LICE Capades | nothing fun about it

I always “knew” lice was coming one day.  it’s that dreaded fear coupled with unconfident arrogance in the back of your mind.. “that sucks” crosses your lips any time you hear of it NOT happening to you and never quite taking it to heart to worry just enough to educate yourself IN CASE you might have something like that inconvenience your life- in the most inconvenient time possible.

but wait..when does lice ever happen at a “good” time?

this whole process leaves so much room for error, and missing just one tiny, albeit transparent, nit on the only child with blonde hair warrants a repeat experience with lice again..and again. LICE consumed my life for weeks and weeks- nearly an entire month went by before I finally was confident in saying we were lice free.

lets take it on back to Christmas when we were doing all the Christmas things along with thousands of other people. lice run rampant this time of year because of the ease in which they can spread- and after 5 years of missing it in preschool and church nursery Baker picked it up while we were visiting ICE! where we all wore borrowed parka jackets. we went to ICE! on Saturday night and it was Tuesday morning before we discovered them. after literally whacking herself in the head between scratching as she was getting dressed for preschool I finally made her flip her head over for me to take a look and one crawled right over my finger nail.

I reactively screeched for Jordan to come save the day because I was FAH-reaking out.

just go ahead and toss your breakfast in the trash at this point.. and I promise the head itching you’ve succumbed to is purely coincidental. we immediately picked up the phone to call the pediatrician for advice because I had no idea what I was getting myself into and needed someone to hold my hand. they called in a prescription shampoo called Sklice (which, on most insurance plans it costs about $10.. but of course we were out about $150 PER TUBE). although we only initially found them on Baker we treated everyone with three tubes of the medicated.  Jolie has so much hair she took almost an entire tube to herself and the rest of us used the other two tubes. after about 6 hours of cleaning, vacuuming, washing, and drying.. we thought we had rid of them.

until 18 days later.

having lice turned me into a freak about the girls’ hair and I checked them with a magnifying glass every time they so much as touched their hair to move it behind their ears. Baker was in and out of our bed at night during this time and woke me while violently scratching her head in her sleep.

no. FACK.

I rolled over in a panic and turned on the flashlight on my phone and looked through this sleeping child’s head.. I didnt see anything but she never stopped scratching and I never went back to sleep. I decided around 4:08am I was going to treat their heads again with the left over lice shampoo haul we made through the pharmacy that first time around. as I was getting the girls lathered up I noticed a couple nits in Baker’s AND Jolie’s hair but didn’t see any live bugs. I treated their heads, vacuumed washed and dried everything AGAIN and thought SURELY this was it.

nope. one week later those tiny indestructible suckers were still ruining my/our life and pretty much ostracizing us from society. by the third time around I was panic texting a good friend in tears asking for HALP. I was emotionally exhausted over this and I needed to send out my mama reserves to hold my hand again. somehow we kept missing them and I actually still don’t understand why. because the time between the first and second experience with lice I think we picked them up somewhere else the second time and didn’t get rid of it the third time.::a few FACTS about lice::

  • lice are not a hygiene issue. in fact, lice tend to “like” clean hair over dirty (or processed/colored) hair. I’m fairly confident Baker didn’t “infest” me with her super bugs while basically sleeping on top of me simply because I don’t actually wash my hair but about twice a week.
  • lice spread by crawling. they do not hop or fly and they can only move from person to person by direct contact.
  • lice usually survive for less than 1 day away from the scalp (at room temperature). their eggs cannot hatch at room temperature lower than that near the scalp. so once they fall off a child’s head, lice are of very little threat. you don’t necessarily have to vacuum, sterilize, and wash everything you own. it helps to make you feel better, yes, but not 100% required.
  • head lice do not live (and thrive) on animal hair. animal hair is dirty, folks.
  • lice infestation is very common among children 3 to 12 years of age. I think I picked up lice when I was in second grade. good news is that I don’t remember much about it at all, but my mother is able to recant the exact date, entire process, what she did, and how horrible it was. which means my kids probably won’t have much memory of this whole thing either while I’m over here still recovering from the trauma.

okay, so now that we’re all scratching our heads (literally) how should we get rid of lice FOR GOOD? after sharing a little about my experience with lice on Instagram my message box exploded with encouragement + recommendations for dealing with these super bugs from hell. mayonnaise, olive oil, coconut oil, Vaseline, tea tree oil, salt + vinegar.. so many things worked for other mamas! I feel like I’ve heard and read about it ALL, so I’ll share what ultimately worked for us in getting rid of the lice and have been successful in keeping them away!

