Monday, March 1, 2010

Lice happens...and it happened to us

Okay, what's your worst nightmare as the parent of a school-aged child? (Beyond illness or death or any really horrible thing happening, OBVIOUSLY!)


Am I right?

Last Wednesday that nightmare came true in the Smiling Mama household. That's right: Lucas had lice.

And how did I react? Not well.

I swore to my mom via text message (and she swore back!).

Now is the time to panic was the only thing going through my head. No matter how often I replied (all in my head): Don't Panic! All that came back was IT is TIME to PANIC!

Let's see: fussy baby, post partum hormones raging out of control, little sleep. And then lice was added to the equation. I told Abel I was on the verge. The verge of what, he asked. Oh, go ahead and fill in the blank. The verge of tears. The verge of exhaustion. The verge of going crazy. Any of the above will work just fine.

I remembered a little piece of information I had tucked away in case I needed it: a blog post written by fellow DC Metro Mom Sandie about her experience with lice and the success she had when she called Lice Happens.

Within one hour of finding three adult lice in Lucas's hair, I was on the phone with Lice Happens co-founder Nancy. I figured it would be a lot more expensive than whatever the drugstore treatment cost. But, my sanity was on the line and I was willing to pay the price. Nancy and her assistant Kara were at our house the next morning at 10:30am.

Almost from the moment I hung up the phone (when she told me to pretend we didn't yet know we had lice in the house; they'd walk us through everything we needed to know when they arrived) I felt the panic start to recede. Slightly.

It continued to recede after Nancy and Kara arrived. After setting Lucas up with a DVD, Nancy got to work on his Very. Thick. Hair. Kara checked Abel, me and the baby--thank goodness--giving us all the all clear.

Using a non-toxic treatment (I mean, really, I use natural cleaners on my toilet bowl, you think I'm really going to put toxic pesticides on my 4yo's head?) and a metal nit comb, Nancy worked on Lucas's head for just over an hour, pulling out literally hundreds of nits, nymphs and adult lice. The entire time, she was talking to Abel and me about lice--how they have evolved as a species, how they do what they do and what we need to do to get rid of them.

Fun fact #1: head lice like clean hair!
Fun fact #2: head lice have evolved to become experts at holding on to human hair. They want to stay put because on a human hair they're in their perfect environment. A louse off a human head is a dying louse.

By the time Nancy and Kara left, I felt I had the tools--both the knowledge and literal tools of a nit comb and hair treatment--to fight this episode of lice and ensure that lice never come back into our house.

And the price? It was definitely less than the price of my sanity.

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!


  1. I think it's great, smart and totally worth it, to bring them in to help! You have enough on your plate! I'm so glad that is all over!!!

  2. Oh my goodness! Are they all gone now? You poor thing. Poor Lucas. Did he understand what was going on?

  3. Oh dear!! Thank goodness for this kind of service! I had a lice scare just about a week after my first child was born, when my aunt called me to tell me that my cousin (who had slept at our house for a few days up until the day I went into labor) had lice and we needed to check or treat ourselves. Such, such fun. Thankfully, we were all clear, and I had a fantastic friend who came over and helped me clean EVERYTHING in our apartment.

    This will certainly make for a story you won't forget. :)

  4. Thanks for your kind words about Lice Happens--it's so rewarding for us when our clients write about their experiences with us in fun and engaging and (of course) complimentary ways. We hope that you never have to experience head lice again, and that your knowledge and arsenal of professional tools keep you sane!

  5. I read this way back when, but I had to go back and re-read because those ladies are the most awesome people that I hope never walk through my door!

  6. Lice Happens was a God-send for us as well. I have two daughters with shoulder length hair, and both have been infested twice in the last 3 years. Over the counter combs are useless. The comb that Lice Happens carries is the best out there.


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