Shame has a name ….

There is actually no other way to put this, other than just saying it.

I realize that this will immediately mean that many of our social engagements will just be cancelled, all in an unexplained manner of course.  We will get those random sms’s saying “sorry, plans have been cancelled, will no longer be doing xyz on so-and-so night” only to discover later as we check Facebook that xyz on so-and-so night did occur, we just were not there.

I realize that my kids will no longer get invites to play dates and birthday parties. People will start de-friending me on Facebook.

Even taking all of that into consideration I do still feel the need to reveal the shame that is our family.

I have no option. 

I apologize now for the immediate physical reaction you will be having – and continue to have several hours after reading this post.

The truth is ….. we have discovered lice in our children’s hair.

Not mice, but lice – mice might have been more socially acceptable. 

Lice is usually associated with the great unwashed and concentration camps, but we have it, which of course brings into question our cleanliness and hygiene.

Yes, I have heard all about how lice like clean hair, as dirty hair is oily, and lice can’t stick to oily hair …. right, I have been trying to repeat than mantra to myself several times since “the discovery” – but then that begs the question, why do the homeless have lice??  Exactly!

Yes, there it is.  We are that family.  That family that other mothers whisper about on the playground.  We are them.  They are us.

Georgia has really long hair, and all of us have a reasonable good head of hair.  I live in perpetual fear of lice. 

That being said, I start treating for lice, before there is lice.  I treat for lice even before the notice goes out that there might be lice.

I started about two months ago – maybe three.

It means a lice shampoo at least twice a week, and then regular spraying of hair with an anti-lice spray.  I also do periodic head-checks.  It does look a bit like a monkey mother checking her monkey babies for fleas, but I do it, I do it while I am waiting for something, I do it when I am brushing hair, I do it a lot.

Notwithstanding all of that, and the fact that my kids get hair washed a minimum of 3 times per week – sometimes more, we still have lice.

I know – my head starts to itch at the thought.  The more you think about it the more you will itch.

It will even start to move down your neck – usually the back area of your neck, just at your hairline.

Last night was lice-control night in the Barlow Manse. 

It requires washing hair with lice shampoo, then sitting and brushing with a metal lice-comb.

In Georgia’s case – as she has hair past her bum – it means an hour of whining (me) and crying (her).  Once that is done,  I coat the hair in a tea-tree-oil stuff, and comb each section again.

Once done, hair is tied up into separate sections, more stuff is sprayed on – and then the hair is left – and then re-combed in the morning – retied up and re-sprayed.

This morning I wrote letters to the respective teachers of my kids telling them that we have lice, and that other moms need to be told.

Connor was horrified when I found lice in his hair – you could see the embarrassment sweep over him.  I think even at his age, he does not want to be ostracized by his friends and called lice-boy or whatever the hip term is now.

Georgia was a bit more excited, and started explaining to me how lice jump (which they don’t) and also which of her friends she was going to tell that I found 15 lice in her hair. 

I thought at this point it might be good to indicate that this might be one of those dark-and-dreadful secrets we should keep in our family and off the playground.

Today is also wash-all-bedding-pillows-and-sleeping-toys in hot water day.

After fetching kids from school, I decided to stop at the chemist and buy a whole new pile of lice-die-cream and shampoo.

I bought a bottle that promises to kill them in one wash, but suggests two washes in a 24 hour window

Tick – we will be doing that today.

I bought another new set of another brand – I figure I will play one brand off against the others, and either kill the lice or create a new super breed that is resistant to everything.  Each child got a nifty lice-and-nit comb – who said we don’t show our kids a good time?

My head has also begun to itch – but only when I think of the word “lice.”

I am probably going to use the lice shampoo this evening and then spend a quiet and meaningful three hours with a new lice-and-nit comb.

I bet your head is itching just thinking about it – my neck and knee have started to itch just writing this post. 

<This is all whilst need to do the home work for my group meeting tomorrow night and watch the stupid DVDs on  Fabulous.>

Leave a comment


  1. Romaine

     /  April 18, 2011

    Only seeing this post now,found nits in Morgan’s hair on Saturday so yesterday was a Mission. She hates having to lean over the bath tub to wash her hair as her back hurts so normally I was her hair in the bath however with lice shampoo you can’t let it touch your body so we had screaming sessions yesterday. Hubby was washing the car outside and had to come in to tell us to keep quiet it sounds like I’m abusing her the way we were both shouting 😦 I got Para Lice Spray which is like doom and then I rubbed gambex lice shampoo in her scalp. Blow Dryed it which took me an hour and then pulled all the dead nits out…. The bad thing is it’s the 3rd time for the year that she has it, apparently it’s a regular thing at the Daycare really frustrates me and makes me think if other parents are also going tot he extreme that I am to getting rid of the problem. 😦

    • reluctantmom

       /  April 18, 2011

      I feel you, especially knowing how thick and long Morgan’s hair is!!

      But I am making a point now of keeping Georgia’s hair plaited and then tied up in a bun for school. Winter is going to be worse as kids are then often closer to each other, and often confined to inside. We seem to have kicked lice-arse, but re-treated kids hair last night – and hopefully we can have a break over Easter and then start again when it is going back to school time.

