Friday, April 1, 2011

Attachment Parenting a Child with Lice - Part V

I bet you thought I was done when I posted Life after Lice, didn't you? Well guess again. Sasha had lice for two and a half months! There were a few times in there that I thought we had made it through, but then found more.

I don't want to make other parents worry even more because we had a hard time, but I also want to present a true view of our battle. I have spoken with Deborah from The National Pediculosis Association®, Inc. several times. I do not know what I would have done without her continued support. Every time I reached the end of my rope, Deborah dragged me back.

The battle was an emotional roller coaster. I'd have a small victory and celebrate it, but still be hesitant and fearful of bad news. Deborah insisted I see finding a bug as a good thing - I found it! She tried to tell me not to feel guilty about the situation. I had great intentions. I did! But I'd be on some regimen and then one (or both) of us would get sick or we'd have a jam-packed day so we'd miss a combing. I'd feel like a bad parent for not combing. Lice lay 4 eggs per day.

Every time I found my "perfect" combing setting, the new would wear off. Sasha would no longer stay distracted. I ran out of ideas. My mother was surprised I hadn't shaved Sasha's head. And I was on the verge of doing just that. It IS only hair, but she has beautiful locks. She was never bald. After talking to Deborah, I decided to cut her hair. Why hadn't I thought of it? Shorter hair would still be easier to comb than longer hair.

Lice? Scab? Something else?Lice? Nit? Scab? Something else?

I combed my own hair again and found what I believe was scabs from scratching my head. I sent macro shots to Deborah and there was still some debate as to whether I had lice or not. I cut my hair AND Sasha's to make combing easier! In fact, I went back and forth based on her attention span standing on the bathroom counter. I cut some of hers, some of mine, etc. I was married to a hairstylist for several years and I worked in a salon for a while, but I have no experience or training myself. I chopped a little more than intended off mine, but still liked it. I even like how choppy it is! I cut Sasha's bangs a little shorter than intended (a common mishap). Elmo & I hated it at first, but I don't notice now.

Sasha's Short BangsSasha's Short Bangs
Do not expect to use a salon.

She is just as adorable as she was with longer hair. You know what? I bet she would have been adorable bald, too. I'm glad that I didn't jump directly to that, though.

Sasha's short bangs - 10 days laterSasha's Short Bangs
Ten Days Later

Sasha's shorter hair made it easier to comb, but getting her to sit still was still an issue. Then I think I finally found my perfect solution: The Tub! Rather than spraying her hair with detangler, I could have it completely soaked! And she looooves the bath!

No, she still didn't sit perfectly still. At first, I still couldn't seem to commit to combing every day, even after switching to part time work. I told my husband I needed to help, even if it meant just nagging me each day to get her into the bath. That helped a lot. We combed in the bath maybe 5-6 days straight! The last couple of days I hadn't found anything, but I felt like I should comb until I had about a week of clean combs.

Then on Sunday we had a house guest arrive. I missed 3 days in a row! I kept watching for anything in her hair, but I had been known to miss bugs this way before so I was getting worried.

On the 4th day, we finally got back into the bath for combing, guest or no guest! I am pleased to say that I am now really and truly convinced that Sasha is LICE FREE! Tyler has still been battling and Deborah sent a comb to her father for me. I'm hoping she is staying clear as well. She isn't getting them back from Sasha at this point. I'll continue to keep the girls' heads apart as much as possible during visits.

Also, I did find 1 adult louse in my hair (last week), but even combing I found nothing else. I don't know what to say about that. I've combed again and found nothing, so I believe we're both clear.

Read the other posts in the series:
My advice to other parents? First and foremost, don't wait for your child to be infested. Get your family a LiceMeister® Comb to keep on hand. Do a combing check for lice on your child's head regularly. Here is my plan: I'm going to continue to keep the lice comb and 1 regular comb in the bathtub. The regular comb can help (but is not necessary) to separate hair before using the fine toothed comb. These should serve as reminders as well as just being handy where I need them. There were several other things I did around the house. You can read more about those in my other posts or at HeadLice.org (linked above and below).

Also, get the support you need! If you don't have someone close to you, please feel free to contact me (jorje at verthandi dot org) or The National Pediculosis Association®, Inc. at npa@headlice.org. Having support really made a world of difference for me.



3 comments:

  1. OMG do I ever feel your pain!
    A few years ago we had what I now call our year with lice. It was horrid. We were desperate towards the end but what I finally did that worked 100% is I cancelled everything for a week and all the boys shaved their heads and all the girls (with new short hair cuts) kept our hair slathered in olive oil and at least once a day I would take us all out into the sunshine so I could see really well and comb and comb and pick and pick.
    A month later they got them again! I honestly cried. I was having actual nightmares over it at that point. All the kids at our church kept passing it around so I know it sounds crazy but we did another week of olive oil and sunlight combing and switched churches. Yes, we actually did that. Our house has been lice free every since then.
    I am so happy that you have been able to get rid of them. They are resilient little bloodsuckers.

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  2. Wow! So glad you've posted this so someone else going through it will feel that same support. And hooray for being lice free!

    I did the exact same bangs chop the last time I really cut Mikko's hair — making me so skittish that I barely trimmed it the next time so now of course it needs it again. It's definitely one of those things where you don't notice the chopped parts so painfully after several days, though.

    Speaking of which, Sam just shaved his head. ;) He'd intended just to cut it really short and got carried away.

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  3. @One Rich Mother - tears are totally understandable! It can be so frustrating and I was on such an emotional roller coaster through our battle.

    @ Lauren - I do think it is important information and have at least 1 more lice post with some newer news on the topic (national news, not personal).

    I believe the trick in trimming is to make sure it is wet first, then comb it down and cut a little longer than you want it to be. But I've only watched a lot of trims, as I said Im NO PRO.

    I used a guard and shaved Elmo's head recently, but he is already in need of a trim. He had been growing his hair out for me.

    After being married to a hairstylist and having NEVER paid for a haircut, I just can not seem to justify the expense.

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