Quick note: When I asked my husband what he thought of this blog entry and whether he liked it, he replied: “it doesn’t sound as crazy as you seemed to feel while this was going on.” So, there’s that. Happy reading.
I stared at the little bug on my phone screen. It couldn’t be, could it? But it was. . . . There was no denying it: I had lice. Or, at minimum, I had a louse. [Insert every-single-curse-word here.]
But let’s go back to the beginning, shall we?
I had heard lice were going around, so I decided to check my girls. They hadn’t been itching, but it seemed like a good idea. I was thinking to myself: oh, I’ll take a quick look and all will be well.
I started with the big girls. There were some unusual-looking tiny flecks on one daughter’s head. Hmnnnnnnn. Weird. Possibly lice? I had no idea what to do next, so I consulted with a friend who’s had the misfortune of becoming a lice expert. She advised me to comb through my daughter’s hair with a metal nit comb and lots of conditioner, wiping the conditioner on a white towel as I went to see if I caught any nits or lice.
Easy enough and we’ll call it a day, I thought. Except—oh sh*t.
Three little bugs sat on the white towel, drowning in conditioner.
I immediately thought of all the laundry I’d be doing. All the beds I’d have to change. All the beloved stuffed animals that would have to be stuffed away or thrown away. (I was slightly thrilled about that.) Surprisingly, it felt like it was a task that I could handle. I was up for this challenge. I would show these brainless little lice who was boss.
After consulting with the school nurse, the pediatrician, and more lice expert-friends, I decided to visit a professional lice removal company. Seth was working late, so I was on my own there with the six pack. And let me just say, there’s a special circle of hell when you’re at the lice removal place with six small children. Seriously.
After careful inspection of all three biggies, the lice verdict was 3 for 3 (no bugs but nits). Sweet Jesus, pray for me. They did a thorough inspection of my head, too, and found no lice (or so we all thought, keep reading).
The good news was that my girls found the entire process rather—dare I say it?—fun. They pretended that they were lunch ladies as they sat with shower caps on their heads, after having the lice sucked up off their heads by a weird looking blow dryer contraption. They danced around. Lice be damned, they were having a great night. (I should note here that this was their attitude about the whole ordeal. Whenever we ran into someone we knew, they would quickly blurt out: we have lice!No shame there. I think they enjoyed the shocked and horrified stares by our friends in response.)
After a restless night of sleep where I dreamed about bugs and dealt with sick toddlers, I woke up thinking: yeah, we did it! House treated, kids treated, crisis averted! Lice aren’t so bad after all! Then I turned to the next crisis: three babies with raging ear infections who needed to get to the pediatrician.
Just a quick blow dry and I’ll be on my way, I thought.
And then it happened.
As I was checking email on my phone, a louse fell smack in the middle of the screen. I stood there staring at it, feeling frozen. I wanted to laugh at the hilarity of the louse’s aim; it was as if the louse wanted to say to me, “I’m still here! Here’s my louse middle finger pointed straight up at you!” I also wanted to cry but was too tired and overwhelmed. The babies cried at my feet as I continued to stand there, staring at the louse. “Hi my name is Chrissy, I’m 38, and I have lice for the first time in my life. It’s so funny, right? Not ha-ha funny but ridiculous, sad funny.” I thought to myself. Finally, I paused my inner dialogue and called Seth. I calmly asked him if he could come home and help get the babies ready, and, oh by the way, I have lice and may potentially lose my mind.
While I wanted to bathe in Nix or whatever lice treatment would rid me of lice, I ended up throwing my hair up and walking out the door to the pediatrician because it was time to go. (I know your eyes are popping out of your head now that I went to the dr. with lice but take note: (1) lice cannot jump or fly; (2) I didn't sit down because, well, triplets; and (3) the pediatrician and I didn't share any hats or hoodies whereby I'd give her or anyone else lice. Of course in an ideal world I would've treated myself before I went, but I had to get to the dr. and no one was available to take my three screaming toddlers for me.)
At the doctor's office, I unloaded my lice drama to the pediatrician, who is thankfully a doctor/baby whisperer/parent counselor. She assured lice weren’t the worse thing in the world and talked me off my lice ledge. She was so unphased that I imagine she gives that same pep talk multiple times each week, actually.
