Growing up our family never had the misfortune of experiencing lice. I pitied the few that did from afar. There was a stigma attached to lice which we all know: it only happens to poor kids, dirty kids, kids from those neighborhoods. As a child, I believed some of those stereotypes and myths.
Then I had kids of my own, five of them to be exact. And, one day, one solemn day, daughter number two came to us with one of the scariest sentences her 11 year old self may have ever uttered, “I think I have lice.” Panic ensued. And by panic I do in fact mean panic. Full on arms-in air, voices raised, running hither and to, sentences unfinished, thoughts incoherent, and dread mounting.
I will accept full responsibility for the pandemonium which followed, after a check confirmed the suspicion. But can you blame me really? I mean LICE!?!?! Lice. In a word, just yuck. Did I mention that I have four daughters, all together, (myself included), we have about 20 or so feet of hair, that’s roughly 240 inches of hair to be treated and sifted through with quite literally, a fine toothed comb.
My son and husband were spared, but all five females in our house were confirmed with lice over the next 2-3 days, including myself, (more panic). It’s not only tedious to deal with (bedding, stuffed animals, pillows, furniture, the hair treatment itself), but it is embarrassing. Regardless of my added years, education and enlightenment, I still was embarrassed.
The trip to the drugstore included me stalking the shampoo isle until NO ONE was in it. It also included me buying 3-4 non-essential frivolities to cover the lice treatment kit as I made my way to the checkout counter. I remember doing the same thing with tampons, I digress.
I will give you a few tidbits of advice however which we found helpful along the way:
- Allow yourself that initial moment (or hour in my case) of panic. It’s a normal reaction. You would be weird if you weren’t even a little freaked out.
- After you boil brushes and combs, store them in the freezer for the next week.
- All bedding and pillows do not have to be dry-cleaned, 30 minutes in the dryer on the hot setting should do it.
- Tell everyone you or your kids come into contact with, or have come in contact with the past week. Don’t be so embarrassed that you with hold the truth.
- And for Uncle Pete’s sake, don’t you dare judge a mom when she tells you her kids have lice.
I’ll leave you with this. Lice happens. It’s no fun, and it is no indicator of you as a person or mother, and it’s gonna be alright.