Thursday, February 24, 2011

Attachment Parenting a Child with Lice - Part IV

My LiceMeister® Comb arrived in the mail along with an extra half dozen LiceMeister® Critter Cards. I plan to hold on to those and give them to anyone with questions about lice. When I got the package out of the mailbox, it brought with it a renewed confidence that I can beat these lice!
The Licemeister Comb
When I got the comb out of the package, I immediately felt a difference! The handle is larger and heavier, easier to handle. It just feels like quality! The cleaning tool didn't make sense when I saw it online in the videos, but when seen in person it did. It is like a flosser. I couldn't see the string in the video.

I had been thinking about ways I might be able to get to Sasha's head with her awake. I put her into her high chair (a kind of special treat as we don't use it often). Then I started her off with crackers & laughing cow cheese. Then cucumber slices. Every time she'd get restless, I'd go find another snack. I was determined to do her hair in sections, properly. I did pretty well until the last 2 inches in the back. She had fig bars. She had snap-pea crisps. She had italian cookies. She had generic fruity pebbles. When she initially showed interest in the comb itself, I gave her the nit comb from the old kit, it had only been run through my own hair (no lice) so I figured she could play with it. She mostly used it to pierce her snacks. She kept putting food in her hair. Crackers on the comb was odd, but I can work with that. She also had graham snacks.

snack distractionsEvery snack I could find to distract while combing!
Plus a comb!

I did find that I couldn't really hunt for nits while I combed, not with her awake. I'll plan to pick while she nurses and comb in the high chair. We may go through a LOT of snacks in the next week! I hope this approach keeps working for me.

I finally called Deborah and we chatted for half an hour. She gave me some really interesting pointers! Use scotch tape rolled around your fingers, and while holding a part in your child's hair, tap the tape on the scalp. You'll be able to pick up tiny lice and SEE what you're getting. On that same note, you can vacuum your bedding, but you can also use tape or a lint roller on your pillow cases. Her important point was not to get so exhausted doing laundry that you have no patience left for combing.

Day 2: So first I'd like to say that the "7-10 days" I kept planning was not from The National Pediculosis Association®. I think maybe it was from the comb set I had purchased. Deborah encouraged me to not be too hard on myself. Also, lice can be eradicated in one sitting (it just isn't likely to happen that way with a 1yo). The more I thought about it, though, the more I figured I needed to cut myself some slack. I've been on a bit of a roller coaster with this lice thing.

By the time Sasha nursed to sleep last night, I was falling asleep myself, so I didn't get to hunt for nits. Tonight I set Sasha up with some dinner in her high chair in front of the television and started on her hair. I managed to quickly get through all the sections again... and found hardly anything at all! In fact, I never found anything that I could definitely confirm was alive! I don't want to get all celebratory just yet. I was using a cup of soapy water and that always makes it harder to identify, but then last night I was still getting stuff on the paper towel when I wiped the comb. Tonight... nothing identifiable. This new comb rocks our socks!

dinner and a showDinner & a Show
More Combing Distractions

Meanwhile, my ex-husband let me know he spent hours picking nits out of our son's hair and doesn't want to do it again. He was checking whether we had deloused our home yet. I do still seem to have some bites on my inner arm. My head still itches. Deborah really thinks I need to use the comb to screen myself. Many adults can comb their entire heads in the shower, but from talking to me she knew I'd want to do it where I could see the results. I'm simply too curious. And it is very common for the mother to be the one re-infesting the little ones. I have to keep thinking I don't have them, but I will be screening myself... probably tomorrow. Ronni will be coming over tomorrow night, finally! It has been several weeks, thanks to being snowed in, since he has been over for a visit.

Day 3: It is Friday and my weekend to have Ronni. Between fetching him and fuel after work and being exhausted, I'm letting myself off the hook for a night of combing. Plus it is the weekend, so I will have plenty of time to comb her again tomorrow. I hesitate to believe that we've won the battle quite yet.

Tyler & Sasha, sharing yogurtMy kids, sharing some yogurt.

Day 4: I found 1 live louse while nursing today. Then tonight I set Sasha in her high chair with a bowl of yogurt and some graham sticks for a combing. I only found 1 more live louse. I'm stinking at nit picking, but the comb still rocks!

Yogurt Snack for CombingYogurt and Graham Sticks for a combing.

Day 6: That's right, I skipped a day. Again. But I feel good about how she is looking and the opportunity just did not seem to present itself. So tonight I heated up some frozen veggies for Sasha & I to share for dinner. She had her portion in her high chair and I did a fairly quick comb-through without doing the sections. I did not find a single... anything! Some food remnants from snacks through the day, but no lice. Not one. I haven't found any nits while nursing, either. I've been checking a little, too. Nothing. I'm still a little hesitant to celebrate just yet, but I gotta admit... I'm getting excited! I love you NPA!

Day 8: I've been flipping through her hair when she nurses, haven't found anything. I got the combs out this morning, though, and did find 3 adult lice. And she was fighting me all the while. I don't know why I'm not spotting any nits. Oh, and Sasha seems to be sick again. Ugh! She has another fever.

skin-to-skin to battle feverSkin-to-skin has been the best solution for Sasha's fevers
soothing, and brings the temp down

Day... 11? (Saturday): Wednesday night was fever, up and down all night. Thursday fever ALL day. It never got too high. Friday night, she was clammy. Saturday morning she woke up with a rash on her scalp! My dad had tried to tell me that lice will burrow into the scalp if left untreated, but I'm sure he is... well he is Dad. He gets some crazy ideas sometimes. Through the weekend the rash spread all over her body. It seems to be Roseola. Still, I took some time to comb through her hair on Saturday. I got some nits and 1 or 2 lice. Is this just going to be an ongoing thing? Maybe. She wasn't very agreeable to being combed.

I combed / inspected Sasha's head every other day or so. I haven't seen anything for several days, but she has really been fighting the comb. I'm hesitant to celebrate. I also haven't had any bites on my arms, to that is another good sign. My scalp doesn't itch ALL the time anymore, either. I did run the comb through some of my hair, though I should have lubricated it more. It just pulled / broke my hair, mostly. If I find the lice again, I'll continue this series, but otherwise... I'm going to consider this the conclusion of my Attachment Parenting a Child with Lice series! I'm glad I could share this experience with you. I hope I didn't bore you.

I'd like to thank everyone for their support and encouragement, especially Deborah from NPA! I'd also like to pat my husband and myself on the back for not letting lice keep us from being affectionate with our daughter, which was the original point of my series. I would hate to think that some bugs could make her feel unloved, though I'm sure many children with lice feel that way!

Remember, if lice find their way into your life, don't feel like you have to hide it. Tell those that may have been effected (you might stumble upon the source)! There is no shame in lice, especially if we all refuse to feel shame for lice! One more reminder: The NPA recommends a weekly comb screening of your little ones. I know we'll at least be on the lookout more regularly. If you can catch them fast, it makes for less work to rid yourself of them.

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