L – The Newest Occupant

It’s L-day, and I can’t not write about the newest L item that has taken over my life. I mentioned it the other day, but I have become completely consumed by the lice that have moved into every corner of my being.

We’ve done the OTC shampoo, and I’m doing daily combings of the girls, and myself. I haven’t found any live ones since the first treatment, but the nits are a bugger to keep up with (ha ha – get it? – gosh I’m funny when I’m hanging on by a thread). I’ve learned more about lice, and how to treat it, than I ever hoped to know. What’s frustrating, is that some of the information is contradictory! For instance, one source said that a newly hatched nymph must feed (drink human blood, isn’t that a nice picture) within minutes to survive. And another said a nit (a lice egg, for anyone who doesn’t know) can live off the head for up to 30 days, yet it hatches in 7-10 days. Lice themselves have a 30 day life cycle, but need to feed on human blood. Off a person they will die within 2-3 days. Yet you have to leave items like stuffed animals bagged up for 14 days – why wouldn’t 3 days be enough? Don’t get me wrong – I’m going with 14 days, but I don’t get it…

B’s school has a “nit free” policy, which means she has been home with me all week. Home while I try to work. Home screaming “I love you!” when I’m on conference calls. I honestly don’t know how anyone works from home with children present. I took her back to school on Thursday to be inspected, and was disappointed but not surprised when they found a few nits on her. More combing, nit picking and general panic and obsessiveness ensued that night, and in the morning, and I was sure I got them all. When we arrived for inspection Friday morning, the main teacher in her classroom was being inspected, and was subsequently sent home – we may have started something (insert guilty sigh here). I swore when they found two more on her almost right away – and this is significant because I am really not a swearer. B’s hair is fairly short, and very thick and coarse. As my mother said, the lice must feel like they are at a spa on her head. If she doesn’t pass the inspection Monday morning I am going to give her a buzz cut. She doesn’t mind – in fact she wants me to do it now – and she’s young enough to really not care that much. K on the other hand…..but the good news is K seems to be clean now. Of course, that’s with my inspecting eyes, which are admittedly a little crossed these days.

I also asked them to check me, and I’m not sure whether to be happy they couldn’t find any nits, or skeptical. I still have a fairly itchy scalp, and I often have the sensation of something crawling across my head. But of course there is only so much I can do for myself. I am combing out everyday but I can’t visually cross check. If anything, I’m likely to be the Typhoid Mary that keeps this thing around for way longer than it should.

So thanks to those who mentioned their experiences the last time I mentioned this – keep the tips and tricks coming. The mission tomorrow is to find some tea tree oil shampoo, which is supposed to help get rid of, and prevent them. Hey, if I’ll sleep with mayonnaise on my head, I’ll try anything.

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