La La How The Life Goes On

Twice is Lice

Posted on: May 17, 2010

I will now confess to you–and only you–that Bambina has had lice four times in the past 2 months. Four times. I sh*t you not, friends. I have done so much laundry and so much vacuuming that I can’t even see straight to spell Nix. We have gone over and over how this can be happening, and it turns out that there is a mini-epidemic at her school. The school nurse says it’s a constant, uphill battle to stem the tide of Pediculi because someone will invariably always have one viable nit left in her head, which will hatch, which will lay more nits, and then will climb onto someone else’s head and lay some more. You’ll notice that the pronoun I used there is “her” and let me tell you why. Only one boy in Bambina’s class has had lice in the past two outbreaks. ALL the girls have come up parasitic every time. So-the further why? Because apparently my daughter and her friends love to hug and kiss each other.

I am a fan of girls hugging and kissing. My friends and I always hugged when we were kids. I’m for it. But after the past few nights of being up late picking nits, laundering stuff AGAIN, and researching our friend the Pediculus Humanus Capitis, I am so freaking exhausted that the rule has been set: no more huggyhuggy with your friends, Bambina. To which she replied, “Can Phoebe and I still kiss?” Followed by, “By the way, it’s already not allowed by the teachers, but we do it sneakily.” Me, glossing over the fact for the time being that my kid apparently loves sneakily kissing her girl friends: “I think we should avoid the kisses too, just until the lice situation resolves.” B: “Okay, fine. But that will be no fun.”

It’s pretty amazing how something as small as a sesame seed and as harmless as…something really harmless…can make grown adults freak the hell out. I understand that lice do not carry disease, cannot truly harm my daughter, pose no real risk to any of us beyond itching and whatnot. But oh my lord when you ever look at your kid’s head and see bugs crawling around? Something in you just activates, and it’s off to the freaker mommy races.

The first time Bambina was buggy, I was in the hospital so I missed the “fun.” This time I was ready. Because I discovered the lice in the evening we had to begin the shampoo at 8pm which is usually Bambina bedtime. She hates getting water in her ears so the entire experience was drama with a capital D. She was mad at me for wetting her ears, I was mad at her for refusing to sit in a chair at the sink and opting to stand making it hard for me to not wet her ears, she was obviously tired because she should have been in bed, I said some inflammatory things about haircuts that probably could have gone unsaid at the time; you can see how the evening (and mother-daughter relationship) went. But I was on a mission. I was going to kill every last one of those nasty things infesting my beautiful child’s sweet head even if I had to knock my child’s sweet head to do it.

So now we’re on day 5 of no lice, but seemingly endless hidden nits. I did the nit combing right after the shampooing (another hour beyond Bambina’s bedtime, so you can imagine how loopy we both were), but you will be amazed how your eyes miss them even with a flashlight and a magnifying glass. And like I said, you only need one viable nit out of hundreds to have another infestation. So every morning and every night I have been checking her head with a zealot’s ardor–and removing another 2 or 3 nits each time before they can reach their nymph stage and start moving and hatching.

The Dada thinks I’ve gone insane: “Why are you using all of your special time with your daughter to pick nits?” Me: “Because I will beat the lice. I, Mrs. Jones, will be victorious over this parasitic vermin! This time it’s personal.” And it is. I am on a mission to end the scourge of lice infestation in my house once and for all, and if I have to torture my kid day and night to do it, well friends, that kind of adversity builds character–and job prospects. I recently became aware of The Lice Ladies in our town who charge $200 an hour to remove nits from your kid’s hair. I recently therefore wondered whether this might not be just the job for me: I get to come to your house, bring my obsessive anti-nit zealotry to your kid’s head, then walk away 200 bucks richer. Which will be just enough to cover the therapy I’m going to need if we have one more lice outbreak.


3 Responses to "Twice is Lice"

I’m suddenly very itchy.

Go to nitpicketrs in Cambridge-seriously. It’s the BEST money you will ever spend! In a nutshell-all the washing/vaccuming does nothing! Those guidleines are based on 100-year old govt. CDC info that identifies body lics and head lice as the same thing. They’re not! Head lice can’t live OFF the head like body lice so you have to focus all your energies on your sweet girl’s head. Buy the Terminator lice comb-they sell it but you can get it on-line. Use loads of white conditioner in a spray bottle-cheap stuff like Suave or White Rain. Section off the hair, spray liberally with the conditioner and comb through small sections at a time-wipe the conditioner gunk on a white paper towel. You can spot the teeny tiny nits since they are sand colored against the white. Keep combing that section until you don’t see anything then move to the next section. Lice nits can live and hatch for 14 days so you have to keep combing through her hair every 2-3 days for at least 2 weeks after you find something. If you find something on day 12, the whole thing starts over again. The trick is to use a good comb-the Terminator one has little tiny metai grooves that really swipe through the hair and to keep combing for the whole 2 weeks. And of course-most parents use the lice shampoo and call it a day. Unfortunately, many lice are chemical-resistant just like many germs are. Good luck! Can you tell I’ve been through this before?! Just writing about it makes me ITCHY!

I had same issue with cousin A last year! 3 rounds of lice later, we purchased a hand held black light which worked well for spotting nits (who knew they were flourescent?) and I eventually purchased a hair dye kit in her regular hair color and colored her hair! Turns out the little suckers don’t like dyed hair! (that’s why many mommies are safe from nits, keep covering those gray hairs ladies!) Love P

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