gagging and a complete gross-out followed by total panic sets in. you’ll envision lice in every crevice of your house.  on the sheets, on the towels, on the sofas, on the bows (good lawd there are so many hair bows), hats, hair brushes, car seats, clothing, baby dolls.. you’ll continue freaking out. kids everywhere, therefore, lice everywhere. (my brain was cranking in over drive to fluster ever anxiety in my person.) remember those FACTS I listed above. keep those in mind.

shave their heads and burn your house down. okay, so unless you’ve actually dealt with lice you won’t understand rationale behind this option- but by day 35, we’ll be on the same page.. BUT in all seriousness, if you can afford a professional lice salon or service, do it. lice salons are an excellent resource in checking your kids head along with treatment with a “money back” guarantee.  the price is steep (especially when you have multiple kids with lots of hair) but its worth it to finally get rid of them!

vamousse + the terminator. after not having much success in using the prescription lotion and medication to rid lice, I went with another mama recommendation of using vamousse head lice treatment. this mousse is really easy to use and its easy to see when you have covered the entire head with treatment. it also doesn’t smell like dog flea shampoo. vamousse comes with a metal comb, but my suggestion is to buy the terminator metal lice & nit comb and use it forever. skip the plastic combs because they don’t do a dang thing. I suspect that the plastic combs in the first two attempts to rid Baker’s head of lice was the reason we didn’t catch every single nit and we ended up with all three girls with lice!

do it again. after you’ve combed through the hair thoroughly to get rid of the actual bugs and nits, do it again. you weren’t thorough enough, definitely didn’t get them all and there are FOR SURE are a few bugs that you’ve missed. don’t let them mock your confidence.

rubbing alcohol + white towel. make sure you wipe the comb after each swipe through the hair on a white hand or paper towel soaked in rubbing alcohol. periodically rinse the comb under hot water and keep combing.

skip the 800 loads of laundry + scrubbing your house from top to bottom. as much as I worried about killing off the live lice, I was even more worried about killing off whatever fell out of their head in fear they would pick them up again. I DID throw all the sheets, bedding, and baby dolls in the dryer on high heat for at least 20 minutes. instead of throwing out the hair bows completely I put them in gallon freezer bags and left them in the freezer for 48 hours (per the recommendation of another mama), and I did vacuum the main living areas just for my sanity.

lice-free sent me several bottles of their treatment spray after I was tagged over and over again on a giveaway another IG account was hosting (I bet it was 100 times). the fine folks at Lice Free contacted me with a really nice email and offered to send me their products if I promised not to shave my girls’ heads 🙂 I sprayed down mattresses and car seats with this spray as another precaution- even though they cant live away from the hair for very long its still important to be aggressive. these lice eggs and nits can withstand the nuclear bomb of chemicals I have doused them with more than once.. I say lets not take any chances and get lazy. get the wine, but dont get lazy.

wait 9 days. if I missed any eggs or nits they’ll all be hatched within 7-10 days later, but the new lice won’t be old enough to lay new eggs yet.. so I’ll be able to catch them before they do much damage.. and thats when the robi comb comes in.

the robi comb. you might start to feel like you’re investing in all these unnecessary things, but again, unless you’ve had ‘the lice’ then you won’t see the importance. if we somehow get through the remainder of these girls’ adolescents without another run in with bugs it will be a miracle. if we don’t we have THE ROBI. legit zaps nits and live bugs to death.

lice preventative shampoo + conditioner. an overwhelming recommendation from other mamas was to use Fairy Tales rosemary lice repel line of hair products. use it for the rest of your life. Jordan doesn’t just love the smell of it, but me and the girls love it!

(essential oil) lice prevention spray. I use this spray every morning on dry hair and spray on backpacks + jackets before preschool!

  • 4oz glass (Amber or cobalt colored) spray bottle (I like these)
  • 1 tbs, fractionated coconut oil
  • 6 drops lavender
  • 6 drops peppermint
  • 6 drops tea tree
  • 6 drops rosemary
  • Add a pinch of salt
  • fill the rest with half water & half witch hazel (all water is fine if you don’t have witch hazel on hand)

were DONE with lice. I have confidence that the prevention spray and shampoo we’ve been using will really help us to survive elementary years.. although I’ve been mortified about a handful of times when I’ve overheard my girls asked their little friends while playing together “do you have bugs?? we have the bugs.

omg, please don’t go home and tell your mom.

February 21, 2018

  1. Ambra says:

    If you ever have this issue again I would suggest a lice salon. Basically the only get rid of lice for you, I just did this for my 3 girls and it is a lifesaver!

  2. Meredith says:

    Oh my gosh this sounds just horrible! Thank you so much for writing it all down though, will have to save this one in case we ever run into dreaded lice

  3. K8 says:

    Oh mama! We just had this battle at our house. My poor girls have thick curly hair so it was a nightmare. I am happy that I didn’t have to burn down our house or return my kids to the kid store.