If I’m never heard of here again, it will be because the lice did it. I’m seriously at the edge of my sanity at the moment. As if having a son very ill with mono last month wasn’t bad enough, we were visited with our first ever case of head lice thanks to our youngest son.
We hauled out the big guns, using a treatment from the pharmacy on every one of us (just in case), changed bedlinen, washed piles of laundry and put jackets and other items that aren’t so easy to launder out in our screened in porch (sub-zero temperatures are brilliant for killing the beasts). We thought we were very careful. We got up close and personal with a lice comb.
All to no avail. I think you can see one of the beasts in the shot above. Little white dot? Yeah, that’s him.
Finding a louse or a group of lice isn’t that hard and a lice comb will do the job quite well. It’s fairly obvious when you pull a wriggling creature off your child’s scalp (or your own). There is a great sense of achievement.
But the eggs of these adorable critters? Not so easy. A nit is like a grain of sand. To top things off, this grain of sand is then adhered with a glue-like substance to the hair shaft, making it impossible to remove unless you can pull it down the length of the shaft entirely. This is excruciatingly difficult when (a) you’re getting older and have trouble actually seeing the damn things in the first place and (b) the child in question has hair the texture of cornsilk.
There is a gorgeous children’s book called Toy Dance Party that my youngest and I love to read; well, it’s been a Lice Dance Party on the heads of at least 50 per cent of my son’s classmates this winter, and we have been visited by them. Again and again. I’m not sure if we’re particularly inept at getting rid of them or if said son keeps being reinfected (or perhaps it’s a delightful combination of the two!).
I do know that we’re up against a few challenges:
1. The aforementioned cornsilk hair
2. The fact that lice are now immune, apparently, to a lot of the nasty products that we could use on them
3. The fact that all-natural remedies (my default, my natural preference, obviously) don’t quite seem to cut it
4. The fact that 9 out of 18 children have been known to have been infected at one time in my son’s class means that there is a revolving door effect going on here, for sure
5. The fact that we’re not the most diligent people when it comes to sitting for hours studying our children’s scalps, and get bored of this task after several days, just when we should probably be redoubling our efforts
The best part: our son kept moaning and whinging about how boring the whole nit-picking exercise was tonight, when all he had to do was sit reasonably still and look at a book or two. Like this:
I mean, the poor child, but what about me? I’m bored silly just writing about this.
The great irony in all of this is that I was a lice checker at my children’s school for two years, never having had experienced lice at home myself. I did manage to identify lice on more than one child’s head and was reasonably good at it, but I also felt strange knowing that we had no first hand experience of battling the bastards. I even started to feel safe that my children were somehow immune.
Well, who’s had the last laugh then? It certainly isn’t me, now is it.