cheapest one? No, Self, no. So I bought the biggest one with the most supplies. Genea and I, we spent like 19 hours with the shampoos and the combing and spraying the mattresses and washing potentially infested bedding and clothing. Ugh. And they were gone.

I still don't know where they came from. I know for a fact we never treated any. How they died is a mystery. As I have said, strange things happen in this house. If a plague of lice were to take over the government, it would be Genea's head that killed them off. I have been told, the lice do prefer clean hairs and straight highways. Genea's crazy rock star hair must have been too confusing ha ha. However that is an 'urban myth'. Lice love hair. Hair hair hair.

"I want it long, straight, curly, fuzzy
Snaggy, shaggy, ratty, matty
Oily, greasy, fleecy
Shining, gleaming, streaming
Flaxen, waxen
Knotted, polka-dotted
Twisted, beaded, braided
Powdered, flowered, and confettied
Bangled, tangled, spangled, and spaghettied!"
Please credit the above song lyrics "Hair" from the musical play and movie titled, "Hair".

My only other major experience with lice was when Teena was about 18 months old. Her day care had a lice scare. Now, Teena didn't even have hair until she was 3. but we brought her straight home anyway, and I had The Husband strip her down in the driveway and leave her clothes outside. I think her little dress is still out there. I scrutinized both of her hairs for several days but she remained clear.

This actually happened early in the fall. I started this post at the time but was too traumatized at the time to finish. It isn't the worst thing in the world. Lice happens. I would just prefer it not to. Not my idea of a good time!


  1. We had some kids brought in with them jumping. I sat there at my kitchen table with caseworkers and police and screaming, crying little girls. I don't know what was said after I saw the first airborn louse.

    Of course I then had to get said traumatized girls into bath immediately.

    We had 8 kids in the house at the time.

    We had lice for six months, or so it seemed. We all sat around the kitchen table every night with lice killer on our head. 9 beds had to be washed daily. All of it. We eventually stopped sitting on the couches and opted for folding chairs.

    Luckily we were exempted from new kids and respite during that time.

    I must now go and shower.

  2. OKay, I have worked in child care for 19 years. I have experience with Lice unfortunately, but luckily NEVER had them myself (I am knocking on any wood substance within 10 feet of me).

    Anyhoo, the nits aren't carcasses, they are the eggs that the live bugs lay. When they have lice in them, that look dark and when the lice hatch, the look clearish. So the nit cases the nurse saw where simply hatched bugs and the live bugs could've simply crawled off her.

    Lice actually prefer clean heads of hair.

    Gross huh?

  3. Annie I worked at a house that had people of many skin tones, and on the darker toned kids you could SEE the lice WALKING around. Strolling down by the eye. Back up into the hairline. I cannot believe you did that for 6 months- unbelievable, awful.
    THanks, Sheri, I will make the corrections. I think I knew that at the time but it went south with the rest of my memory!

  4. OK that last comment about seeing the lice walking in darker toned skin made my powdered donut flip-flop in my stomach. Ewwwww! I don't know how we have escaped those nasty things but after doing day care, foster care and now having 4 kids we haven't had them yet. Thank you Lord!

  5. Oh do crack me up.

    The only experience I've had so far is through a sitter. She is a teacher (5th grade). Also a clean hair fanatic. Almost freaked her out.

    I didn't need a sitter that bad that night. Nope....she kept her little critters.

  6. Um, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but did you do your hair too?

    I know the kids sleep in your beds and I saw your adorable picture above where your heads are touching. If that happens a lot, you might have it too.

    I hate lice. I had it once. I got it from school way back in the day when we used to bring our blankies for nap time and stack them all together. I still remember having it even though it was that long. I tell my kids that I will SHAVE their heads if they get it and I'm serious...EWWW!

    I hope it's gone out of your life for good.

  7. Um, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but did you do your hair too?

    I know the kids sleep in your beds and I saw your adorable picture above where your heads are touching. If that happens a lot, you might have it too.

    I hate lice. I had it once. I got it from school way back in the day when we used to bring our blankies for nap time and stack them all together. I still remember having it even though it was that long. I tell my kids that I will SHAVE their heads if they get it and I'm serious...EWWW!

    I hope it's gone out of your life for good.

  8. Aggh! You have left me with my skin crawling and a strange urge to keep scratching my head. Yuck. I'm so sorry. I feel for you. Because I think, if we ever get lice, my life will be over. There is no way I will ever feel clean again. My kids can get any variety of illness and I'm happy to have the doctors treat it with antibiotics, anti-viral meds, antifungal creams, what have you. But lice, no way. If we ever get it, you're hearing about it first! You can talk me through it and then tell me what you drank to take the edge off of your nerves.

  9. ok i will put my post up about the news i had tops your lice i think!
    i thought i might not put it up but sod it i will. lets just say that Sarah (lovely sweet cute child, of mine) has had strange bits on her in strange places (not where mosquitoes usually bite, under the arm, around the nappy ect..) for about 3 weeks, and today (my birthday i might add) i found out what it is that's biting her...scabies. nice huh.... does it top lice?? i think it might!

  10. oooh Paula you win. UGH! Oh that is so awful and I hear those are painful. AW!
    Be really careful- they like to party and move around town.
    Jen I think if they got in my house I would move out. I don't recall what I was drinking to have survived it. Something cheap for sure!

  11. Hey there Accidental,

    Thanks for visiting my blog.

    Sorry to hear about the lice. It is mighty gross. Our school had an outbreak last year and we all got it.

    The only thing that really worked was the smearing each head with olive oil, wrapping it up in a plastic bag for 2 - 4 hours, then rinsing it out with warm water and vinegar. Then washing with Desert Essence medicated shampoo and conditioner. And, then do in again every 2 days for 10 days total.

    Complete pain in the butt but it worked and we got rid of the little varmits.

    Good luck and hang in there.

  12. Ack, my head is itching just thinking about it. Our kids got it while on an extended-family vacation a few years ago, so had the fun of telling the family that the cousins, with whom our kids had been playing that weekend, just might have it, too. And of watching one crawl across my daughter's head while sitting in church and trying not to scream.

    We managed to treat it sans-chemicals, using mayo, vinegar, cheap conditioner, and a lot of hours with a comb. And I was thrilled when we were done.

    I need to go scratch my head now.

  13. No kidding- I seriously searched the internet and googled all over looking for non- chemical treatments and I couldnt find a thing!!!! I knew it! I used to work with a foster mom who was one of those that had been around the block- she would call and ask for the worst hardest kid you had, and she would fix em up right. She did something with oil- I just couldnt remember all of it (and was taking NO chances!).
    That is awesome. I will remember this if the worst happens!

  14. I really should NOT have read this before bed I KNOW I will wake up every time any of my students got it. Now THAT'S a plus about not being a real, live teacher anymore!

    It is the washing of everything that would get me down. Hair you can control...but the bedding, the carpet, the lampshades, the toys, the car seats, the coats, the every darned thing that they might have had their head on..including completely non-washable things. Oh, dear.

    But one thing about you - you never run short of any interesting post!

  15. OK. Now I'm itching. Again. We had the wonderful heads-full-of-hair-with-nasty-lice-attached just days before Christmas. Not a fun time. Ever since then, any time any of my children scratch their heads, I'm right on top of it, digging for nits. Thankfully, we've been clean since then. Knock wood. Ugh. Now I'm going to dream about the little buggers!!


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