I would like to start today's narrative at the beginning, but, according to the school nurse, no one can be sure where our family's association with Pediculus humanus capitis started. Somewhere, somehow, my second child (the one gifted with massive amounts of hair on his head) became a host.
It was during the second half of his Saturday morning basketball game (after he had been huddled up for team pictures) that I noticed an inordinate amount of head-scratching. As we watched his younger sister cheer for another basketball game (yes, our Saturday mornings have been a marathon of basketball) I teased him about it: "What's your problem? Do you have lice?"
"Yeah - I have LICE."
He said it a little too loudly, but then, he says everything a little too loudly.
"Don't say that!" I shushed him, then proceeded to explain that his head was just itchy because of his poor shampooing practices.
He was right.
It was lice.
A lot of lice.
On his poor little head with all that lovely thick hair.
Fortunately/Unfortunately we did not discover this until 7:30 that evening, as he, fresh from the shower, was defending his shampooing practices to me.
Suddenly I didn't care about shampoo, just about killing those little crawlies and - horrors of horrors - seeking out any of their friends and family currently imposing upon my children's gracious hospitality.
Many phone calls of a panicky nature ensued. The Man of the House made a trip to the closest Big Box and came back with essentials to meet this crisis: RID, Bleach, Laundry soap and Potato chips.
The children were now aware that at least three of them had bugs crawling around their hair. They cried. They begged. They did everything except sleep soundly through the night.
Poor little itchy babies.
As soon as they were in bed I was craving a greasy McDonald's cheeseburger. I guess I am an emotional eater and the food group assigned to the "help! my kids have bugs living on their heads" emotion is grease.
Instead of eating, I mopped the kitchen floor (even though I was pretty sure it did not have a lice infestation.) At that moment, I just had to clean something. I had no idea what an extravaganza of laundering, bleaching, vacuuming, and spraying the next two days would be.
For "personal reasons" (3rd Grader's choice of words) the children and I stayed home from church services the next morning. In between loads of laundry, I shaved the boys' heads, pesticided their scalps and nit-combed the remains. We bagged up throw pillows, stuffed toys, princess tiaras, and some other stuff. I don't even remember all of it now. The instructions from the all-knowing webs say that things that cannot be washed or shaved or sprayed with the special lice-killing spray should be bagged up for two weeks or until the creepy little bugs have died of suffocation. [Who knew they could hold their breath so long?]
After a lunch break, it was time for the girls' treatment. They were eager for their turns because, while they did get to choose the sit-still-and-watch-the movie, (they picked Tangled - go have fun with the psychological mess that represented for me) they did not have to be subjected to the razor.
After the children were declared de-loused, I settled in for more laundry.
Actually, I settled in for two more days of laundry (about 10 loads a day). And vacuuming. And bleaching. And spraying furniture.
I expect that you would think our house is spotless. It is not. It actually looks as if we've just been sitting back itching and scratching. It's dirty, but we're lice free. The school nurse said so, and she knows everything. Except where we picked up that first nasty louse.