Thursday, May 13, 2010


Nits. Lice. Louse. Fecking crawling bloodsucking mites. Call them what you want, but I can guarantee, if you have children that attend day care or school, they will be coming to a familiar scalp nearest you.

The note came home today from Sams school. He’s in grade 2. “Please check your childs head, there’s been an outbreak of nits, blah blah blah, sign and return this to say you’ve checked and treated. Sure. I’ll check, treat, sign and return. But the mothers of the kids who heads are freaking well infested won’t, so it’s kinda pointless. I'm pretty sure this isn't what Elton John had in mind when he sang The Circle of Life.

Nits or lice are simply very small insects that live on the scalp of human beings. Oh and they feed and stay alive by SUCKING BLOOD FROM YOUR SCALP. Did I mention their sole purpose in life is to suck blood from your SKULL?

And when these creatures are having a little nibble, more often than not, preferring young, nubile heads to do so, they make that area incredibly itchy. Hence, the classroom full of head scratching children strikes fear into even the most hardened teacher.

I remember meeting my best friend, in her first year as a teacher for lunch. She was relaying the story of the nit infestation that had taken over her classroom. We were laughing and joking in only the way the unaffected and uninitiated can. Then, from seemingly nowhere, across her forehead, scurried an undeniable nit. My other friend and I both stared and like the children that we were, pointed and taunted. Hideous. Our punishment, it seemed, was due to be doled out some years later in the form of many, many lice infestations of our own.

Nits are nothing new. My mother swore by Pyrenol. I remember sitting as a seven year old, crying in our bathroom with the chemical foam on my head, burning my scalp and stinging my eyes. The only difference now is that we have so many options for treatment available to us.

Here are some of solutions I have tried:

KP24 - The most lethal chemical shit on the planet. I actually thought I had gone blind in one eye once, when using this stuff. Yes, that does mean that the dirty little mites have taken over my head from time to time. Imagine my joy when this happens. Trying to eliminate a thousand of the revolting little fucks from the most curly, knotty and wiry long hair on the planet.

Conditioner and Comb – To be honest, this appears to be the most effective way. Put mountains of generic conditioner into the hair which stuns the little buggers, brush and then get a good nit comb and section by section, comb and wipe on a tissue. When you get a live one, squish it between your fingernails. It may be just me, but that “pop” when you squash them is oddly satisfying. As is the hunt. When things were really bad, this was my daughter and I’s only time together.

Vegetable Oil through hair - I’ve never actually tried this as I am a bit dubious. Sure, it may well work, but being a walking greaseball is about as preferable as being a walking lice hatchery.

Electronic Nit comb – So, in absolute desperation, I decided something that is seventy bucks has GOT to work right? Wrong. All it did was give the kids electric shocks and kill a handful of nits.

Variety of “natural” non chemical solutions. – These are obviously genetically modified nits, the natural stuff was freaking useless.

Teatree oil/Lavender/Eucalyptus and Conditioner spray
– I made this concoction myself. Crafty hey? And you know what, it works. I just have to be super vigilant about using it on my kids heads every single day. And it’s kind of like a beacon screaming “Hey look at me classmates, Nits hate my guts, not that I’ve ever had them or anything!” Maddie seriously hates it. UPDATE: I have been alerted to the fact that
"Lavender oil has recently been implicated in gynecomastia, the abnormal development of breasts in young boys" So I suggest you don't use this method. I won't be now :(

And to be honest, she was the worst. I swear to god, late last year I reckon I could count the empty sacks at the base of her skull in the hundreds. Empty, meaning the rampant fuckers had at some stage walked her head and sucked her young blood. Twilight has nothing on my kid.

But this year, since Christmas 2009, she hasn’t had any. So that is nearly 6 months of being given the all clear. Too good to be true or just the age where it they miraculously disappear?

After finding only a few empty sacks on Sams head, I can only conclude, he’s a breeder. He simply incubates, hatches and then passes the special gifts onto his classmates. He’s such a giver.

Best go mix a batch of my special potion methinks.

I’ll leave you with this lovely quote from @thinkthinkers on Twitter “Often if I find the nursery is in one child's hair, the nightclub is in the others. #nits


Seraphim said...

These guys are the bane of my existence right now. But thanks to you I got the giggles reading this post. Like you, I've run the gamut of "cures." Except the electric one. You are a classic!

Nomie said...

*scratches head* ahhh, head lice... little fuckers. I too love the hunt and the kill. That satisfying pop. Nothing like it... oh except a child with no head lice... I can dream, can't I?

OnlineCPA said...

My innocent visit to promised...

It was a nice and sunny Saturday morning when I took myself off to Woolies to get some groceries. Fancied a nice gourmet pizza for dinner!

