Monday, August 2, 2010


Non-stereotypically of girls, I don't mind bugs. Bugs who bother me – eat my food or my person or that of my family & friends, or hang out in our immediate space – must die. It's simple. But they generally don't creep me out[1].

That was before lice. The other day I found a creepy crawly in The Boy's hair. And I lost my shit. It's been four days now and it hasn't found its way back.


It seems like I'm now in this exclusive club that includes, oh I don't know, EVERYONE! My casual discussions this week:

"Oh yeah, we were sitting eating breakfast and I saw this bug dart out of her hairline on her forehead"


"He said 'Mom, my head itches' and he hadn't had a shower for a few days so I scrubbed his scalp extra and when he got out he said 'MOOOOM it still itches!' so I checked him closer and yeah, he was crawling with them"


"She must have got it from a new hat I let her wear without washing it. She was crawling with them"


Rational thought eventually kind of took over with the realization that washing every single washable item in the house seventeen-thousand times is STILL EASIER TO MANAGE than rebuilding with null-and-void insurance and a jail-term for arson (full disclosure: Max hid all the flammable implements).


I understand that it has nothing to do with your cleanliness, or tidiness or how good or not good your parenting is. Believe me I understand this. With the nearly monthly letters sent home saying "someone in your child's class has lice, blah blah blah" they really try to hammer that home (rightly so). Besides, if it DID have anything to do with my ability as a housekeeper, I would have had lice since – oh, I don't know, my early 20s. But that doesn't keep me feeling like a filthy hobo (and not the sexy kind, that the gentlemen seem to find so endearing); OR my family from treating each other like lepers.

All told, I think it was caught extremely early. The cases above are more likely what would have happened if there hadn't been a miraculous fluke of me inspecting Stewie's scalp, as he'd been having some seborrhoea (what's called "cradle cap" in babies – also gross, but y'know, not a MOTHERFUCKINGPARASITE). [Aside: I now have a rock-steady handle on the scalp-health of everyone in this family.]

I bought the treatment (cornered and grilled the pharmacist for about half an hour) and applied it, then decided to go a little more CSI on everyone else. Norah turned up positive. Max & Pepper are negative (so far). Myself? It took the awesome nerd-slinging power of the microscope[2] to overwhelm my denial with scientific proof, so I've been treated too. (He climbed into bed in the morning before I found them. The little bastard is so snugly! And he still says "I wuff you, Mummy")

We'll treat again, as directed: 7 days after first treatment. And, by all accounts, about six to eight weeks from the "all clear", I might slow the meticulous checks down to every other day. Until then, I toy with the idea of shaving my head, but I can't seem to find any sharp implements, either…

[1] Don't test that, I said "generally"

[2] What, you don't have a microscope in your home? Get off the internet & don't try and call yourself a nerd until you've rectified the situation. Electron not necessary.

Live Tweeting the spectacle:

Found head lice on The Boy. From what I've read, for the amount of bugs I now feel crawling all over me, I'd expect to be way higher.

Lice: I mean, it's not like the bed didn't need vacuuming anyway, right? RIGHT?

Bad: Kid-with-brush-cut having lice. Worse: Kid-with-long-hair-who-hates-brushing-it-like-ever confirmed. Better: 3 of us remain pure.

Also: motherfucking headache.

Also: hot water tank (which was never really resolved) acting up. KIND OF NEED HOT WATER TO KILL IT ALL.

Did I mention motherfucking headache?

New challenge: keep lice-free kid from picking through the head of infested one.

I really should have read through fine-print of the EULA for Parenting. Instead, we were all "oooo babies are soooooo cute!" [ACCEPT]

Are lice treatments tax-deductible? How about the booze treatments? You know. For me.

OH: "don't threaten your sister with your head". OK, it was me. I've just gone to my happy-place & am laughing at everything I'm watching.

OMG!!! This changes everything: "Stop [current offensive behavior] or you'll catch lice from your brother". How long can I pull this off?

If 10 yrs ago you had told me I'd be vacuuming pillows at midnight, I'd have said "who the hell are you?"

Also: "maybe you could foretell something a little more useful? Like what kind of car I'll be driving?"

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  1. I'm so not looking forward to this inevitable chapter in parenting. Will need booze.

  2. My sympathies, my dear.
    And thanks for the message on FB re: said infestation. Since Mini spent very little time over there that day, I didn't think she'd have a problem, and upon inspection, she didn't, but, of course, that didn't stop me from almost emptying a bottle of tea tree oil on her head (it's really what worked for us in the end when we were infested 4 years ago). Meanwhile, Roomie stripped the bed and hot washed it all. Just to be sure. Damn, dealing with lice is so not fun.

    Good luck kicking this thing... hope they're gon for good. xo

  3. How do you examine your own head with a microscope?

    Do you remember the SCTV commercial parodying Donny and Marie's "Go Hawaiian" ad, but replacing the lyrics with "Go Kwellada"? Apparently google doesn't remember it, but if you google that term you do get an interesting hit at Banff Vacations.


    If it's Shrinkable? we KILL lose weight.

    Also no one is allowed to bring their stuffed animals out of their rooms to the livingroom EVER!

    Your Blanket? lives in your room only.

    Oh and a friend told me head and shoulders/life brands/even Avon brand is great.
    Organics? makes a FABULOUS teetree oil based shampoo, only 8.,95! a small ish battle.
    Magic cuts? also sells Regis Brand Teatree oil shampoo and conditioners.

    Wash hair less, brush more, comb more, no sharing anything EVER.

    Cuddling? no more allowed :p

    Hubbie is also suspicious of nightly head rubs because he thinks I'm still looking for critters. :P

  5. oh also ?you can use shampoo to wash clothes. Off is a great spray for hats before leaving for school. If the hat is in lost and found? it's not allowed to be found.

  6. ew, my head is itching now.

    i did lice treatments on my bff's daughters heads when she was in the hospital on bedrest with twins.

    yeah. in the hospy. on bedrest. with twins. kind of hard to bitch and moan about how much fucking lice her kids had and the hours and hours of nit-picking (so THATS where it comes from!) i did and the buckets of lysol wipes i went through, when she was bigger than a freaking barn and wasn't allowed to get out of bed except to sit on a commode.

    i still bitched, though. cause that lice shiz was NASTY.

  7. Went through this twice in the past year. The second time I cried when I found out. It is a fucking nightmare. While going through theb1o year old's unruly curly hair, after applying Cetaphil (Google it - it's a cure without chemicals and it works), I grabbed the scissors and said :You're getting a haircut". Cut off about 4" and...she loved it!
    This too shall pass.

  8. We had our first lot in March this year. I lost my mind completely. I scratched for days, shaved 3 out of the 4 boys heads to ridiculously short levels and nearly tore my own scull apart checking for infestation of my self (thankfully there wasn't). I am using a product called d'fense which is supposed to help prevent them coming back (smells like a combination of lavendar and tea tree oil). Not sure if it works but it makes me feel better. Hope they don't come back at your house either!