...she has nits!
Warning: I guarantee this post will get you scratching.
We first experienced the joys of head lice a couple of years back. And you never forget your first time, do you people? Our first born had finished her first year at school and we were on Italy on holiday. I was on mat leave with no.3 and Ben is a freelance, so we were able to take a mortgage payment holiday and bugger off to Tuscany for a whole month. We hired a very remote 16th century stone farmhouse miles from any civilisation. There was a mini-market, naturally (I'm not Laura Ingalls Wilder after all, a girl needs her wine and chocolate) but it was a 30 minutes drive down the most frightening, winding treacherous mountainside track I've ever nearly shit myself over. There was a 300ft sheer drop, albeit a very picturesque one. If you did plummet to your End of Days you would at least enjoy the stunning vista of endless olive groves nestled at the bottom of the valley. Should a local drive past in their pick up truck, all you could do was brake to a stop, stay exactly where you were with your eyes closed tightly, as they screeched past at a suicidal speed. As you can imagine, after one trip to the Supermarket and back again, we swore not to do the journey again until we were actually leaving the country.
I dye my hair. Brown, black, red, orange and sometimes all at once. Smothering my head in chemicals occasionally gives my sensitive little bonce a little itchy rash and normally all I have to do is lay off the hard stuff for a while and all is well. So after I had been itching furiously for about 3 weeks, I was at my wits end, yet I still didn't even suspect nits as the kids hadn't been itching. Plus kids get nits, not adults.
Picture the scene, we were sitting on our terrace, sun baked and happy. I had prepared a feast of prosciutto, fromaggio, breadio and fruit (I may have made a few Italian words up, it's all in the accent though, don't you know) . It looked so idyllic I even took a photo of the food. The stuff of holidays, sweet bliss. As we were all tucking in to our mid day feast I happened to glance across to daughter no.2 and notice a live insect crawl out of her hair and down onto her forehead! The brazen little fucker! (The louse not my daughter). A couple of seconds later..... THE DAWNING. THE HORROR. THE SHEER REPULSION. The nitty penny had dropped, I jumped up and rummaged through her hair to find a whole colony of full grown little buggers merrily enjoying their British feast. On searching my other daughter and insisting that Ben search me, we realised that the entire family (except the baby who didn't have any hair, the lucky thing and Ben - likewise) was infested.
Not being able to face the drive down to the shop, I took my husband's hair clippers and shaved the lot of us bald, one at a time. Every last hair on our heads was removed, like Demi Moore in GI Jane.
OK, so I didn't but by God I almost wish I did. Ben was sent down to the mini-market and 3 hours later each of our heads was covered in a thick black coal tar. What followed, as many other unfortunate parents will know, was days of combing, screaming and crying (and that was just me). The tiny village shop was only stocked to sell fresh bread, bottles of wine, milk and that type of thing. The nearest pharmacy was another hour's drive away, on top of the squeaky bum ride down the mountain. Over the next few days, on the advise of the locals, we tried olive oil and more combing. Mayonnaise..... and more coming. Coal tar shampoo... and more combing. We were greasier than a KFC chicken bucket. Fortunately, some friends from home were coming out to join us for our final week (the fortune was ours not theirs). We managed to get a message to them to bring a suitcase full of industrial chemicals to kill these little bastards once and for all. I bet they couldn't wait to come on holiday after that piece of information.
We didn't get rid of them entirely for another month or so. That's the nits not the friends (you really have to watch sloppy grammar don't you?). We learned the hard way. Every fortnight or so now we have 'nit check night,' where after a bath and hair wash, the children get to stay up late watching cartoons whilst I pick away through their hair wit a NittyGritty comb, wiping the forensic evidence onto a white tissue and then studying the contents of the tissue with my purpose bought pocket microscope. I kid you not... And so far, no re-infestation.
PS. I was going to call this post 'Once bitten, twice shy' but my friend's kid really is a dick and really does have nits. The fact that she has nits just confirms her dickishness. I am so not letting my kids anywhere near hers. Eurgh.
PPS. It could have also been called 'Nitaly' as that is what we renamed our Tuscan adventure. But again, you wouldn't know about that dickish kid.
PPPS. You're wondering why she's a such a dick, right? She's whiny, irritating, got a face like a slapped arse, rude, unappreciative, ugly.... and you can put up with all that if she's your own. But she's not. And now she's got nits.