The Moment of Truth

Tomorrow (Tuesday) morning my kids and I head to the local (ridiculously expensive) lice-experts to get our heads checked. The checks are free (during a short two hour window that happens once a week), and they are starting to feel like an extremely important test we surely can’t pass.

The thing is, I want them to declare us lice-free so badly. I’ve spent the last five days living and breathing lice destruction and prevention. The last time we had lice I spent a fortune letting the experts fix it, because I didn’t know what I was doing and I had no sick days left to take. This time I’m attempting to do most of it on my own, but I don’t have a lot of confidence in my abilities. While I’ve identified a few bugs, I was only sure they were lice (and not lint or some other detritus) because they were moving in slow circles on the towel. I am never sure if I actually found a nit or if it’s just another piece of dandruff.

I’ve combed my daughter’s hair five times now. I thought she was bug and nit free for three and then tonight I found what looked a lot like two nits. At least.

I spent close to $300 getting de-loused myself but on Sunday I combed my own hair and found two bugs (their guarantee is voided if you don’t have the entire family checked and treated). Did they miss those nits? Did my kids pass more bugs along to me? Who the fuck knows…

I’ve been changing the beds and towels every time I do a comb-through. Treating every comb and brush after a single use (and each one is assigned to a family member–we’ve been doing that since our last lice rodeo). I’m using all the products I bought the last time; my entire house smells like Eucalyptus. I don’t know what else to do.

I hate feeling like I’m not capable, like I can’t fix something myself. I hate feeling like something is outside of my control, especially when that something is the ability to keep little bugs from crawling around in my hair.

I know that if they find bugs or nits tomorrow it won’t be the end of the world. We’ll just have to keep going, keep combing, keep washing, keep changing the beds and towels. I know that eventually we won’t have lice anymore… I just hope that I won’t have to spend a small fortune for the experts to make it happen. If I can’t manage this alone I’ll start living in fear of getting lice again, and if we’ve already had it twice in one year, I can’t imagine we’ll avoid it moving forward.

Please send us lice-free thoughts; if this isn’t over soon I fear I’ll lose my mind.

Have you ever dealt with lice? Any tips for this demoralized mother?


  1. You can do it! My two kids and I had them (husband avoided them….)

    Are you doing the wet comb outs with conditioner? I think you are combing too often – once you do the initial comb out, do one every 5th day – you will miss them when they are too small, you need them to be the right size. After a really good initial comb out, you will need to do a comb out (dry hair, soak in white conditioner and comb with one specific comb) – every 5th day.

    Also, once you do the big comb outs no need to go crazy with laundry either – they don’t live off of you for long at all.

    What comb do you have? The shampoos are a waste of $$.

    I have now combed out friends and their kids too!

    Good luck 🙂 – also feel free to email me – we have a lice clinic here that I paid for the initial comb out for me once and to teach me how to comb out the kids; they don’t recommend any shampoos at all, say the comb out with conditioner is the trick and it worked for us and for our friends

    1. I am doing wet comb outs, with a “nit zapping cream.” I got the comb (metal) from the lice experts… Everything I have is from them (I bought their “kit”). It’s all natural, none of it came from the store and none of it has pharmaceuticals (I’ve read that lice today have built up resistances to the common shampoos on the market).

      I was told to do comb throughs every 3 days. The CDC says every 2-3. I was hoping that if I did them every other day until our check we’d be lice-free when we got the professional verdict. My MIL basically won’t come near any of us until the experts say we’re lice-free, and she is finally back in town after being away all summer so I’d love to take advantage of some of that free child care this week. 😉

      I keep telling myself I’m lucky this happened now when I have the time to deal with it, but it’s still driving me crazy. I just want to be done.

      (When you say that “they” need to “get bigger,” I assume you mean the bugs (nymphs/adults). The nits don’t get bigger though, right? So doing frequent combs might find nits that were missed earlier… is that accurate? Ugh, I hate this shit.)

