Lice. It was only a matter of time before it came to our house. We have had notes coming home from the school almost daily this spring, saying that one or both of our children had been exposed to these critters. It has become my habit to look through my daughters’ hair frequently during a quiet moment, though in all honesty I never truly expected to find anything. Denial? Delusional? I can’t think of the right word for it, but whatever the word is, I had it. So on Thursday as we were waiting for 7yo B’s piano lesson, I took a look at her head. What? What was that? Must have just been a little fly or something. I’ll check it out properly when we get home, but I’m sure it’s nothing.
I even waited until after dinner before taking her out onto the porch where the light was best to take another look. I found little beige-coloured oval-shaped things attached to some of her hairs. And more of them. And then I found another bug. And then I uttered a four letter word starting with F right in front of both of my children. It just came out, and I don’t care, I still say it was warranted. After apologizing and explaining that sometimes these words just slip out, I quickly put together my plan of action. My neighbour had told me that they had used the Robi comb when lice hit their house. This little gadget runs on a AA battery and zaps the adult bugs and hatchlings too, and my neighbour had told me we could borrow it any time we needed it. I sent older daughter over to pick it up. Then I thought about chemical treatments, but from everything I had read, these don’t actually kill the nits anyway, so I decided to see if we could manage this without chemicals. I’m not opposed to using chemicals in principle, but in this case I didn’t see the benefits in using them, so we decided to try without.
Using the Robi, I was able to find and zap three live bugs in B’s hair, and then after Tony returned from the store with a good metal comb, I spent two hours going through her hair pulling out nits. There were quite a few of those. Older daughter showed no signs of anything crittery, and Tony and I checked each other and we were OK too. While I was combing and picking B‘s hair, Tony was washing bedding, bagging up stuffed animals, and he even headed out to buy new pillows. Afterwards he remade the beds with fresh everything. I was strangely calm about the whole thing, and a part of me found it quite relaxing to sit there and pull out little eggs from my child’s head, but I’m a little odd that way.
So now it is a holiday Monday and I have spent hours and hours since Thursday picking and zapping and picking and zapping and pick pick picking some more. Yes, older daughter did end up catching them too, but it was much milder for her. And as of this morning, everyone is nit and bug-free. I will not become complacent, and I will keep combing for the next couple of weeks, but I am cautiously optimistic that we are winning this one.
A few things made this fairly easy to manage. First, we caught it relatively early. Second, my girls have straight and fine hair that is easy to comb and check. And third, my friends in real life and on Twitter provided such great advice and support – you guys rock! And how great is it that it is OK to talk about lice now so openly? There is no stigma; lice happens, and so many parents commiserated with us and told us how many times they have had to deal with it. It isn’t pleasant, but let’s just deal with it and help each other out.