My children’s school sent home letters informing everyone that there had been an outbreak of head lice.
I carefully searched all my boys’ hair. It wouldn’t surprised me AT ALL if my boys caught head lice.
My boys are feral, wild, dirty, smelly, and they have NO natural sense of cleanliness or hygiene WHATSOEVER!
So, the shame of dirtiness could easily be in my home.
I searched the hair of all my boys. But I did not find any lice. Yay!
After another week, and the school sent out another letter. I searched my boys again and still no lice. Feeling good!
And another letter. Still no lice. So, home free, and no shame on me.
Then one day I saw one of my boys scratching his head.
I was in a kind of denial. There are so many reasons a boy might be scratching his head. My boys play so much sport… heat and sweat are the instant recipe for scratchy heads. Or maybe they were just thinking a lot? And when I looked for lice, I still couldn’t find any evidence of them anyway.
But there was so much scratching! And because I was wondering if they had lice… my own head started to itch. But, obviously, I couldn’t have lice, since, as my husband points out, I am obsessed with my hair, and wash it every second day. So, my itching was just paranoia – right?
But I decided to play safe with the boys. I went to the chemist to buy some natural, kid-friendly, lice-killing hair lotion, and the special, superfine-louse-catching fine-tooth comb that comes with it. Apparently, lice can move so quickly that you don’t see them when you just look with an ordinary comb. That is their superpower. But the lice-lotion kills them dead, and then you can comb them out.
I followed the instructions.
The lotion was a disgusting, greasy, oily, sticky, unpleasant, eucalyptus-smelling OIL that I had to pour all over their hair and scalp. I used rubber gloves.
Once the hair was all coated, I waited 10 minutes. And then I began to comb.
OH GOD I was so disgusted. I was cringing with revulsion!
I combed about 20 dead head lice out of my boys hair.
I had never seen a head louse before in my life!
I thought they would be teeny tiny like grains of sand? But they are HUGE. Like the size of a grain of brown rice. You can actually see the little head, body and legs.
I stood there completely dumbstruck and in shock. I realised that there had been an entire zoo full of animals living in each of my son’s hair for weeks!
Wait, what? Does this mean I could have head lice?!? MEEEE???? Eeeek!!!!
Does this mean, I have to put this insecticide crap (waves bottle of oil around) in my long, thick, beautiful, shiny hair?!?!
I put it off for a couple of days. I had NO itching.
I possibly had a bit of imaginary itching.
You can’t really TALK about lice without FEELING a little TWINGE in your scalp and a strong the urge to scratch one spot on your head!
Anyway, I just couldn’t stand not-knowing whether I had those little buggers in my hair.
I was thinking, “Maybe this is a good time for getting a balayage done to my hair. Peroxide will kill them off for sure!” But the idea of going into a fancy salon and THEM discovering I had lice was just too awful. Imagine my humiliation!
So, back to the disgusting lice killing oil.
I made some time one evening. I pretended I was treating myself to a special hair treatment pamper night *roll eyes*.
Obviously, my boys have very short hair, and so I only used about 1/8 of the bottle on all three of them. But for my hair? I used over half of the bottle! Like 2/3 of the bottle! I have so much hair!
It felt like I was was massaging olive oil and toilet cleaner into my scalp.
Result: I found one little louse. And I wasn’t entirely sure if it was one that was already dead and wedged in the comb from my son’s comb-through, or if it was actually from my head. I will never know.
The oil washed out just fine. I then washed my hair TWICE with my super-expensive $40 per bottle shampoo, which smells like magical fairy flowers. Then I gave myself a fancy hair conditioning mask treatment, a full blow wave and some Morrocan hair oil on top of it all… you know, just to make up for my hair inadequacies. And then I ate too much chocolate.
Phew. Glad that’s over.
I was complaining about the whole fiasco to my father in law, and he gave me some interesting insight.
He grew up in Scotland in the 1930s and 1940s, and was a doctor there in the 1950s and 1960s.
He said that EVERYBODY had head lice in those days. It was a very common thing, especially in places where people didn’t (and couldn’t) wash everyday, when a lot of people were poor. When someone with head lice came into a school or hospital – the lice would spread through everyone. Students, teachers, patients, doctors and nurses alike. Everyone had to be treated regularly, and girls and women kept their hair short, because it was just easier to get rid of the lice that way. How interesting!
And my boys are now washing their hair every second day!