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The Delousing

January 25, 2011

Today was one I won’t get back.  And do you know what? I wouldn’t want it back, not if it came with a pretty bow and a bag of pralines.

Today was not the reason I became a parent.

Wayne woke up at 6:30 this morning.  The alarm clock that was supposed to sound at 6:15 had failed to go off.  So, we were up and running late.  Already, before Monday had even gotten off the ground.

I know everyone has a different system, but this is the short longer than nessecary version of ours.

  • Get up and rush the kids to get baths.
  • At 6:30, they’re ready for wardrobe, hair and makeup.  For better or for worse, Wayne handles that.
  • I make breakfast, get drinks fixed and greet everyone pleasantly with encouraging words.  I also field questions about why school has to start so early in the morning.  I don’t tell the truth, which would sound like, “Damned if I know.” But, instead, tell them how nice it is that they’ll get out at 2:00 instead of 3:00.
  • While they eat, we try to round up shoes, socks and book bags.  Often, voices are raised and loud questions about the whereabouts of said items are asked.  The kids don’t tell the truth when asked why they don’t leave their shoes in the mud room.  If they did, it would sound very much like, “Damned if I know.”  And that doesn’t sound good coming from little kids.  Most mornings, they leave with at least two out of three of these items.  Most of the time, but we’re not perfectionists, so whatever.
  • Then they scoot to brush teeth and are out the door.

Yesterday was a different matter altogether.  As I’m preparing breakfast, Wayne comes into the kitchen with great big eyes and starts questioning me in hushed tones about what lice look like.  All I know is that they’re little bugs.  Wayne suspects that while drying Mack’s hair, he’s found some.

God help us.

I seriously can’t see without my dollar tree optical center cheaters, so I put my glasses on and sure enough. Bugs.


By this point, I kid you not, my hands were shaking and my head was itching.

Sam had what may have been nits when we looked at his head.  My itching got worse.  Wayne was looking pretty uncomfortable too.

Adam had no signs of life on his scalp, so we let him go to school.  But, had plans to treat him as soon as he arrived home, just as a precaution.

I immediately googled head lice, asked for advice on twitter, and called the school.  All at the same time.

That’s an embarrassing phone call to make, let me tell ya!   But, I felt like I had to, we are all out of absences.  Remember the Disney trips!  I didn’t really schedule those with head lice in mind.

I was told that this would be an excused absence and they wanted them to stay home and be treated. (That’s a little nugget I’ll store, just in case hooky looks too tempting on one of those pretty spring days! Head lice=excused absence.  Some days pretty weather is worth a little humiliation.) I emailed their teachers, and one of them said she’d had an “incident” on Thursday and that she was worried because Sam was so “snuggly.”  To think, we always thought that his affectionate nature was a good thing.  Who knew?  I’m pretty sure, though Mack got the blame to begin with, that Sam was the originator.

These photos pretty much prove my point.  Don’t judge me on the poor quality, they’re just submitted as evidence.  He looks like the carrier to me.

More of Sam and his harem :)

Sam, Sam the ladies man.

Alliah and Sam

Sam and Caroline at the Polar Express Day

Caroline and Sam from behind

The person I spoke with at the school gave me a few tips involving olive oil, vinegar and tequila.  (By the end of the day, I was convinced that the tequila is there to anesthetize the mother who is stuck doing this.)

Like it or not, it was battle time.

My husband went to the pharmacy, where he made the humiliating purchases. He came home with an arsenal of head lice combating weapons.  Dropped them off with me and then got the heck out of Dodge.  Using work as an excuse.  The nerve!

I was left with two children, an itchy head and a bug battle to fight.  Somehow, when I dreamed of having a family, this was one daydream that didn’t make the cut.

Step one, douse Mack liberally with a lice killing shampoo,  most likely a carcinogen that smelled suspiciously like flea dip.  It had to be left on his head for ten minutes, according to the bottle, no more, no less.  What would happen if I left it for 11 minutes?  I felt the need to be super careful, just in case his scalp was to be eaten off, exposing his skull or a thousand other scary scenarios.  So, after ten minutes, no more, no less, I added water and then lathered his little lice infested head.  While pretending that he didn’t skeeve me out.  You know, just so his self-esteem was left in tact after the delousing.

Then we rinsed the flea shampoo medicated shampoo from his head.  And applied egg/knit picking gel.  I wish I were making this up.   Then I had to comb every hair on this wiggly child’s head with a two-inch wide fine tooth comb.  Neither of us enjoyed this one little bit.

Sam on the other hand sat on the edge of the tub watching intently as I inspected every millimeter of Mack’s scalp.  I wish it had been a false alarm, but I’m pretty sure it was not.  Quite a few suspicious looking things came from his nasty little head.

After pouring over his hair for what seemed like hours, we rinsed it.  Then dried it.  Mind you, I’m going through lots of towels during this process.  After each step, I gave him a new towel, I didn’t want to put anything we’d taken off back on.

Then I poured a bunch of olive oil on his head.  Wrapped it in Saran wrap, then put a clear shower cap on him.  I gave him old soccer shorts that I didn’t mind tossing.  And we started on Sam.

