Still Jealous?

Carla: So last week I was away from my family for about 30 hours. I went to my parents’ house for a little gathering of my beloved aunties and a few girls cousins, then spent the next morning and part of the afternoon sitting by the lake, soaking up the sun, reading a book, and generally reveling in being alone. I mentioned this on Facebook and Caryn of course flipped me the virtual bird. Can’t say I blame her. I would have done the same thing.

However, I returned home to a situation that more than makes up for my brief holiday. Misery, thy name is Head Lice. That’s right. Lice.

In 12 years of parenthood, this is our first bout of head lice and I pray with every ounce of faith I have that it is our last. If you’ve had it, you know that it perhaps the greatest bane of motherhood.

It isn’t even the ick factor that makes lice such a pain in the patootie. It’s the work. I have spent–and I’m not exaggerating here–a minimum of 4 hours a day hunched over my children, picking through their hair one strand at a time to remove nits. We’ve washed–again, no exaggeration–at least 20 loads of laundry in the last few days. And I’m still itchy.

While I think we are lice-free (Dear God please let us be lice free!), it will take me at least two months to feel like we have truly recovered. In my new favorite book, The Passion of the Hausfrau, author Nicole Chaison compares the battle of the Head Lice to one of the epic battles fought by the likes of Ulysses or Hercules. But honestly, I’ll take a run in with Harpies over lice any day. The kids can’t play with anyone, I feel like the whole house is a potential site of re-infestation, and we can’t even hug each other without suspicion.

I have no greater point here. However, if in two weeks we are still lice-less, I will share my then-foolproof method for irradicating lice in less than a week.

I hope you’re happy Caryn.

Caryn: Well, I’m just amazed that my “pox on your house” curse works from this far away! Normally, I’m only able to shoot it within the Chicagoland area!

Seriously, though, I am both sorry and horrified that this happened (not to mention wondering if I still do want to stay at your house during Christianity21 as we had once discussed….). And I totally hear you on the gross factor not being the biggest issues—but the added work.

Except for the 30-hour breaks that some of us get every now and again, I think most of our lives are pretty tightly strung. Not that we’re overly scheduled with park district activities or back-to-back playdates, but that for things to happen as they need to (dishes to get washed, laundry put away, deadlines met, etc.) we can’t have things happen that require 4 hours of literal nit-picking.

I know from a bit of experience this weekend alone—I could tell you about the huge bunny cage scrub this weekend that resulted from finding something unpleasant flying around inside. But we’ve had enough bug-talk for one post.

Anyway, I’m sorry this happened, Carla. And no, I’m not happy. Especially for your kids. Especially for you. Hope you stay lice-free and get a bit of your life back.

Maybe should we find out what are some of the other things of mommyhood that throw the Rev-ers off track and mess with their lives a bit? Make them crazier than usual?

Carla: I’ve gotten to the point where if something involves more than one step, it’s not going to happen. My eldest needs to go to the orthodontist for a pre-braces assessment. No big whoop. But making that appointment involves me finding the reminder card and/or trying to remember the name of the orthodontist and then looking up a phone number and then making the call and then looking at the calendar and thinking through which day a month from now will work best for us knowing full well I will end up having to move the appointment anyway because some immovable event that I don’t know about yet will fall on that same day. And that’s just more hassle than I have mental space for.

Thankfully I have plenty of days when neither vomit nor a flooded basement nor a lost dog nor any combination thereof can derail me. But other days the simple request for a play date feels like it will put me far, far beyond the edge. This time the lice hit us during a good run, but if those suckers come back in January, they have a pretty good chance of winning.


7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Steve B. on August 10, 2009 at 9:06 am

    Why does my head itch every time I hear or read a lice story? Thank God, we have not had to endure a lice plague in our home but we assume that, with our daughter in a Chicago Public School, it’s not IF, but WHEN. This spring however, I was convinced that we had bedbugs (even though we never actually saw one) and I bought those special “bedbug-proof” covers for our mattresses and box springs and put suspicious articles of clothing in the basement freezer for two days.

    What was the topic again?


