Monday, November 21, 2011

Motherhood is lousy



I have four words for you:

Head

Lice

Happens

Help


Wait! Let me rephrase that:

Holy
Head
Lice
Batman!

22 comments:

Kate D said...

Been there, picked that. You haven't truly earned your stripes as a Mom until you've cleaned your child's vomit out of your own hair, and picked live bugs out of theirs. It stinks and I'm sorry you're dealing with it! I ended up using RID - toxic, I know - but the bugs died and didn't come back. I was also vigilant about throwing sheets over the furniture and continuing to check heads for weeks after. I feel for you, Betsy, and I know you will beat them!

Ruth said...

It's pure hell!!! My 8-year old daughter has had them twice now and it was my worst nightmare. Between picking through her hair and laundry every night for 6 weeks...I cursed a lot in my head. And since we share brushes, she gave them to me. Thankfully I have good friends/co-workers who were able to check my hair. Good luck! :)

Kristy said...

I feel for you! My daughter was sent home 3 times one fall for that exact reason. RID didn't get rid of them--most lice is now immune. I ended up drenching her hair in olive oil covering her head with a bag. It worked beautifully! The downside is getting it out in the morning (they need to sleep in it), but putting shampoo on her hair before getting it wet worked well. Also, the fact that you need to do the olive oil thing every 3 days for a month. Still, it's not toxic and much easier on the scalp. It's been 5 years and I still have nightmares about it. Since then, both my girls wash their hair with tea tree shampoo & conditioner every night. Afterwards they add mousse and I blow their hair dry. Apparently lice do not like tea tree or product, so it's my daily preventative measure. There have been MANY lice notices since that time, but no lice at my house!

Good luck!

Kathleen Trail said...

Oh Betsy – this is what brought me to my knees when my husband was out of town for 2 weeks, so I can't imagine your frustration right now.

I agree with the olive oil & a shower cap overnight (you might want to do it preventatively for everyone?) as a great non-toxic option. I'd also say that an initial hot-water wash of everyone's sheets, pillows & car seat covers is needed – lice are SOOOOO not environmentally conscious or water conserving.

Also, run superhot water in the sink with a little bleach thrown in in to toss brushes & combs into after each use. Make sure you get a good METAL lice comb too – it's worth paying a little extra.

You'll want to vacuum pretty much everything initially (make sure you pitch the vacuum bag after) and then just the main suspect areas (child's bedroom/main sitting areas) every 2-3 days until they're gone. Also, bag up the stuffed animals and other non-washable items airtight in trash bags, keeping them there for about 3 weeks.

After that, it's really just finding what will keep the girls still long enough for you to look for nits/eggs periodically to see if you're in the clear. Nits are generally close to the color of the hair and within 1-2 inches of the scalp - very "sticky" and you have to pull them out with your nails and deposit them on a wipe or cloth that you wash/toss.

It's horrible mostly in it's relentlessness – keep in mind they're just little bugs and aren't all that gross. But call in trusted friends/family to help you with this, OK? I so want to give you my phone number in case you need to commiserate!!!! Keep us posted if you need more info... (and I hope this wasn't too much!)

kebrown2007 said...

make sure they check all the students in your daughters' classes! when i was in second grade and kept catching it, the school nurse thought it was because my mom wasn't cleaning up at home to get rid of it. Turned out the kid who sat next to me was infecting the whole class and it wasn't until my mom waddled into the school seven months pregnant and raised a stink to make them check that they caught it all.

dragon-mouse said...

When I was in high school, we discovered that WalMart brand dandruff shampoo works way better then RID.
Rotten younger cousin, spreading it around... ;)

Was Living Down Under said...

Oh my! I didn't think those came around in Winter! I also thought I'd left all the bugs behind me in Sydney... Don't have any lice stories to commiserate but I did pull a thread worm out of my daughter's bum once...ugh!

(hope that wasn't TMI) Good luck and let us know how it works out!

Anne said...

Poor, poor, poor you! Both my kids had them a few years back and it took weeks to get rid of the ones on my daughter's head. I hope this won't prevent you from going to Guatemala... Hang in there!

Anonymous said...

Tea tree oil shampoo and conditioner. My daughter and her friends kept passing it around in 3rd grade. I really thought of shaving her head the third time around. Especially when everyone in the family got it. Be glad of your hardwood floors, as that will help. Sorry. Be vigilant, and you can beat it. Just be sure to use the tea tree oil shampoo yourself!

Mama Badger said...

First the fleas now this? Ugh! You are not having a fun time up there in Vermont. Hopefully the come under control easily and without too much pain.

Betsy said...

Kathleen: Your description of being brought to your knees was apt. My original panic, as you might guess, was not pretty. I'm better now and Isla thinks wearing a shower cap, which she had to do during her treatment with some new Wild Child Nit Quit stuff, is all the rage. She asked to wear it again today. Gotta love that kid.

Betsy said...

Mama Badger: Yes. It is like Groundhog day around here. Some are blaming Hurricane Irene for all this buggy mayhem. I blame God. Kidding, sort of.

Betsy said...

Was Living Down Under: tee hee.
We dealt with a pesky worm situation in France. Yikes.

Betsy said...

Ruth: I need to get better at the cursing in my head part. If we had a curse jar, my kids would be rich.

Laree said...

Now that's one aspect of motherhood I've (thankfully!) never had to experience!

Hope it works out quickly!

