Sigh. We had lice. Specifically, E and L had lice, generously donated from a school friend. Also, I am relieved to use the word HAD.
I know all the facts about lice - they prefer clean hair to dirty, lots of people have had encounters, you're not dirty/a bad parent if your kid gets lice - but most of my lice experience has been with patients who were living in squalor before coming to the hospital, so I've always felt a little . . . smug, like "That'll never happen to ME." I remember a friend saying casually, years ago, "Well, you know they'll get it one day, right?" and me being HORRIFIED. Pride before the fall, right? I'm much more humble now.
I'm telling you because life has taught me that honesty about struggles in the best policy. This is in context, of course. I cringe as much as you do at oversharing. (OMG, my fbook friend who shared about crapping in a port-a-potty! Really?) But when I tell people that yes, my twins are from IVF, I meet other people who struggled with infertility. When I tell people that yes, I struggle with food and exercise, I bond with other people who have those issues. So I'm telling you that my kids had lice, I survived, and I bet some of you did, too. I've already met some, like my lovely neighbor who loaned us her special lice comb and E and L's teacher who said both her kids have had lice.
I got the "There is lice in our class!" note home from school last week and did a quick head check, but didn't find anything. Later that week their teacher emailed to say E was scratching her head a lot and maybe I should recheck? I did and oh look! There are nits in my kid's hair! Honestly, you guys, I've done a lot of gross things in my job, but this was one of the grossest PERSONAL things I've had to do. I told L that picking nits out of her hair was the second grossest thing I've ever done for her - first place goes to childbirth, of course.
Last weekend was a beautiful weekend, but I spent eight hours on Saturday and another eight hours on Sunday going through E and L's hair, inch by inch, in a variety of directions because sometimes a nit is only visible when the hair falls in a particular way. It was painful. My back killed. We watched at least five movies. A washed everything that could be washed, bagged up everything that couldn't be washed, and vacuumed the bejesus out of the house and furniture.
I'm doing nightly headchecks and we're still throwing all the bedclothes/towels in the dryer daily (heat kills nits) but they're lice-free as far as my incredibly detailed headchecks are concerned. The rest of us never got them, but I treated us all and have been checking our heads, too.
This is one of those experiences where I've always thought, "OH GOD I'LL NEVER LIVE THROUGH THAT!" and yet here I am, I've lived through it, I've learned a few things, and I'm much less judgmental when it comes to lice. I'm also completely traumatized. I don't know when I'll let my kids wear their hair down at school again and I can't casually run my hand over their head without obsessively checking for nits.