Monday, October 01, 2007

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

Or, my weekend in review.

First, I had just gone to bed Friday night (actually Saturday morning) when Faerie woke up and started crying, so I went into the kitchen to get her a drink and ended up knocking an empty beer bottle off the counter. So, while everyone slept, I was hunkered down in my underwear in the kitchen trying to clean up bits of broken glass. Fun!

Saturday we decided to head down into the hinterlands (otherwise known as "the further away of the two towns within an hour's drive that offer semi-decent shopping") because everybody needs stuff. The girls both need new winter coats, and really, clothes of all kinds. They're finally outgrowing everything we brought with us, even the stuff we bought too big. Plus, I'm still on the lookout for shoes and jewelry for my Christmas party dress. Plus, hubs wanted to look in the only decent DVD store we know of, which is there, and he also wanted to stop in to the comic shop there and see his buddy who owns the place. (I love the comic guy. He's the nicest man. And he's already promised to stock Personal Demons, so, yay. Anyway.)

Got there, immediately found an adorable coat for Faerie. Yay! Went to comic shop, yay! DVD store...closed. Not yay. Where are we going to buy DVDs now, because they're silly expensive everywhere else.

On our way out we popped into the Vdaphone store. Hubs has been bugging me to get a cell phone. I hate cell phones. I don't really like talking on the phone anyway, and I get irritated when people call my cell just to chat. I'm out, doing things. I don't want to converse!
But I'd agreed. Fine, I'll get a phone. Turned out they were doing some sort of special, so for the price of their cheapest calling plan, I walked out with...

A BlackBerry. Free.

Wheeee! I'm such a technophobe, I really am, but I love my little BlackBerry! It has GPS! It has a tiny QUERTY keyboard! I can check my email on it! Woo-hooo! I never have to miss emails again, go me!

So that was all good. yesterday we decided we're going to head into London on the weekend of Oct 13th for a little shopping sans kiddies, which we're excited about, then we got the great idea to see a show while we're there, so we booked tickets to see The Woman in Black, and I am practically peeing myself with excitement. Can't wait can't wait, wheee!

And then the hubs gave the Princess a shower and discovered she has head lice.

The shame.

I'd never seen lice. I always pictured them like horrible little maggots, squirming in the roots of people's hair (ugh, my scalp is tingling and itching as I write this. Hubs and I did thorough checks on each other last night and found nothing, but...*shudder*) They're not. They're just little brown bugs, like gnats without wings. And they're so common here. We get those notes home about lice from her school almost every month. But until now, the Princess escaped unscathed. Now...I'm a terrible mother.

I never had lice. I'm totally creeped out, and we kept her home from school today so I get to go to Tesco and buy a comb and whatever we need to eliminate them, does anyone have any suggestions? Anyone else ever dealt with this? Any Moms who can give me tips? Anyone who might be, oh, a pharmacist and my brother who doesn't reply to his emails but might read here once in a while, have any advice?

Please, anyone, share your learning with poor me! I feel horrible about this and my poor baby with her itchy, bug-ridden head. (Okay, it's not quite that bad, she doesn't have a serious infestation or anything, but...ugh.)


Angie said...

No advice with the lice, I'm afraid. :/ If it's a common problem, there, then you could probably ask a local pharmacist?

I'm with you on cell phones, though. I've never had one and don't want one. I don't really like talking on the phone anyway and actually have a bit of a phobia about making phone calls [duck] but the thought of people being able to call me just anywhere, no matter what I'm doing? [shudder] Umm, no. Thanks anyway.

I have a friend who calls from his cell any time he's just sort of bored or whatever. If he's in line at a store, or stuck in traffic, something like that. Which means he's blathering away and then suddenly, "Oh, gotta go, bye." [click] [dialtone] Umm, yeah, thanks. Way to make me feel important in your life. It's like he uses people as momentary diversions (I'm just assuming he does this to other friends as well) and then hangs up -- bam -- as soon as he has to pay attention to what he's really doing again.

