The Tuesday after Labor Day weekend was slated to be a glorious day. It was Caleb’s first day of preschool, leaving me with three hours of child-free time. For the first time in forever. Almost literally.

Three kids down, two to go, and my sister called from OKC to inform me that her 6 year old triplets have lice. This would have been merely regrettable news had those same triplets not spent Labor Day weekend with my children. Within the hour, lice-and-nit-and-egg infested Seth, Emma, and Caleb, Lice Killing Supplies, and extra laundry detergent were all with me back at home.

Where I had planned on spending three hours in sweet solitude. Sigh.

Instead, I launched Operation Lice Obliteration. It went something like this:

1) Treated 3 kids 2 times each for lice. First, Lice killing shampoo. Then, a gel and ultra-fine-tooth comb designed to aid in removal of lice, nits (baby lice) and eggs. I found my fingernails to be more effective at times. This was an extremely time-consuming process. When I told the kids they needed a second treatment, they were moved to tears.

2) Ran the washing machine & dryer non-stop. And non-stop again on day two. Any household item that could reasonably be put through the washing machine was washed. 20 loads, minimum.

3) Any household item that could not reasonably be put through the washing machine but was still soft or fluffy got stuffed into giant trash bags – 13 in total – so that any louse that dared inhabit said items will have suffocated and died by the time I open those bags 7 days hence.

4) Sprayed 6 beds, 2 giant bean bags, 4 couches, and 1 upholstered chair with Lice-Poison. We typically sit on the couches and jump on the love sacs, so I’m a little concerned about the bottle’s prominent warning: NOT FOR USE ON HUMANS.

5) Disinfected brushes, combs, various & assorted other hair accessories.

6) Vacuumed, vacuumed, vacuumed. There is something soothing about the diagonal lines on freshly-vacuumed carpet, even though lice don’t necessarily die upon finding themselves inside a vacuum.

7) Had the heebie jeebies, scratched my head repeatedly, certain that it was crawling with lice. It wasn’t. Thank goodness for small favors.

8) Felt like “that” mom, the mom who lets her kids live in squalor. To their credit, the school nurses & administrators were nice, nonchalant, said that it happens all the time. But since I’m pretty sure that my kids gave their cousins lice & not the other way around, I still obsess: Squalor.

9) Experienced sweet solitude only as I fell into bed, asleep before I even turned out the lights (thanks to Jeff for picking up that slack for me).

As I was picking nits, I got to thinking. The recipients, those being Nit-Picked, pretty much hate it. It’s annoying, it can hurt, it takes forever.

It’s more complicated for the Nit-Picker. Although initially unpleasant, picking nits can get addicting in a sick kind of way. The more you search for those nits, the more you find, and the more determined you are to get them out. The feelings of the Nit-Picked victim become much less important than rooting out every last Nit. It’s easy to become a Habitual Nit-Picker.

My New Resolve: Lighten up on the Verbal Nit-Picking.

It’s no fun for the Nit-Picked, it’s not healthy for the Nit-Picker. I need to think twice, a hundred times, the next time I feel compelled to Nit-Pick. Is it worth it? Must I really find each and every nit & extract them all, regardless? I think not.

I’ve thought of a new buzz phrase for parents: Baby Lice are the Only Nits that Need Picking.

Think it’ll catch on?

Leah, Emma, Jessie, Annie at the end of their Fun Weekend – Hairs are definitely touching . . .
Just some of the laundry I did – Ultimate Spring Cleaning
The Bags – May every louse inside be suffocated and DIE