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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

But My Kids Can’t Have Lice

By Cheryl Maguire

There is something all moms dread more than anything, and I’m not talking about potty training (although that’s up there). I’m referring to the fear that your child will contract lice—ya know, those gross little bugs that take up residence in your head? I’ll give you a moment to finish itching your scalp.

When your kid gets lice (notice I didn’t write if), in all likelihood it will go something like this:

You receive a letter from the school or daycare saying, “Check your kids’ heads because lice is going around.” After you finish scratching your head, you think, “No way do my kids have lice. I’m fanatical about cleaning, and I’m not cut out to deal with it so it is not going to happen to me. I refuse to even look.”

Then your kids utter the alarming phrase: “Mom, my head itches.” Despite just reading the letter that lice are multiplying faster than Kardashian reality shows, you respond, “You probably just have some dandruff. I’ll buy some dandruff shampoo for you.”

After using three bottles of dandruff shampoo, your kids still can’t stop itching. Shining a flashlight on their scalps, you say a small prayer and then mumble, “Please let this only be dandruff.” Then you recognize the movement of tiny bugs. With the realization that your children have live bugs on their heads, you scream louder than a Real Housewife who just noticed her bottle of wine is empty.

After a quick trip to the store, you unload every lice product they sell onto your counter. The next few days entail combing, combing, and more combing along with washing, washing, and more washing. As you take out the 13th load of laundry, you let out another scream followed by a whining, “Whyyyyyyyy meeeeeeee?”

Hours and hours filled with combing, washing, and screaming pass by and somehow you manage to finally eradicate the little critters. You are amazed and in awe of the bug’s ability to survive despite being removed one by one and/or doused with chemicals and hairdryer heat.

When you receive the lice letter from your kids’ school or daycare, instead of denying that your kid has lice, you smile and think, “No need to worry. After all we’ve been through, my kids have to be lice-free—I hope.”

And then you itch your scalp—just because it’s an automatic reflex whenever someone hears the word lice. But another more likely reason is that now the bugs have found a new head to call home. 

Originally published on Signature Moms.

Cheryl Maguire holds a master’s degree in counseling psychology and is the mother of twins and a daughter. Her writing has been published in Parents Magazine, Upworthy, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Count Your Blessings, and Twins Magazine. Find her on Twitter: @CherylMaguire05.