Little visitors

My eldest has little visitors in his hair. This is not good news. It signals an exhausting and depressing weekend ahead. I know because we’ve been here many times before.

I lived 35 blissful years of my life without coming into contact with a nit. We had a nit nurse at school and everyone got their heads checked. To my knowledge, nothing was ever found. Well, not on me, my friends or my brother at any rate.

We sailed through the first three years with my eldest at school. Then my younger son started school. At the end of his very first week he brought home the dreaded orange letter – someone in his class has nits. Please check your child’s head.

So we did. And he had the little blighters. After only FIVE DAYS of school. So we checked his brother’s head. Yep, he had them too. And his sister did. And (oh, the shame) so did his Mummy. I had nits! ME! A respectable 35 year old mother! Only one person escaped. The one with slightly less hair than the rest of us.

We invested in a ‘Nitty Gritty’ comb. It was amazing. Well, we thought it was at first. No chemicals! Because chemicals are BAD! Just cover your hair in gallons of conditioner and comb through with this magic comb which will remove all the nits and eggs. But don’t miss any. Because if you miss just ONE the cycle starts again…

And so it was a few weeks later that they were back – on all four of us. This time we invested in chemicals. They had to be on for something ridiculous like 12 hours – or was it 24? Either way, we had to actually be seen in public with this greasy crap on our hair. I am not a vain person, but there are some boundaries you don’t cross. And this was most definitely one of them.

And that was it. For that year at least. The following year we battled from from September right until Christmas. Again, on all four of us. This time we discovered ’10 minute’ chemicals. Result!

Ten minutes, my arse. You only have to LEAVE THEM ON 10 minutes, but they take ages to apply, ages to comb and three or four loads of shampoo to rinse. De-nitting the whole family took about four hours. Always carried out in front of Saturday evening telly – You’ve Been Framed, TV Burp and whichever talent show was on at the time – to try and take the edge of the inconvenience of the whole thing.

Last year, when the kids were in Year 5, Year 2 and Reception (yep, THREE potential sources of nits) we battled the buggers from September to EASTER. It’s a time-consuming business and a very costly one too. One bottle of those chemicals (about six applications) costs 20 quid. That doesn’t go far.

My husband was going mad ‘that bloody filthy school’ etc etc. I can’t blame parents for not treating when it costs that much, although of course it pisses me off that they don’t. But if you’re poor, are you really going to spend £20 on a bottle of nit lotion? Not blimmin’ likely.

And there was always the possibility that it was our own fault – that we were just re-infecting. All it takes is for one egg or one nit to get left behind… And those things cling on like you wouldn’t believe. To be honest, it’s a miracle that we ever break the cycle and get rid of them.

All of my kids have long hair and, no, I won’t EVER shave my boys’ hair. My younger son’s is smooth and shiny and quite easy to comb. My eldest’s is like some sort of overgrown forest.

This time round we tried an ongoing prevention programme using an electronic nit zapping comb aka ‘the buzzing comb’. It electrocutes the little buggers. Quite satisfying. It cost £20 too, but at least you don’t have to buy it again in a few weeks. And after months of buzzing and zapping, they were suddenly gone and we all breathed a sigh of relief.

Until yesterday. After a year of being clear I notice something ominous lurking in the forest of my son’s hair. I wasn’t sure, so I looked more closely. And there were more of them.

The prospect of oiling his hair on a Thursday evening filled me with dread, so we just zapped all of the kids and me. We will carry out the full-on chemical procedure on everyone tomorrow. The other kids and me look clear, but there’s no point in complacency. Oh joy.

At least Britain’s Got Talent will be on.

Author: Sarah Mummy

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