Chronicles of a Lice Infestation

By: Cheryl Maguire

There is something all moms dread more than anything. I’m not talking about potty training although, that’s up there. I’m referring to the fear that your child will contract lice—ya know those gross little bugs that take up residence in your head??? I’ll give you a moment to finish itching your scalp.


When your kid gets lice, (notice I didn’t write if) in all likelihood, it will go something like this:

The Letter

You receive a letter from the school or daycare saying, “Check your kid’s head because lice is going around.” After you finish scratching your head, you think, “No way does MY kid have lice. I’m a  fanatical cleaner and I’m not cut out to deal with it, so it is NOT going to happen to me. I refuse to even look.”

The Itch

Then your kid utters the alarming phrase, “Mom my head itches.” Despite the fact that you just finished reading the letter that lice is multiplying faster than Kardashian reality TV shows, you respond, “You probably just have some dandruff. I’ll buy some dandruff shampoo for you.”

The Panic Shampoo

After using three bottles of dandruff shampoo, your kid still can’t stop itching. Shining a flashlight on their scalp you say a small prayer and then mumble, “Please let this only be dandruff.” Then you recognize the movement of tiny bugs. With realization your child has LIVE bugs in their head you scream louder than a Real Housewife who just noticed her bottle of wine is empty.

The Disaster Prep

After a quick trip to the store you unload every lice product sold there onto your counter. The next few days entails combing, combing, and more combing along with washing, washing, and more washing. As you take out the thirtieth load of laundry you let out another scream—this time it’s louder than Nancy Kerrigan’s scream after “someone” smashed her leg. When you finished screaming you start whining, “Whyyyyyyyy Meeeeeeee?”

The Final Reckoning

Hours and hours filled with combing, washing, and screaming pass by and somehow you manage to finally eradicate the little critters. You are amazed and in awe of the bug’s ability to survive despite being doused with chemicals, hairdryer heat, and being picked off one by one.

The Sequel

When you receive the lice letter from your kid’s school or daycare instead of denying that your kid has lice you smile and think, “No need to worry. I know who the letter is referring to and she’s sitting next to me—hopefully lice free.”

And then you itch your scalp because it’s an automatic reflex whenever someone hears the word, “lice.” Or another, more likely, reason is that now the lice found a new head to inhabit.

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