Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Blessings of Lice

Our family had been off the radar for a good week and a half because of a dreadful head lice infestation.  It had been going around the schools in our area for months now and I just thought we were lucky we homeschooled so that we could dodge the little critters (talking about the lice.)  I spotted it on my eldest Sofia first, but sure enough my middle daughter and I had it as well.  The baby and my husband with a shaved head were the only two to make it out "nit-free."

I'll tell you that this nearly made me lose my mind.  Three girls with long hair getting lice at the same time was overwhelming to me.  But alas, we got through it and we are lice free!  It was funny timing that this happened because I was all set to write my 5 day series on teaching virtues.  What a lesson in virtue training this was!

I also failed miserably on my challenge to quit complaining for 21 days.  I was lucky to have lasted 21 minutes without complaining!  But, I'm back on track again and looking at the bright side of things.  Looking back I can see that, in fact, there were some hidden blessings that came with our bout of lice.
Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings

My Top Ten Blessings of Having Lice

#10  I learned how to do a wicked head check for lice
       Whenever I used to hear that someone's child I knew had lice I would give a quick glance at my child's hair to check if it had passed to us.  I'd part their hair midway down their head, flip the hair to the left, to the right and done.  What a joke!  Doing a head check means using a proper comb and checking every single section of hair.  The technician at a local lice-center in our area recommends doing an overall head check once every 7-10 days.

#9  I got opportunity after opportunity to practice my virtue of perseverance
      Perseverance is one of those virtues you only get to practice when you are faced with a difficult challenge.  We Choose Virtues, the virtue curriculum we use has the catch phrase "I can do it even if it's tough."  Each one of my girls initially took me two hours to comb out.  By the end of 4 hours of combing, my arms and back ached.  But, I did it.

#8  My children got to see how their parents act under stress
     I won't say that I didn't cry over this.  I did.  A lot.  But I cried at night to my husband.  Mostly because I was so tired and frustrated and sad that I did not have family to help me out.  To my children I held a brave face.  I reminded myself over and over that they were watching me and I tried hard to guard my tongue from harsh words or complaining.  I tried to make the tedious task of combing out bugs from their hair a joyful one.  Combing out each bug has allowed me to perfect the art of forcing a smile when I really wanted to vomit.

#7  Lots and lots of one on one time with the girls
     Before our little lice episode I rarely had time to spend completely one on one with the older girls.  We tuck each girl into bed and they get books but it had been a long time that I had spent HOURS with each one at a time.  Cue 2 hour nit-combing sessions.  When we did a comb out I did it in our bathroom with the door closed so that the other kids would not barge in and make me lose my place.  I turned on a movie (which is a real treat in our home) and we went to work!  The girls actually loved getting their hair brushed out because they got this "royal treatment."  Eventually, we went to a professional place to get our heads checked because I wanted someone else to check our heads to be certain we were clear.  The salon was like a spa with big screen TVs and sparkling water and juice boxes for the kids.  After one treatment the girls actually said "Mom, lets get lice again."  After nearly swerving off the road I made them promise to never say this again.

#6  My daughter doesn't hate brushing her hair anymore
     My eldest daughter used to cry every single time I had to brush her hair.  I have used conditioners, wide tooth combs, combing when wet, combing when dry...nothing seemed to make it better.  Until lice combing with the special lice tool.  You see, when you comb for nits you need to scrape the head and pull up in small sections.  Then, you have to do it in all four directions of the hair shaft.  After doing this on Sofia every day (sometimes twice a day) for a whole week and a half...she thinks getting her hair brushed with a regular comb is like a massage.  Voila, cured!

#5  I saw first hand how close my girls are (literally)
     Between treatments the last thing I wanted was for my girls to have their heads touch each other.  All it would take was one bug to crawl from one girl to the next before the whole mini-nightmare started again.  So, I set out to keep the three of them apart.  I soon found out it was IMPOSSIBLE.  I can't believe how often the three of them have their heads glued together.  They read together, they play house, they hug, they make sister sandwiches...all with their heads together.  This raised my blood pressure at the height of the lice disaster, but now I can look at it as something so sweet.

Can you just see the lice spreading????

#4  The girls' rooms are completely uncluttered
      When you find lice, you have to bag up every stuffed animal in the child's room.  I took this one step further and bagged EVERY stuffed animal, doll, toy, dress up clothes and any odds and ends.  I did this in every room.  I have to say that my girls' rooms are the cleanest they have ever been.  The girls love it too, it takes them seconds to clean their rooms every evening.  Dusting is also a breeze now.

#3  I know my husband loves me...reeeeallly loves me!
      Before I found a local lice center in WNY, I thought that it was going to be up to my husband to comb my hair out for bugs.  Can you see why I cried?  My husband agreed to do it and he did not complain once.  Not once.  It turned out to be a disaster with lice shampoo goop everywhere and the nit comb being stuck in my hair multiple times.  I think I even have a bald spot from him taking the advice to scrape the scalp a little too harshly.  Nevertheless, he tried.  He also took a day off of work to help me with the initial laundry, vacuuming and bagging of toys.

#2  I conquered the chore I despised the most.
     Every Friday I used to cringe at the fact that it was linen laundry day.  I dragged my feet, I stripped the beds while complaining and I worked so slowly at changing loads of laundry that it took me all day.  Now that we have done the whole "wash your bed linen every day" when you have lice routine, I can strip ALL the beds in the house, wash, dry and put them back on the beds by 12:00 PM!  I am so fast at it now that I can do it without even thinking.  The girls even strip their OWN beds now and dump it downstairs over the railing (which they find so fun!)

#1 The lice diet
      For a few weeks I have been battling a few stubborn pounds that I had put on.  One week of stress, multiple loads of laundry a day, anxiety and non stop cleaning melted those pounds away!  Woo hoo!  Note to readers: this was not long lasting, I put it back on while celebrating "We Conquered Lice!"

So, have I got you itching your head yet?


  1. Hilarious. So glad that you can see the bright side of a seemingly dreadful situation!

  2. Wow, what an ordeal--but you made lemonade out of lemons, that's for sure! Your daughters are just precious.

  3. So yes, just reading that made my head itch! I'm always paranoid about lice! Glad you could find some good in the experience!

    Mary Beth

  4. Thank you for the sweet words! Lemons out of Lemonade...that is right!!!

  5. I love that you found all the positive things in this ordeal. Thanks for sharing. You have challenged me to make a habit out of looking for the positive in each seemingly negative situation! Thanks.

  6. Nicole I love you! My kids would have all been bald...

  7. Such a great post -- I would have shaved my boys' heads, but I can see that with your sweet girls' beautiful hair, shaving was not an option. In our house, I wage a yearly battle with fleas no matter how often I treat the dogs and the yard. When you said you cried to your husband at night, I knew just how you felt -- I've cried just like that after dusting the floorboards of the house with diatemaecous earth and borax for four nights in a row. I'll remember your post as I go into battle against the fleas this summer!

  8. Wow, Nicole, you are an inspiration! You can even find the blessings and something to be thankful for with a lice infestation. You handled the situation with grace and patience. God bless you, friend! (and I'm glad it's over for you all!) :-)

  9. Love your perspective!