Thursday, 1 October 2015

The seven ages of the nit checking parent

So we're back into the swing of the new Autumn term at school now.

If your children's school is anything like ours is then this also means that you will have probably had at least one letter telling you of a head lice infestation in your child's class.  Joy.

How you deal with this will depend on a number of things, but in my experience it largely comes down to how much of a nit checking veteran you are.

Welcome to the seven ages of the nit checking parent.

1.  The 'Be Prepared Pre-School Parent'

"We just think we ought to let you know, there's been a case of head lice at the pre-school" says the Manager when you go for pick up one day.  So on the way home, before you have even checked your own child's head, you pop into the chemist and buy the most expensive head lice treatment they have (nothing but the best and most effective treatment will do), and a nit comb.  Just in case.

Of course, none of your kids ever get nits in the whole of the combined time they are at that pre-school.  The nit treatment goes out of date eventually (what a waste of money).  You keep the comb though, so you are always prepared.

2.  The 'Slightly Smug (because we've never had nits) Parent'

You've survived the first year of primary school with not so much as an itchy head from your child.  "What's all the fuss about?" you think. Obviously the parents whose children have nits are doing something really wrong aren't they?

You, on the other hand, are clearly doing everything right, and so you stop remembering to check your kids' hair and relax...


Big black blood sucking creepy crawlies on their scalp!!!!  WTAF????

How on earth has that happened?

You feel a bit sick as you realise that the infested child also spent the last two hours after school sat on the sofa with their two smaller siblings.  They won't all have them though, will they?

You hurriedly phone your husband and tell him that he needs to go to the chemists on the way home or there may be a divorce "because b**tard nits have infected everyone, buy BIG bottles of the strongest stuff they have" you yell.  You also need a new nit comb because the one you bought three years ago is actually a load of rubbish and couldn't remove nits from hair even if they were the size of boulders.

Bath time looms...

You can't put it off.  One by one you check each child's head.  You shriek and grimace as every stroke of the comb yields a crop of eggs and a few dozen adult lice.  It takes hours to complete this task.  Your hands are numb. Your head... feels a bit itchy?

After a further hour and with greasy hair (that head lice treatment won't wash out no matter how hard you try) you survey the nit slaying devastation in your bathroom and vow that this will be the last time you get caught out like this.

4.  The 'Paranoid Parent'

Every week for the next six months you check everyone's hair, even your own.  You also know every trick in the book to ward away lice (you tie your daughter's hair back for school and cover everyone in a solution of tea tree before they leave the house), and any child that dares itch their head in your presence gets frogmarched to the the bathroom for immediate nit inspection.

You also own the Rolls Royce of nit treatment - the Nitty Gritty Comb.

Did you just scratch your head?

5.  The 'This is just how it is Parent'

The letter comes home, you crack out the conditioner and the comb and get on with checking through everyone's hair.  You do this week in, week out for months.  You spend so much time with a nit comb in your hand that you briefly consider having it grafted into your knuckles like some sort of lice destroying Wolverine.  This is just how it is with Primary School aged children isn't it?

6.  The 'Why can't other High School Parents check their kids hair, FFS! Parent'

Really?  Why can't they?  You feel like you are the only parent in the whole of Year 7 checking your child's head every week.  Always there are nits.  It must be someone they are sitting next to in class.  Can nobody else be bothered to check their kids anymore?

When will this madness end?

7.  The 'Voice of Experience Parent'

"It is every parent's responsibility to check their child's hair weekly" says the letter from the headteacher.  You don't even need to read it anyway.  You know the drill so well that each child gets a perfunctory check in the bath every night already.  Nits are occasionally found and quickly dispatched without worry.  You know that this is just something that you need to keep on top of because you have been through this with all your older children.  Your last child is now in Reception and the end might just be in sight but probably not.

Either way you let all of the new to the school parents with Reception age children know about the need for a Nitty Gritty comb and a big bottle of conditioner.  You are a nit combing expert now.  At least, that's how it feels to you.

Of course, we don't really get nits here these days... don't be daft, this blog is all about me, I am all of these parents and this is my most dreaded time of the year, stupid bloody things.

But it just goes to show, nobody is ever safe from the horrors of head lice until their kids leave home.

But one day, one day I'll reach my nirvana - no more nits... *itches head*

Bleurgh... B***ards.


  1. Haha - I love this. I'm the "paranoid parent" who checks every week and dumps vials of tea tree oil into our spray leave-in conditioner (daily usage - probably causes cancer or something!).

    1. Thanks! Oh yes, tea tree is amazing stuff for getting rid of them isn't it?

  2. Now I'm
    I think I have been all through these stages....I don't think we'll ever be free of nits until our children leave school...hehehe

    1. Haha, sorry! It's rather a depressing thought isn't it? I've only got another 12 years to go...

  3. I am a year 7 parent and naively thought we had left this behind, but no...

    1. Urgh, huge sympathies to you, we've been there too...


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