My day began very peacefully with screams of "That smells GROSS!" and "YOU ARE NOT SPRAYING THAT IN MY HAIR!!!" You know one of those feel good times that you thank your lucky stars that you are fortunate to be the mother of three girls with long hair, and enough of it for ten girls. It is days like today that I do so love to be a mother.
We have been back to school for a few weeks now. The kids have already been through one cold, and we can expect another soon (because they are on the mend from the first one). Schools are a breeding ground for all things gross it would seem. Very soon we will be receiving those dreaded sheets (they are usually yellow) that come home stating that "a child in your child's class or school bus has pediculosis (aka head lice). My head itches just thinking about it! Those warning letters strike fear into my heart! I read those letters and become Head Lice Hitler. "Everybody line up, I'm checking for hair bugs!" I honestly don't know what I'm looking for, but if it's gross, I'll know that's it. That letter also brings on my lice talk (I say 'talk' but in reality it's more of a rant)... "NEVER EVER SHARE A HAIRBRUSH WITH ANYONE OTHER THAN FAMILY! NEVER LET YOUR HAIR TOUCH ANYONE ELSE'S HAIR! NEVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE SHARE A HAT WITH ANYONE!!!!!!!".
I am afraid to tempt fate and say this, but here it goes "so far" we have not had a lice incident in our house. I feel sick to my stomach just thinking about it. For a while I would spray the kid's hair with tea tree oil everyday. They hated the smell, but I would always tell them "If you hate the smell, just think how the lice feel!" That actually worked, the statement, not necessarily the tea tree oil. Although everyone that I know swears that spraying tea tree oil in your child's hair will prevent lice, I have no proof of this. It just makes me feel better "thinking" that I am preventing lice. As middle class (in this case I mean delusional) parents we feel that "only the dirty kids get lice". Oh this is not true, but it feels like a talisman against lice (did I mention how stupid that is). If we know someone who gets lice, then it's "Well everyone knows that lice prefer clean hair". Oh that's not true either, lice are equal opportunity blood eaters, they don't care if their plates are clean, as long as they are full. This little gem is something that we say to feel better, as if while the rule about dirty kids is still true, if somehow they can cross over to the clean kids it's only because they prefer clean kids.
Last night I heard by way of the grapevine about a lice incident at school. This made my head itch for hours (o.k. the truth is that this is taking much longer to write because I have to keep scratching my head while I am typing). This brought on my lice vigilance and will bring out Head Lice Hitler tonight after school. This morning I brought out the tea tree oil and poured tons of it into their spray on de-tangler (oh and it stinks, it really does). I then liberally sprayed all of their little heads. Rowan just wrinkled up his nose and put up with it, but heaven should forbid that the girls not make a scene. I then sprayed their hair with hair spray (because I heard that hair gel and hairspray are also good deterrents against lice. The common theory is that the hair is too sticky for the lice to move around on. I have no idea if this is true, but hey it helps me sleep at night). Honestly if I thought that attaching fly strips to their heads would help I would do it.
I don't know nothing really anything about head lice, also known in more scientific circles as pediculosis. I know that they give me the heebie jeebies, but that's about it. I decided to do some research in the only way that I know how, I searched the internet. Here is what I discovered.... head lice are more of a nuisance than a health threat. Head lice do not actually transmit any kind of disease, they are just itchy. The adult louse is about the size of a sesame seed. They can only be transmitted by direct contact, hair on hair so to speak. They can only live 1 to 2 days without a blood host. They do not jump, hop or fly. They are grayish white or brown and most prefer to live at the base of the neck and around the ears. This is gross but important information. Now I just have to take a deep breath, and remember to keep doing that. If God forbid, my children came home with lice, it would not be the end of the world. It would mean a heck of a lot of house work (which I have been trying for years to convince my husband that I am allergic to), but we would all survive, a little itchier, but o.k.
I would really like to hear your lice strategies, so please share them (don't worry you can always sign it anonymous). In my research I came upon two really great youtube video about head lice, and I am attaching them for your viewing pleasure (o.k. so 'pleasure' is not really the right word here).