Yesterday my youngest was complaining that her scalp was itchy. I immediately flew into full panic mode, thinking back to four years ago when both of my kids were unfortunate enough to get lice.

I think they got them when we were goofing off in a bargain basement department store trying on silly hats, but it’s just a guess. All I know is a few nights later, my oldest woke me up from a dead sleep to say she had found a bug in her hair. My inner psyche said “uh oh” while my outer, very sleepy psyche said “I’ll check it out in the morning.” While probing her head in the dawn’s early light, I found what Google pictured/described as nits.

AAAAAAAARRRRGH!

A quick check of daughter #2’s dome confirmed it….both my kids had lice.

I’ve never had to deal with lice. I remember kids getting it when I was in elementary school, but I never had it. I rushed out that morning to the CVS in the cold & snow to purchase some RID, which by the way is freakin’ expensive; those fuckers know they have you by the nit-covered short hairs. Once home, both kids were quickly shampooed and combed out with the enclosed fine-toothed comb. But it seems that comb that comes with the RID kit is not very effective. I found no nits while running the too wide toothed comb through their hair.

The next day, while checking my youngest girl’s head I actually saw one of the little bastards. I called my husband over, who was able to grab it before it disappeared behind the zillion strands of infested hair. I was mortified! Wasn’t the RID supposed to kill these things? I called the 800 number to complain, and in true capitalist fashion, she suggested I buy another kit. Ha! I don’t think so.

What I did do is research. I found that lice don’t like coconut, and that the true way to get rid of these pests was constant combing and nit picking. I now understand how that phrase got coined. Because for close to two weeks these girls got a full blown, very meticulous lice treatment.

Each girl would get her hair slathered in coconut hair conditioner. Then, I’d carefully comb through small swatches of hair with a flea comb I bought at a pet store – that baby had teeth so close together that no lice or nit could possibly escape. After each pass I would dip the comb in water held in a glass bowl. Whatever nits/lice I had caught would then sink to the bottom. It gave me extreme satisfaction to look at the underside of the glass bowl and know that I had sent that many offenders to a watery grave.

I did this twice a day every day on both of my long-haired daughters until the bowl was free of lice carcasses for 3 consecutive days. Then I gave them another lice shampoo – but I bought the store brand this time. Screw RID. I even combed out my own hair a few times, but thankfully I deemed myself free of the critters. My bowl was always empty.

However, to this day, if my scalp itches just a little I worry that those bastards have returned – that somewhere there was one nit that has hatched 3 years later to infest and populate my head. I shudder at the thought. The whole ordeal was exhausting. Not only the combing of the head, but the constant washing/boiling of sheets, pillowcases and hairbrushes. My hands were continually pruned from spending hours covered in water and conditioner.

To this day, I’m not a huge fan of the smell of coconut. It takes me to a dark, dark place.

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