January 9, 2012

The joys of childhood

This past weekend, we were lucky enough to hit one more childhood milestone. I wish we could have left this one alone, but no. On Saturday night, after a day of freezing rain, I discovered a few emerging louse on Orianna's hair. Now, before you think I am some paranoid freak who is always checking, we had a pal over during Christmas break. Her parents called a few days later and said.... "Ummm.... yeah, she has lice." Due to the swapping of dress up hats, sharing pillows, etc I was expecting lice. Fortunately, I feel really confident that we caught it at the very beginning of the original eggs hatching. Orianna said her head had not been itchy at all.

Being late at night with icy roads, there wasn't much we could do to get rid of them at that moment. Justin was all eagerness to go buy stuff, but I didn't want to have to put that he was going to get RID or NIX for his family in his obituary. He told me I could leave that part out, but still--it would be a sordid sort of ending. So instead, we stayed up until 11 that night, bagging up every stuffed animal, barbie, polly, dress up dress, scarf, hat, and purse. Justin and Gilbert got buzz cuts. Justin lost his beard. We put our living room furniture under quarantine, rolled up our wool rugs, and generally behaved like our house was infested with ebola carrying insects instead of a few harmless, annoying parasites.

If you remember my resolutions, about getting rid of stuff and keeping things neat, it won't be too hard for you to understand how I could be excited about this. The kids can't spread barbies, pollys, dress up things, and stuffed animals around! We got out a weeks worth of clothes and then filled the walk in closet with all the quarantine things that will stay in there for 3 weeks or more. I only have a weeks worth of clothes for all of us! Even if I got really backed up in laundry, our clothes couldn't fill more than two laundry baskets! Fabulous! The floor is all bare wood, with no living room chairs or rug to sweep around--easy peasy! I may never open that closet again...

There are downsides of course. I am writing this from a stool, rather than my normal, comfy chair. I think this will cut down on computer time. I have also decided to wash all our sheets and pillowcases every single day. This will mean more laundry. I also had to pick through Orianna and Lily's hair, 10-20 strands at a time to check for nits. It wasn't fun. And I will have to do it every day for two weeks. I had to endure an hour and a half long of Justin detangling my hair and going through it in the same manner, with occasional heart stopping pauses so he could tell me I had a fleck of dandruff. Very demoralizing.

Since I couldn't do anything with rid or nix Saturday night, I went to google to see what I could do naturally. I found that vinegar dissolves the glue that holds the nits to the hair. Bingo! Five minutes later, the girls were draped over the side of the tub hollering as cold vinegar hit their scalps and wormed its way into their eyes. I thought they were being dramatic. Until Justin poured some cold vinegar on me.

Apparently rid and nix do not always work. In fact they often don't. There seemed to be a consensus online that when they didn't work, you resorted to plan B. Plan B sounds more like old-wives tales, but since I really hated the idea of making my daughters and my pregnant self dip our heads in insecticide like sheep, I decided to try plan B first.

Plan B
Massage olive oil, mayonnaise, or vaseline into hair.
Cover with shower cap for a few hours and wait until all adult live are smothered.
Rinse with vinegar to loosen nits
Wash with regular shampoo
Keep fresh sprigs of rosemary nearby since lice hate strong smells like rosemary

I went with mayonnaise, since it seemed like the easiest to stay in and the easiest to get out. I went to Wal-mart early Sunday morning, since we obviously weren't going to meeting with untreated lice. My cart looked something like this

5 gallon jugs of vinegar (I REALLY wanted to loosen those nits)
3 jars of mayonnaise
2 jars of vaseline (just in case)
15 shower caps
3 laundry basket (for filling with stuff and placing in the quarantine closet)
2 new pillows
2 packs of fresh rosemary
2 bottles of fragrance oil, just in case the rosemary wasn't quite fresh enough
1 nit comb

I thought the clerk would probably suspect me of making some weird kind of salad bomb, but fortunately, she was too intrigued with the guy in front of me who bought one bag of cough drops. The computer made her ID him for his birth date and this fascinated her. We discussed it in detail through my whole weird order. We concluded that the world had gone nuts and anyone who was going to get high off cough drops is desperate and depressing enough that we couldn't be responsible for their weirdness.

When I got home, we cleaned the entire house. Somehow this seemed like a good idea. Things that had been languishing with no home for weeks or months suddenly found a new home or took up residence in the huge contractors garbage bag we had for trash. It was lovely. We swept, we wiped, we organized, we scrubbed, we picked up. Once this was done, we went into the bathroom and got down to the dirty business of mayo-ing our hair. Gilbert and Justin were left out, since their hair was so short we could see at 5 paces if they had lice or not and they didn't.