After wandering around for awhile I ended up in the aisle with olives, marinated mushrooms, artichokes and other jarred delights that would be rather tasty on a pizza.

I was lingering (as one does in this aisle) when out of the corner of my eye I saw a young lad coming at me quite fast up the aisle running his hand along the shelf. He was going to run smack bang into my trolley. His forehead was just at the right height to bang (and bleed) all over the handle of the trolley.

Without hesitating, I quickly put my hand there and he ran straight into it. Disaster averted! Or so I thought...

The kid stops, looks at me and we both look at each other for a very, very long 5 seconds. I am thinking "Oh, man, this kid is gonna unleash a verbal spray at me of enormous proportions".

He opens his mouth. I brace myself.

"I've got nits".

My. Mouth. Floor. Stunned.

I had no idea what to think or do. So much was racing through my mind as my hand moved a bit further away from my body.

At this point, I was not sure things could get any worse.

I was wrong.

From behind me, I can hear his mother's voice.

"He doesn't have nits".

I am thinking about whether to believe it or not when I realised she hadn't finished her sentence.

"He doesn't have nits.... I have nits".

What the??? What woman in their right mind would say that loudly in the middle of the supermarket??

I turned around. There she was in all her glory.

A good size 26 rotund woman with some of the greasiest unkept hair I have ever seen on a woman. After I saw her, there was no doubt in my mind, she was telling the truth.

I had no idea what to do. She had managed to render a grown woman useless.

I went to the shampoo aisle immediately resisting the urge to scratch. I then decided to abandon shopping and went home and washed my hair repeatedly.

Thankfully the nits didn't arrive.

I have never gone to the Woolworths again.

That woman, however, will be with me forever!

In Real Life said...

Ahhhhhh...the joys of lice! In my life before children, I taught the 3 year old playschool group in a daycare centre...lotsa lice. Luckily, I managed to avoid catching it, but it always made my skin crawl.

Bronnie Marquardt said...

I like the sound of your lavender recipe ... would you be kind enough to share it? My kids and I will be most grateful!

Langdowns said...

OH I sooooo remember my first nits lesson. I never had them as a kid (not sure why) but my daughter got them 3 times in 2 months a few years back and I was ready to shave her head by the end! The first time it was like nit New York. She was infested!!! I had no clue. But by the end of the third bout I had it sorted. I then sent her to school each week with conditioner in her hair, and a very tight French braid. There was no way those suckers were going to get back on her head.
I feel your pain ...

So Now What? said...

Ahh loving all the nit stories. And that "only like clean hair" tale is bullshit. They like my daughters hair, clean, dirty or purple.

Sarah, We are living parallel lives. I sear our kitten has fleas, or it could be my paranoia.

Bronnie, it was a little bit higgeldy piggledy they way I made up the concoction,

But generally, about half the spray bottle of conditioner, a splash of tea tree, prob 2 tsps of lavender oil and 1 tsp of eucalyptus oil, a bit of hot water and shake so it comes out like a spray. I try to make it smell more like lavender. :)

So Now What? said...

But having said that about the lavender and teatree, it's been brought to my attention that "Lavender oil has recently been implicated in gynecomastia, the abnormal development of breasts in young boys" So, perhaps not such a good idea. Sorry x

Linda T said...

One of the highlights of my trip to Cambodia last year was spending the day delousing 65 kids at a street kids centre with nit shampoo. They ended up looking like the Pantene ads with their shiny hair and kept commenting "no itch" and exploring each others nit free hair - mind you I scratched for days...

Marita said...

Ah nits. We check weekly and it drives us all crazy. My youngest is remarkably nit free at each check whilst the oldest gets infested if someone with nits so much as walks by on the opposite side of the road.

Our school is tightening up nit procedure. Asking for parents to check and treat, sign the form stating they did so, also writing down what type of treatment they used. Assistance has been offered to families who can not afford to purchase treatment themselves and also lessons for those who are unsure how to check/treat nits.

Lucy said...

I cringe when I see Olivia (aged 6) head bent over the desk with all her little mates heads bent over the desk, sharing the coloring in. Hop hop hop.

But I totally agree with your remedy list. The lady at the hairdresser tried to flog me a "nit prevention spray" for about $30. When I read the ingrediants I realised it was basically water and tea tree oil.

So, I now make up a garden spray bottle (nice) of warm water, a bottle of detangle spray, a lid full of water soluble tea tree oil.

So far, 5 terms into primary, we are good. No not attacks thus far. Only about another 50 terms to navigate through.TOUCH WOOD!

I spray Olivia's hair every morning till it is wet enough to comb and plait. Pulled back hair is surely a must?

Sarcasm Fairy said...