Sam couldn’t understand why Mack wasn’t interested in hanging around and seeing what would come out of his head.  Mack had spent enough of his life in a bathroom and was gone.  Shower cap, or “lice helmet” as he calls it, and all.

I repeated the gruesome process with Sam, who kept referring to it as a “spa day.”

Whatever gets him through the night.

For good measure, I poured half a bottle of olive oil on my own head, wrapped it in plastic wrap and put on a shower cap.

This whole process took, and I’m not exaggerating, over three hours.

I had a pretty strong feeling that if I picked Adam up in a shower cap, and by some stroke of luck, happened to have a bump up in front of the middle school, that caused me to get the kids out of the car, wearing shower caps due to lice infestation, that Adam wouldn’t like it.  So, my sweet mother in law picked them up for me.

Adam agreed upon arriving home and looking at us that I’d made the right call.

Then I did the flea bath/fine tooth comb treatment on him.  He was not pleased.  I was not either.  That kid has a lot of hair.

Once again, Sam enjoyed it.  Always seeing the glass half full, he told Adam he was having a spa day.  Adam said it was like “spa day at the trailer park.”  (Not nice, I know.  I’m sure there are wonderful trailer parks, and I’m sorry if you live in one and this was offensive.   Sadly, the one we were thinking of, is not one of the good ones.)

I didn’t find anything suspicious on him, so he was allowed to skip the olive oil. Lucky dog.

The other two boys asked for bread an awful lot yesterday.  I finally figured out the smell of olive oil was triggering that.  Shudder.

Between treating the infested, I used my washing machine’s sanitary cycle to wash linens, and all of the towels that the lice treatment was generating, clothes the kids had recently worn, ect.  Then I sprayed it with “bed spray,” Lord help me, and have bagged them in trash bags for two weeks.  All of the stuffed animals that Sam wallows on when he doesn’t have a human to hug up with are bagged as well.  This annoying precaution is just in case some of the nits survived and hatch again.

We have to do all of this again in seven to ten days.  Joy.

I scratch as I type.  Are you feeling itchy yet?

Hours passed and I combed the little guys again, washed their hair several times, trying to get the EVOO out.  And pronounced them nit and bug free.

Wayne came home, and proved his undying love for me.  I have very, very, thick hair.  And this man, who promised to love me in sickness and in health, spent the entire night living up to those vows. (This is sickness, my friends.  This is sickness.)  An entire night, he spent “nit-picking” me.  We were like a couple of monkeys grooming each other.  I can honestly say, last night, our bathroom was where sexy went to die.  After giving me the full spa treatment, I did Wayne’s grooming.   And we were done.

We all went to bed itching like son of a guns.  The very idea was crawling on all of us.

We checked everyone out this morning and they seemed to be clear.  Pray that it stays that way.

Sorry for the length of this post, but if I had to live through it, by gosh, I was going to share it.

26 Comments leave one →
  1. January 25, 2011 9:14 am

    Just the WORD lice makes me itch. If we end up having to do this – ever – I’m getting a real spa day as a reward. So should you.

    • January 25, 2011 9:41 am

      You know, I think a spa day is most certainly in order. Though, by law, I probably have to wait 10 days, to prevent infestation of their facility.

  2. January 25, 2011 9:26 am

    Oh my gosh!!! I am so sorry for your ordeal, but Erma Bombeck never made me laugh as much as your telling of your ordeal!!!! I am sitting in a camper in the pouring rain in Perry, GA, with tears running down my face. Phil finally asked me what in the world I was laughing at….

    • January 25, 2011 9:43 am

      Mrs. Horton, I’m laughing too, today. lol Yesterday was a different story altogether! I hope y’all have a wonderful trip! We want to be y’all when we grow up!

  3. January 25, 2011 10:30 am

    Not funny. But so very funny! I roared the whole way through. You are funny Carol Anne!
    We’ve not had lice. Yet. I know it’s going to come. The laundry seems like the worst part.

  4. January 25, 2011 10:35 am

    Oh my gosh! That is my WORST nightmare. But at least you have boys. Just imagine if all that hair was LONG. Oh the horrors. I love, love, love that your little guy called it spa day! And I love that your eldest called it spa day at the trailer park. So stinkin’ funny!

    One last comment. On reading your morning schedule, I thought to myself that you deserve an award for actually MAKING breakfast. Breakfast at my house consists of cold cereal. Daily. I only cook breakfast for dinner.

    May you stay lice free!

  5. January 25, 2011 11:49 am

    What you went through was not funny, but I was cracking up at the idea that it was a Spa Day. Just remember to keep an extra bottle of tequila on hand along with some bread for next week when you go through it again. 😉

    • January 25, 2011 1:44 pm

      I’m going to need a stiff drink, the next time I do this, I know what I’m in for!

  6. Jamie permalink
    January 25, 2011 12:16 pm

    You def. deserve a spa day after this experience!!!
    Did those products you used work well? And are you using any prevention products on your kids?? I heard about a few but was skeptical

    • January 25, 2011 1:45 pm

      I guess they worked well. I didn’t see any thing suspicious this morning! I guess we’ll know in a week or so, if they’re gone.
      I don’t know anything about products to prevent them. I’m trying to just wash everything in sight. Hopefully this is my first and last bout with this!

