I Was Wrong

by Marinka on August 16, 2011

It’s amazing what a difference a few years make.

In December 2008, I wrote this. And I meant every word. Go ahead, read it.

I’ll still be here.

I truly believed that lice was an unfortunate but natural part of life. That it was no big deal.

But that was because I was an idiot who understood absolutely nothing.

Lice is a huge deal and people with lice should be forced to wear shirts embroidered with a Red L. Or bedazzled, whatever. The point is that people with lice they must be identified from a distance and avoided.

Like the plague.

This is what happened.

Last Thursday afternoon. I have the premiere of Russian Dolls that evening to look forward to.

I go to Sephora for a tasteful makeup application. During the tasteful makeup application, I am informed that the foundation is oxidizing on me weirdly and that my face looks yellow.

No one is happy with this development, and we wipe off the yellow foundation and start over. This time the foundation is spray painted on me, as though I were some kind of a Mustang. Unfortunately, and possibly because of the previous application of Jaundice, I’m covered sprayed with a color that I can only assume is called The Paler Shade of Kabuki. I look insane. Insane, but happy, because of the aforementioned Russian Dolls premiere.

I then go to a salon called Blow to get my hair blown out. I try to explain to my hair consultant what I want my hair to look like, as though I’m a contestant on Project Runway giving the final styling instructions. I want it highish, I say, but not as high as Marge Simpson. Having clarified that, I sit back to enjoy a magazine article about ways to improve the world. Or about Kim Kardashian’s wedding.

And then I get an email.

It’s from my daughter’s friend’s mom and she’s letting me know that her daughter has lice.

Her daughter that slept over at our house a few days ago.

Her daughter that my daughter has been spending tons of time with.

My entire body starts to itch.

For the first time in my life I understand why some women choose to apply hot wax to their genitalia.

Fucking hell, I say.

My Blower asks what’s wrong.

There’s no way that I’m telling a man elbow deep in my hair that I am one degree of separation from lice.

The email wants to know if we girls are still on for dinner that night.

Of course!! I reply. The extra exclamation point should be a sign of over-enthuisiasm and therefore a total lie. I text my daughter to tight braid her hair and wear a hat to dinner. And possibly a burkha.

I let them go out to eat but I wouldn’t allow either girl to spend time at the other’s house. And definitely no sleepovers. (My daughter left for the dacha two days later.)

It made me uncomfortable.

Because I didn’t want to treat this kid as though she had the plague.

But I wanted to get lice even less.

One year ago ...

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Anthony from CharismaticKid
August 16, 2011 at 7:47 am

The fact that I am around kids more than most 27 year old men heightens my chances for getting lice by about 500%.

I had a lice scare RIGHT before visiting Spain last year with my father because of the 6 year old I was working with had it AS WELL AS HIS WHOLE CLASS.

Embarrassingly his mom went and picked out my hair like a monkey mother and checked for any eggs. Sounds so gross just saying that.

She thought I was fine, but should get the lice shampoo just in case. I never did, and I’m fine.


Joni August 16, 2011 at 8:32 am

I would rather take a beating than deal with head lice. Uggg.


Alison@Mama Wants This
August 16, 2011 at 8:38 am

Urgh my head just started to itch, reading that.

Hope you’re lice-free!


August 16, 2011 at 9:15 am

You handled it better than I would have.

Kids are allowed out in public–in RESTAURANTS–with lice?

(I’m anti-lice people. Sorry you had to find out this way.)


DawnA August 16, 2011 at 9:18 am

AAAAAAAAA. Not lice. My son got it in elementary school from a batting helmet. Needless to say by next practice he had his own with STRICT instructions not to let anyone use it. Yep, I was that asshole mother.


Tracy August 16, 2011 at 10:09 am

What I want to know is why the link to the old post is blocked because of ‘sex’. Seriously, what kind of sexy lice were you writing about back in the day?

And how DO lice have sex?

And you let your daughter see the plague ridden friend? I would have said, no, no thank you, no thank you very much. Lice are gross, I’ve never had them and I hope to avoid them with my own child.


August 16, 2011 at 10:16 am

Lice is a huge pain in the ass.

My daughter (who is now an adult so this was a long time ago) had it once and it took me all day to scrub her head with nasty shampoo, comb through the dead nits, bag all the pillows and stuffed animals, vacuum and bomb the house with insecticide.

I’m with Joni. I would rather take a beating than ever deal with that again.


