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Posts Tagged ‘lice’

I don’t know about anyone else but I really love an ‘adult sleepover’ – you know, when you stay over at a friend’s house (often with your kids) instead of having to dodge breathalisers or taxi driver small talk on your way home.

I mean, what’s not to love about staying  in someone else’s house where they’re in charge of the meals and the dishes, you get to tuck your kids into beds made by someone else and then sit and drink and chat and laugh until the early hours of the night before rolling into yet another bed made by someone else? It’s perfection itself.

And so I was particularly pleased when the kids and I were recently invited by our good friends KC and MM to have a sleepover while my husband went un-flatpackin’ crazy with our new kitchen.

I am sad to report, however, that our sleepover became more about sleep than anything else. Both MM and I fell asleep on the couch during the last fifteen minutes of watching 80s classic ‘Heathers’ and KC ended up throwing a couple of blankets on me and dragging MM and herself to bed before it was even 9:30PM.

“You can’t let this be known,” KC told me the next morning. “My reputation as a party girl will be ruined forever more.”

(Now, I’m not sure where exactly she’s earned this reputation but I should add – to minimise damage control – that the last time KC came over to my house by herself she brought not one but TWO bottles of Prosseco and, handing them to me, gleefully exclaimed “I’m an enabler!!!”.)

Anyway, you’ll be pleased to know that we made up for our lack of a ‘Wild Night In’ with the grim discovery that Tiddles McGee and The Pixie were both hosting sizeable lice settlements on their scalps. KC and I subsequently got to sit outside for two hours in the freezing cold and occasional light rain shower while we carefully (and somewhat obsessively) combed through the kids’ hair in full daylight.

Yes, we are a pair of regular Good Time Gals.

Afterwards, KC kindly checked my scalp. Luckily, her extensive search uncovered only a small number of adult lice and no eggs.

“Let’s hope they were new arrivals and just didn’t have time to get into some hot louse-on-louse lovin’ action,” I remarked. “Unless, of course, they’re all females and it was hot louse-on-louse lesbotic lovin’ action. That’d be okay…”

At this point, MM passed by. Since he is a well-read sort, I thought I’d check my theory with him.

“Do you think there are lesbian lice, MM?” I asked.

“To be honest, I haven’t really thought about it,” he replied.

“Sure, you haven’t,” I said. “Sure.”

You see, I knew he would have. His mind has never been the same since I accidentally made him look at hardcore man-on-man porn.

Anyway, for the record, I’m hoping there really *are* lesbian lice and that those brave pioneers who chose to set up home on my scalp were some of them.

Unless, of course, they were progressive lesbian lice who had arranged a different sort of ‘adult sleepover’ with a gay lice couple on Tiddles McGee’s scalp before moving to mine… in which case, I think it’s fair to say that me and the lesbian lice are all fucked.

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What a difference a decade makes. 

Ten years ago, when my husband and I went on our honeymoon, my husband had scabies – a little wedding gift he’d picked up from our cheap and nasty rental accommodation at the time. 

And now, exactly ten years later, just before we set off on our “second honeymoon” (a one-night-in-a-seaside-hotel-without-the-children-and-with-too-much-wine occasion) I discovered I had myself a good old-fashioned case of The Nits. 

Now, I don’t know about anybody else, but I find it hard to kick back and relax when I know I’ve got a colony of lice fucking themselves ragged on my scalp. 

Amazingly, this is only the second time I’ve had to deal with The Nits. I say “amazingly” because, as regular readers of this blog will know, all you have to do is mention the words “gastro outbreak” and one of my children will start spontaneously vomiting. So you’d figure we’d maintain an open door policy for all types of school yard pestilence. But no. I think it has something to do with the fact I rarely wash my children’s hair and nits apparently only like clean scalps. Which makes them discerning as well as deeply annoying. 

Anyway, the last time we had an outbreak, it was well over two years ago. I had found one gaily frolicking on The Pixie’s scalp and so asked my husband to check my (extremely itchy) head. 

After five minutes’ careful examination, my husband pronounced me to be clear.

I wasn’t convinced, so I slathered my head in conditioner and proceeded to comb at least fifteen adult lice out. 

When I’d finished, I calmly presented him with the full body count, laid out on a tissue. 

“Oh,” he said, legitimately surprised. “Well, I didn’t see a thing!”

Obviously. I think I then probably said something about how next time he checked my scalp for nits, he might like to use his “looking eyes” – only, it’s likely I threw in an expletive or two for good measure. As I said, I was calm. 

