Family / Kids

The OTHER L-word: Lice!

rainbow troll probably does not have lice, thankfully

Igarapé Açu Rainbow troll probably does not have lice. Probably.

Our family got lice over the summer. It was absolutely awful. Truly terrible! It was expensive, and it was stressful, and it lasted far too long. In the interest of schadenfreude–I mean, in the interest of you, gentle reader, learning from my experiences–I’ve made an easy-to-read manual of my misery.

1) We find the first little bug, and I text my partner. I freak out for a while. And then? Well. I haven’t had to have so many awkward, personal, medical conversations since an ex’s ex tested positive for HSV. “Hey, our kids played together last week…and well…you might want to get checked out.”

2) Then there’s the shameful walk through Walgreens. It’s like picking up a pregnancy test that you really, really want to be negative. You cover it in candy and overpriced notebooks but eventually they unearth it. Then the checker tries to joke with you about it, and there’s not even a freak land-locked hurricane to distract them.

3) Family togetherness? I love having dinner with my family, I love playing board games with them. But family togetherness through the collective misery of showering, applying chemicals to your hair, and combing, combing, and combing? I’d rather watch Calliou—and I HATE Calliou.

4) Though contracting lice has NO relation to cleanliness, there’s nothing like having an entire village of tiny, crawling bugs living on your scalp to make you feel absolutely and completely gross. As a visibly queer parent, sometimes it feels like we’re on display and being judged and awful things like bugs on your head can make it feel like all those things Focus on the Family says are right.

5) No one talks about having lice. It’s like Fight Club, only without the surprise ending (the lice did not end up being Ed Norton. That I know of, anyway. Anyone seen him lately?)

6) There are terrifying superlice that are resistant to most of the chemicals we use to get rid of lice. You know #5 above? Bloggers love talking about chemical-resistant lice. Don’t google it. Don’t do it. Stop!

7) You’re never 100% certain they’re gone. Maybe, maybe they’re hiding in the sheets, or Rock ‘N Roll Elmo, or…

8) Having lice isn’t actually shameful. It has nothing to do with your cleanliness or worth as a parent! The CDC site on treating lice is pretty useful. Talk to your doctor if you have questions–they’re not going to judge you. Most importantly, take a deep breath, go hit up the CVS, and don’t let the creepy crawlies get you down.




  1. I’ve never trusted Elmo and now I have another reason…

  2. See. I itch just reading this. Ew ew ew. (But I swear I am not judging you)

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