It's not that I object to people paying attention to, say, traffic. :P But rather that I feel sort of insulted when I'm called in that sort of circumstance, when it's obvious that he will have to abruptly cut me off a few minutes later. Maybe I'm old-fashioned [eyeroll] but to me that's just incredibly rude.

Bad enough people can do that to me when I'm at home; I definitely don't want them doing it to me when I'm out and about. :/


Anonymous said...

"I was hunkered down in my underwear in the kitchen"

Now there's an image to make my Monday better. ;~)>

There are very good otc lice-rid medications, at least here in the states. Good luck with it and happy shopping. -V95

Mary said...

urgh lice. I'll never forget when our exchange student brought them from her skuzzy previous residence and so kindly shared them with my sister. How I escaped, I'll never know.

As far as advice goes, we had many late nights of combing nits and such out of hair, and decided that the lice combs they sell don't work for crap. We ended up scraping eggs off of individual hair strands with a knife blade. FUN.

But anonymous was right; there are very good otc medications and shampoos that'll clear things up. Just make sure to wash wash wash all kiddo's bedding and bag up her pillows and stuffed toys in plastic bags for several weeks to a month to make sure any lice that jumped ship don't survive. Good luck with everything!

Robyn said...

My kids went through about four months of lice. I'd get them cleared up at home; one day at school and BANG! There the little buggers were again.

I frankly got worried about pouring so many deadly chemicals on my kids' heads, and finally just sat the kids down, used the lice combs, and combed out every single strand. Cleared them up and they never came back.

Ditto on Mary's advice per stuffed toys, and you might want to vacuum the mattress (and the couch, or anything they lay down on) as well.

BernardL said...

It has nothing to do with your parenting skills, D. If kids go to school, they get exposed. All their playthings, bedding, etc. have to be cleaned. My daughter played team softball from minis at five years old up to high school; and after a few suspicious outbreaks, I bought her a batting helmet of her own. No more outbreaks of lice. :)

Charles Gramlich said...

I've never had lice, though Lord knows how I've avoided it all these years. Maybe my wild hair just kills the eggs. Or maybe it's my incredible brain power that fries them. Yeah, I'm going with the last.

Gabriele C. said...

No advice on the lice, sorry. We don't have them here (I've heard they are more common in France and the UK). If your kids were boys, I'd say shave their heads, but that won't work with girls. :)

I hate cellphones. I hate people using cellphones everywhere, and I hate it even more if they do it despite the signs that say, no cells. I don't have one, and if I did, I would have it on mute all the time and probably leave it in the next train or hotel room. :)

Anonymous said...

Lice actually prefer kids with clean hair. You keep your kids clean, you get lice...makes bathtime seem a bit useless, eh?

A friend of mine has dealt with it on her three girls I don't know how many times and my former boss shaved her 5 year old girl's head out of frustration. Fortunately Emily thought it was hilarious.

If you don't want to do the chemical treatments oil works. I've heard of just vegetable oil, but here's a recipe I found:

2 ounces vegetable oil (e.g., olive oil)
20 drops tea tree essential oil
10 drops rosemary essential oil
10 drops lavender essential oil
10 drops lemon essential oil

Combine the ingredients and apply the mixture to dry hair. Cover hair with a shower cap or even a plastic bag, Leave the mixture on for 1-2 hours. Shampoo the hair 2-3 times to remove the oil.

Bummer on the DVD store! But Yay! on the crackberry. Fun! I've found their only drawback is that you can't upload pdf reading software (like you can on a Palm smartphone). Mind you, that's probably a good thing....books, emails, qwerty capability....I'd never put the damn thing down.

Bernita said...

Unfortunately, head lice seem to go with school territory.
My kids escaped - I don't know how, but I remember the notices.
School used to send home a blanket warning to check their heads at least once a semester because of an outbreak, along with Department of Health details of approved medications and such.

Anonymous said...

Further research seems to say that the minimum is 2 site recommended up to 8 hours. I don't know what kind of kids they were dealing with to think you can keep something smelly and slimey on a kid's head that long...

kirsten saell said...

