When we last left our heroine, she was about to save her helpless child from a repulsive infestation of head lice!

(You can get all caught up with how I discovered the infestation here.)

Say it with me, y’all: “Ewwwwww!”

I couldn’t agree more.

Even though I was as skeeved as could possibly be, there was really no choice but to suit up and duke it out with those beasty blood-sucking bastards.

As a serial do-it-yourselfer, I really wanted to see if I could McGyver a solution out of everyday household items like duct tape, lighter fluid, and a weed whacker, but my inner parenting voice said no.

So instead, I turned to the refrigerator and the box o’ dog grooming supplies.

That’s right, people. Armed with nothing but a large jar of Hellman’s and my dog’s plastic flea comb, I set to work.

(NOTE: I chose the flea comb, which was clean and hadn’t been used in years, because it had very fine teeth. However, if you go that route, take it from me and do not share that detail with your child’s teacher or school nurse. Trust me on this one.)

First I combed out as many bugs and nits as I could find. Then I slathered my child’s head with my least favorite condiment, combed it through, and wrapped my child’s melon with cling wrap…being careful not to cover his/her nose or mouth. (I know – best Mom ever.)

The Google said the mayo would need to be on for 8 hours to properly suffocate the live lice. Unfortunately for us, our dog wouldn’t leave my sandwich-flavored child alone and we only got 3 hours of “mayo time” in before the grease dripping down his/her neck and the constant attention from the dog drove my child to the brink of insanity.

“MOM! HELP! IKE IS LICKING ME AGAIN!”

So we washed out the mayo, or tried to at least. I haven’t seen hair that greasy since I accidentally left the lid off the Vaseline jar when Mini-Me was a toddler.

Worried the partial mayo treatment wasn’t going to be effective, I looked for another home remedy…preferably one that wouldn’t kill any of my child’s brain cells or turn him/her into an extra large dog treat.

After thoroughly researching the myriad options…

I chose The Cetaphil Treatment to rid my child of lice.

In a nutshell, it requires thoroughly covering the hair with a copious amount of Cetaphil facial cleanser, and thoroughly blow drying it so as to “shrink-wrap” each hair strand therefore suffocating the live lice.

It took three afternoons, evenly spaced three weeks apart, and was a bit labor intensive (takes a lot longer to blow dry hair that is saturated with Cetaphil), but it was safe and it worked. We are officially lice-free.

Supposedly with The Cetaphil Treatment, removing nits is optional because the three weekly treatments completely interrupt the life cycle. But I didn’t want to take any chances, so I ended up buying a professional nit-picking comb called the Nit Free Terminator Lice Comb. The extra-fine stainless steel teeth are much more effective (and less disturbing to others) than my dog’s plastic flea comb.

Oddly enough, I actually enjoyed the nit picking process. This probably comes as no surprise to my husband who has been the brunt of my figurative nit picking for the last 18 years. There was just something remarkably Zen about methodically combing through small sections of coconut scented wet hair in search of buried treasure. Maybe I’m just weird, but I dug it. Perhaps because it was one of the few elements of my life where I could actually see my progress and feel like I was accomplishing something.

How I battled head lice and won by The Bearded Iris

It was also a great opportunity to have uninterrupted conversations with my child. Not that I would recommend a head lice infestation as a way to connect with one of your kids on a deeper level, but seeing the nit comb as half full rather than half empty is one of my finer qualities.

I’ve also learned there are folks who rid people of lice for a living! Apparently they make big bucks too. So I’m thinking I could become a Professional Nit Picker if this blogging thing doesn’t work out. Hey, I already own the comb.

So the moral of this story is this…

1.)  Lice happens.

2.)  Trust your gut and know what to look for.

3.) DON’T PANIC!!!!!!!!!!

4.) Buy a good nit comb. If you have kids, you’re going to need it eventually.

5.) Learn the facts and find the Zen in nit picking.

Or hell, pay me to do it for you—special pricing for readers of The Bearded Iris!

Honestly, the hardest part of this experience was the embarrassment of having to notify the school and my child’s friends. But most of them had been through it before and were very compassionate about the whole thing (the ones who replied, that is). My child was even invited to a slumber party by one of those parents, so I’m relieved to know that we aren’t marked for life…at least for head lice, anyway. {Bless our hearts.}

Triumphantly yours,
Leslie The Lice Lambaster