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, I've been there too! We had 8 kids at home at the time. 4 girls, 4 boys. I shaved the boys heads down to almost nothing. The girls were a different story. It ended up costing us about $150.00 in the end. Several treatments and picking the nits out. I spent 7 hours one day standing outside picking them out of the girls' hair, and it wasn't the only time I had to do it. The laundry situation sucked thoroughly! I can't tell you how many loads I did and how many times I washed the bedding every three days. I think that I did it for about a month. I bagged up every stuffed animal or toy that couldn't be washed and stuck them OUTSIDE for ????, probably longer than I needed to! Hey, I wasn't taking any chances! Everything else got washed in hot water and dried in a hot dryer. I vacuumed the furniture and tossed the few throw rugs that we have outside on the wooden rail- and kept them there for a while. Thankfully, we don't have full carpets because our son has allergies. We also got this spray that was pink and colors the nits so that you don't miss them. It worked great, especially for out blond haired daughter because it was almost impossible to see the nits in her hair. It did stain her hair pink for a while, but she thought that was funny and I didn't mind.

Tea tree oil is great, or a shampoo/conditioner with real tea tree oil in it. The only complaint that I got was that it made their heads "minty" and you don't want to get it in their eyes. Yes, one of mine did. Yikes!

So, I was diligent about washing the bedding, vacuuming the furniture, and doing the treatments on their hair until I KNEW that they were gone. Also, after I vacuumed I threw the bag away in the outside trash and kept the vacuum outside. I also put everything that couldn't be washed into trash bags and put them outside. I also did all of the nit picking outside. It's probably not warm enough there to do that anymore. I just felt like the more that was outside the better(especially since it happened in October and it drops down to freezing here at night that time of year.). It seemed to work, and once they were gone they didn't come back.

Just one question... Does anyone else have an itchy head?!

KiminAZ
Oh, and totally off the subject. My sister has a new running blog and did a post with me in it if you want to check it out. I also commented on it.
http://tuffmotherondarun.com/2011/11/13/my-sister-is-my-running-motivator/

Anonymous said...

Funny you should mention this topic, I've just spent 1/2 hour combing conditioner through my 5 year old's hair. Here in Australia its getting very warm - just right for the nits/lice. I use a nit/lice very fine tooth-comb and lots of everyday conditioner. Tea Tree oil is good too though - I have one growing in the front yard.

Anonymous said...

Are there any head lice salons nearby? Here in Chicago (and other big cities) there are salons where they put the kids in a big chair and go to work, and it's like a spa date for them. And best of all, you don't have to clean them out yourself!

Dana said...

Last year at daycare was a major pain for us with nits. My daughter kept getting reinfected every 3-4 weeks. I resorted to checking every Sat morn (still do, but we have been free so far - touch wood) and every day after she had an infestation, just incase one was missed (quite often this was the case). Not only just using the comb, I went through the hair, cm by cm to check for eggs manually as I really did not want to use the lice treatment too much and they never all get killed by it anyway.

I have used a preventative lice spray. Not sure how well it works, my daughter still got a round of lice last year, but I was not using a lot. For what it is worth, for 100ml spray bottle fill with:
8 drops of tea tree oil
7 drops of eucalyptus oil
10 drops of rosemary oil
25 drops of essential oil solubiliser (so the oil goes into the water)
rest water.

Good luck. Touch wood, my daughter has been at school all year and only got them once and I have not used anything. The best preventative measure is to not cuddle or get close to their friends or peers - yeah right.

BTW, You don't need to wash all the bedding, just the pillow case or where your kids head is. The lice take 2 days to die without a blood source, Eggs - 1 day without heat.

Laurie said...

We had lice this past summer, myself, my mother and my 3 kids: 13, 11 and 9. We unfortunately took the lice on vacation to my mother's house. Used R&C shampoo then comb heads for 10 days and pick out nits. Shampoo again on the 10th day when any remaining nits have hatched. The shampoo doesn't kill them all but it sure stuns them and makes it easier to get the crawlers out. Change pillow cases every day. I covered chairs with sheets and combed heads outdoors when possible. My sister picked up a Robi comb at the pharmacy after we had done the first shampoo. It has an electric current that "hums" and when it touches a louse or nit it stop humming so you know you've caught something. It seemed to work but I wasn't taking any chances and did the second shampoo anyway. This was our second bout of lice. I never had lice as a kid and never even knew anybody who had them until I was in my thirties.
I feel for you, it's horrible.

Beth Byers said...

It's never fun..... we found the combs that came with the kits to be too small for the long hair in our house.. went to the pet store and got a fine toothed cat comb... covered more area in less time. Suave coconut conditioner made it easier to pick through.... cheap and the bugs supposedly don't like coconut.... I was ready to try anything!!! Obsessive laundry and vacuuming in the house helped... I changed the pillowcases daily for a long time (out of habit I think..or paranoia!) Don't forget to wipe/vacuum the headrests in the car.... Once it's gone, spray hair each morning with hairspray before school... another deterrent! Any favorite stuffed animals that you can't bear to be without for 3 weeks, will be "clear" after a few days in the freezer... we joked that it was like a baby doll morgue! Someday, you'll laugh about it... the shower caps and all.... it took me a few years!! :-)

Beth Byers said...

It's never fun..... we found the combs that came with the kits to be too small for the long hair in our house.. went to the pet store and got a fine toothed cat comb... covered more area in less time. Suave coconut conditioner made it easier to pick through.... cheap and the bugs supposedly don't like coconut.... I was ready to try anything!!! Obsessive laundry and vacuuming in the house helped... I changed the pillowcases daily for a long time (out of habit I think..or paranoia!) Don't forget to wipe/vacuum the headrests in the car.... Once it's gone, spray hair each morning with hairspray before school... another deterrent! Any favorite stuffed animals that you can't bear to be without for 3 weeks, will be "clear" after a few days in the freezer... we joked that it was like a baby doll morgue! Someday, you'll laugh about it... the shower caps and all.... it took me a few years!! :-)