Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Unwanted Visitors

It's summertime (although you wouldn't know it from the weather here in MN)!  It's the time to visit with friends and family.   We visit them and they visit us, right? Right.  Well, this week at the Ruff House we had some UNWANTED visitors.  They have driven me to the brink of insanity, and I want them out of my house.  Who are they, and why did I let them in?  Lice.  I didn't let them in.  They made their sweet way all on their own.  You see, first they attached themselves to Lola's long beautiful golden locks.  Then Isaac's short brown hair.  Then, they decided that Caleb's fine three year old hair was inviting.  And, yes, they decided to take up residence in my head, as well.  Have you counted?  That's four out of six Ruffs. 

Lola went camping last weekend with her BFF.  When she returned home, her dad suggested I check her for ticks.  (My head is itching just thinking about this!).  So, I dutifully start to go through her head.  I find one little tick - but it was sesame seed shaped and moved.  Hmm, I thought....that's weird.  And, I kept checking.  Found another, and another.  That's when it started to dawn on me.  I ran inside and googled "lice."  When I had confirmed the situation,  I shivered in horror and let a long string of expletives fly from my mouth.  Then, I ran off to Target.  I bought every lice killing product they had on the shelf.  At this point I'm thinking that I'll treat all of us (except Lola, obviously) preventatively. 

So, Operation Kill those &%&# Bugs, began with Lola.  She was crying as I shampooed the Rid into her scalp and it dripped into her eyes.  "Honey," I said, "Mommy will shampoo her head, too, so you don't have to go through this alone."  Such a nice and supportive mom that I am.  Little did I know.  I shampoo my head and start taking the comb through my freshly treated hair.  Is that a bug?  Not sure.  Oh my goodness, there's another one!  And, yes it's a dead louse.  Ick! 

That's when we started stripping sheets, towels, bagging pillows and stuffed animals.  At this point, it was just the girls.  The boys in the house were "clean" and Isaac wasn't home.  After Isaac's arrival the next morning - I thought I'd check him, just as a precaution.  After all he hadn't been around Lola since she'd returned from her camp out.  And, this my friends is when the descent into lice hell really began.  Isaac had nits - many nits.  These little buggers hadn't arrived with Lola after the camp out.  They'd been enjoying Ruff hospitality for several days.  They probably decided that they'd hang out with us before school was even out!

So, I checked Caleb again.  You guessed it.  Nits. On my baby's head.  I swooned with nausea.  At this point, my washing machine and dryer have been going non-stop for about 36 hours.  I'm still in the process of bagging pillows, plush toys, etc.  I've washed and rewashed sheets and towels.  And, even found dirty clothes on top of a laundry basket of clean and folded clothes.  Yeah - no comment.  I'm officially insane! 

We've slept with Vaseline on our heads.  We've discovered that baby oil helps get out the Vaseline.  That, and dish washing liquid.  We've slept with Listerine on our heads. The kids are now trained to strip their beds, put the bedding in a plastic garbage bag.  After bathing, the towels and PJ's go in the bag before it gets hauled to the laundry room.  We've vacuumed and sprayed furniture.  We've added vinegar to our wash.  We've boiled and reboiled all nit combs, hair bands, and brushes.  We've sprayed the car, and bike helmets.  Tonight, Steve will steam clean all carpets.  We are a well oiled lice killing machine here at the Ruff House!  As of this morning, all three contaminated kids were clear...knock on wood.  I still need to get checked.  But we're not done...oh no!  We'll keep this up till we hit the week mark.  Then we'll do another Rid treatment.  At two weeks, we get to unbag all our stuff and then wash and put it in a hot dryer - hello shrunk,  faded, and lice-free comforters. 

I have a friend whose daughter got lice from an airplane seat. We do have an upcoming trip.   Do you think they'll let me on the plane with an aerosol can of lice killer?  If not, I'm considering putting dry cleaner bags over the seat backs or having us all wear shower caps.  I'm serious.

Have there been any other downsides to all this?  Yes! I missed a professional conference (that I REALLY wanted to attend)  b/c I couldn't take Caleb to daycare. No play dates.  No sleep.  No fun at the beginning of summer.  Could it be worse - definitely.  This could have happened during the school year.  I would have had to plan for a substitute teacher to take over my class, so that I could get things under control (OK - the illusion of control) here at home.  Lola could not have gone camping, which means no tick checks, which means bigger lice infestation.  Steve and Sam could have gotten it (they better not get them - knock on wood).  In the end, we are all healthy, and my house is a lot cleaner.  Not a bad deal - it needed the cleaning. 

I've (re)learned to be thankful for what I've got, and to rely on my friends.  Those near and far who've gone through this ordeal have held my hand collectively.  I know that if one of you has to go through this, that I'll help you with advice - and nit picking.  I now truly understand the saying, "Going through it with a fine-toothed comb."  And, to quote our one of our favorite books (Go away Big Green Monster -  Go away nasty little buggies!  And don't come back, until I say so (which is NEVER)!  The rest of you, we'd love to see this summer.

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