comb for lice

There are great things about having girls. All the fancy, adorable dress-up clothes, all the sweet smiles, bonding over painted toenails, Barbie playtime, and Frozen sing-a-longs. But then there are some seriously sucky things about having girls. One is, gulp, lice.

I survived Lice War I when my daughter was three. I’m guessing she brought the little critters home from daycare, but I’ll never really know where she got them, although they don’t just spring up out of the ground, so I’m blaming the daycare!

It was one of my rougher parenting experiences. Since she was only three at the time, getting a toddler to sit still long enough to comb through her hair with a fine-tooth comb was less than happy joy-joy time. The best way I got through it was bribing her to sit still for twenty minutes or so with a loli-pop and Wow Wow Wubbzy.

Lice are on my mind again because I recently survived Lice War 2. I’m practically a three star general at this point. The battlefield—my daughter’s scalp—the enemies are not regulars who fight fair. Oh no. These are little devils that employ guerilla warfare—they will hold their ground (or hair shaft) with their little claw feet, and will hide in the thicket of wilderness that is your child’s head. But it is possible to beat them! I can help you, if you’ve never been to war before.

So get out your weapons and your courage, and remember, no quarter shall be given! There can be NO survivors!

These are the Rules of War:

1). Light ‘em up. This is the equivalent to a bomb explosion. You think: Oh the chemicals! Sorry, folks, no way around it. I tried the naturopathic suggestions such as tea tree oil, mayonnaise suffocation, and dry combing. No can do my friends. The enemy is too sneaky for that. They will hide, you can’t starve them out (they will find the blood they crave—they can smell it), you can’t smother them (they will hold their itty-bitty breathes), and if even one tiny little nymph (baby louse) or nit (lice egg) survives, they will reproduce faster than you can say, but I thought the war was over

2). Aim small, miss small. My daughter has thick hair. It was a nightmare, no half-assing this one, I quickly discovered. You must methodical part the hair into small, individual sections, combing through each section (from scalp to the end of hair), and repeat until you have combed through every single bit of the hair. Just when you think there can’t possibly be another louse or nit left on the planet, let alone your kid’s hair—you are wrong. You must do this all over again the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that. And then, do it one more day, just to be safe.

3). Keep Calm and Carry on. You can do this. It was rough for me too, and I had to do this twice! Don’t give in, don’t let the enemy see your fear! The good news? Yes, yes there is some good news—lice do not carry diseases and cause no real health problems. So think about that every time you see one of the little buggers and an involuntary shudder crosses your skin. Oh, and you are like a bazillion times bigger than these things, so like, you win.

4). Tipping Point. Ah, you’ve got them on the defensive now! They are outnumbered, and outmaneuvered. Only a few rebels remain to strike against you, so hit ‘em hard, one last time. You must do another chemical treatment 7-10 days after the first treatment. I recommend combing through the hair for two or three more days after that, just to be sure nothing escaped, or was hiding in the trenches.

And that’s it, you’re done! You have successfully been schooled in the art of war. I hope you have been paying attention. Don’t forget! Show no mercy! If you know of any tips and tricks for quickly getting rid of lice, feel free to share.

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Katie Rosa is a writer, a former probation officer, The Tamer of The Rose, and mother to Jocelyn and Liam. She thinks her writing is hilarious but really it’s only mildly amusing and sometimes borderline offensive. Still, she giggles madly to herself while writing, so she can’t stop. She loves referring to herself in the third person because that makes her feel like a character in a story. Author of A Rowboat Out of Sand, available on amazon. Check out her website for more info about her books and other writings.

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