Friday, February 3, 2012

Mothering aint for the faint of heart

Something I haven't told you about yet because it is one of those things that feels so shameful--even though my brain knows it can happen to anybody. We had our first go-round with head lice this past month.

The day after I got home from the hospital with Baby Dumpling, I discovered lice in one of the kiddie pie's hair. I had one moment of sinking feeling and then started issuing orders like a drill sergeant. The Man of the House was sent to purchase the highly expensive shampoo. The kiddies were sent to strip beds of bedding and the mudroom of all hats, coats, gloves, scarves, etc. I checked more heads. Even though I only found lice on one girl, I treated everyone including me. (we'll chalk that up to the freaking out, first-timer.)

While I treated heads, the Man of the House vacuumed the floors, the couches, and the now bare mattresses. Then I sent him out to vacuum the car. I considered how lucky I was to not be having to do all that vacuuming a mere 4 days after giving birth. I sent Blueberry Pie to bag up all the stuffed animals and dress-ups. These were banished to the balcony for 4 weeks. (it was just too much laundry to face.) I hoped freezing temperatures at night would help kill anything--though according to my research, just isolating them for 4 weeks ensured there would be nothing living.

Here is what I learned in case you are unlucky enough to have to deal with these nasty pests yourself:

1. You'll be afraid that you can't tell nits from dandruff-but it's easy, once you've seen one nit.

2. Dandruff shampoo is handy in reducing "clutter" so your eyes don't get distracted from the real hunt.

3. You really have to saturate their heads with that %$@# expensive shampoo, or you are wasting your time.

3.5 Coconut oil doesn't kill lice, and you'll have to use Dawn Dish soap to wash it out of the hair. But combing oil through hair catches more lice than combing water through hair does.

4. The only way to get rid of the lice is to comb through your child's hair every day for a week, searching for any eggs (nits) you may have missed. I would have her wash her hair. I combed through it 1" sections at a time. Then I used a hair dryer to dry it. The heat from the hair dryer is good, plus, the air blows the hair around in random ways that helped me find nits I had missed during combing.

When I didn't find any new eggs, four days in a row, I felt confident we had rid our home of vermin.

Two weeks later, a new infestation occurred.

More laundry

More vacuuming

More expensive shampoo. (Next time, I'm using kerosene, like my mom did on me years ago.)

It's not so much the housework that I mind, it's the feeling like everything is contaminated that bothers me.

And the way I'm suspicious of people who absentmindedly scratch their heads.

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