Oh nits are fun (lots of sarcasm here) and it's rather annoying to be able to keep a child nit free over the weekend but BAM they come back when they go back to school.

I'm sticking to the conditioner and nit comb procedure. Doesn't cost a fortune and if you do it every 4 days.. you end up with no eggs or lice. Fantastic stuff.

I've also started to warn people at school that simply shaving your kids hair won't work to get rid of them (boy or girl.. yes there's a girl with a shaved head at school now)

Meredith @ thinkthinks said...

Comby comby comby. Screamy screamy screamy. Oh, how I love the nits and lice.
I always check when the note comes home, hoping to be spared. Usually we're OK, but when they hit, they hit with force. Once they were so big I threatened to make my daughter ride one to school.
They have been less common as she has got older, and her scalp is starting to get oilier and I guess less enticing for either nightclub or nursery.

Christine O said...

Awesome! My son turns 2 in August and started daycare in March. Something else to look forward to as a Mum - another one they don't tell you in the books! I remember my Mum constantly getting nits from mine and my sister's hairs. We both had seriously long hair. Hence Mum chopped it all off and we had very, very short hair to try and minimise the occasions of nittery. Good times.

Marita said...

Should also add - tumble dry or iron the pillowcases to kill any eggs living there. We get more headlice problems in summer so I like to leave the pillows themselves out in the sun for a few hours to hopefully kill any lice eggs that made their way onto the pillow.

I always change the girls pillowcases after checking/treating the girls hair. Depending on how bad they are infested I may end up changing the pillow case and sheets daily and combing their hair daily until the lice are gone.

Towels, especially when used to dry hair also need to be washed after use.

Ali said...

Hmm im scratching my head reading this...
i just go through my kids hair once a week with white conditioner and a nit comb.. so far this year we have been Blessed with NO nits!
Fingers Crossed it stays that way..

Tracy (ssmama) said...

Grrrr, do I hear you?!

I guess I consider it nit karma - I was much too smug at making it through years of preschool without a single bloodsucking parasite. Started school this year and woohoo, this is where the party is at. Woo hoo.

I've made up a similar mix, and after several weeks of regular conditioner combthroughs and spraying, think we're finally out the other side. Of this round. I'm learning. Fast.

That info about the lavender oil was new to me, though. Trained as an aromatherapist a few years ago, and have been using it as my first-response First Aid kit to just about everything since the boyo was born. Better go see if he wants to go bra-shopping this weekend...

SamanthaC said...

I couldn't get rid of the f*&kers last year and I was the major carrier (curly, thick, wirey hair!). I spent a fortune on EVERY cure I could find in stores and even then it was no good. The kids were fine - but we could not get them out of my hair and then I kept infecting everyone else! There is something really humiliating about sitting in front of your significant other for them to nit comb your hair repeatedly - although to be fair he did get exceptionally good at it!
Things got so bad that I swear I was just about to shave my head. Let's hope next time it doesn't come to that. But my kids haven't started school yet so I'm sure the worst is yet to come.....
Here's anti-nit vibes your way. I wish you a nit free house as long as possible :)

Mrs Bee said...

Haha, I think I am in love with you!!


Victoria. {TheYummyMummySecrets} said...

OMG. I hate them so much. My sister had them for ages. Just reading about them makes me itchy.

Being Me said...

Oh nooooo. My daughter starts 4yo kindy next year and I know they're coming to her golden-locked head anytime now :( New to your blog (thanks for following mine or I wouldn't have discovered you!) and am really enjoying your blog.

Wombat Central said...

Just received a similar note home from my 1st grader's classroom. Yay. He was all, "CHECK MY HEAD RIGHT NOW!!" My head immediately began to itch. Why does that happen?

Lulu said...

Only had one round so far. But all kids at school mean MORE nits. BTW, the kids at high school are just as bad. My teen queen got it from the Mosh Pit. EEWWWWWW.

Oh I gave you an award xoxo

Miss Muggins said...

bloody head lice! We can land on the moon, but not find a cure? what the? The lice on my youngest do not die with any treatment - seem to be some super resistant strain. The conditioner and steel comb is the only thing that works...wasted money on that damn electronic number too. Grrr I hate head lice, and I even work with preschoolers! We do need to remove the stigma, and go back to the days of being checked at school.

Cate Bolt said...

I hate to gloat. But we have a treatment that works. It's organic, and I would sell my soul if I ever ran out. We replaced our normal shampoo with it, wash their hair at least twice a week and bob's your uncle. No more head lice. It's the large families worst nightmare. *touch wood* we're on top of it for a couple of years now.

the textured leaf said...

Ive started scratching too. Thanks for finding me and following!
Ive done my own cococtions too. They were THE ONLY THING THAT WORKED.