Sunday, May 22, 2011

Lice, Lice Baby

Lice. 

One of the worst of the four letter words you hope you NEVER have to utter in your household. 

I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.  

Not only is it a big ol' pain in the tail, these little critters are seriously cramping our style.  I've missed church two weeks in a row, I'm missing a very important wedding today, and Molly has missed a week's worth of school.  We can't do play dates, sleepovers, or anything else that involved child-to-child contact.  

I am OVER it.  

Maybe you've dealt with this before.  Apparently it's a big secret that no one wants to discuss.  As soon as I mentioned in a shameful and quiet tone that we're dealing with a "situation" more and more people share their own horror stories of lice infestation.  

However, as much as it makes you feel like a failure as a mom, please note that it has nothing to do with cleanliness.  In fact, it has nothing to do with anything--just simply bugs crawling on your child's head and deciding to make babies and then the babies make babies. . . and so on and so on.  Sort of like spiders or ants or fleas or snake or mole or mice or ticks or anything else.  They wander into your world and make life difficult until you can get rid of them.  

We've been battling the infestation for almost a week and a half now.  It's been a NIGHTMARE and I can honestly say I would rather have the explosive "both ends" stomach flu then deal with this.  

So, I've created a friendly step-by-step guide in order to help any of you in the future who might also have the opportunity to deal with these special visitors.  

1.  Notice child is scratching head.  Ask child, "Why are you scratching your head?"  Child says, "Because it itches."  Check child's head in a general way, see nothing.  Resume life. 
2.  Notice child is scratching head.  Ask child, "Why are your scratching your head?" Child says, "Because it itches."  
3.  Mild panic sets in.  
4.  Check child's head.  See weird black things all on child's scalp.  Assume it's from being in hot tub.  Make mental note to check filters on hot tub. Resume life.  
5.  Have a weird 'mommy instinct' moment and decide to check head again. 
6.  Inspect head.  See actual bug. 
7.  FREAK OUT!!! inside your head but try not to alarm child.  Throw up a little in your mouth. 
8.  Wake up husband. 
9.  Wake up mother (retired teacher) who is spending the night because sister had wisdom teeth out the day before and is high on drugs.  
10.  Everyone checks child's head.  Agree that lice are present. 
11.  Inform child that she will not be going to school. Child cries. 
12.  Inform child that she will not be going to school because she has bugs on her head.  Child freaks. 
13.  Send email to child's teacher and neighbor that child will not be going to school.  
14.  Freak a little because you have to actually use the word "lice" and your child's name in the same sentence. 
15.  Begin to feel an itchy scalp yourself.  Worry that it's not just sympathetic itching. 
16.  Send husband to store to locate remedy immediately.  
17.  Realize you have to go to work and cannot miss because of major function at school. 
18.  Deal with major mommy guilt.  
19.  Cry.  
20.  Begin to wonder who brought the lice to your house.  Send mental evil looks to potential suspects. 
21.  Have to leave for work.  Cry a little more.  
22.  Husband and mother apply Rid to child's head.  Call house 5 times during the day to get the play-by-play. 
23.  Arrive at work.  Take care of necessary items.  Research lice on internet. 
24.  Have panic attack.  
25.  Survive day at work.  
26.  Have itchy scalp.  Freak out and run to mirror to inspect. 
27.  Purchase expensive tea tree shampoo for preventative measure.  Pray that it works. 
28.  Come home, resume nit picking.  Understand why some parents just shave their children's heads.  
29.  Recognize that "nit picking" is one of the worst terms ever. 
30.  Freak when you see the amount of nits that must be removed from child's head. 
31.  Spend 2 hours twice a day removing nits from child's head.  Additionally, launder every towel, wash cloth, sheet, or pillow that has been used by infected child daily.  Bag up all other items that cannot be washed.  Vacuum like a mad woman.  Sterilize entire house every day.  
32.  Break child's heart when you reveal each day she won't be going to church or school.  However, there are other children in class with lice.  Feel slightly relieved.    
33.  Go on working retreat with spouse, mother in law comes to nit pick.  
34.  Feel guilty.  
35.  Feel itchy. 
36.  Arrive home and greeted by child announcing that nits have been found in other child's head. 
37.  Vomit a little in your mouth.  
38.  Have mother-in-law check your head.  Find one suspicious item.  
39.  RAGE
40.  Strip all sheets again, bag up all other child's stuffed animals, dress up clothing, and items that cannot be laundered. 
41.  Have permanent laundry pile in kitchen.  
42.  Feel miserable. Call friend.  Email another.  
43.  Treat all female family members with lice shampoo. 
44.  Shave male family member's head. 
45.  Cry.  
46.  Feel itchy. 
47.  Continue to nit pick daily on everyone's head. 
48.  Feel like you are back to the scheduled days of infant care
49.  Send child back to school after a week of treatment once finally cleared.  
50.  Feel fairly confident that you have finally gotten through the worst of it.  Continue to daily check heads and wash sheets and blankies. 
51.  Brush child's hair for church, see a louse run across her hair.  
52.  RAGE AGAIN!  Text worship leader to indicate that you won't be at church.  Text students to let them know you're missing their wedding.  Cry and feel sorry for yourself. 
53.  Call doctor's office and hope for prescription.  On-call nurse says, "They are nasty little boogers, aren't they?" Feel strangely comforted that perhaps said nurse has dealt with them as well.  
54.  Doctor wants child to come into office instead. 
55.  Agree to call to make appointment for regular business hours.  
56.  Cry a little. 
57.  Clean more.
58.  Write blog entry and hope that no one else has to deal with this.
59.  Have itchy scalp thinking about it.

So, we're obviously in progress but it's getting better.  I hope you NEVER have to deal with this.  However, if you do, know you are not alone.  It's a secret society, but not as secretive or exclusive as you might think.  I have always strived to be transparent on this blog, so there is no use hiding this struggle.  I'm sure someone reading this right now is nodding their head in agreement and from experience.  And if you haven't, your turn might be coming sooner than you think.  


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