  2. Loretta Feris

     /  April 15, 2011

    eish! I remember when I had lice – in sub a, now grade 1. my mom out of desperation washed my hair in parrafin. not to be recommended though as I almost died, but luckily so did the lice!!

    • He he Loretta – I had lice in Standard 3 and my hair was long and blonde (under my bum). My mom also washed my hair in parrafin, then wrapped it up in plastic and a towel and I had to walk around like that for a couple of hours before my hair was washed again – I even did dishes with the paraffin in my hair! Gross, totally gross. I’m waiting for our turn now.

  3. Bevan

     /  April 15, 2011

    May I suggest a shavathon in the Barlow residence?
    Easier to catch the little b@st@rds….

    • Bevan

       /  April 15, 2011

      B@st@rds above refers to the lice, not your precious offspring!

  4. That was my life a few months back. There was an outbreak in my daughters class WEEKLY and they had the health unit come in and nurses educating parents… such a pain!

    I didn’t have much luck with the natural products, so I often had angst that despite buying organic fruits and vegetables for my kids, I was soaking their heads in pesticides frequently. 😦

    I feel your pain.

    • reluctantmom

       /  April 15, 2011

      I started with organic-heal-the-earth-and-don’t-hurt-the-silkworms stuff, but yesterday I went along and looked for anything that had stuff in it that ended in “oxide” and used prefixes like “pero” – I figure I am over being nice to these buggers, sure my kids scalp will burn and probably peel off, but hey, it will grow back – time to bring out the big guns!!

  5. The kids over here in the UK seem to get it all.the.time. My son has not yet started school, but I am expecting it not long after that. Good luck getting rid of it all.

  6. joanne

     /  April 15, 2011

    O the judgement and shame!! My son got these little buggers 2 years ago and I noticed we did not attended quite a few lof annual parties, we had been invited to the previous 2 years. Last year I commented on one of my sons friends very short cropped hair. The mom (who scratched us off the party list two years ago) leans over and in hushed tones says “i’m so embarrassed, he had lice. I heard Ethan had it two years ago and I must admit I judged you, now St*** has it and I am horrified!”

    I kept my pointing, gloating hehehe on you bum waggling dance to an ‘Ally McBeel’ in my mind kind moment.

    But it also reiterated one of my favorite quotes – paraphrased:
    “Judge with care, for you may become what you judge”

    • reluctantmom

       /  April 15, 2011

      Thanks Joanne, odds are I will have a few weekends free where kids will not be invited to a few parties and things ….. but the worm he will turn …. sooner or later.

  7. Oh my head is itching. Ok, just joking, but seriously, these days I am sure every kids in school has had lice. It’s spreads like nothing. And seriously, your kids would have got it from someone else too.

    • reluctantmom

       /  April 15, 2011

      I sent the kids to school this morning with strict instructions not to get near another child’s head/hair – not to share anything that is hair or cap related, not to put thier head on any mats, and the list continued of “not to do’s..” I also included a pillow and a special blanket for Georgia for when ever she wants to lie down, and we bring it home each day.

      This week has been hell, and I could quite soon never repeat it again.

  8. Nicky

     /  April 15, 2011

    I also started to scratch!! I recently got a notice from my son’s creche, saying they have found some cases of lice….my nerves are shot! Good luck to you, let us know how it goes.

  9. Kiki

     /  April 15, 2011

    I agree it happens to every mom but it still isnt fun. I had it a few times in school (Grade 1) and my mom cut my hair the 1st time and the rest of the times were the excruciating 3 hour brushing!!!!
    Hope yours clears asap!!! You seem to have bought every lice killing device you could…

    • reluctantmom

       /  April 15, 2011

      Poor Georgia was in tears last night – the brushing with the small comb is hell – on all of us. But I do think we have it licked and this morning appear to be ‘free of lice’ – but we will still do another treatment tonight,and continue to add the “anti-lice” spray for next week … is seriously grim work!

  10. Don’t feel bad! This happens to every mom at some point or other I reckon! Granted not to me yet as my kids are at home. I also say “yet” because inevitably once they go to a school environment, chances are it could happen!
    Good luck with your delousing mission!

  11. To Love Bella

     /  April 15, 2011

    I had lice in creche way back when, and my hair was right down to my bum and 3x thicker than it is now. My mom was of the old-school thought that it all needed to cut off. So off my long locks came with mom crying the whole way through. I remember her combing my hair and then dropping the lice, one by one, onto a sheet of paper and popping them. Eeeuw.
    I must admit – I started to scratch the minute I read lice! LOL!
    Good luck with the Lice Evac!

    • reluctantmom

       /  April 15, 2011

      It is totally eeeeuuuuwww – Connor’s teacher said he should cut his hair – all the boys at his school look like they have taken hair styling tips from a tennis ball, I am opting instead to keep his hair (and Georgia’s) and just treat it – constantly.

      But last night was pretty grim, and Georgia was very sad about the horrible treatment of the brushing and the combing …. and she was all weepy! Shame, poor lamb chop!


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