4 min Read

Lice aren’t nice

A few hours before we were about to embark upon a 40-hour road-trip to Florida (that includes a hotel stop), I headed to the bank to exchange some money. My bank had recently been renovated and this was my first time inside. Some of the tellers now had chairs in front of the counter, so I took a seat, with my kiddo on my lap. As I chatted with the teller, something caught my eye. I looked down at Eleanor’s head, parted her hair and saw it again: a bug. The teller continued to make the exchange, but I was now picking at my kid’s scalp. That wasn’t….lice. Was it?

When bug number two showed his creepy crawly self, I knew it was lice. I thanked the teller, grabbed my cash and headed straight to the drug store – scratching my head the whole way.  The pharmacist handed me a shampoo (I had no idea it was kept behind the counter) and gave me instructions.

At the cash, I bumped into a friend I hadn’t seen in a couple years. “How’s it going?” he asked. I stood there holding the lice shampoo and comb, next to a toddler digging her nails into her scalp with vigor. “Good,” I replied. Then sighed. “Actually…Eleanor has lice.” So that was fun.

When we got home, the kid went straight into the bath and I applied the shampoo. The box was somewhat scary, indicating that the child should keep their eyes closed for the 10-minute treatment.  Well, that wasn’t going to happen, so I just applied carefully and gave Eleanor a cloth to cover her eyes. After I rinsed, I combed. And sure enough, there were bugs. Probably about 10. Plus, this kid was LOADED with nits (the almost microscopic eggs that cling to the hair, near the roots). I knew I was in for a horrible afternoon.

As a responsible parent, I contacted all the parents of kids Eleanor had been in contact with. My friend who runs the home daycare confirmed that her child, too, had lice. Another friend said her daughter was fine, and came to my rescue. As an ECE teacher, she has had plenty of experience with lice. For the next few hours, we picked through my poor kid’s head. My friend informed me that Eleanor’s case of lice was pretty bad. She even went through my hair, just to be sure. Now that’s a good friend.

Bedding was washed, stuffed animals were tossed in the dryer, and we left for Florida. The thought of being trapped in a vehicle with my bug-infested kid wasn’t the most appealing idea, but I didn’t have a choice in the matter. Each night, even in hotel rooms, I combed through Eleanor’s hair (Just think about that the next time you’re in a hotel room. Ew.). She was patient at first, but quickly grew weary of my nit-picking. After a second application of the shampoo, I was certain she was lice-free.


A couple days after we returned home from our trip, I received a text from daycare: the lice are back. In one day, Eleanor was completely clear. Here’s how I did it.

  1. I shampooed again, this time with Nix, which was a miracle worker. It didn’t seem as scary as the original brand I used and it really appeared to do the trick.
  2. I set aside my penny-pinching ways and purchased the Cadillac of lice combs – a special steel comb  sold by the Lice Squad. The results were worth the $25 investment.
  3. Again, bedding was washed, stuffies were run through the dryer and floors were vacuumed. I went over our furniture with a sticky lint roller, just to be sure.

Eleanor was free of all nits and bugs just in time for her third birthday. I couldn’t believe she had lice before she had even turned three. I wasn’t embarrassed by it, nor did I try to hide it. I figure all parents will go through this rite of passage at one point or another; I just hope it doesn’t happen again!




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