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FranklyStein: Lice in paradise

liceThis week, there’s been a lice infestation in the Stein house. It’s a wonderful way to spend your last week of vacation.

We’ve never had lice before so this is all new to me. I got word a week ago that there was a lice outbreak at the theater camp my kids attended, so we were told to be on the look out. So lookout I did. But I had no idea what I was looking for or how to look and frankly, my eyesight is not so great. So initially, I didn’t find anything.

A friend on the beach, a veteran of lice, told me to get a metal lice comb and then I would KNOW if the kids had lice. So I got a metal lice comb and ran it through my kids’ hair and didn’t see a thing. I thought we were in the clear.

Then on Sunday morning in church, Adam told me he was itchy and that maybe I should check him when we got home. So I checked, and checked and then rechecked.

At one point he said one of the teeny, tiny specks that ended up in the comb was moving, but I didn’t really believe him. I couldn’t even see the teeny tiny speck. Then I called him back out after checking my daughter to try again, just to be sure. And I found a little thing I could barely see but saw enough to know it was moving.


So I did what any mom on vacation in a house with four kids, a husband and two elderly parents would do. I called a lice treatment service.

By 8:30 Monday morning, two lice ladies arrived with all their stuff (all organic and safe!), set up shop on our deck and got right to work. Turns out we all had a mild case of lice. A two on a scale of 1 to 10, the ladies said. But it was lice nonetheless and we all needed treating. So began the hours long process of shampooing, waiting, washing and more hours of combing out.lice combs

Meanwhile, a number of other families from theater camp stopped by to get checked. Three families went away happy. One family got bad news, and one friend had a few nits, so the day turned into one big lice removal party. It was kind of fun in a weird and unusual sort of way.

So now I know everything there is to know about lice and how to get rid of them. (At least I hope I do!) And I know that although my husband and I vacuumed and did laundry all day long while the lice ladies cleaned all of our heads, our work has just begun. I’ve got a fun week ahead. Day two netted hours of combing, hours of cleaning and one hour at the beach.

The show the kids’ put on in theater camp this year has now been named “A Lice in Wonderland.” I wish I could sing you the lyrics they made up to the main tune. I guess you have to laugh or you just might cry.

There have been bright moments in all of this. Mostly it’s given us a bit of family bonding time—for Chris, the kids and me, and for me and my mom and dad. (Nothing like spending an hour of quality time combing out your parents’ hair every day for a week.)

I have to say though, by Monday, I might just be ready to leave paradise and it’s lice behind. I’ve got an itch to go home.

Let’s hear your lice stories. What worked for you and what didn’t?

stein family2


FranklyStein is a blog by Chesapeake Family Magazine editor Betsy Stein who lives in Catonsville with her husband, Chris, and four children, Maggie, 13, Lilly, 11, Adam, 11, and Jonah, 7.


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