      1. Nits get bigger in time as they grow so it’s worth waiting until they are visible. Lice are the pits and I hope you are done with it all soon.

      2. If you do a really good initial comb out and get the adults, then yes, you need to wait for the eggs to hatch/nymphs to grow so that you can get them with the comb.

        I hear you re: childcare – my mom wouldn’t come near us!! You can’t transmit them to anyone unless you actually touch hair and an adult leaves your head.

  2. When I was a preteen, my sister and I had lice for literally MONTHS. Despite treating 9348382 times (people back then didn’t realize the bugs were resistant to over the counter treatments & the professional places didn’t exist). It was a nightmare. And now I live in fear for the inevitable day my daughter brings home lice – she has a huge amount of curly thick hair. (at least my son’s hair is super short. maybe that’s strategic!).

    Back during our debacle we actually contemplating shaving everyone’s head. Eventually we used one of those super toxic treatments (Lindane) and the torture finally ended.

    As for the multiple bouts in a year – UGH. I have heard that our pro lice place actually has an insurance/subscription plan where you pay monthly and are covered no matter what happens. I may consider when the kids are school aged.

  3. I’ve not yet encountered lice (key word is yet), but I have gone through fleas (both from here and Mexico) and scabies (the West African variety). With the fleas, it took multiple treatments, lots of laundry, bagging everything and ultimately bombing my home. The scabies was even worse (only the cats were clear of them), due to my roommates failure to completely cut off contact with the one individual who was the source and refused to get treatment (took close to 6 months).

    I know it sucks because you start second-guessing yourself. But keep up with the treatment. I hear Cetaphil works great and doesn’t have the stickiness that other products do.

    And getting checked by a professional isn’t a sign of weakness.

    Hoping you are cleared of lice very soon.

    1. The only not-so-shitty thing about lice is that they don’t infest your home in some invisible, pervasive way. Thank god for that. Truly.

      Fleas and scabies so awful. Our cat has flees but my husband seems to be the only one who gets bit so I don’t do much about it. I would support him if he wanted to, but this is one of those situations where I benefit from him inability to take action, even when it benefits himself. 😉

  4. I VIVIDLY remember steam ironing the carpet and sofa in the children’s playroom. I ran an at home daycare and children ‘shared’. I am still traumatized because we had several rounds of it and it was over 30 years ago. Say LICE and my head itches to this day. Back then the resistant thing was way less than it is today. Resistant is WAAAY harder. My eldest granddaughter 3 years ago took 3 months to have her infestation totally eradicated and had to have prescription shampoo. The second granddaughter has very curly hair to her waist and her parents have already found a recommended lice removal service in San Francisco because there was an infestation at the preschool (not her, yet) and I told them it would be key to knowing the service in advance of need.
    The best advice I have is (once things are under more control, not as first step), is to wash hair frequently with rosemary and eucalyptus like you are doing, using conditioner, AND blowing hair dry with hair dryer. I think the heat (without burning scalp) is not desirable to nits and livestock. Also it makes it easy for you to keep an eye on any new inhabitants.
    My children to this day will NEVER use ANYONE ELSE’s hair brushes, combs, and will not try on hats or hair accessories from a store that are not inside plastic. Thankfully the little one’s preschool keeps each child’s coats etc in separate cubbies as that decreases spreading from contact with infested outerwear.
    We are all going to be hoping for your good report. AND, good luck with school starting back up. I am appalled that some parents do not treat even when they know and that some schools freely let children with infestations and no treatment continue in class anyway.

  5. Ugh. Just…ugh. I can’t imagine how much this royally and completely sucks for you guys. We have an ongoing saga with mice that is pretty demoralizing since we just can’t win, but at least they are not ON US. It sounds like you are becoming quite the expert. Maybe you can open a side biz helping other families with your expertise.
    If (when?) it happens to us I will be asking for advice.

  6. HOW DID THE APPOINTMENT GO? Or are you still combing and washing and drying and ………… Fingers crossed and good wishes sent.

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