I got the first two posts in this series up quickly, almost as events were unfolding and then……silence. For nearly two months I left you hanging. Here is a small explanation of how my momentum was cut short.
I woke early. It was my birthday.
No matter that Mark was heading out of town later in the day (leaving me alone with 13 children, six of them under age 6 including the two ‘new’ children), we would have a little time together at breakfast and I always treasure time alone with him.
We enjoyed a nice, quiet breakfast together and then the children and I said goodbye as he headed off for a week of meetings.
A while later, I was sitting on the floor reading aloud to one of our foster kids when I noticed a piece of fuzz in his hair and pulled it out.
Only it wasn’t fuzz.
Even though I’d never seen one before, I knew. I KNEW, but I Googled it anyway.
I called over his sister and pulled open her beautiful, thick, dark hair. There they were, all over. There was no doubt about it. It was just like all those pictures from the Google search.
Those two sweet children had lice AND they’d already been living with us for a week, a week filled with long, snuggling hugs, head to head contact and lots of comforting as they dealt with the crisis in their lives.
The kids and I went into overdrive. We gathered bed linen and emptied laundry baskets and got my lovely new washing machine and dryer going. I called a friend who ran to the store to gather some needed supplies for us.
And then I began combing and checking hair.
If I had known how many hours I would spend doing that over the next several days, I may not have been in such a hurry to get started, but the sight of all those nasty critters crawling all through that beautiful dark hair had me seriously motivated.
The children’s mom said to go ahead and shave the boy’s head, but I didn’t like the thought of no hair at all and so I buzzed it the same length as our boy’s hair. But, even with only a 1/4 inch of hair, there were more critters than we could count, so off it went and still, with head shaved, we were pulling them off.
About 2am we were finished for the day.
The older kids sang ‘Happy Birthday’. I laughed. Then we sat down and had a bowl of ice cream together.
The next day bright and early we were combing for lice again.
For 6 days (everyone was clear of lice and nits by day #3) the older kids and I spent 8-10 hours each day combing through hair. The younger kids made food and (mostly) kept the kitchen clean. I’m thankful that the baby was still nursing because that forced me to sit down a few times a day and rest, other than that I was combing for lice.
Mark was gone for the entire infestation. (He has great timing.)
A week later we spent another 10 hour day rechecking and a week after that we spent another 10 hour day rechecking.
I learned one very practical lesson during this process, when foster children arrive at your house, start their visit with a lice check and a good bath.
All told, 7 people in our home had signs of at least some lice on their head. On the third day of checking EVERYONE was lice and nit free.
At the one week re-check we found one nit on one head and one nymph on another head (knowing the life cycle of lice this would be ‘normal’). At the two week check everyone was clear (also what you would expect).
Now you know what broke my posting momentum. After that first week of dealing with the lice we were SO behind on everything that it took a couple of weeks to recover. (Can I use the excuse that I’m still recovering?)
Next week, Unexpected Journey: Part 4 (I promise).
I posted about our process for treating lice naturally with essential oils, just in case you ever need it.