When we think like rational human beings, we know that lice is just a tiny little nuisance that can potentially wreck our lives for a day or so and then they are gone just as fast as they multiplied by what seemed like the thousands on our child's head. Most of the time, though, lice brings out the crazy in us. And after years of hearing about friends of mine with kids who had lice, that terror has reached my house.
My kids are currently lice-free (for now). But each day when I pick them up from school, I fear the teacher will be telling me that some nits were found or that lice have infested the head of my child. I'm itching just thinking about this. But what irks me the most is that while my school has a no lice policy, kids with nits in their hair can attend class. I'm sorry but this just seems wrong. I've heard those little nits have a strong grip, but what if one decides to let go just as my kid is rubbing heads with the child with the nits?
I'm not trying to ostracize the kid with the nits. If one of my kids got them, I wouldn't want the other children to cower in fear every time she was around worrying she had bugs in her hair waiting to jump on her friends. (Oh my goodness how terrifying for a pre-k student! My twins are in pre-k!) But shouldn't the nit-knowing kids stay home until they are nit-free? I know they take a few days to hatch, but once a head has some nits, the child should stay home until the all-clear. Isn't that a better part of eradicating this lice issue that comes around every year? And it seems so barbaric we are dealing with lice. We can't figure out a way to KILL ALL THE LICE so it's never an issue any parent has to deal with?
Itching. Itching. Itching.
The Department of Education in NYC where I live allows kids with nits in school. So I have to deal. And itch. And worry. And put my kids hair up and slather them with the anti-lice preventative stuff so they smell like rosemary and tea tree and citronella so the lice are repulsed and stay away. I can't believe I'm seriously fearing something so small and that can be murdered with my pinky finger. But I think of having to strip all the beds and dragging all the laundry down the block to the laundromat because I don't own a washer/dryer ... and the fact that if my long-hair son gets it and how he hates having his hair brushed and I have a huge headache and mini panic attack. And WHAT IF I GET IT TOO?!?!
Then I remembered what it was like to have fleas. Yes, I had fleas. Just a few. When in college my roommates and I found a couch in the abandoned barn behind our apartment and had the bright idea to bring it into the house. It was full of fleas. My two cats were infested and so were we. We had to flea bomb the apartment ... twice and flea bath the cats at the vet. I remember sitting in English class and feeling something wiggle on my scalp and seeing two fleas jump off my head and onto my paper. I was younger then and much more easygoing when it came to things like this. Lice ... different story. Different time. Different me. Involving my kids.
I'm feeling like no matter what the school says, parents who have kids with nits should make them stay home just in case.
Is there a lice/nit policy in your child's school? Do you agree with it? Should kids with nits be allowed in school?
Image via Dave Fayram/Flickr