August 16, 2011 at 10:59 am

As a survivor of multiple louse infestations, including on my own head, I say don’t feel terrible. The mother understood. When my kids had lice, I uninvited them from their friends’ houses until I was sure the bugs were gone.


b a seagull
August 16, 2011 at 11:10 am

Horrible flashback. My daughter was 7 and I remember sitting on the terrace doing what Nona said. The school nurse was laughing when I picked little Typhoid Mary up from school- while most kids “bug” out when told, she said, now mommy has no choice, I do have pets. Yes, she had a sense of the absurd even then.


anymommy August 16, 2011 at 11:28 am

Your lice trails have been making me laugh since 2008. But you’ll get the last laugh because my kids head of to filthy, lice-ridden public kindergarten in three weeks.


Slow Panic
August 16, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Some how we have avoided head lice. God I hope that continues. Hope your daughter avoided it as well.


August 16, 2011 at 1:54 pm

AAACKK. I hate nothing more in this world than lice. It gives me the heebie jeebies. My whole body is itching. If my kids ever get lice, Ill be calling my mama to come deal with it. I cannot and will not handle it. ACK. YUCK!


magpie August 16, 2011 at 2:21 pm

ack. knock on wood, spit over shoulder, dance around under a full moon. we’ve not experienced lice, and i hope we never do.


Sophie@Fabrications August 16, 2011 at 2:37 pm

But you weren’t wrong. Lice is common, and everybody gets it, JUST NOT MY FAMILY.

Also, a good advice I just got from friends: dab a bit of Rosemary oil on daughter’s hair before she goes to school. It’s “flower perfume”, right?


Kath August 16, 2011 at 3:09 pm

Head lice showed up on our doorstep (actually in my daughter’s hair) last fall and it was a nightmare. NIGHTMARE. After a week of washing/hot drying every.single.towel/sheet/stuffed animal/piece of clothing she encounted, I had developed a nervous twitch and a drinking problem. And the actual treating of the lice (shampooing, wetcombing for nits, hot blowdrying, oiling of the scalp) had me so overwhelmed that I had hives all over my body.

I would take a beating *and* sit through a Brooke Shields musical before facing Lice again.



Carrie August 16, 2011 at 3:10 pm

Calm down everyone; all you need to do is download the Facts of Lice iPhone app for “real time alerts of lice outbreaks at the local level.”

(I’m not, unfortunately, making this up: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/avoid-lice-outbreaks-with-new-the-facts-of-lice-iphone-app-127449078.html)


Loukia August 16, 2011 at 4:17 pm

See, I would cancel the friendship for like…. a month. To make sure the mom washed all the sheets like, 3 times and all the clothes and to make sure the lice were dead, completely.

One of our best friends spent a summer in China and visited so many different places in Asia while he was there , and it was the summer of SARS. Naturally, when he came home bearing presents for me (a wooden elephant that I still dearly love) I yelled at him through my front windown to leave it in the garage, and thank you very much, and that I’d see him in a few… weeks. When I knew for sure he wasn’t contaminated with SARS. I also let the elephant ‘sit’ in the garage for a few days so any SARS germs would die, before bringing him into my house.

God, I should blog about that… 😉


the mama bird diaries
August 16, 2011 at 10:11 pm

omg – i’m having hideous flashbacks and now i’m itchy!!


K-Line August 16, 2011 at 11:02 pm

When I say I feel your pain, let me tell you I’ve been in this position no less than 8 times in the last 3 years. And, alas, I’ve been the parent calling on no less than 4 occasions. I am a clean and neat freak, who seriously considered putting her child in a shower cap with a lock till university, but I’ve had to come to terms with it. I’ve dyed her hair (doesn’t work), tried dirty hair (doesn’t work), put hair up (doesn’t work) and finally – before sending her to my parents, who could not handle it and on whom I rely for some sort of rest in my life, cut hair in pixie style (rendering my child a hateful wretch) – and also had the Nit Nabbers woman in NC do a comb through the minute M arrived, to ensure all was clear. Damn straight it was. I spend half my time combing out her freakin’ hair.

My kid likes touching head to head with friends, despite my threats to send her to a farm if she doesn’t put a stop to it. And putting on friends’ hats?!?! You can’t blame others any more than they can blame you. It’s endemic. Harmless and endemic. And fucking icky.