  7. January 25, 2011 3:06 pm

    This TOTALLY sucks, LL! There’s no way around that.

    I cannot believe the Mack Daddys your boys are, though! if they are heartbreakers now, as kids, I can’t imagine what it will be like when they are teens!

  8. January 25, 2011 3:35 pm

    OOOHH my gosh! I have been there and done that, so I feel your pain! Those little suckers are teNAcious! I finally heard about the mayo trick—basically the olive oil trick, but with mayo. One time when I was having to do my daughter’s head, I was at Walmart “stocking up” (even though we’ve been lice free for years, I always keep a spare jar of mayo. Just. In. Case.) when a little boy looked at all my mayo jars, turned his big brown eyes up to his daddy, and said, “Wow! That lady sure likes mayonnaise!” I nearly fell over laughing!

    But what a way to look at a gross situation as a “spa day”! : )

  9. January 25, 2011 4:34 pm

    I am so sorry! Its just something all children (and therefore mothers) end up going through at least once!

  10. January 25, 2011 5:17 pm

    What a horrifying ordeal. But you guys are so darn funny! I nearly choked to death on a bite of carrot when I read Adam’s comment, “spa day at the trailer park.” Hopefully you got rid of them all.

  11. Monica permalink
    January 25, 2011 9:25 pm

    Oh my gosh. You know we just went through this at my house with all three of mine…the day after Christmas…in a house with all of my sisters, their spouses, and their children. Gah! Mary Claire, too, had “spa day” except her’s consisted of Vaseline and a shower cap. And let me tell you, you DO NOT wash vaseline out of hair. Not with Dawn. Not with Joy. Not with Tide. Nothing! Because we tried.

    What a fiasco! I feel your pain. I really do. It took us a good two weeks to get every one deloused.

    From one pack of monkeys to another…hold fast, CA! Hold fast!

  12. January 25, 2011 10:43 pm

    Oh I just remembered! Treat the car too! Spray it, vacuum it, whatever. Wherever their little heads were, is a place you need to treat.

    I hope the lice have all left your house. Sorry bout that. Did I tell you on Twitter, one of my lucky girls had pinworms when she was little? Talk about gross. And they’re contagious, too. I didn’t have to worry as much since well, you know, they’re not in a place that is exposed to the world, but all linens had to be sanitized. I was spraying down our house for weeks afterwards.

    I’m so sorry, but it sure was funny to read about.

  13. January 26, 2011 2:44 am

    I’m so nervous right now. Lice has hit my son’s kindergarten class. So far, nothing but those bugs can be persistent. I’m holding my breath and hoping we don’t get it.

    The whole process you just described? Sounds perfectly awful. Sorry. Hope everyone stays nit free.

  14. January 27, 2011 12:10 am

    Here…I’ve been away from blog land and missed this most entertaining post. Mostly entertaining because it happened to you and not ME!! ha ha I feel your pain. I’m so sorry!!

    When I was a camp counselor one summer we always had a few “scholarship” weeks. One of those weeks 4 out of the 6 girls in my cabin came with lice! One girl had been enjoying a rest on my bed and “pillow” before she had been shampooed!! I swear…I itched all week. The other counselors were taking bets on whether or not I ‘d get lice. I dodged the bullet big time!!

  15. January 27, 2011 2:21 am

    Oh lady!! I would have lost it! That sounds like the least fun day EVER!

    Seriously though?!? I love Sam! A spa day?!? That kid cracks me up!! And look at those pictures! The ladies love him!

  16. January 27, 2011 11:38 am

    I was dying with laughter at your descriptions, as horrible as the situation was. You actually made a day of dealing with lice interesting and humorous! What talent! I really am sorry for that, though. We haven’t had to do that (knock on wood) with our kids, but I have had to deal with it working at a daycare. I’m off to wash my itching scalp!

  17. January 27, 2011 1:21 pm

    This sounds horrifying, but I love the way you told it. Here’s hoping you are out of the clear!

    And at least your boys have a sense of humor about it. Spa day at a trailer park. Seriously, where did he come up with that one?

  18. Bridget McCowan permalink
    January 27, 2011 9:54 pm

    My goodness, my head started itching just reading this! Would love to see a pic of you and Wanye in your “lice helmets!”

  19. January 28, 2011 11:15 pm

    I’m itching already, LL! Man, what a pain….and with three boys? You just have to do it.

    I agree that the tequila would work best for mom; maybe kill a few lice too.

    Hang in there, and good luck!

  20. January 30, 2011 10:14 pm

    Such an experience – and one I think just about every parent goes through – but it doesn’t make it any better! It sure does make for some cute photos, though.

    Thanks for the note on my gp at belle and bean’s…!


  21. February 3, 2011 1:55 pm

    I am a follower of Sonora’s at

    After reading your story, now my head is itching! I love the reference of your ‘lice day’ to ‘spa day’. 🙂

  22. February 26, 2012 10:54 am

    Knock on wood, we haven’t had to deal with this yet. But my scalp is itching right now. And I have missed your posting!

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