Mayonnaise makes the hair remarkably style-able. The girls both got fancy hair rolls (mayonnaise rolls!) on the top of their head with a q-tip of lavender fragrance oil poked in to really annoy the suffocating lice And then the shower cap. Gilbert got jealous of their shower caps and had to have one of his own. They were that cool looking. Lastly, I did my own hair. I wouldn't recommend this for some day you feel like doing something, but you aren't sure what. Mayonnaise in your hair is strictly for desperate measures. I wanted to be sure to smother anything up there, so I glopped it on. As I was doing it, I dropped some of the mayonnaise on the kids little training potty. Orianna asked Justin "Does mommy thinks there are bugs on our little potty?" Probably you had to be there, but if you were standing in your bathroom, overtired, with a handful  of mayonnaise while your three offspring stare confusedly and amusedly at you from underneath greasy shower caps and your de-bearded and freshly buzzcut husband kindly holds the mayonnaise jar for you, it would be hilarious. Justin and I laughed until we cried and were gasping for breath.

I paid for being overzealous with the smothering mayonnaise by having tickle-y streams of oil running down my cheek all afternoon. Ick.

After our vinegar rinse, I got out the nit comb. Turns out the nit comb doesn't work too hot. I ended up having to take 10-20 strands at a time, going through them all from 3 different angles, and scraping any nits I saw off with my fingers. Made me feel like some primate or something. Orianna was the only one we found any nits on. And there weren't that many. While she had her mayonnaise beauty rinse on, a lone adult louse crawled out from underneath it, clearly seeking a better country, devoid of mayonnaise and lavender oil. This makes me feel good. Since Lily sleeps with Orianna, we must have caught it at the very beginning of having adult lice.

We cut some fresh sprigs of rosemary, tucked it into our kids greasy, knobby buns (apparently you need more than one washing to get mayonnaise out of the hair) and sent them to bed in separate beds.

It was an eventful day.

I do not wish to repeat it.

Gilbert with a buzzcut and doughnut icing and jam on his mouth

It's what the cool kids do

The only live one we saw

Now that I have totally grossed you out, you can now go about your own life. Was that an itch you just felt in your hair??!?!?!!?


Sheena said...

Hahaha! Sorry for getting a huge kick out of your lice problem! Sounds like you have a nice clean organized house and have scared any louse from coming within 50 miles:>

Cecil and Amy said...

Yikes! Thankfully I don't feel any ticklish feelings in my hair since you're 1200 miles away, but you should see me when there's an outbreak in my classroom!

Where's the cute picture of YOU with your mayo pug?

Lisa said...

Ha ha, I LOVE reading your blog! Definitely could see the humor in the potty saying- sounds like a familiar thought process around here.
Yucky, yucky, yucky; glad you got your house cleaned up, and hope you are done quickly! =)

laura said...

Hahaha! What a saga! Hilarious for us - but now I know what my poor mom went through!!

I love the picture of the girls reading by the window with their "caps" on (:

Anonymous said...

I was taken back to the time on Cherry Street we (us girls) all got lice not once or twice but thrise, I was a lunatic those days. My house was almost sterile. I would wake up wacking my head and waking up Scott to tell him I felt something crawl in my hair he said it was "all in my head" I said I know that, I want it out! I even tempted to douse my hair in kerosene, and alcohol, but thought maybe I would catch on fire. (I was already to fired up) Remember the time I jabbed a skunk on Townline Rd? the house (and contents in it )smelled for months, that was a picnic compared to the illusive unseen nits!!! Hope you got rid of them, and get your sanity back. ( Oh dear I felt an itch)

Virginia said...

So you all must have lovely lustrous locks after the mayo rinse, eh? I did that once b/c I read it made your hair gorgeous. All it did was make my hair smell like mayo.

I love how the kids looked thrilled to death to have mayo and shower caps on haha! This will be a real highlight later in life. :-) And your shopping spree items kill me, hilarious! I'm surprised no one called the bomb squad on you.

Rebekah said...

Word. What an experience. I agree with Amy, I'm wondering where the pics of YOU are!!! :)

Verity Earl said...

Aw, Betty baby! Hahaha, how awful and hilarious at the same time! I enjoyed the mayo in the toilet comment, too.