Oh … The Shame!

So I was in the deep south (Lake Side) a couple of Sunday’s ago, when I got the frantic phone call (well for her it was frantic!) … “I found creepy crawlies in my angels hair” OH NO I gasped!  (not really but let me have a bit of dramatic licence here) Brand the letter L to your forehead mother for the rest of your life … this is what people will remember … LICE!
I live delusionally thinking that there are a myriad of topics that I am the go-to-girl for my friends, however reluctantly even I have to admit that we (I) have built a disproportionately HUGE amount of competency in this particular area!  Not over the moon about it, but there it is … 
I remember the first time my youngest came home with lice, I was spitting spiders (when I eventually figured it out).  I immediately phoned the chemist and got the product that was highly recommended … “send me 2” was what I frantically ordered.  I remember it was a cool Saturday morning, I placed my then 4 year old, on a chair in the middle of the front garden and liberally started lifting her hair and spraying the commercial product on her head and hair.  Now this particularly precious child of mine, has the most luscious, beautiful, abundant, thick, healthy, stunning, dark hair, like her daddy.  I liberally sprayed it on her hair, taking great care not to get any in her eyes, as per the instructions on the can.  Because it was a pressurized product it came out cold and there was a bit of giggling that ensued from the cold product.  I sprayed and sprayed like I owned shares in the company and soon enough the can spluttered its final contribution.  Standing back I surveyed my work and decided that I just MUST have gotten them all … “the little buggers!” I muttered not so under my breath.  I went back inside the house, to throw the can away and wash my hands only to hear my non-cry-baby start SCREAMING and I MEAN S.C.R.E.A.M.I.N.G!  In between shrieks and breathing she managed to get out that the product was burning her!  In record time we McGyvered a plan and had her head over the bath and was washing out this highly recommended product.  I was FURIOUS!  How can a product even be on the market that does this??!!  Re-reading the side of the can it said in one sentence apply liberally to ensure coverage and then in the next sentence Burning can be experienced by people with sensitive skin.  Nice one people – sneaky … I was livid!  I think the product worked, but it traumatised her and she still remembers it.
I was desperately hoping that this would be a one-off … I can’t remember having lice as a child, so how could my children?  I asked myself irrationally … oh I was SO wrong!  This particular child of ours, comes home with it every 3 months or so, at season change like clockwork and no-one else in the house neither catches it from her nor brings it home (my youngest has only had it once in all her time at daycare and school – go figure).  Nope … lice love my oldest child’s hair and why not, it is stunning, thick, long and luscious (I say through gritted teeth).
I have tried every remedy known to woman!  Needless to say I discarded the commercial skull-burning therapy-requiring route and headed into the more gentler natural remedy direction and after trying many products and even more concoctions, oh and the BS theory about not washing her hair as frequently, “because lice only like clean hair” WTF?, this advice only given to me by ignorant people who have never met my mother and so if this theory holds any water whatsoever, then pray do tell me why do bergies have lice – yip … thought so … BS THEORY!  So now I am proudly the un-contested self-appointed Lice Terminating Queen in my circle of friends … hence the phone call!
Once you have put aside the shame of bearing the L branding (mine is cleverly hidden under my fringe [like Harry Potter]) and get on with the slightly enjoyable task of exterminating the little buggers, there is an odd sense of satisfaction.  The shame is only second to the need to NUKE everything in and around your child.  Bedding is ripped from her bed, washed on 90°C (even the washing machine got a fright), clothes are given the same treatment draining of any colour from the fabric in your quest to de-louse.  Curtains that might have touch bedding are stripped and washed.  Car seats are sprayed, school cases are brushed with some raggedy @$$’ed thing that came out of the second world war.  Teddy bears are quarantined for 2 weeks in thick talc to suffocate the little suckers (the lice that is, not the teddy’s – they hold their breath – teddy’s are clever like that).  Then the cleaning – oh the cleaning - bleach becomes your new best friend and you end up having to throw away the clothes you disembowelled the house with.  And then regardless of even looking like another member of the family is about to scratch their poor head, EVERYONE gets lice treatment (even the dog, we don’t have a dog, but if we did … ), which now is a rather pleasant natural treatment of pure Rosemary and Tea Tree oil. 
Herewith some pearls people … I’m sharing here … Drown the hair (hair not the child) in pure Rosemary and Tea Tree Oil and when the poor child looks like one of those dreadful penguins coated in an oil slick, you know you have achieved your objective!  As you massage (it might as well be a bit of fun) the head and rub the oil into the hair pull your hands out of the hair and look at them … to your horror you will see minute grey things stuck in the oil on your hands … that is them … coated completely in oil and gasping their last.  Victory is mine!  Um I mean … you did it! With your little petals head well-oiled up, out comes the clingfilm and you envelope the child’s head like he\she is at the beauty parlour (that way less therapy is required in years to come).   30 minutes later all of the creepys should have suffocated and you are free to hose your little penguin down … 7 washes should suffice nicely and then all of the oil will be out.  (It’s a small price to pay to be lice free).  Then however the egg hunt starts, in good light and with good pincer practise you can easily see and remove the eggs from your child’s hair – I think the oil helps for that too.  A HUGE plus is that the Rosemary oil is VERY healthy for your child’s hair and the hair will come out on the other side of this pantomime shiny and stunning!  Oh and NO burning AND lice free … but you have to make sure you get all of the eggs or else you have to start this whole process all over again in about 3 day’s time.  Focus mother’s, people are watching!
Ok, so let’s check the list … house is cleaned, clothes and bedding nuked, child oiled but you are still left with the feeling that you have forgotten something … that is good Mothers it means you are ahead of the suckers … redo ALL of this twice more in the first week … there after you should be fine … until the next season change …
The hourly (well it feels like that) head checks of the infected child’s head are positively embarrassing to all concerned, except you, because YOU MOTHER are on a mission.  In my case, no moment is sacred, if my poor child is in arms length of me, I turn into one of those mother monkeys picking nits out from her hanging baby monkey’s hair (man I am so glad we no longer have hair all over our bodies) whether I am in PNP, church, in the car or in the kitchen I am well focused and a quick scan is mandatory.  Now I can even do it (mostly) without touching her … that always gives me away.
So what have I learned … Lice happens and you will both survive the horror of it all!  After you survive the cleaning and the branding, life goes back to normal and you just stock up on the stuff that works for your family.  Lice do indeed like both clean and dirty hair alike and they do indeed come out at the changing of every season.  You are in fact at the mercy of everyone around you, those with pets and sandpits alike.  It has nothing to do with how clean or dirty you are, they are bugs and they will find a way … that is it!  And unless we intend putting our children in a plastic bubble (which I considered at one point) … that is just lice … oops I meant life!
Love you all madly …          
Warm regards     
Collette in Cape Town
PS … I listen (and welcome) my feedback about the length of my blogs … apologies, this one just had so much to say …
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Sonjia said...

Brilliant stuff!!! How apt for me at the moment!! LOL

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(C) All content, unless otherwise stated, on the Zenith Thinking Blog is the Intellectual Property of ZenithThinking.