The park next to preschool was abuzz with news this afternoon of nits. Chicken pox is also going around but the little, black jumping parasites caused much more of a stir.
The Mum’s were beside themselves with worry that their child had nits. Ok I freak out too when my child has nits and I do frantic nit checks most weeks, but all the evidence shows that while your child’s head gets a bit itchy from the blood sucking, nits don’t have any long term, detrimental effect! It didn’t stop me taking a stand on nits.
When my eldest daughter was in preschool, she had nits once. I had a 3 week old baby and there was no time to denit her so we went to a kids hairdressers and they combed and denitted her. I washed every available sheet, pillow case, towel and washer and anything that had remotely been near a bed. According to my husband, from that minute on, I have been ‘nit phobic’!. I checked her hair every day and sprayed her whispy bits with concentrated tea tree and did two tight plaits to stop them jumping over. Did I tell any of the mothers? – no way!! Did I fill in the yellow slip that came home to alert the school my child had nits? Of course not!
The lifecycle of a nit is pretty fast. Surprisingly, the nit is actually the little white eggshell that is left at the shaft of the hair when the lice hatch. Nits looks like dandruff but if you have tried to pull them off, it requires fingernails. If one adult louse jumps onto your child’s head, she will lay eggs. One week later those eggs hatch leaving behind the nit on the shaft of the hair. The ‘nymph’ becomes an adult in 7-10 days after hatching and will then start laying her own eggs. So in 30 days, you could have a myriad of head lice!
Four years later and by the time my second daughter got nits, I wised up. At the same preschool as my eldest daughter, my youngest daughter came home with nits. My preferred method of denitting was to bomb them hard with any chemical I could find – KP24 all the way (much to the horror of many friends who were using the natural nit killer) and comb them out with the wire nit comb. I would get rid of them on a Sunday night and by Friday she would have nits again. I washed sheets in hot water, used the heavy chemicals and finally resorted to cutting her hair short. I went to extremes, I know. Especially after I knew they didn’t cause any long term damage, just a little annoying and a blow to the reputation because apparently only kids with dirty hair have nits! The nit repetition and reputation had to stop!
It took me four weeks of denitting to pluck up the courage. I was sick of nits and sick of their reputation. So I marched right into the preschool and in front of all the other mums I told the teacher my daughter had nits and she has had them on and off for weeks. They all chimed in and said their children also had nits and there we go, from that day on, the nits were gone, once and for all. We all agreed to denit that night and we killed them suckers. Someone offered to wash the sharing hats (if a kid forgets their’s they get a sharing hat). It’s all about parents bonding over those little black creatures. We have been nit free now for 8 months and it feels great!
I am scratching my head as I write this, what is it about the word nits that just makes your head crawl.
Has your child ever had nits? How did you get rid of them?
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About Anna Partridge, Founder of BombardedMum
Anna Partridge is a school teacher, mother of three young children and founder of parenting and education blog, BombardedMum www.bombardedmum.com. She walks alongside mums with children aged 0 to 12 years to run the often treacherous gauntlet of motherhood! She inspires mums to be the most awesome mum they can be and gives them empowerment, inspiration and confidence to be a great mum and great woman. Anna runs parenting workshops about ‘Raising Confident and Resilient Kids’ and other parenting related topics. Through her work, Anna is building a community of mothers who are sharing the inspiration and challenges of raising the next generation. To work with Anna and be the most awesome mum, book your complimentary 30 minute Mummy Mojo call here.To find out more about Anna Partridge, visit her website here.