This time, however, it’s the Pixie who has the infestation and I’m just accommodating the overflow. And, like a B-grade zombie flick, the little buggers have proved to be unkillable. Every time I think I’ve vanquished them, they’re back. I’ve had to boil pillow cases, machine-wash pillows and hats and bring out the KP24, also known as the napalm of the lice treatment world. 

When The Pixie first saw the bottle come out, she asked with wide eyes “Will that get rid of the bugs, mummy?”

“At $15 a bottle, I should bloody well hope so,” I replied, somewhat grimly.

“I think… I think that I’ll have no more bugs when I’m 16!” The Pixie said with lashings of her ever-sunny optimism. She was so close to the truth, it didn’t bear thinking about. 

Anyway, now all I can do is sit and wait for a week before the next KP24 application and hope for the “all clear”. And by “sit and wait”, I mean obsessively pore over my children’s scalp like some kind of OCD primate at every single opportunity. And by “all clear”, I mean “until the following week”. 

Anyway, I know most of you reading this started scratching your heads at the first mention of the word “nits”. To you, I say: Don’t worry. It doesn’t mean I’ve given them to you. Not necessarily. Why, it’s a natural reaction to start scratching! It’s like when someone says the magic words “happy hour” and, before you know it, you’ve ordered a round of Flirtinis. Or someone mentions something about “Barney The Dinosaur” and, next thing you know, you find you’ve put your fist through a wall. Or someone mutters something about a “gastro outbreak” and… oh my sweet fuck… was that Tiddles McGee I just heard throwing up?

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The Seven Years of Itch

Anyone with a child at primary school knows that at the end of each school day, you run the risk of picking up a few extra passengers for the journey home. Yes, I’m talking about nits and worms, the scourge of the Primary School Parent.  

It seems to me that the true curse of nits and worms is not in the infestation itself but in the constant threat of it. I walk around on a hair-trigger. The second I see anyone raise their hand to their head, I instantly morph into OCD Woman, pinning the offending child down to the ground while I pick through their hair like some kind of crazed primate. And way before that little hand gets stuck too far into the undies, I’ve already reached out for the Combatrin “special chocolates”, which, at $19.99 for 24 tiny squares, work out to be more expensive than a dozen hand-molded pralines from Koko Black. But of course, no amount of praline will stop your arse from itching. 

The school does its best to educate both students and parents in order to prevent a pandemic. According to the information sheet in front of me, symptoms of threadworm – apart from the obvious itchy bum – are listed as being “restless sleep”, “irritability” and “loss of appetite”. Which pretty much describes my children in perfect health. So much for the info sheet. 

But hang on, what’s this? To confirm a diagnosis, the sheet goes on to suggest, you must “look for moving worms around the anus an hour after the child has gone to bed”. What the…? Folding a piece of tissue paper in half three rooms away is usually enough to wake Tiddles “Bedroom Sentry” McGee, let alone carrying out a strip search on him or anyone else in the vicinity. And what if the child you’re examining wakes up while you’re shining a flashlight up their bum crack? Hmmm… Sounds like something devised by the Australian Association of Psychiatrists in order to drum up future business. Surely there’s an easier way?

Phew! According to the info sheet, there is one more way to identify a case of threadworm and that is to look to “see if there are worms on the outside surface of bowel motions”. Ummm…. so how exactly am I supposed to do this? Scoop it out of the toilet and put it under the toy microscope? Or maybe even get the kids to defecate on a glass coffee table so that I might easily examine all surfaces… Now hang on a dog-darn moment, there’s those tricksy psychologists making us theirs stool stooges again… 

So much for the info sheet. As I happen upon Mr Justice running his own information session for his siblings, I reflect that I am lucky to have the Wisdom of Children to fall back on. 

“In some other countries, maybe even Perth, they have big worms,” Mr Justice begins with great enthusiasm. “They live in your stomach and when you eat food, the worm eats the food! And you grow really thin!! And then you die!!!”

I interrupt to point out that Perth, although far away and full of Perth People, is actually in the same country as us.

“Oh yeah,” says Mr Justice. “I meant other countries like London… Brazil… Great Britain. We have to be careful if we go there not to get catched by a worm.” 

Okay, okay. So much for the Wisdom of Children route. 

There’s simply no way around it: by the time The Pixie and Tiddles McGee reach school-age, I’ll either have had to invent some kind of simultaneous scalp-arse-scratching device or I’ll just have to wrap the kids in clingwrap Christo-style before they go to school each day. Except on Thursdays, which is Litter-Free Lunch day, of course.

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