  2. This is the best statement of this conversation:

    “I’ve gotten to the point where if something involves more than one step, it’s not going to happen.”

    This is SO TRUE for me. love it.

    …oh, and I’m so sorry you got infested. We had bedbugs once, that was so stressful and frustrating. I imagine lice to be similar.


  3. Posted by Julie Barnhilll on August 10, 2009 at 9:37 am

    Girls (and readers)

    Two words: The Licemeister. (

    Seriously, pick up the steel comb at Walgreens, WalMart, etc. When I needed it years ago you could only find it and order it online. Best $25.00 I EVER spent. Forget shampooing ever stinkin’ item in the Cosmos. Forget coating your children with pesticides and shampooing their hair with who knows what? This puppy will take care of your worried.


    One round with a 6th-grade girl, corkskrew curls to her shoulders, post-church camp, LADEN with nits etc. It was disgusting. So much pressure as she started school in a week or two and you did NOT want to be sent home from the school nurse due to nits. I combed through her hair at least three times; section by section. Then once everyday for at least two-weeks. Then twice a month. She’s grab the comb and check herself as it took her a while to lose that ick-factor feeling.

    Second round with two boys, post vacation and trying on those over-size hats at an amusement park (hence lice.) They both were complaining about itching scalps but I figured they just needed to bath more. *smile* I finally took them outside and grabbed the Licemeister and ran it through their hair. OH. MY. WORD. I’m talking lice the size of Humvees! I actually cried as I was so disgusted that I had missed this as a Mom. We de-loused and then did a close head shave with the clippers.

    So there you go.


  4. Posted by April G. on August 10, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    I am literally scratching my head as I write this. Ugh! Another mommy friend of mine recently had a flea infestation at her house while her husband was gone on military duty. Double ugh!

    Today I had to sit in line at TWO different government agencies. First to get a copy of my marriage certificate (that had been lost for 3+ years) . Second to finally offically change to my married name at the social security office. The first, not so bad. The second, hell in the inner-city. I took one look and knew there was a reason I had procrastinated doing this for four years. An hour and a half later, the deed was done. It was absolutely miserable, but at least the kids were at Grandma’s house.

    It is that kind of stuff that hangs over my head for years. I also dread the post office. Waiting in line at government agencies freaks me out. I’m fine at the library, but anywhere else is like torture.


  5. Another mother’s semi-humorous (as funny as lice can be anyway) story

    I’m just hoping my Saturday alone will not be punished as deeply.


  6. Posted by Angela on August 12, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    When my son and daughter played baseball at the Y this summer, a mere mention from the coach’s wife that there had been some lice in the neighborhood had me running for Target to buy them their own batting helmets. I was not the only one.

    I totally relate to the if it’s more than one step, it’s not happening. Uninterrupted blocks of time are few and far between, so much so that if I get one, I almost get a bit of paralysis wondering what to do first.

    I’m hoping to find a few more blocks of time when, for the first time, both of my children are in school all day this year. This will probably take a few weeks, as I’ll be running around everywhere doing all the errands that my children and I mutually agree will go better if I do them alone. My mother-in-law told me that when all of her kids were in school all day for the first time, she wasn’t home during the day for three weeks straight. I believe her!


  7. Well, Carla, I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one procrastinating about the orthodonist. My oldest also needs some work done. I even took him in last winter for an evaluation and she said he needs an expander. I’ve just been overwhelmed with what orthodonist to go to. The one I took him to was recommended by a friend whose husband does dental surgeries, so I’m sure the person he recommends is good. But this orthodonist is 30 minutes away and really, I’m just not sure I can handle driving 30 minutes for orthodonic work. So now I”m back to the same dilemna — where do I go for this work. And rather than making appointments and just going to a few around here to check them out, I sit paralyzed by indecision and now 8 months have gone by and he still hasn’t had any work done and I feel like a horrid mom. Oh, and then multiply the indecision paralysis by just about everything in my life these days and it’s a wonder I get anything accomplished. I feel like the “P” part of my personality (Myers-Briggs personality type — ENFP) has has gotten a bit out of control.


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