A wise woman (Coleen Nolan) once said: 'You're not a mother until you've had nits'.
So if you're currently scratching your scalp with fingernails worn down to the bone (and if you're not you will be after reading this), this one is just for you...
1. There are no nit role models
Celebrities will talk about a lot of things: their weight, their problems – even giving birth. But they don't ever seem to mention in interviews that one day they got a really itchy head and sure enough, on close examination, they were covered in lice – courtesy of their offspring. It's probably because their PR company told them not to...
2. You will have a hair appointment
It's pretty much guaranteed. The day you discover you have the dreaded lice, and before (always before) you've had a chance to do anything about them, you will realise that you have a hair appointment. A hair appointment that you've waited weeks for and can't possibly change. So you have to go, and decide whether to tell your hairdresser (and sit for an hour feeling embarrassed) or not tell the hairdresser (and sit for an hour feeling terrified she'll find them). It's the law of nits.
3. Overnight headlice treatments are not the same as overnight conditioners
And not only are they not the same, they're actually the polar opposite. Because rather than waking up with silky hair, as you would with an overnight conditioner, you wake up with a pillowcase that must be thrown in the bin, and a head of hair that will need at least four shampoos before you can get rid of the lice lotion. Which, contrary to popular belief, has not improved its fragrance since 1983.
4. No other mum will mention it
Just like the mafia vow of silence, once you know you have caught nits off your children, nobody mentions them. You are dying to talk about your infestation, share tips, and scratch furiously, but NOBODY SHALL SPEAK THEIR NAME. Which leaves you feeling like you haven't got nits, you've got the plague. However, do not be tempted to put a cross on your front door. This will scare people.
5. Nits are not microscopic
If you've never had nits before, you might be forgiven for assuming that, like bacteria or viruses, they are microscopic. Sure, they make you itchy, but they're not visible to the naked eye, right? Wrong. They are BUGS. You can see their heads. Look even closer and you might see one wink at you. Although if that happens, you've maybe inhaled too much of the lice lotion.
6. The comb is not really a comb
Nit combs are essentially weapons of torture. The gap between the teeth is so small that only one hair can pass through at a time, and even then it has to breathe in. If you have long or tangled hair, take a day off work. In fact, take a week off: it will take that long. And if you're unlucky enough to be suffering from post-partum hair loss, a nit comb will make sure that most of your remaining barnet ends up in the sink.
7. You have a renewed interest in biology
Most of us haven't read or used the word 'larvae' since we were at school. But suddenly, it's all about eggs, larvae and lice in your house. The leaflet that comes with the lice lotion makes bedtime reading and you find yourself googling microscopic images of the little blighters. Our advice? Step away from the search engines or you'll never stop itching. Ever.
8. You will become obsessed with other children's hair
Once you've imagined the first nit that infiltrated your family crawling from one head to another in your child's classroom, that will be you: obsessed. You will find yourself eyeing children – glaring at girls who are not tightly plaited or ponytailed, eye-rolling at boys who have anything longer than a number two. Why did it happen to your children, you will ask yourself when you have a moment alone. And more to the point - why did it happen to ME?
9. Your other half will not care
While you wash all your bedding on the highest setting and sit for hours sobbing into your nit comb, your husband is more likely to shrug, spend five minutes at the bathroom mirror with said comb (depending on how much hair he has) – and then not mention it again. Men tend to scratch a lot anyway so he probably won't notice anything different. The same goes for the kids.
10. Your life will be put on hold
Between finding out that you have nits, to coming out the other side – your life will be on hold. There won't be any sex, because you will either be crawling with lice or stinking of lice lotion. And you can't go out, because of, erm... the same reasons. So power up Netflix, order a takeaway, and have a night in with your four hundred friends. And their eggs.
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