My kids' school sent home a leaflet about non-chemical treatments. You get the hair wet, smear scads of conditioner on to immobilize the little buggers, and comb thoroughly with a nit-comb. I might feel inclined to wrap the head and leave overnight, and comb through again in the morning before shampooing.

Problem with chemicals is the same as with antibiotics. The critters who survived all those chemical attacks over the years are now resistant, but the treatments themselves haven't changed much to keep up.

And Seeley's right--they like a clean head. Once you've eradicated them, maybe don't wash the princess's hair for a while? Or will that attract an infestation of child services workers?

Cell phones? Sorry, I don't want to be available all the time, thanks.


Vicki said...

Pretty much everything in the house needs to be washed. Stuffed animals, bedding, pillows...all that type of stuff.

It's not just the bugs that you want to be gone but the nits as well. They can be tricky to spot. Their almost clear egg shaped teeny ting things that stick to the hair strands.

I worked for a school and we had to check for that all the time.

It has nothing to do with being a good're a great mom, some kids get them and some don't. Schools have them all the time.

Sorry about the DVD's but the blackberry is sweet!!

Camille Alexa said...

How bizarre is it that across the ocean, this very morning my friend told me over coffee that her two kids just picked up lice at school?

So weird. I don't think I've even thought about headlice since the third grade when they used to send notes home all the time warning parents to be vigilant.

Rebecca said...

OMG the lice - we are engaged in a CONSTANT battle with them here - they are VERY, VERY hard to see - they hide - so when you do start finding them it means she is probably quite infested - and would definitely have eggs. (the eggs are much easier to see - look around the hair in the ears)

After you've treated them - a good thing to do is absolutely coat your kids with conditioner (so it doesn't hurt) and comb, comb, comb - this is when you'll pull out a LOT of nasty lice (and strangely if you put them on a piece of paper they look like they're dead ....but come back later and they'll be crawling around - they just do NOT die - bastards!!!)

You MUST repeat this a week later when any eggs have hatched to get the babies - otherwise you'll be stuck in the whole nitty cycle once again.

And LOL on the beer bottle - that's your Karmic punshment for drinking beer - you really should drink wine! :)

Rebecca said...

oops not 'in' the ears 'around' the ears. lol

Scary Monster said...

Seems like youve gotten tons of advice, but there be one more thing that you have to be careful of. Once you have gotten rid of the lice on the child and thoroughly cleaned up the bedding and toys, you'll have to keep checking every fortnight or so for quite some time cuase she's still in school with the person she got it from.

Then again youse guys could all join the Hare Krishna's and leave all yer wardrobe and lice problems behind.


Post Stomp. The name of the shampoo in the States is NIX. Pretty sure that yer local druggist will have somthin similar.

McKoala said...

We've had the lice horrors too. See - june 11 for my experience.

Combing the conditioner through with a lice comb was what finally got rid of them for us.

Anonymous said...

You seem to have gotten some great advice. What finally worked for us was a product called RID and then a hair rinse with vinegar. The combs never worked for crap, but there are some many people saying the conditioner thing that might help.

And yes on washing soft (bedding, plush toys, etc) in hot water (or tying them up in garbage bags for a month or so) and vacuuming the hell out of the carpets. You should bathe pets too, just in case.

But mostly I wanted to say you're not a bad mom. It happens. It will happen again, mostly because you can't depend on people to thoroughly take care of their own kids' heads. The good moms want to get rid of the lice. The bad moms just do the bare minimum to get the kids back in school.

The really bad moms are like the one daycare lady who washed my hair with bleach when she discovered that I had lice.

kirsten saell said...

Bleach?!!?!?! Holy crap!

Where's that infestation of child services workers when you need it?

December/Stacia said...

Ugh, Angie, I hate that about people with cellphones! Don't call me just because you're bored in line at the bank, FFS. My time is important too, and if I can take myself away from whatever I'm doing to talk, so can you.

