I know my kids do not have lice because I know that only really dirty people’s kids get lice. This fact I learned from watching presidential debates, where only truthful things about other people are ever said. My sister, the pediatrician, disagrees. I think this is because her children have had lice. She sees herself as being obsessively clean, far cleaner than me actually, which she is. But still, dirty people equal lice, am I right?
But, if my children did have lice, and if I were to discover it on the second day of a family vacation last week, this is what I would have learned.
1. Lice Math
4 kids + 3 lice = 4 sets of bedding + essential stuffed animals = 231 items to be laundered in a washing machine that is not my own.
There is not enough prosecco to get you through this nightmare. Why, oh, why didn’t we buy more prosecco when we drove past the liquor store in the tax-free state?! Oh my god! Need. More. Prosecco.
3. Lice Medicine
People at out-of-state Walmart won’t judge you for lice medicine in your cart. Not one bit. Which is weird, because you’ll still probably judge them for whatever is in their cart.
4. The Itching
Oh, the humanity! The itching will never stop. Never.
5. Tiny Combs
You put slippery stuff into 24 inches of hair and then you comb it out with teeny, tiny metal combs in itsy, bitsy sections over and over again. I think this may actually be the definition of hell. Dear God, where’s my prosecco? Did we buy chardonnay? Who did the grocery shopping for this trip?! Whose idea was this vacation anyway?! Don’t they sell prosecco at Walmart next to tiny combs and Nix?! Good lord, I thought this was the United States.
One child is clearly patient zero. You will punish her with scornful Typhoid Mary references in order to shut down her whining and crying with each stroke of the teeny, tiny comb. She brought this scourge upon the family. No one sits in her car seat. No one. Do. Not. Relent.
7. Old Eyes
How in the world you ever saw the first louse you’ll never know, but now you can’t see a flipping thing. Is there a magnifying glass at Walmart? Because there should be — next to the tiny combs and prosecco.
8. Blow Me
You will be told to blow dry your children’s hair every other day in perpetuity, despite the fact that you haven’t had time to fully blow dry your own hair in eight years. Because heat kills lice, apparently. Well, blow drying seven square feet of hair for three hours a day will kill your soul. If you didn’t get prosecco already, you should feel free to eat all the Hershey’s bars you bought for making s’mores around the campfire on your godforsaken vacation. Blame it on Typhoid Mary when you run out of s’mores fixings.
9. Fair-Weather Friends
Upon your hasty return from vacation, you will stand a 50/50 chance of all playdates and birthday party invites being rescinded. One friend will say, “How about in two, um, three weeks?” The other friend will call from the car after listening to your voicemail and say, “Oh my God! My nanny just called and said she found lice in Mary’s hair, too! I can’t drive because I itch so bad! Wait, there’s a liquor store and a CVS. I’ve gotta pull over.” She will say yes to the playdate.
10. You’ve Learned Nothing
When that friend who also has a lice-infested kid says yes to the playdate, you will have to think for a second about whether or not you actually want to have that playdate…because…lice. So dirty.
In summary, wash the sheets out of everything, buy more prosecco, get a teeny tiny metal comb along with Permethrin shampoo (my sister said so), and then comb, comb, comb, and blow dry hair every other day forever and ever, Amen.
And if you’re looking for a silver lining and the teeny, tiny metal comb isn’t silver enough, remember this: One website said that you can think about the nit-picking as an opportunity for quality time with your child. I think it’s an opportunity for more prosecco, but what do I know? My kids don’t have lice.* But maybe yours do. I won’t judge. Honest.
*Okay. You caught me. My kids have lice. Have a Hershey’s Bar.