Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Lice Happens

I’ve debated with myself whether I should write this particular post or not. I decided to post because when I was going through it I wanted advice, support, humor and it came in various forms to help me through the process. So I hope maybe my post will help someone else or at least let them know that it happens to the best of us and all you can do is buckle down and drive through it.

A couple of weeks ago I noticed Teagan was scratching her head a little more than normal. She unfortunately has her Daddy’s dry scalp but this scratching caught me as odd. I sat her down in my lap and found lice. Several lice and TONS of nits. It literally took my breath away. How could my three year old who does not go to daycare have lice? I keep a clean home. I bathe my kids. WE ARE NEAT PEOPLE! Where did this come from? Those questions could wait to plaque me as I tried to sleep at night for now the task at hand was to get rid of them.

I went to the drugstore and purchased two boxes of treatment assuming if one had it then the other had it as well. They share every sickness so this wouldn’t be any different. Go ahead and jump my butt about using chemicals on my two and three year old. I already knew the horror stories on getting rid of lice so I bought the best I could buy and also purchased an organic “keep lice away” shampoo for the after effects.

Before treating the girls I stripped their beds. Took every stuffed animal or toy with too much fabric and tied them up in plastic bags and threw them in the garage. I washed all the sheets, their bibis and one each of their favorite stuffed animals. Then I vacuumed everything else.

I took the two girls in tandem. First I shampooed Teagan and let it sit while I shampooed Kaitlyn. When I was done with Kaitlyn I rinsed Teagan then rinsed Kaitlyn. Next was the gel and combing to get each and every last nit out. I started with Teagan. It took me five hours to comb and search and comb her hair. We watched two movies and ate lots of snacks to get through. That old stash of lollipops was God sent. Teagan was, as always, a trouper. She had her moments but sat there and let me comb the night away.

At this point it is almost 2 am and I start going through Kaitlyn’s hair. It was even easier than Teagan’s for two reasons. First, she was passed out in the chair. Second, she didn’t have any lice or nits. Not a one.

Teagan was so geeked to not be sitting still with her hair being picked through that she demanded to watch another movie. I was not going to argue. I put her in our bed and within ten minutes she was out cold.

The next day I surveyed Kaitlyn’s hair first to make sure I was not hallucinating and happily she was still lice and nit free. I looked at Teagan only to find more nits. This time I simply went through her conditioner damp hair with the metal nit comb while feeding her dum-dum lollipops. Three hours later I let her be.

I did not look the following day. I needed a break and my poor baby needed one too. At this point if her head itched she would look over at me terrified as her little hands would scratch her scalp.

After a day recess I looked again. @#$%&*! There were nits and newly hatched lice. What was I going to do? I didn’t want to use more chemicals so I started looking at every home remedy in the book. My Dad called and told me that smearing Vaseline on her hair for eight hours would essentially smother the lice. I figured a little hair cut would help so I cut both the girls hair into a bob with thankfully rave reviews by my little beauties. I then bought Vaseline and a shower cap and greased Teagan up. Little did I know how cool a shower cap was until I had to tie a plastic bag around Kaitlyn’s head because she wanted a plastic hat too.

If you have lice and try Vaseline I warn you now, it does not come out the first time you wash it. Or the second, or fourth or even seventh. We washed her hair the next morning six times before I had to leave for work and felt the slick look was eye-catching on her. A little internet searching said cornstarch helped to get Vaseline out of the hair. Sadly it did not do enough for me to notice. The only thing that got it out was multiple washings. But wet hair with Vaseline is really easy to comb through to look for nits. With every wash I looked for lice or nits. Nothing. It has been five days and I look every day and she is still lice free. All be it a little wary of my attempts to snuggle in fear I’m setting her up for another hair combing marathon.

I plan on doing preventative treatment on them. I never want to have to go through this again. I’m sure Teagan is with me on that one. So many times over I am thankful it wasn’t my hard headed strong willed daughter Kaitlyn. If she ever gets lice I’ll just have to shave her head. I am so not kidding.

The best advice I got and I can offer back is do not panic. It is not your child’s or your fault and with perseverance you will both get through it.