Lol, V95, I even had the thought as I was doing it that if anyone peeped in the kitchen window at that moment...lady cleaning the floor on her hands and knees in her undies. Yeah.
The OTC stuff here stinks. We used it, then brushed her out, then washed and blow-dried her and I think we'll blow-dry again later tday. We've been told that's a really good way to get rid of them.

Hi Mary, thanks for commenting! Yes, I don't think that stupid little comb did shit, honestly. The fine teeth on a regular comb seemed closer together. Ugh, scuzzy foreign lice, lol!

Thanks, Bernard. Yes, they're epidemic here (they never were when I was a kid, I only remember a couple of lice scares in elementary school). Still makes me feel kinda icky. :-)

I think that's it, Charles. I think it's the massive electric field of your brain that does it.

December/Stacia said...

Lol, no Gabriele, shaving the head won't work for Miss Princess. Did I mention her hair is thick and reaches her waist?
I love the cellphone but I seriously doubt I'll use it much. I'm just not a phone chatter, and I hate having to listen to other peoples' conversations in public.

I know, Seeley, I was disappointed that my ebooks wouldn't work on it, but then, the screen really is small for reading. My thumb would get way sore from scrolling down.

Yeah, I've heard of trying tea tree oil as well, and I have some of that. Also vinegar. We're going to see how we do with the blow-drying first, then try something like that because I honestly don't believe that stuff I bought yesterday did doodley.

Yep, I remember a few of those notes, Bernita, and being warned not to wear anyone else's hat. Which was confusing, because we usually didn't wear hats, and why would I want to wear someone else's anyway?

Lol Seeley I always wonder about that stuff too. Who are those kids?

She's got pretty long hair, kis, so I think letting her have dirty hair for a while would be okay, except they're doing swimming once a week in school and we have to wash her hair for that. I think that's where she picked them up, actually, is the pool.

And with my vision, Vicki, I don't see anything! The hubs had to inspect again last night, because I just couldn't see them very well. Of course, I didn't think to stand nder the hall light either where it's really bright. *shrug* Hopefully we'll get rid of them quickly!

That is bizarre, Camille. It's a plague. Like the superflu, but lice instead.
No, I hadn't thought of them either until the day we got here and our friends told us about their daughter's lice issues.

December/Stacia said...

OOps! Sorry, Robyn, I accidentally skipped you. Four months, goodness! Yep, that's how I feel about the chemicals. I wasn't going to use them at all but the hubs insisted yesterday.

Oh, Rebecca, I drink whatever I've got. :-) It was actually his beer bottle, I was drinking vodka tonics.
The more I see the more I'm convinced that that's the way to go. Just keep working away at them, kind of like getting rid of fleas--you can use all those sprays, bombs and baths, but what really works is Boraxing the carpet and vacuuming every day.
And I knew what you meant about the hair, lol.

Oh, I know, SM. Ugh. Like I don't have enough to do, lol, I need to keep inspecting her head every other minute too.
But thanks for that suggestion about the Krishnas, I'll get right on that. :-)Yep, got great advice, thanks to everyone!

And so I add you to the "comb comb comb" school of treatment, McKoala! Thanks!

No pets, Michele, so at least we don't have to worry about that. I've heard vinegar a few times, it's on my list to try.
Bleach! Ugh! You know, my Mom once had a patient in the ER who had some sort of infection in her ladyparts, and she decided to treat it herself by douching with bleach and tangerine juice. Seriously. She came to the ER in a world of hurt, as you can imagine.

What did your parents do about the bleach wash?

Anonymous said...

>>What did your parents do about the bleach wash?

*sigh* At that point "parents" were just my dad, to whom the daycare lady denied the whole thing, threw a fit about how I could get her shut down for showing up with lice (she worked, likely illegally, out of her home) and kicked me and my siblings out, making it a "huge hassle" for my dad to find another place for us. So I pretty much got in trouble for it. but the good news is that my dad never really followed through with punishment because it took too much effort, so other than a speech nothing much happened.