It was one of those perfect parenting scenes. Early Friday evening. After a week of barely seeing each other for longer than a hello or goodbye, the husband and I had a romantic evening planned. Dinner and Netflix and chill. And by Netflix and chill I mean the parenting version of a movie and fall asleep on the sofa.
The little one was happily driving his cars around the floor and the big one was snuggled on the sofa with me watching Cars for the 157th time. He was scratching his head. A lot. He's a scratcher and a picker by nature, combined with being a sweaty head boy it was nothing out of the ordinary. Until I noticed that the little one kept scratching too. This is unusual.
I often do random spot checks for nits driven by the dreaded nit letter from school or a particularly over zealous scratching session. I have no idea what I am exactly looking for, and never have I found anything.
So whilst he was curled up by my side I began a subtle check through his hair. In a matter of seconds I saw the first unmistakable critter. After 10 seconds I had seen another two. My romantic evening flashed before my eyes and I sent the husband an emergency text:
"Shit! Big's got nits. Get nit shampoo on the way home. And wine. We definitely need wine. And chocolate." x
And thus began our process of getting rid of nits in 10 easy steps:
Be thankful I have used a cute cartoon image. If you want to give yourself nightmares and a serious case of itching all over, google images of head lice.
Step One: Remain calm
It is essential not to freak the small people out about the small creatures taking up residence on their scalp. Everything is going to be fine. Both parents must remain calm, particularly your husband when he phones from the supermarket to complain about the cost of nit shampoo.
Step Two: Apply the nit solution to everyone's hair
In doing so resist all urges to squeal and shudder every time you find one of the little buggers. Be prepared to say "sit still" on repeat for the next 20 minutes whilst your child whinges and whines through the entire process. Topsy and Tim's mum did not have to put up with this shit. Be prepared for a vigorous workout when applying nit solution to a two year old who NEVER stands still as you chase him around the house for half an hour. This process will lead to the urge to just shave everyone's hair off, including your own. That is not the solution here.
Step Three: Answer any questions your child may have about his lice infestation
This includes allowing him to look at the collected menaces now removed and dead on a cotton wool pad. Allow your child the opportunity to chat with the evicted bugs and tell them "don't come back because you are very naughty and I don't want an itchy head anymore."
Step Four: Strip all beds and remake
Even though you only did this two days ago, and the last set are still in your already overflowing laundry bin. Contemplate taking your husband seriously when he advises you to burn them.
Step Five: Drink wine
Resume your romantic evening with greasy hair that you can't stop itching despite having found no evidence of an infestation in your own hair.
Step Six: Gag your child
Okay this one is not really advisable, but be prepared for him to blab to anyone who will listen that he has "the nits," and watch people back away in a hasty a not so subtle retreat. Keep muttering under your breath about the bastards only being attracted to clean hair.
Step Seven: Become neurotic
Pounce on your child at any given opportunity for a good route around his scalp in case any offending critters didn't get the not welcome message. Eye anyone scratching even their nose with deep suspicion. Become paranoid that everyone knows and contemplate wearing a bell around your neck and shout "unclean" if anyone comes to close.
Step Eight: Repeat all of the above steps
Because the nit solution requires you to do all of this again in one week. You're going to need a lot more wine.
Congratulations, you have successfully survived a nit infestation, and in about a year you may be able to laugh about it. That's another parenting badge of honour well and truly earned.
They don't warn you about this crap in the brochures.