I urge you, if you find your daughter gets it, to call a service. In TO we have the Lice Squad. In Charlotte it’s Nit Nabbers. Best 200 bucks you’ll ever spend. They don’t clean your entire house from top to bottom – boiling, vacuuming, drying or bagging just about everything – but they take care of the initial comb out, tell you how to do it, set you up with a good comb and some solution that’s non-toxic and take the edge off. (BTW, it’s debatable whether anything other than combing these things out works, but you don’t want to use the pharmacy lice med which is a low dose of rat poison, scarily.)

I don’t know if, now that we’ve resorted to the pixie cut, we will resolve the problem. We’ve stopped all sleep overs and play dates in some houses that seem to struggle with it all the time. I don’t know why M never got lice till 2 years ago, though it’s been running through school for as long as she’s been there. And why, since she got it once, she’s got it again – even though there’s definitely time between outbreaks when she is entirely free of the scourge – and we hit it over the head (no pun intended) as hard as we can.

Not trying to freak you out, but to commiserate and provide advice. If you want to talk more, email me…


elizabeth-flourish in progress
August 17, 2011 at 1:30 am

I have to go lie down now. Not because it’s 10:28 pm and I was headed for bed soon anyway (details, details) but because the L- word is my biggest fear. Well, that and manual transmissions.


August 17, 2011 at 7:58 am

Now I’m itchy.


August 17, 2011 at 8:34 am

Lice is so fucking awful. I really don’t want to talk about it. The flashbacks are intense.


annie August 17, 2011 at 9:51 am

anyone who says lice is no big deal had never had to spend hours combing their kids’ hair….they’re also fucking liars!


August 17, 2011 at 10:20 am

Great, now I’m all itchy.

So glad I have boys that I can give buzz cuts to.


August 17, 2011 at 11:21 am

My children and I have luckily never had lice. However, just last week we got a note sent home from preschool that there was lice found on a kid. We were told to wash everything. I avoided my child and the plastic bag of blankets, and extra clothes like the plague they were. Until my husband declared us lice free. Then I stopped itching myself psychotically and stood within a restraining order limit of my four year old.

Lice is a bitch that I have no intention of friending.


Andrea August 17, 2011 at 12:41 pm

My stepdkids had lice a couple of years ago, and we discovered it when they were with us over Christmas break. Luckily, my husband had taken vacation one day earlier than I did, so while I went to work, he spent the day at the laundromat (with kids) washing everything in our house because I told him the dryers there get hotter.
Was that wrong? heh


Tonya August 17, 2011 at 3:32 pm

I definitely think all those with lice should be sequestered on a small island. What is Johnny Depp doing with his?


August 17, 2011 at 3:40 pm

I’m feeling very sad about all the hate speech against God’s winged creations that I’m reading here. And I feel even worse that I will have to report this site to PETI (pronounced: pet’-ti) – People for the Ethical Treatment of Insects.


vodkamom August 17, 2011 at 8:27 pm

lice. The word sends shivers through the school- and sends teachers into a panic.

The one thing we know? That lice LOVE clean heads. And that it happens to EVERYONE, even the children that sleep in our own homes.

And crap, now I’m itchy.


August 18, 2011 at 1:00 am

I hate lice.

We’ve never been able to escape them.

Days spent doing laundry, getting the sofas cleaned, and spraying the car’s headrests with Rid-X.

Hate lice BUT that special shampoo…I get the best hair bounce from that shampoo.


deborah l quinn
August 18, 2011 at 1:39 am

Had ’em. Hated ’em. Last fall we had lice (2 squirming boys: are we DONE? are we DONE? ARE WE DONE?)…and then double bouts of strep, and then a little bit of lice again. Call lice-enders (seriously). And all the teachers in our school swore by rosemary/teatree oil–little dabs on the nape of hte neck, behind the ears and a shpritz over the top of the head. They all smelled like wiccans, or maybe cooking chickens, but I figure they’re on the front line of the lice wars, so they oughta know. Excuse me, now I have to go scratch myself.


ladyday August 20, 2011 at 6:25 pm

My girls are turning 18 & 21 next month. When they were 4 & 7 the youngest had lice and they were both sent home. We spent the day in the laundromat and bagged up all the non-washable couch pillows, stuffed animals, etc. for 6 months. After then spending the whole evening washing and combing out their hair (and my husband and I as well, just to be safe), I sent them back to school. That bitch called me up and had me come back to get the 4 year old because I had missed a few of the dead nits. They were dead! After round two I told them that if anyone got lice again, we were all shaving our heads bald. Fourteen years later, it’s still fresh in my horrified memory.

So how was the Premiere party?


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