November 18, 2010

Lice, the Universe and Everything

There is a certain, very specific brand of ooginess that washes over you when you're brushing your hair and notice that the little gray speck that just floated down to your shoulder, and which you thought might be a dandruff flake or bit of dust, is moving. All on its own. In fact, the damn thing has legs. Six teeny tiny oogy little legs.

We have lice. And that speck was a nymph.

I squished it. And I flushed it. And then I dragged my itchy, scratchy kids upstairs and bathed them in pyrethrum.

Did you know that stuff is made from chrysanthemums?

You learn a lot when you start a war on blood-sucking parasites. To wit:
  • My diva has the patience of a saint. As long as I put the Wizards of Waverly Place on an endless loop, she will sit still for up to three hours at a pop while I comb and pick and pull individual hairs out of her head by the root. She's my hero.
  • Redheads have less hair. Little known fact. (Ignore the picture on the link. It's really kinda gross.)
  • ADHD really does mean you cannot sit still. Even with the aid of a Nintendo DS primed with relatively new birthday games. Given that my kids get only 30 minutes of screen time a day and that nitpicking screen time is a full-on freebie, that's saying something.
  • My kids have waaaaay too many stuffed animals. All 8 million of them are now bagged, thanks to my au pair, and waiting for any little lice babies to die a sad and lonely death. Many of them will not be coming back. I mean the stuffed animals. And, of course, the dead lice babies, too.
  • Reading glasses also make good nitpicking glasses and are a vital part of the home war arsenal.
  • So is a flea comb. If you pick one up, buy one labeled for dogs. They're cheaper - and not a whit different - than the ones labeled for cats.
  • Cats can't get lice. Maybe that's why they need pricey flea combs.
  • Apparently, neither can au pairs.
  • Moms can, though. Yay for that. And yay for my au pair. This would be another one of those times that I wonder what the hell I'd do without her. Because it's not like I can pick nits from my own head.
Oh, and now I'm feeling all oogy again just talking about it.

Hey, the good news? At least we don't have the swine flu.


  1. Sorry about the lice! I know they are a pain even though we've never had them. But I have had bird mites once and every spring we get an infestation of fleas even though we don't even own any pets. The actual oogy bugs are bad enough but the accompanying itchy paranoia is just as bad.

    I have noticed lice removal has actually become a big business. In L.A. they have a salon called Hair Fairies dedicated to louse removal. And here in Florida we have Louse Calls, they actually come to your house and do the job for you. I just can't imagine doing that for a living!

    Hope you and yours are bug free now!

  2. Thank you for your kind wishes, Rosemary-for-real! I gotta tell you, even knowing for sure I'm lice free, the itchy paranoia has me by the short hairs ... (ha ha ... terrible pun intended). But I do think we're finally done with it now. And I'm with you - glad there are people willing to do the de-licing, but I'm certainly never going to be one of them.

    Hope you & yours had a happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Your post brings back hysterical memories. Given that we grew up together, I hope you understand. My upper-class cousin from California came to visit one year and we got lice, which was a usual occurrence in our house. She was mortified and I found it very funny that something so "normal" was so horrific to her. I guess it depend on the circles you run in, huh? Luckily we haven't had too many incidents over here lately, with having older kids and such. I will send my best wishes to get over it, I know it is a ton of work!

  4. It is indeed, and it's endless ... can't imagine how your folks handled it with so many at home!