Tuesday, May 4, 2010

of lice and women

(Note: The first half of this post was written when I was at my wits end...I haven't seen the end of my wits before, but I saw them and it was very, very scary! I have since climbed up the rope of my wits, and can no longer see the end. Which feels good)

you may notice that there are no capital letters in the post. well i'm writing on dave's computer and his shift key is broken and quite frankly i am too tired to get my own computer. so i will rock this all e.e. cummings like.

i have been composing this post all week. and yet, i feel that it will probably end up being a bit like a modern poem. short, prose like, not necessarily in rhyme. and with no capital letters.

you may have noticed that i've been absent from the blog this week.

well, this week i met my match. i saw the end of my rope and hung on for dear life. i found that which can undo me.

lice. the plural of louse. pediculosis. so little. so gross. and so. very. hard. for. me. to. deal. with.

i thought i was born to parent. traveling, sickness, late nights, early mornings, sure i got burnt out, but my head was always somewhat above water. or i had my trusty straw so I got just enough air.

but lice?

you see, this week lisel was sick with a nasty cold. and she was teething. so you know, she wasn't in the best of moods. and i was okay with that.  nothing i hadn't seen before, and besides, we were home. how hard could a cranky baby be?

and then, i spotted a bug on her head. and then another...and parenting wise i have to say i nailed it. within minutes i was on the interweb looking up natural remedies, and then i was at the store and then we were treating and combing and picking out nits. and it was gross and made me itch all over but i did it.

and then there was a house to delouse which Dave and I did. We washed and vacuumed an did everything they tell you to do on the interweb.

(Flash forward to a week and a half later.  I'm sane. Dave's shift button is still broken, but I have the strength to get off the couch and get my own computer. I'm am neither desperate not disconsolate. And I have but one thing to say.)

When dealing with Lice, save yourself the heartache and use the big guns first. Go chemical baby!

This is so against all the hippy leanings. But I tried going natural and it almost killed me.

So here's the deal, I saw louse or two (lice! ewww!) And I freaked and turned to the interweb, looking for a non chemical solution. And most of them involved smothering the lice--putting a gooey something on Lisel's hair and  leaving it in for hours (impossible with a toddler).  But a couple involved tea tree oil and shampoo and leaving it in for 10 minutes and then combing out the lice and the picking out the nits (eggs). And that just seemed more workable.

Except that tea tree oil is more preventative that curative.  I think it annoys the lice but it does not kill them. And so for days I was in lice hell. I would comb some out, then pick the nits, and the next day, there'd be more lice.

Which is why by the end of the week, I was a complete basket case. Lisel and I were stranded on the island that is our house, our front yard and our backyard. I refused, absolutely refused to go in public and be known as a spreader of lice.  So I was getting stir crazy.

And to make matters worse, Dave's near sight is not so hot these days. I can't blame him. I mean, two years ago he came within spitting distance of blindness in one his eyes due to a detached retina -- but his impaired vision meant that I had no one to check my own hair.

Meaning I had no way of knowing if I had lice too.

So I was going a little mad with not knowing.

And then, Sunday night, after I had had my mother check my head earlier that day and pronounce it clear, and had deemed myself safe for an outing and had gone to a rehearsal with other women--women who had hair, and had children with hair--I found them. Critters. In. My. Hair.

I was so embarrassed. And totally grossed out.

And that is when I truly lost it.  I freaked. I fell off the edge of rationality into the crying pit of despair.

And I broke out the chemicals. Both for me and my daughter.

And it worked.

I mean, getting rid of lice is still a bitch.  I'm still checking Lisel's head. And Claire Small came to my rescue to check mine.  And we'll be checking for a while cause those suckers are crafty. But chemicals killed them, dead.

And that has made all the difference.


PragmaticMom said...

I blog on How To: Detect and Get Rid of Lice at http://pragmaticmom.com based on my 2x experience. I like the Olive Oil treatment (non-toxic and inexpensive), the Terminator Comb and the Robi comb.

Pragmatic Mom
Type A Parenting for the Modern World

I blog on parenting, children's lit and education

Beth Yehaskel said...

I know your pain. And totally agree with your advice on this one. And mostly I'm glad that you've rediscovered sanity.

Looking forward to seeing you Sunday!!

Carole said...

seems you are just on the cutting edge..this story was recently in the New York Times!