Ask Mary, blog

Cooking while trying to kill lice

Los Angeles, Ca, –Cooking macaroni and cheese felt as if it took a year to make as I watched the olive oil drip from both of my boys’ heads as I hoped any traces of lice were drowning.

Earlier that day an email popped into my inbox, “attention parents one student has been sent home today after lice was found. Please check your child and if lice are found please take immediate action. Note: try a safer option to over-the-counter products-soak your child’s head with olive oil.”

Lice are my nightmare. As a child, I remember a lice infestation at my school. The outbreak required all children in the school to have daily head checks, smelly shampoos and we all feared blankets and stuffed animals being thrown away or even worse; frozen, if a louse were to be found.

I was running to pick up my children from school and when we got home, it Olive oil to kill liceoccurred to me that I should probably  take preventative measures to stop lice from entering our home. Even though I knew my children didn’t have lice (I wish I knew) they took baths nightly, I washed their hair regularly and surely my oldest wasn’t playing with the nameless mystery child with lice.  Nevertheless, I felt it was better to be safe than sorry.

First, I sat my children down on the bench outside., Next, I ran inside to grab a full bottle of olive oil and asked who wanted to have it dumped on their head first. As always, my four year old volunteered my two year old. And as I poured half the bottle on his little head, my four year old screamed, “eeeewwww”, and though I didn’t say it I was thinking the same thing.  As my four year old was objecting, I poured it on him as well. Next, I grabbed saran  wrap and wrapped both their heads to keep the oil on.

As we walked into the house, I laid towels on the floor for them to sit on. I reread the email the school had sent and what I had failed to read was “they must sit with oil on their head for one hour.” AN HOUR, I panicked!

By this point, I had stripped them both down to nothing, sat them in front of the TV and began to worry that chaos was going to break out any minute and a protest of tears was sure to follow.

How do you get two children under the age of four to sit patiently with olive oil dripping down their heads for an hour? Well, my answer came with two large bowls of bunny macaroni and cheese and Peppa Pig episodes.

Macaroni was not my ideal dinner; actually it was far from my plan. I was hoping to make salad, pork tenderloin and Parmesan pasta., However, life and dinner don’t always happen the way we expect it to. I watched and waited for macaroni and cheese to cook, which felt like an eternity, but all in all it took 12 minutes.  As most of you know, I love to preach ‘life in moderation’ and this particular night when I was desperate for my children to remain still for an hour, a huge bowl of macaroni and cheese in front of the TV was my only hope.Cooking while killing lice

After one hour, I threw them into the bath, rinsed their hair and then I saw it…a small popcorn like something floating on top of the water. An immediate sigh of frustration came out of my mouth.,  I ran to the kitchen, grabbed a spoon, paper towel and plastic bag. I placed the infamous seed on the paper towel, zipped it shut in the bag, quickly washed my kids (as if the oil was going to come out in one wash) and called my husband.
“I need you to come home right now. I think I found a louse on Mark’s head,” I said.  As he made his way home, I ran to the store, grabbed a few things and dashed home with two wet, oily headed boys in tow.

The boys were playing without a care in the world, while my husband and I began to investigate. As my husband carefully lifted the louse in question out of the bag with tweezers, it fell into the drain. Are you kidding me?  That little seed was the answer to whether or not our house was going to be turned upside down and it just went down the drain.

As if all hope was lost I remembered that in the bag next to the box of smelly lice shampoo was the $2.99 magnifying glass I had grabbed. With it in hand we found the seed. We then used our magnifying glass and our iPhone to zoom in and take pictures of the potential louse.

Next, I started pulling images and videos (seriously disgusting) up on my computer of lice and screaming to the bathroom…”Is it brownish, whitish and slightly transparent?” I would say. Then my husband would scream back, “well kind of, but it doesn’t have any legs.”  This went on for a while and as we finally gave in to an undecided answer we made a plan to check everyone’s head before we went to bed and first thing in the morning. If eggs or lice were found we would then dump the very strong, asthma producing shampoo on all of our heads and take all necessary actions with cleaning our house from top to bottom.

The next morning came and as we all sat down for our head checks and one by one we were all cleared. We thanked our lucky stars and the olive oil. As I grabbed the yogurt I saw the sad pork tenderloin one day past its expiration date and I knew sometimes you just can’t plan. Maybe the tenderloin would still be edible, but if not oh well.

What are your favorite tricks to get rid of lice?

And, If you have to keep your children occupied what are their favorite things?