As her hand frantically reached back up into her messy, mousey hair for the umpteenth time that morning, I had a plunging feeling in my stomach.
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Yup, finally the hand of fate was hovering over our house, we had finally succumbed to the dreaded……nits, which bearing in mind we have had, 2 kids, in full time child care, for 7 years, I suppose, was not too bad going. Still, the knowledge that we had them filled me with dread and confusion.
Dread - because, for some strange reason Nits are still a taboo subject. The misconception that if you have nits you must be “dirty” makes you feel, that at the mere mention of them, you are going to have a read cross daubed on your door (a la the Plague) with shouts of “unclean” “unclean” as you and your family pass by!
Confusion - because there had been numerous outbreaks at school during term time, yet here we were bang slap in the middle of the holidays with the bloody things.
So presented with this disaster I headed to the trusty Up All Hours website and checked out Dr. Bella's tips on how to deal with Nits. I then hot footed it down to Boots to find the most environmentally unfriendly, expensive, close- to- bleach- as- you- can- get, treatment as I was not going to take any chances.
Armed with my Nit gel, in a paper bag, in my handbag, that was zipped up, (just to make sure no one could see that we were infested), I scurried home to blitz them.
Step one: Establish the presence of nits. This is not as easy as it sounds. They are small, oval, creamy white, eggs to begin with and as my daughter has blond hair this makes them quite hard to spot. However having got out the I phone torch and a magnifying glass (I kid you not!) I was fairly confident we had them.
Step Two: Treatment This was an eye opening experience! I basically thought you slapped on some shampoo ran through a comb and washed it out and that, was that. Oh no. With the tiny nit comb provided you need to comb through dry, matted kid hair – cue screaming. Once that torture is over, you then apply the lotion to the dry hair, paying close attention to the neck and behind the ears. I chose to do this in my bedroom with Elodie sitting on the floor with a towel around her shoulders. Thanks to my paranoid, liberal, application of said lotion, I think in hindsight, the bathroom would have been a more appropriate location!
Then, and here’s the bit I didn’t read, the real sting in the tail, you need to leave the lotion on overnight for at least 8 hours! How the hell was I going to stop lotion spreading all over sheets, pillows, duvets, the house??
The thought of the mere washing implications was enough to make me want to weep, so I sat and thought for a while and came up with what can only be described, as a moment of pure parenting clarity!
I would, of course, wrap my daughter’s head in cling film!
So that is what I did!
So, she had to sleep in her clothes rather than her PJ’s but hey, it was only for one night and it meant that my usual washing nightmare would not turn into a washing Armageddon.
Step three: Extraction. So, the following morning I de-shink wrapped my daughter and went about combing through the lotion with the nit comb, with the satisfying result of seeing all the little dead buggers coming out with each comb. A quick hair wash and we were clean!
Back into the world of social acceptation and play dates – she says gently scratching the back of her head……
Top Tips for dealing with Nits
If you suspect one of the kids has nits, they probably do. The earlier you deal with it the better so don’t hold off.
Read Dr. Bella's advice
Buy a really good treatment lotion, they can be expensive but they are worth it, as some of the cheaper ones mean you will have to repeat the process fairly regularly.
Read ALL the instructions.
Put your child in their PJ’s before you start treatment.
Put a towel around their shoulders and fasten with a peg so it doesn’t fall off when you are elbow deep in nit lotion.
Have cling film at the ready it is a life saver.
Cover their pillow in a towel as an extra precaution.
Buy some smelly normal shampoo as it takes quite a bit to mask the smell of the nit shampoo
- Make sure you remember to de-nit the hairbrush too
And finally……don’t be embarrassed we’ve all been there and if you haven’t yet, mark my words you will - and she certainly didn't have any shame!