A little before the July 4th holiday I noticed Natalie scratching at her head a little more than usual but I didn't think much of it at the time. Then she started commenting that her head was itchy and since she wears her hair up most of the time I told her to just take her pony out and maybe that would help. I also thought since it had been warmer out maybe she was just a little more sweaty than usual. Then on July 7th Natalie woke up from her nap and came out scratching her hair. It was not hot out. Her hair had been down the whole day. Could she possibly have head lice? I had her come over to the window so I could take a look and my tummy become a ball of knots when I saw all sorts of little white looking things attached to her hair. As I walked to the computer to log onto Dr. Google I prayed we were not dealing with head lice. Our kids shower daily. Their hair has never looked cleaner since we stopped using shampoo. My kids don't go anywhere to even be able to use someone else's comb, pillow or hat. Please God this can not be what I think it is.
Oh how wrong I was. Did you know that lice actually like clean hair? I didn't but I have earned a PhD in lice over the last 9 days so ask me anything and I bet I have the answer. Lice can hold their breathe for 2 hours under water. A dryer on high heat will kill lice in 10 minutes. Colored nits are eggs waiting to hatch. White nits have already hatched. Those dang nits attach themselves to hair like glue. Lice can not lay eggs immediately once hatched, they must become adults first. Lice are fast little buggers and can move along hair faster than I ever imagined. They can only live with a blood source. Once they can not feed off the scalp they die withing 24-48 hours. Pets can not carry lice. There are over the counter products to treat lice but 80% of cases are now resistant to it because of how much it is used, telling us this is a widespread problem. I am sure you are all jealous of all this new found info I have obtained but don't be because I have laid awake more nights than I care to remember in tears because I have had no idea how to eradicated these dang bugs from my house.
As soon as Dr. Google filled me in that we were dealing with a case of head lice the first thing I did was start stripping all of our bedding, pillows, towels, stuffed animals and everything went into the hottest setting on my washer and dryer. Of course I was still recovering from my surgery and not lifting anything yet and Paul was gone overnight for a work conference. Thank goodness my mother in law was here to help save us. I spoke with the pediatricians office in regards to how to treat the lice and also how to not share this with every member of our family. After I got the tuna casserole made I headed off to Target and picked up 3 boxes of Rid, a box of brownie mix and a half gallon of mint chip ice cream. The wine was already cooling in the wine fridge. I treated both Natalie and Aubrey with Rid since they shared swim caps and then checked everyone else for evidence of lice taking up residency in their hair. Thank goodness I did not find anything. Over the next day everything got washed, vacuumed and sterilized.
|The beginning of the bed washing. I kept adding to this pile so for many hours it didn't look like we were making any progress.|
The following day I felt like I had been transformed into a monkey because all I did was constantly check kid after kid for new cases of lice, I decided I would just treat our entire family with Rid. It is amazing to me how once lice is in your house your head starts itching like crazy! Fast forward a couple days and I felt we had a control of the situation. In theory we had killed all the live lice in Natalie's hair. Combed out and picked all the unhatched nits from her hair. And treated everyone else in our family. I was just waiting until tomorrow (Thursday) when we were suppose to treat our entire family once more with the overly expensive Rid. But than last Sunday evening I noticed Natalie starting to scratch more than she had been. She was miserable and could not keep from itching during an entire family movie night so I had her tip her head into my lap and I became a momma chimp again. What I found was more white nits in her hair which meant there were more live lice that had been hatched. I was frustrated and felt like a complete failure. I found myself on the computer again and searching for anything new that I had not read already. I told Paul I needed to start nit combing her hair again and I needed him to go get a magnify glass so we could really see what was going on in her hair. We started this comb out at 8pm (she usually goes to bed at 7) and it took us two hours to comb her hair out. By going half inch sections at a time I found more colored nits than I thought could possibly be in her hair but did not see any live lice but then Paul showed up with the magnifier and a flood light and in the first area we looked a live bug stared back at me and taunted me. I was one unhappy mom at this moment. How could these f**k**s still be alive? Paul and I started going strand by strand searching for colored nits or lice the size of a sesame seed or smaller. About 1/4 of the way into her hair I started crying. I had no idea how we were going to do this. How would we know where we had searched? How would we know we got them all? Why did I have to put my daughter through this? Thankfully between the iPad and a Popsicle Natalie endured 4 hours of us combing and picking at her hair with only about 15 minutes of her wanting to throw in the towel. Finally at midnight we told her we were done. She showered for the second time, got new jammies and clean sheets and was so excited to crawl into bed. I was emotionally exhausted and so while Paul sat and had doritos with salsa I went to bed. I wish I had slept but instead I wanted to cry because I had no idea how we would ever get rid of this lice problem.
In the morning I woke to a message via facebook from my old neighbor who had a friend that had used a lice specialist when faced with this exact thing and she had given me the phone number for them. Eight o'clock could not get here fast enough so I could give her a call. In the meantime I tried to figure out how one becomes a lice specialist. Do they grow up wanting to be that? Not to sure there are many preschoolers who say when they grow up they want to be pick lice out of hair. I thought it was bad when Aubrey came home and wanted to be a garbage sanitation worker but I think lice specialist may have topped that one. Deanna, aka Super Lice Lady, from Sacramento Lice Removal Services called me back and after telling her what was going on she booked us for the next morning to come to our house to check all of us for lice and then to treat Natalie. Tuesday morning could not get here fast enough.
|At the beginning of the school year I bought Fairy Tales shampoo and conditioner which is to help prevent against lice. Towards the end of the year we ran out and I never ordered more off of Amazon. I can guarantee we will never run out again.|
|Drew being checked for lice by Deanna.|
|A head full of nits ready to be evacuated.|
|This girl has endured more hair combings this last week and has amazed me with her positive attitude during everything we had to do. She never once complained that it wasn't fair.|
|The babies were more than happy to watch Deanna from a distance because no one except Kenzie thought too highly of her service.|
Getting this did humble me though because when the girls started school we got a note home saying the kids had been exposed to someone with lice. I was floored because here we are sending our kids to a private school that is not cheap and we have to deal with these kind of problems that I would expect to see in a public school. Oh how naive and wrong I was. I now realize this is a problem we all can find ourselves in no matter what our income or hygiene levels are. If we do find ourselves with lice again I can guarantee you I will not be wasting money on over the counter products but will be calling in the lice specialist. I never knew they existed but I am so glad someone has been called to do it. Today when I treated the girls hair I think I grinned ear to ear because it was the first time in a week and a half that I did not find a nit or lice in my daughters' hair because in case you forgot I hate those things.