Friday, August 1, 2008

Garrett and the Great Pediculus Humanus Capitis Caper

Well I hope that by now you know that if it starts with Garrett and the Great and it ends with Caper it's probably going to be a sit back and shake your head in disbelief, thankful that you're not the parent in charge of this kid's antics, type of read. What you may not know is that pediculus humanus capitis is, perhaps, better known as head lice.

I suppose it really all began on Thursday. When I went to get Garrett up from his nap, I noticed something in his hair. When I tried to see what it was, the small fleck moved. Of its own free will. Truthfully, I didn't think anything of it and I plucked the bug away. I've never had lice so it's not like I knew what to look for.

Yesterday I discovered another something in his hair. This something looked curiously like Thursday's something. Hmmm, what a peculiar coincidence thought I. I removed the bug, pinched it between two fingers and went to show my husband. "This isn't lice, is it?" He, also never having had lice, couldn't provide me with an immediate answer but he took it to the Internet. Pulling up a photo of lice he said, "Come over here. Does it look like this?" It was a dead ringer. We were practically looking at the mug shot of the louse on my finger.

I have never wanted to clock out on motherhood more than I did last night. If I could have hired a temp for twelve hours I would have. I began rummaging through my son's hair and, though I didn't discover anymore bugs, I found bunches of nits. I'd feel like a bad mother for somehow overlooking these but the painstaking process of ridding my kiddo of his head bugs, watching as his precious toddler hair was shaved off, and doing seven loads of laundry has left me feeling redeemed. And believe me when I say that they are teeny! You almost need a microscope to see those things.

I haven't a clue where he caught this pesky insect. I mean, where does a just two-year-old with no older siblings get lice? It could have been somewhere while we were in California--maybe lice also think that Disneyland is the happiest place on earth--or it could have been here in our church nursery. Or maybe they were living in the teddy bear he held during his 2-year-old photo shoot although, the thought of that makes me gag.

I called the doctor because I just wasn't sure how to handle the fact that insects were laying eggs on my sweet toddler's hair. I knew everything in my whole darn house needed to be washed but beyond that I was at a loss. While I was on the phone with the after hours nurse Troy was researching head bugs on the Internet. When I got off the phone Troy went to Walgreens and picked up shampoo, disinfectant spray and nit combs to the tune of 35 dollars. He also stopped at McDonald's because the very thought of bugs falling into my food turned my stomach and I was just sure that, what with all the snuggling, loving, and hugging I do on that boy, I also had a raging case of pediculus humanus capitis. I started a load of laundry.

After we ate dinner we took the boy upstairs. Certain that he has no working knowledge of feeling embarrassed by his predicament, we joked about what was happening.

Me: Garrett, you need to lay very still so that we can get the bugs out of your hair!
G: Bee Bee!
Me: Yep, there are buggies crawling around in your hair. That's yucky. Let's give them a bath. Okay?
G: Yeah.

I scrubbed Rid into his hair and then Troy sat with him for ten minutes while it did whatever its supposed to do. Murder nits, or something. I started the task of vacuuming the whole house. Garrett has decided, on occasion, that he is a bull. He crawls around on all fours with his head down on the ground. This is often accompanied by grunting. Because of this bullish game, I had no idea where his lice clad head had been. When the ten minutes were up we washed the shampoo out and began the painstaking task of nit picking. When we thought we had them all, we'd find just one more. Eventually we decided to give him a buzz cut. It's not too terribly short but I still had to pull him close and kiss his strawberry blonde fluff goodbye. After we were finished with Garrett's head we began nit picking on Troy and then myself. The grand total of nits we found on each other was...drum roll Praise God that we managed to remain uncontaminated.

I discovered the louse around five and finally went to bed around 12:30. In all I washed seven loads of laundry, vacuumed the entire house and cleaned the bathroom. Troy took the car and washed it, vacuumed it out, and sprayed the upholstery with disinfectant. He also cleaned the kitchen. Together we folded seven loads of laundry and sprayed down all of our furniture. It was not a fun and relaxing evening but we certainly worked like a well oiled machine. I guess that's what 4 years, 11 months and 3 weeks of marriage will do to you.

T: I, Troy, take you, Lori, to be my wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, to pick nits off of our child; until death do us part.
Me: Say what?
This is what our son looks like with his new "summer" haircut. Join with me in praying that his lice does not return. Please. I'm begging you. If you are not a person of faith, please find it now and pray with me. I can't handle another deep cleansing of the homestead.


  1. Oh I am all itchy.

    As for the idea of hiring someone to take over 12 hours of mothering? I think you may be on to something there! Hmmmm.

    (The haircut is cute though.)

  2. If I have lice, Garrett and I will no longer be friends.

  3. I had head lice twice once in the 3rd grade and once in the 7th grade... and my hair was too fine for the nit-comb so my mom had to pull out my individual hairs .... and since I'm a girl a buzz cut was OUT of the question! Shudder -anytime I think of head lice I just get itchy and will be convinced for days that I have it. How I managed to get it twice I'll never know - guess I hung out with too many sharing people. ::shudder::

    Kudos on completeing ALL of that by 12:30! That's impressive!

  4. so, i'm reading your post with tristan in my lap. as i'm reading, i'm brushing through his hair with my fingers, looking for little bugs. that's horrible, i really hope i'll never have to go through that!

  5. he's still a cutie-patootie. I'm still baffled at the 'where would he get it?' thing. Never had it, never want it.

  6. Such an icky thing to go through, but at least he is a boy...cutting it off is so much easier. Trust me. He looks adorable too.
    Keep an eye out for the next couple weeks, and may i suggest a total clean out of the church nursery rooms?