Sunday, August 17, 2008
The Third Plague of Egypt
One of the Ten Plagues of Egypt by John Martin
Well the day has gotten off to a rollicking start. Already I've cleaned the towel and linen closets out, rearranged and pruned all the clothing shelves in the wee one's bedroom and her closet, I've rearranged her boots and shoes and I've even cut out and stuck up her recent artworks on her bedroom walls, where she can bask in the glow of her own unfettered creativity. Obviously, I did all of this while she was otherwise occupied with my husband and so the whole thing will last oooh, say, 10 minutes tops?
On top of all of this, I've managed to do another two loads of washing ( in addition to the 5 loads I did yesterday) and rotate the drying a wee bit. I have also, with the help of hubby, unbogged our car which, complete with trailer, was stuck in the mud outside our gate, unloaded said trailer (twice) and carted heavy pieces of furniture up the driveway to store under the eaves to air. And as hubby sailed off into the sunrise to return trailer, was instructed that he wanted to clear the porch of all the furniture we have recently acquired, wash it, sand it and paint it, and put up our new girls single bed (which used to be her daddy's) when he returns. We will probably have to paint that at some point in the future too as I want to keep her room light and airy, (especially given that our house is a riot of pastel shades and so her room is currently Lavender with a hint of '1982'). So, we are busy little bees indeed. I am now due to clear off my desk in order to accommodate my new (salvaged) desk which is currently one of the items in need of a good clean on our porch.
Before I go though, as if recent events weren't enough (being visited by fines, flu and general pestilence), things got a lot darker on Friday night, let me tell you. It all started with me stating that I had had a very itchy head for the last two days. I asked the hubble to look at the base of my neck to see if there was some sort of a rash or bite. Well - suddenly he froze and said, "I see something." Little did we know how lucky he was to have seen something. He plucked the offending article from my neck and showed it to me. A louse - and not the 'cheated on his woman with her best friend' type of louse. The horrible many legged kind that lays up to 9 eggs a day and survives by sucking your blood. I tried not to retch into my cuppa. After more investigation the prognosis was confirmed - we had been visited by the *Third Plague of Egypt. Yes, for the first time in 38 years I had head lice. (Cue skin crawling and frantic scratching in the manner of cartoon dog). Ugh!
So, I immediately broke out my essential oils and into 100ml of Almond Oil, I put the following: 40 drops of Rosemary, 20 drops of Lavender and 20 drops of Geranium, plus about 5 drops of tea tree as this is all that was left in the bottle. You can also use other things like Sandalwood which is good for the skin (and smells delicious) and Lemon which has great antibacterial qualities. I then slathered said mix all over my head and hair and all over the hubble's. Beanie was sleeping and so missed out on all the fun. I know that I'm going to sound like a great big Jessie when I say this but I was actually a bit freaked out about being the host of my very own headlice party. It just made me feel dirty. I mean, I know that it's not about the cleanliness of the hair or the house (and thank God they can't live for more than a few hours off your head - I could not face having to try and delouse my furniture and beds and everything else), they live on blood, so anyone's blood will do. I also know that freaking out about it (albeit mildly) is not going to get the head de-loused. Still, it was creepy and I mean literally - there were who knows how many little beasties creeping around my scalp, shagging, laying eggs and sucking my blood - and for how long had this horror been going on? (Pause for quick scratch). I only know that my poor daughter must have bumped heads with another little anklebiter and swapped more than the usual cold germs - hence mummies first visit from the louse fairy in her long 38 years.
The next day's dawn saw me shipping a greasy headed husband off to the nearest health store or pharmacy for a couple of brands of lice treatments that I had found on the Choice website. He bought back a herbal brand called Wild Child. We then showered out the oil, dried our hair, applied copious amounts of the white conditioner like treatment and combed through with a lice comb. Can I just say here a hearty 'GAH!' Lily took umbridge at having her golden locks pronged and slathered and promptly vomited into her chair. (I think this has more to do with her current ill state than the product). Then the Nit Family AH had a shower and hoped to the Holy Heavens that the populace was, if not decimated, than severely reduced. We have to repeat the treatment in another 7 days. Oh joy of joys. In between times, I have to do one or two treatments with some plain white conditioner and the nit comb. The recipe is: Apply white (cheap) conditioner and comb hair with nit comb. Wipe findings on a tissue and repeat until you have been over the head about 5 times. This apparently is good for getting rid of eggs AND lice. In fact,(according to the internet) there are many families that swear by this treatment rather than fancy pants lice treatments which may or may not work.
Things to note about lice.
They cannot live for more than 24 hours (at the outside) away from your scalp so they will not infest your bedding or furniture etc. Though washing your pillow on 60 degrees and putting it in the tumble dryer will make doubly sure of that. Hence the HUGE amounts of washing I'm doing this weekend. I wanted to leave no stone unturned.
They lay up to 9 eggs a day and not all the eggs are removed with the treatment and the lice comb, so you have to treat your hair more than once to be sure of killing them all. Two treatments 7 days apart is recommended with 1 or 2 conditioning treatments in between as mentioned above.
You can use the essential oil treatment for your hair as both a preventative measure and a conditioning treatment. Rosemary makes hair smell herby and gives it a nice shine. You can even use a combination of a few drops of each as a hair rinse in your final rinsing water after washing. You don't need much for a rinse though, maybe 5 drops of each max in a jugful of water.
The Ten Plagues by Farm4 on flickr
Anyway, as a result of this further brush with pestilence and it being of the head lice variety, I now feel officially initiated into Club Real Mom. Not to say that anyone who hasn't dealt with head lice is a fake mum, far from it - its just that (in my humble opinion) dealing with childhood illnesses, infestations (which are
extremely common unfortunately) and other sundry catastrophes that regularly afflict families (and by that I mean mothers, as most dads are out at work all day) are the very things which make us a real mummy. Our unconditional love and ability to cope sanely with with the horrors, the vomit, the shit, the snot, the weeping pus-filled escapades, of our children, is what makes us a real mom at the end of the day. So, shudders notwithstanding, our too many trips to casualty, our way too many high temperatures and snotty colds and hacking coughs and now the yuckiness that is lice, have all served to finally, after much resistance and complaint, plonk me down into the me that is now a real mom. I have been baptised with the fires of experience in the fields of childbirth and child-raising and am now a new woman who is happy though slightly pertubed as she really doesn't quite know what to expect next. Perhaps a visit from one of the other 9 plagues is imminent.
*The Ten Plagues of Egypt were rivers of Blood, Frogs, Lice or Gnats, Flies (or Wild Animals - translation is unclear apparently), Disease on livestock, Boils, Hail & Fire, Locusts, Darkness and finally, Death of all of the First Born of Egypt.