(*If you do not yet have children and someday may want to become a parent, you probably don’t want to read this. Seriously. This is like a mental tubal ligation. An emotional vasectomy. Psychological birth control that is essentially permanent and extremely difficult to reverse. Proceed with extreme caution…)
In my 4+ years of parenting, I have been pooped on, peed on, vomited on, bled on, drooled on, and been used as a human Kleenex multiple, multiple times. My sweet little one year old Jellybean, who perpetually has a cold, very recently ran up to me when I unsuspectingly asked for a kiss and shoved her face right into my mouth, which is when I realized her upper lip was covered with snot because I could taste it.
I was certain (until yesterday, anyway) that it could not possibly get any more gross in my life as a mother than it already had. That was before the infestation.
“Infestation”. Is that not one of the most disturbing words in the English language? I managed to avoid this for 32 years myself, so until the dreaded “A child in our preschool has lice” memo that my girls came home with yesterday, it had never really crossed my mind. While my girls were not the catalysts for the memo, I had noticed Stumps scratching her head a lot in the past couple weeks. Of course the first thing I did when we arrived home was start pawing through her long nest of curls and frizz, and it only took five minutes to confirm my suspicions.
Needless to say, now 24 hours later, my house is the cleanest it has been since 2007 when the previous owners were trying to sell it.
Entirely at a loss for how to deal with the vermin (other than Clorox wipe half of our belongings, and soak the other half in bleach, both of which I did), I called a 24 hour lice crisis hotline (yes those exist) which is essentially psychological counseling for the recently disgusted, and then made an appointment with a local lice removal specialist (those exist too). She was here 21 hours after I called with all of the materials for an in-home check and delousing. All day at home with the girls awaiting her arrival, we referred to them as “our bugs”. One thing I have learned throughout this ordeal is that giving one’s parasite a cute endearing nickname (pretty sure in intellectual circles, none of which I personally belong to, this phenomenon is called “Denial”) somewhat reduces the emotional trauma and revulsion of dealing with it. For me, anyway.
Upon reflection, I suspect that this entire unpleasant episode is long-overdue karmic retribution for all of those times in middle school when I began an insult with “Yo mama is so nasty that…” and ended it with something related to head-lice. Such stigma. The ultimate pre-adolescent burn. So anyway, I probably had it coming.
I did not purchase any of the over-the-counter stuff or try any Rx treatments because the thought of putting pesticides on my babies’ scalps disgusted me almost as much as the infestation itself. The local removal specialists use only natural, organic products, and really their technique is entirely mechanical. They rub a ridiculous amount of blended hippy-dippy essential oil stuff into your scalp, and then spend hours and hours combing every family member’s hair. Every bit of bug debris (I refuse to refer to the stuff that was living in my damn hair as nits, nymphs, eggs and the remains of dead lice. “Bug debris”. I heart euphemisms! :) is removed strand-by-strand and they don’t leave until you are, as the public school systems like to say, “nit free.”
Anyway, our removal specialist, Kim from NitNabbers, was really fun, my kids loved her, she gives an excellent scalp massage (which you need if you have been on all fours for endless hours cleaning and just generally dealing with this shit), and the experience was sort of like spending three hours talking with the best friend you never knew you had. You know, if your best friend was a chimpanzee sitting behind you picking bugs out of your fur while, instead of throwing poo, you browsed the net on your iPad and discussed the most recent heartbreak on Momastery (which is actually what we did while I was being nitpicked.)
Worth. Every. Penny.
So if it happens that you run into this situation yourself at some point and want a referral, let me know. I can give you Kim’s number and she is highly, highly recommended.
Anyway, the four of us are now 100% cootie free. And as it turns out, we learned this evening that Husband and little Beans were louse-free from the beginning. What can I say? Stumps and I are just lucky like that.