Oh shit, we’ve got nits!
Welcome to ground zero.
The house of ill repute.
Welcome to hell.
We’ve got nits.
Have you had nits? Nits are shit. I had somehow managed to avoid nits during my own childhood, despite both of my sisters having them at some point.
So, being unfamiliar with this particular type of beast, at first I didn’t know what I was looking at when I noticed some odd black specks in Little Miss’ hair. I was attempting an Elsa braid in preparation for a Frozen party (I say attempting – it was a fucking dog’s breakfast), and I was a bit preoccupied.
It took a few minutes for my brain to twig what the specks could be. Dirt? No, it wasn’t brushing out. Sand? Nope, too dark. What else lives in kids’ hair? OH SHIT OH SHIT OH SHIT!
”We’ve got nits!!”
The panic in my voice was matched by the panic in Mr McD’s eyes.
“Are you sure? Where? What do they look like?”
“No I’m not fucking sure, Google it, Google it!!!” I screamed at my husband, who was by this point jiggling from one foot to the other, and subconsciously scratching his head.
Google confirmed our worst fears.
Nits. Head lice. Creepy crawly critters in my daughter’s beautiful hair.
Nits, on the first day of a glorious long weekend, when we had parties and sleepovers and play dates all planned. Nits, after a week that had included gastro, a throat infection and less sleep than we’d had in months.
We had no resilience for this. No energy for nits.
After an emergency dash to the chemist, where I outlaid $65 for a bag full of chemicals that the pharmacist assured me would do the job, we then spent the next six hours marinating all of our heads in said chemicals, and washing everything we could physically fit into the washing machine.
Bed linen, clothes, toys, cushion covers, cushions… nothing was safe from the hot wash.
“This one says gentle hand wash in cold water, what should I do?”
“Fucking burn it!”
It is probably fair to say we panicked a little.
Never before have I contemplated cutting my daughter’s beautiful long hair off, but I was ready to chop the lot. Shave it if it helped. Fucking nits.
Two full hours it took me to comb out her hair, trying to scrape out as many of those little bastards as I could. Little Miss has the very nit-comb-resistant type of hair that is super thick, but with very fine individual strands. And her hair is down to her waist. The comb did bugger-all so I had to resort to scraping most of the nits out with my finger nails. I captured and killed three full grown lice as they tried to escape the chemical shit-storm assailing them.
It was horrendous. Traumatic. There were tears and recriminations from all sides.
My girl will hardly let me brush her hair on a good day.
Safe to say she was barely talking to me by the end of the day.
“Have I still got little buggers in my hair mummy?”
I’m pretty sure I said bugs, but, whatever.
Ten things I’ve learnt about nits (that I never wanted to have to find out)
“Head lice are small, wingless insects that live, breed and feed on the human scalp. They do not carry or transmit disease. They have been around for millions of years and, in fact, predate human evolution. Direct contact is required for transmission from person to person. Lice will crawl from head to head without discrimination.” VIC Better Health Channel
- They predate human existence people! These little fuckers know what they’re doing.
- Nits require repeat treatments. There is no way to kill everything with the first treatment. Treat once, then a week later, then a month later.
- Pharmacists will try and sell you the organic, more gentle stuff first. Ignore them. Chemical warfare is required here.
- Even if you use the strong stuff, some nits are resistant to insecticides. Yep. Super nits are a thing.
- When you go to the chemist to buy the treatment solution, go via the bottle shop. You’ll be needing all the wine to get through this.
- Head lice like to lay their eggs in warm spots on the head, so behind the ears and at the base of the neck are prime spots for infestation.
- Live head lice eggs (i.e. the ‘nits’) are brown or black – if the nits are white, then they’re dead (hooray!) or empty (meaning they’ve already hatched ARGH!!!!).
- Head lice can’t actually jump or fly, they can only crawl (small mercies).
- They need the warmth of a human head to live, and can’t survive for very long off a head. Although sharing hats is known to be a common cause of head lice transferral.
- Nits are shit.
So, how was your weekend? Got any failsafe nit-busting remedies?