So today I am going to take a few minutes to tackle a nit-picky problem that has crept into our lives….LICE! Our family has been infiltrated for the first time. I know that there are a lot of social stigmas in the world today about LICE and I for one am not someone who lives her life dictated by such things and so the reactions of children took me by surprise. But let’s start at the beginning.
Almost 11 days ago my little lady came home talking about a girl in her class who has lice. Now this conversation was taking place between my daughters but as soon as I hear that one little word, “LICE,” my mommy ears went onto high alert and my reaction was auto pilot. ‘Grab my phone’ I demanded to one daughter. ‘Go find a magnifying glass” I hollered to the other. “Sit here!” I snapped to the poor daughter with the loose tongue. I called the school and got the 411 on the lice situation. Yes, someone had it. No, they don’t have to tell us anymore (WHAT!?!?!). Yes, we have someone check the kids but again they are only looking for live lice and do not notify you even if there are eggs (insert repeat WHAT!?!?!). At this point my older two girls we crying because if their friends found out they had lice they would never play with them again. It meant that our family was dirty and not healthy. It meant that they would be forever shunned – and seeing as the oldest is only in the 4th grade that is a lot of school shunning years left. They were hysterical!
And, so in my fury and their emotional devastation, I began the daily search for lice. The only one that was given a free pass is my very bald husband. Day 1 – nothing, day 2-nothing, day 3, 4, 5 -nothing, Days 6-8, nothing. Then the Flu hit 3 of us, and a nasty cold took down 2 more, and for a moment I forgot about the lice. The weekend passed. Luckily we skipped our normal 3 hours of Church activities due to fevers and on Monday school started again. Tuesday when my littlest lady -the one with the loose tongue from earlier- walks through the door I laughed out loud.
“What did you do on the way home from school, baby, get in a fight with a squirrel? It looks like a bird nested on top of your head! You okay?”
“Yeah” she replies, “My head has just been really itchy today!”
“Ahhh CRAP!” I blurt out. That is my version of a bad word so all movement in my house came to screeching halt and every little eye was glued on me.
I found a shower cap and made her put it on, hiding all her hair in it. Then we gathered up all the hair brushes and started boiling them, we striped down all the bed, wrapped pillows in plastic garbage bags, started loads and loads of blankets and clothing. I found my hidden stash of chocolate to use as bribery for the hours of hair grooming that I saw in the future! This mama freaked out! But….the thing I did get right is the reason that I am sharing all this with you. Yes, I freaked out, but if you could see the amount of hair that I have, you would have freaked out for me too! BUT, I did not tell her she was dirty, or asked her when was the last time she showered? I did not tell her that lice were nasty disgusting little buggers that deserve to be wiped of the face of the earth -even though I was thinking all this. What I told is that she is beautiful. And as I wiped the tears off her sweet face I told that she had lice in her hair because it was the most beautiful thick, happy hair that the stupid lice could find and that kind of amazing hair on such a precious girl was a treat that they could just not resist!
Now lets talk dollar and cents for a few minutes. My DIY Lice Removal Project would have cost me a total of $162. I really feel like I should invoice the School District for my Lice Removal and maybe they will rethink their Cost vs. Privacy issues which influence the newest policy of Don’t Tell. Not only is this method painful to my budget it is painful to all of us involved. Heads hurt, necks are sore, egos are diminished. We can’t go anywhere public, dinner consists of cereal cause I had no time to cook, there is no hot water left in the house, everyone is cranky and tired- Okay I am being dramatic but you get the point. After two days of this and still finding nits and an occasionally wiggly breathing creature I decided this was not going to work. I Googled Lice Removal and found the most amazing lady I have met all year! She runs a Lice Removal Salon called Picky Picky.
I called and she offered to check everyone for head lice. If someone has it the treatment cost $80 per head. That treatment includes the washing with an all natural shampoo, lice and nit removal, and a follow up treatment 7 days later. The best part is she knows what she is doing, she is fast, and she is amazing to the kids. My little lady thought that she was the luckiest girl in the world because she got a morning of pampering. She did not feel like she had done something wrong by getting lice, she felt beautiful! She did not feel dirty and unwanted, she felt clean and loved! Instead of teaching my children that they should be ashamed of getting lice, I taught them that lice are part of life and we are all on this journey together. I pampered them and made them feel as special as they are, lice and all. The total cost of our Lice Spa Day was $120; $80 for treatment, $10 for a repellent spray I bought as a gift for our teacher, and $20 for a shampoo for at home treatments (it has enough for 16 applications!). And this was all done in just under the time it took my kids to watch a movie on the Netflix at the Salon.
I wish that every child felt this loved and beautiful when they have had to have lice removed. I also wish that every parent would not be humiliated by the fact that lice is part of life and might be part of their kids head for a few days. If we could end the stigmas that are as much of a nuisance as the actual problem, maybe we would not have school policies that will not inform parents when lice is found in a classroom. LICE are part of life and life happens to all people. That’s it. Life comes with the good and bad, the pain and the joy. One of my favorite sayings is “Find joy in the journey.” (Thomas. S. Monson) Lice have become part of our journey and we found joy on our Lice Spa Day.
So where is all of this going? To resources and hopefully so someone else will start talking about the fact that lice are lice and they are part of life, so just get over it! Or dare I say it…’Let it go!’ I chose to keep my kids home from school for a few days to combat this assault and hopefully prevent the army of lice from moving their front line to another family. So we had a ‘Lice Lesson’ and then a ‘Lice Party’. Following are the resources that I used to find joy in this part of our journey I hope they will be a benefit to you.
State of Washington: Infectious Disease Control Guide for School Staff
Head Lice (Pediculosis humanus capitis): pg. 75 / PDF pg. 82
School Staff/Nurse Responsibility
Immediate or long-term exclusion is no longer recommended. Students with live head lice can remain in class and go home at the end of the school day, be treated, and return to school after the appropriate treatment has begun. Students can return to school with nits following treatment. Nits may persist after initial treatment, therefore, students with nits should be allowed back in school the next day. Successful treatment should kill crawling lice.
*** I understand that people want privacy so that children are not bullied, but I would have LOVED a note from the school saying please be on the look out for lice for the next two weeks because a child in your child’s class was found to have some!
Baby Barbie Lice Attack: A really funny game that my girls played on the computer