21 Oct

If we are friends IRL, (cool internet acronym), or even just FB friends, (which doesn’t preclude us being friends in real life, of course, but might mean you don’t like me in real life, although I really tried to pare all those people away from my friends list, oh, whoops, this is an open blog, what I mean is, I unfriended some people due to my own insecurities and totally not because they made snarky comments to me/posted political bullshit I could not abide/never posted at all and were therefore SO BORING OMG) (crap, what the hell was I talking about) (ANYWAY, ok), then you will have heard that we had a little incident with lice on our summer helltrip, oops, vacation. Yep, rocked up to this cute inn on Martha’s Vineyard that cost very much too much and got all settled only to find on the first night that the kids’ heads were INFESTED with lice. Like, it looked like my son’s head was covered in crawling fruit flies. DEEPLY not ok.

I had a theory about how the kids were immune to lice because they don’t get a lot of mosquito bites and they don’t get poison ivy and they’d never had them before even though lice had swept through their respective schools multiple times? But, yeah, I was not right about that. Which was a real shame to find out at bedtime on vacation when we didn’t have access to a car and the nearest grocery store was a two mile walk and we were very afraid the innkeeper would kick us out, or worse, not let us use the washing machine.

So it was trial by hellacious lice fire as we sweet-talked our way into the inn laundry room and spent the next two days just DEALING–load after load of laundry, Rid, hours of combing, three trips back and forth on foot to the grocery store, one of which was to buy clippers and hair-cut scissors because the local barber turned down our plea for assistance. I gave my first bob and my husband his first buzz! They weren’t perfect, but they made the hours of combing slightly less painful. And then we finally reached lice stasis and betook ourselves to the bike rental place where we spent ungodly sums procuring family bikes and rode to the beach for THREE HOURS and then it rained the fucking rest of the time we were there. The rest. Of the time. Helltrip.

Anyway. I am, understandably I think, a little coconuts on the subject of lice, so when my daughter said the other night AT BEDTIME (GOD IT’S ALWAYS AT BEDTIME) that her head was “really itchy” I braced for the worst. And boy howdy, did she have lice. Second case in three months! Damn you, helltrip gateway lice! And my son had a very mild beginner’s case as well. Did I mention my husband was out of town? And I was suddenly itching uncontrollably?

But then, when it was least looked for or expected, an eery calm set in. Lice, I’ve battled you before. Lice, last time I was victorious. Lice, from what I hear you are all over the elementary school and I can expect you as a frequent and unwelcome visitor to our home. It’s time to get really real.

Without even consciously drafting one, I found I had a Super Plan of Lice Action.

1. Do a shit-ton of laundry.

But I did not freak out about it. I did jackets, bedding, PJs, towels, the bath mat, clothes. I put bed-buddy stuffies in plastic bags to suffocate for two weeks. In the ensuing, post-treatment days I did pillowcases, PJs, and towels every night. But no, like, steam cleaning of carpets or buying of new mattresses or attempting to cram the couch pillows into the washing machine. Lice can’t fly or jump–they’re crawlers. And the nits are sticky. They’re not, say, bedbugs. (Oh heavenly spirits, please, please, PLEASE… I can’t even finish that thought.)

2. Invent non-toxic tincture.

So, something I have read from multiple reliable internet sources is that Rid is only approximately 50% effective at killing lice and nits. It is a pesticide, though, that is 100% true. If we’re going to have lice more often around here, I don’t want to be dousing my kids all the time in pesticide that doesn’t even necessarily work. A homeopathic remedy I was turned on to by a Friend Who Knows Everything, (do you have one of these? They’re awfully handy), is Cetaphil foaming face cleanser. You coat the hair with it, the kids sleep with it in overnight, in the morning you comb, and then they rinse it all out. My innovation this time around was to add 3 or 4 drops of tea tree oil to each handful of Cetaphil before applying. If the lice hate the smell as much as my kids do, it’s bound to help.  And while on morning one of combing after treatment I was still getting a few live bugs out of my daughter’s hair, on morning two, it was nothing but carcasses. I am now officially an inventor and a doctor. It’s very exciting.

3. The combing is the key.

All internet sources agree on this. The combing sucks, and it is crucial. So you get you one of those combs with metal tines so close together you can hardly see daylight through them and you get to work and you repeat every morning for a week to ten days. Your children scream and cry and beg for mercy, (at least mine do), but you are brutal and unmerciful. And/or you think of bribes and diversions sufficiently amazing that you don’t have to spend the whole combing session repeating, “I’m sorry I know it hurts hold still I’m sorry I know it hurts hold STILL.”

4. Cross your fingers, toes, and lice-ridden hairs, and keep checking and treating until you feel clean and calm.

The nice thing about my miracle tincture is that it won’t hurt anybody, so you can use it as many times as needed/wanted. And on yourself. Because even if you don’t have lice, (and I didn’t, during either infestation), you will FEEL LIKE YOU DO ALL THE TIME.

Down with buggy varmints! Wish me luck with my Super Plan of Lice Action, (and follow it at your own risk.) If you need me, I’ll be combing–just follow the screams.

5 Responses to “Liiiii-iiiii-iiiiice!!!”

  1. BananaWheels October 24, 2012 at 9:38 pm #

    Bookmarking this for future reference. blech.

    • amomynous2 October 26, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

      Here’s hoping you will never, ever need to refer to it!

  2. Ann November 23, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    I am so thankful for this hilarious and useful blog! I need to know, tho, is the hair wet before you put on the cetaphil? Did you add conditioner?

    • amomynous2 November 23, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

      Thank you, Ann! 🙂 No, you put the Cetaphil on dry hair and dry it completely (I just let it dry, but you can also use a blow dryer). It encases the hair completely and smothers the lice and nits. It is an absolute bitch to comb out, but the nice thing is that, unlike olive oil or Vaseline, it washes right out after your combing attempt (and you can use conditioner at that point for a post-shower combing.) (Basically I just comb all the damn time.)


  1. Mom Solo | amomynity - May 30, 2013

    […] Cetaphil and blown dry like some horrible assembly line in a factory that makes nightmares (see this post for more info, sob.) It’s now an hour past bedtime. My knees are sore, my back is sore, my throat […]

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