First things first...what REALLY works for me is a long and happy marriage like the one my parents have--happy 36th wedding anniversary, Mom and Dad!
Back to regularly scheduled programming....
Now let's just come clean for a moment, shall we? Have your kids ever had head lice? Mine have. I confess that, before they did, I thought it only happened to families who lived in total squalor. I am by no means a great housekeeper--but head lice? Nope, couldn't happen here.
UNTIL a couple of years ago, when my oldest son shared a community batting helmet at a t-ball game. Yep, he came home with head lice. And he passed it to both his brothers. I was mortified. I completely freaked out and called the nurse (who was, I'm sure, chuckling to herself--"Isn't this lady supposed to be an experienced mother?")
So I'm writing this to tell you that if it hasn't happened to you, get ready, because it likely will. It doesn't mean you're a slob, or that your home is about to be condemned by the health department. You're not a bad mom, or a dirty one. To help you avoid a frantic call to the doctor, here's what worked for our family:
- Try the over-the-counter stuff. Couldn't hurt.
- If you have boys, go ahead and buzz their hair off. It's not exactly necessary, but it is helpful.
- Wash every single linen in your house in HOT water. This part takes forever, but when you're done, your house smells all nice and Downy fresh.
- You can buy some over-the-counter lice spray that I used to coat all the non-washable surfaces (like sofa cushions).
- This next step really works, but it's messy. Coat your kid's head with vaseline. Yes, vaseline. It smothers the lice. Then cover their head with a shower cap, and have them sleep that way. Seriously, it works. But it takes 2-3 washings to get all that vaseline out. No problem, though--everyone can have a few days with the John-Travolta-in-Grease look.
- If all else fails (and I didn't try this, but I read it on-line), get your kids lice-free and then just leave town. Lice can only live 3-4 days without human contact. If no one is in your house to serve as "host", then they will all die.
See? This isn't that bad. Don't panic. If it happens to you, let it be one of those humbling motherhood experiences that reminds you that NO ONE has her act perfectly together.
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