To be fair: Jesse wasn’t the only one in our family who got head lice. I know that I did at least once and so did Tommy. Christopher? Probably. Mom? Yup. I can remember looking through her hair when we lived in the house on Cheasty Boulevard.
Here’s the thing: people who don’t have children (or who were incredibly lucky children themselves) might not understand that dealing with head lice is a rite of passage—of childhood and parenthood.
I first dealt with lice as a parent when Willa was in elementary school, in first or second grade. At the first sign of an outbreak in the school, the moms in the know organized themselves into a troop of head-checkers, lining up the kids for a check of scalps first thing in the morning. A friend of mine found nits on Willa’s head, signed her out of school, swung by the pharmacy for lice-killing shampoo, and deposited her on our doorstep with a few kind words of instruction and encouragement.
I became an expert at the eradication of lice and the nits they leave behind. We developed a system: the infected child sat in front of me in the living room and watched a movie while I systematically sectioned off her hair and picked through her entire head.
To improve on my system, I bought a pair of 3x reading glasses from Bartell’s so that I could better see the tiny creatures and eggs. And I purchased a pair of little combs that I used to “feel” the nits on the hair. Although the combs are marketed for “nit removal,” I can tell you that they do not work for that purpose. They do, however, help you locate the nit. You then either pull out the individual hair completely or carefully slide the nit from the shaft. I kept my “lice kit” in a little bag in the office closet so I could gather my equipment quickly should need arise. (And the need arose on several occasions. It makes my skin crawl a little just thinking about it.)
I haven’t needed to break out the kit for many years so it’s time to pass it along to another family.
Offering: My proven-to-be-effective lice eradication kit, which includes a pair of magnifying eyeglasses and two combs.