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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

The Lice Wars

Aug 06, 2017 12:00AM

By Holly Hester

My kids have just gotten head lice for the second time in their lives. The first time was a few years ago, and I’m still in therapy over it. This bout of head lice caught me completely by surprise. I thought we’d never get it again. I assumed it was like surviving a plane crash. I mean, what are the odds it would ever happen twice?

But since we’re now two-time lice survivors, I thought I’d share some basic techniques and tips I’ve learned along the way.

Forget all your plans for the day—or the week, or the month, or the year, for that matter. All you need to concentrate on is killing head lice, so you might as well kill your hopes and dreams at the same time. A Biblical plague has descended upon your family. So put on a burlap sack, pick up a rock and a staff, and start fighting.

Get ready to do a few loads of light laundry. I’m just kidding. What I meant to say is take everything you own and put it outside your house for an undisclosed period of time. Wash all sheets, curtains, and clothes. Hey, you haven’t worn that bridesmaid’s dress in ten years? Put it in the wash! I suggest making a clay oven and baking all pillows. It’s really the only way to get the lice out. Once all the rugs have rotted and become hideous and unsightly, you may bring them back into your house.

Put all stuffed animals in garbage bags. Head lice love to inhabit your child’s favorite stuffy, so you have to pretend you’re some kind of stuffed animal serial killer and shove them all in garbage bags. This will be your kid’s most traumatizing childhood memory, so remember to take pictures.

Get familiar with a shower cap. Just because only one of your kids has lice doesn’t mean only one of you has to do the treatment. Head lice are a family affair. I start out with a shower cap treatment of coconut oil, olive oil, and neem oil. After that is washed and rinsed, we move onto a head full of mayonnaise. After that is washed and rinsed, we do a head full of Listerine (it actually works). After that is washed and rinsed, we finish with a vinegar head wash, followed by a thorough brushing with a nit comb. At this point whatever lice haven’t died already just kill themselves.

Blame someone. Hey, someone gave your kid lice. They didn’t just sprout out of your kid’s head by themselves. Make a lot of harsh judgments about what filthy family gave your kid head lice and then hate them forever. It will make you feel better.

Self-medicate. Ben & Jerry’s Mud Pie. It’s really the only way to survive.

Good luck. I have to go do some laundry now and put some more coals in the clay oven. The pillows don’t seem to be charred enough yet  

Holly Hester lives in Sebastopol and writes about life on her blog, Riot Ranch. Find her book, Escape from Ugly Mom Island!, on Amazon.