Itch, itch… maybe she has a mosquito bite on her head… scratch, scratch… no it can’t be… itch, itch…let me just take a peek…scratch, scratch…Oh Dear God, No!!! LICE!!!
Ever since I became a parent I have been terrified of one day finding bugs in my kids’ hair. When they started at pre-school, I began a regimen of essential oil treatments that supposedly repel creepy crawlies. I heard other elementary school parents tell me that lice was a rite of passage–something that hits all households eventually. But I scoffed… not in my house!
I have always had the major ickies about bugs of any sort crawling on me. Even writing about this now is giving me phantom itch all over. Camping was always out because of the possibility of spiders sneaking their way into my sleeping bag. My husband is the designated bug-killer and I will seal up an entire room and wait for his return rather than face a cockroach.
I cannot describe the panic I felt the moment I saw a little bug crawling on my daughter’s head.
She was in the bath. I had just rinsed out our organic shampoo and was combing some conditioner through her blond hair. Then I saw a flash of movement.
Looking closer, I found a tiny brown thing. In deep denial, I removed it from her head and squished it in a piece of toilet paper. And let me tell you- that thing was seriously hard to kill. It took a good 5 smooshes before I killed the sucker.
Then came the frantic Google-ing of lice pictures to confirm my dreaded suspicion. And just a few clicks convinced me that my foe was in fact…a louse.
So began the greatest/worst parenting freak out I have had in my five years of raising twins. The worst because I so completely lost my mind. The greatest because it was all internal- the kids had no idea that Mommy had gone off the deep end.
I once again pulled up Dr. Google. I had two kids rocking a lice infestation in the bath and no one else home. My frantic searches showed me that I could potentially smother the creatures by dousing my kids’ hair in olive oil mixed with Peppermint and Tea Tree oils for good measure.
Then I would have combat this problem old-school style. I used the method that was favored by the Ancient Egyptians… O.K., maybe I took my lice research a bit to far. It involved using a fine toothed comb to go through every inch of their scalp checking for lice and their eggs, called nits, and removing them by hand.
I told the girls we were taking a long bath with a new hair treatment to help with their “itchies.” I picked nits and lice off their precious heads while silently gagging. Now, I am not one to brag, but I am a very talented nit-picker.
Somehow I got the kids bathed and ready for bed and when my husband came home I was out the door in a flash. I bought the entire selection of anti-lice products from the CVS and came home to begin the thorough de-lousing of my house.
The Lice Guard Lice Zapping Comb was my greatest discovery. It makes a little humming noise that apparently kills lice and eggs. As you run it along your scalp it kills any lice on contact. It also makes a little zapping noise that tells you that there was something there that needed killing.
As I mentioned before I was having a mild panic attack about the whole situation and it was manifesting in full body itching. My husband kept telling me I was over-reacting and that my itching was psycho-somatic.
Then the lice comb made a zapping noise while going through my hair and I was horrified to find a dead louse on the comb that came from my own head.
That’s right folks, I had lice too.
The next few hours were a blur of lice treatments, frantic cleaning, and more than a little wine to cope with it all. But cope I did. In fact, my husband now jokes that if he wants to see the house spotlessly clean he just needs to drum up a lice scare.
Am I a better parent for having lived through one of my greatest mommy nightmares? Maybe. I proved to myself that my instinct for protecting my littles is stronger than my fear.
I survived the great lice infestation of 2017. And I am telling you, friends, that if those little creepies make it into your house, as freaked out as you may be, that you will too.