When we got home, I treated myself to a lovely prescription lice treatment. All I could think of was that phrase “TREAT YO’SELF!,” which normally implies indulgent pampering. Treating myself, in the case of lice, was nothing of the sort. It simply involved coating my hair in a glue-like lotion and sitting there for ten minutes, where I pictured any lice shriveling up and dying a quick death.
Finally, after another round of treating everyone in my house, we were lice-free. Thankfully my sanity remained generally intact throughout the process. To help make sure you also remain sane, I have some important
LICE TRUTHS to share with you. Let me know what you think, and feel free to send to your BFF when she calls you crying that her kids have lice. Then read it for yourself because y’all probably have lice too. Sorry.
* * * * *
LICE TRUTH #1:
Lice supposedly prefer clean hair. Go ahead and pat yourself on the back if your kids only wash it once a week. You’re doing a great job of keeping lice away! Sadly, the dirty hair remedy isn’t everything, though, because we only wash our hair a few times a week and we still got lice. So while it may not be foolproof, it’s worth a shot.
LICE TRUTH #2:
Lice bring out the crazy in you. This is no joke. When you see your child reach up to scratch their head or move wisps of hair off their faces, panic will rise in your chest. You will find yourself checking their hair with a flashlight while they sleep. You will develop OCD after days and days of checking their hair. In fact, you will have done it so many times that your toddlers will start shouting “CHECK ME! CHECK ME!,” because they think it’s some weird, fun game.
LICE TRUTH #3:
You won’t ever want to hug anyone ever again, because you will picture lice crawling from their head to yours. Refer back to #2 if this seems crazy. It is, but it’s true. Likewise, you will never look at fabric-covered surfaces the same way again.
LICE TRUTH #4:
At some point in your lice saga, you’ll consider burning your house down and starting over. It will just seem easier than doing all that laundry again, rounding up the stuffed animals, vacuuming fabric headboards, etc. Ultimately you decide that it seems like too much effort to move into a rental so you decide against burning the house down. For now, anyway.
LICE TRUTH #5:
You have LOTS of friends who’ve had lice, you just don’t know it. People don’t generally walk around shouting “I HAVE LICE!” unless you’re one of my children who seem to love sharing that info in a dramatic reveal. As soon as you share your lice tales with friends, you will learn that so many friends have silently fought the good fight, and when you discover this, you’ll remember how crazed they looked during that time and wish they had told you. Maybe you wouldn’t have hugged them but you could’ve thrown a bottle of wine and some dinner at their door. Sharing is caring, y’all.
LICE TRUTH #6:
Don’t even bother with the over the counter medicines and creams. They aren't very effective, and they don't kill the nits, so you’ll spend days and days combing them out. Instead, you should call the pediatrician and have them call in Sklice prescription lotion for the whole family. The great thing about Sklice is that it kills the lice AND the nits for about 75% of people. According to their pediatrician, those are sadly very good statistics, too. Sklice is normally very expensive, but if you go to their website, you can find a manufacturer’s coupon that makes it only $10 for most people! You can use a different coupon code for each tube you buy too, or at least I could. You coat your hair in the glue-like, odorless lotion, and then rinse it out. Done. (Note I do not work for Sklice but maybe I should?)
LICE TRUTH #7:
No one wants lice. Not you, not the person who gave it to you, not the person that you end up giving it to. No one says, YES! I've been dying to share this fresh hell with you!!! So unless someone knowingly rubs their licey head against yours or blatantly fails to treat her hair, do not harbor any ill will. It happens. Life happens. Lice happen.
LICE TRUTH #8:
You don't actually have to wash everything. You can just dry it all on extra hot for a regular drying cycle. Another helpful tip from the lice removal experts--peppermint oil is better than tea tree oil for preventative lice care.
LICE TRUTH #9:
Phantom lice will have you scratching your head for months. At the mention of the word lice, you’ll start scratching. You may develop a scratching tick. Do not be alarmed. It will go away (I mean I think it will? Mine has not yet.)
LICE TRUTH #10:
You will survive lice, even though they will make you a little crazy.
I promise—you will survive.
Just be sure to grab a bottle of wine when you go to the pharmacy to get that nit comb and Sklice prescription. You’ll want to drink it in between checking the kids’ hair while they’re asleep and changing loads of laundry. Best of luck. You're a parent, you got this.