February

19

2012

The ‘L’ Word – Lice

Filed under: Lice Happens

What’s a four-letter word that starts with ‘L’ and sends chills down our spines?

Graphic Courtesy of Scarymommy.com

Recently there was a lice alert at our school. We got an email saying that our kids had been exposed to lice – but I didn’t know until the end of the school day if it was my child, or someone else’s child, who had the lice – so my heart was in my throat until I picked my kids up and they told me it was some other child. 

I was so relieved. As you may know, we had lice last summer. Ever since then I’ve been a bit paranoid – checking my children’s heads regularly, combing them out twice weekly, always looking – because once you have lice, as a mom, it’s really hard to get over the whole experience. And I sure-as-shit do not want us all to go through that again.

I had to wonder why I was so worried about it being my kids – especially since I knew how to deal with it pretty efficiently. As I drove away, relieved, my children started babbling about which kids they thought it might be – and I hissed at them to stop talking about it, immediately.

“It doesn’t matter which kid has it,” I said.

Whoever they were, they were sent home and were being treated for it. I told my kids not to repeat the name of whoever they thought it was or to talk about this with other children. Why? Because that would be unfair to the child who has lice, and to the family. It also doesn’t help to treat the kid who has/had lice as a leper – the only thing that helps is to always practice good hygiene, to not share brushes, hats, helmets or barretts, and to not touch other kid’s hair whether it be through contact sports, sleepovers, and so on.

I only knew this because we had gone through it over the summer – and it is a terrible experience. I wouldn’t wish lice on any family.

I realized then why I was so on edge about it potentially being my kid: the sanctimommies. I dreaded feeling judged, whispered about, discussed, and having my children referred to as the ones who had lice. 

Anyone can get lice. The cleaner the hair, the more likely you’ll have lice, as a matter of fact – because the nit will stick more easily to clean hair than it will to dirty hair. So it has nothing, nada, zero to do with your mothering or how clean or dirty you are. But for whatever reason, the myth that equates having lice with dirty habits is still perpetuated, and people still judge those who get it unfairly.

Except for me. I’m not gonna go there. Whoever it was who had lice – and I do not want to know who it was – my heart goes out to them, because it sucks. And one year, it could be my kids.

What to do if your kids have lice.

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Comments

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  1. OMG = that is such a hilarious culture difference. We have live letters EVERY WEEK. The fact that my son, at ten, has NEVER had lice is a kind of weird phenomenon. When my friend Helen’s kids turn up at the house wearing hats, I know they’re “live”. My sister, who is a clean-freak scrubbing her kids every night of the week -carries a ‘nit comb’ in her handbag. Short, greasy hair is the key to not getting them and I thank GOD I have boys so I can keep their hair like that. My youngest the Tominator has cute long curls in a mad mullet at the back, and we had “the lice” warning letter home from nursery this week so he might be due a short back and sides! There is NO SHAME in getting lice – God No – but they are vile Ado – and you are so right – it is nobody’s business what kid has them and frankly? It’s colossally mad manners to even enquire about such a thing!
    P.S. Have you stuck your nose into my new blog? Love to get your feedback……trying to get a few more followers so I’m not writing away here into the void!
    http://www.tumblr.com/blog/katekerriganauthor
    Twitter: katekerrigan

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    • I just checked out your new blog and will spread the word for you for sure Morag.
      I am aghast that you get cases of lice out in the W. of Ireland so regularly and are so casual about it – I’m almost jealous that you can all be so matter of fact. Here it’s like a criminal offense – seriously – we might only get a single letter per year but there’s always a huge reverberation going through all the moms and kids – lots of dread. Your comment was so funny. (-:

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  2. I always thought the ‘clean hair’ thing was a myth invented to shut the sanctomommies up? I dunno, but either way they need to get a life. Getting lice is very common, and nothing that people should be ashamed of, or judging others for.
    Twitter: myhonestanswer

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  3. The very word lice sends shudders down my spine.
    Twitter: AlisonSWLee

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  4. Why is there such a stigma about having lice? Jeepers, we got it once after coming home from the South Pacific. There, it is quite common to have it and most people certainly couldn’t afford the scalp shampoo to get rid of them.

    Miss you, Ado. Hope you are having a good weekend!
    Twitter: amountainmomma

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  5. I had no idea that the cleaner the hair the easier it is to get lice, but now I feel better about not showering as often as I used to when I had a leave-the-house job. Thanks for increasing my self-esteem and I’m really glad you don’t have lice.
    Twitter: sarcasmgoddess

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  6. Hey Ado!
    Love your blog!
    I come from a 3rd world country (DOminican Republic) & Lice are a very common thing, so common that I can’t remember a school year b4 I turned 14 when I didn’t get the darn things (at 14 I was allowed to color my hair & I guess the dyes make it less appealing 2 lice, but it doesn’t make em ignore you completely). I have to agree on the clean hair thing, I kept my hair super short & washed it every day, but it made no difference once one of my siblings got lice, we were all bound to get them.

    Again, Love your blog!
    Now i’ll move away from the pc coz just thinking & writing about lice is making my head itch…BAD!

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