Friday, July 17, 2009

You dirty rotten louse

I got so paranoid about having caught G's lice that yesterday I did the smothering treatment on myself as a preventative measure, only with olive oil because a reader had mentioned that it was less smelly and easier to wash out than mayonnaise. I tell you what, there is nothing better for your hair than saturating it in extra-virgin olive oil for two hours. I may or may not have lice, but my hair looks like a goddamn shampoo commercial. So soft! So shiny! So smooth!

In other news, I've discovered that nothing makes you feel more like a primate than sitting and picking vermin out of your little ape's hair. We've done almost 10 hours of picking over the last three days, and I'm still finding a few nits every time I inspect her head, although there are very few now and a lot of them are the dead, empty ones. She's been remarkably patient about this, especially considering how much she hates to have her hair brushed or even touched, and I've rewarded her patience lavishly with ice-cream cones and video games and new DVDs. She's watched Shaun the Sheep: Sheep on the Loose about 15 times since we bought it on Tuesday. Hey, whatever gets us through this, right?

As I wash and pick and comb and vacuum, I'm torn between wishing that P were here to help (and to check my hair for me, OMG) and being glad for his sake that he isn't. I'm pretty clean, but P was almost pathological about it, especially toward the end of his life when it was one of the few things left he could control, and I don't think he would have been able to bear the horror of lice on his child or in his home. He would either have made himself sick with mopping and scrubbing, or he would have done something crazy and desperate like dunking G's head in kerosene, or both. I'd still like to have him here for the emotional support, though. I'm really a very selfish person at heart. Sigh.

Anyway, I have about a million more loads of laundry left to do, I need to vacuum out the inside of the car, and I'll be doing head checks every day for the next two weeks, but I think we may be past the worst of it. I called my mother this evening and begged her to come over on Saturday and inspect me for nits, and she said she would; if that's all clear, hopefully we can resume some semblance of normal life soon. I'm so ready.


Well-heeled mom said...

We are currently going through the same thing with my son. He picked them up at daycamp, although so far we've only had nits - no live critters. It's been a week now, and last night I found one lone nit. Hopefully, it's over. I know more about lice than I ever cared to know. It just makes me feel so dirty.

I pulled him out of this day camp center. Snobby? Maybe but this is a pain in the ass. With 30 kids in his age group, I could just see us fighting this battle the rest of the summer.

Rob said...

You have my sympathies Vanessa.

Two bouts of head lice with the wee one pretty much pushed me into the "progressive" lenses when I got my last pair of eyeglasses.

Ann continues to be hyper-vigilant, almost to the point of obsession, when she sees any head scratching.

One thing you might look into/try is tea tree oil to mix with shampoo or shampoo/conditioner that contains tea tree oil. It seems to be a decent alternative to the harsh chemical treatments and its good for maintenance too.

Tea tree oil seems to be good for scalp itching (at the bite sites) as well.

We bagged everything that was fabric (pillows, stuffies, blankets, the works) for at least two weeks to ensure nothing survived.

Hope your experience is a short one. And non-recurrent.

Vanessa said...

We got a bottle of tea tree shampoo straight away -- using it every day on both of us. I'm thinking of getting some of the pure essential oil and mixing up a spray for rugs/furniture/etc. I would take a bath in it if I could!

Laurie J. said...

I just spent the entire morning combing both lice and nits out of all three of my kids heads. Then I cut Crosby's lovely long hair off because he was the worst of them and it was just too much. Now the younger two have Crisco-covered heads with napkins wrapped over them do-rag style. I haven't combed out hubs or myself yet (how am I ever going to do myself?) but am certain we're all infested. GAHH!!!! I'm pretty sure Claire got them at camp and we didn't realize until it was way too late because of all of our travel. The horror.

Vanessa said...

Aargh, Laurie! It's bad enough with one kid; I can't imagine three.

Combing gets out a lot, but I've found quite a few stubborn ones that are glued to the hair strands so tightly that the comb can't touch them. Those ones you have to pull off with your fingernails and drown in a bowl of water. (I know -- ewww.)