The one where we all got ‘the nits’

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Ben specifically told me not to tell anyone about this.

I’ve never been very good at doing what I’m told.

But that is the initial reaction with ‘the nits’ isn’t it? (I’m assuming you’ve all had them of course. This could get embarrassing if not). But you sort of feel a bit like you’re plagued, like people will never speak to you ever again. Like you’ve got bad breath, something stuck in your teeth and a bogey hanging your nose all at the same time. Like people walk behind you two extra steps and shake your hand or even bow at a distance lest they get close to you and your head which has been tainted with your scalp pets.

The moment I discovered ‘the nits’, I was sitting in the back of a taxi with Phoenix cuddling up on my lap when one of the buggers, the size of a large grain of rice (yes really), bold as brass, no shame what so ever, just crawled between his beautiful blonde locks, right in front of my eyes. He pretty much looked me in the eye and said ‘Emma. We own this scalp now. You think you’re his mamma don’t you? But step away from the scalp, we’re the daddy-o’s of his head. Oh and we’re coming for yours. Right. Now’ before heading off to lay a billion eggs and build a playroom behind Phoenix’s right ear to raise his children.

My god. It was gross. I had ‘the fear’.

Honestly it was massive. I thought they were more egg like and really small. Which they are too, but they can get big. Get rid of them before they get big, you do not want to see them fully grown. You do not want to come eye to antennae with a nit (I’m not sure if they do have antennae, the more I reflect on this memory the bigger they get each time. I now pretty much just see me searching through his hair and discovering the actual creature from aliens).

Because of what I have just described above about not wanting people to know about said riddling of ‘the nits’, I proceeded to do that silly thing where you kind of mouth what you’re saying in a ridiculous ‘wisper’ that is still clearly very audible to everyone around you in a 5 metre radius. Because of course, heaven forbid if the taxi driver, who we did not know and would never ever see again in our entire lives, should find out that we were carriers of ‘the nits’!!! That WOULD NOT DO!!! And so it went like this:

Me: Hssssssss

Ben (sitting in front seat): What?

me: (mimics insect like movements and tries to communicate with eye balls)

Ben: What the hell are you doing?

me: (elaborate pointing at Phoenix’s head) Shhhhh IN THERE!!! nnniiiittttssss!!! Phoenix has got bloody nits.

Ben: (laughs) What you mean phoenix has nits? Are you sure? (Said in normal voice! Normal! Not even a slight hush)

Me: OMG!!! Shhhhhhh!!! YESSSSSS. They’re everywhere. I am grossing out.

Ben: Ok don’t panic, we’ll stop and get some shampoo

Me: OMG! Stop saying shampoo!! Shut up!!

I have failed to mention one fact about this taxi journey.

We were in Mauritius.

On our dream holiday, our big annual family break. Mauritius – a place of absolute paradise, the perfect destination for a much needed, ‘chill the hell out’ and spend family time together holiday. Most people go to Mauritius and discover our paradise. We went there and all discovered nits.

Instantly my head was scratching. I felt like my head was teeming with them. We were only 20 minutes into an all day tour of the island with a driver who had designed a bespoke day trip just for us.

Shortly after my discovery, Indy, sitting the back seat next to me threw up everywhere. It was like she’d heard the news. I knew how she felt, I wanted to do the same. It was proper projectile vomiting, full on exorcist style. And all over the brand new car seat that the driver was really proud to show us that he owned – ‘I am all set up families!’ he smiled proudly as he pulled it out his boot. He clearly was not prepared for us. Puke and nits all in his car within 20 minutes of departure. Poor guy.

I make no exaggeration when I say she was sitting in a pool of vomit. I’m pretty sure I could see waves when we went over a bump in the road.

We got him to pull over.

And there, in the middle of an island highway, changing her next to a tangled tropical jungle on the back of the boot of a taxi with me flapping about scratching my head and still insisting on whispering everything to Ben about the plan to get rid of the nits, despite him not being able to hear a word I was saying due to the passing traffic, and desperately trying to clean a car seat with baby wipes, we could do what was only left to do. Get uncontrollable hysterics.

I mean really? Really?! Was this happening? In Mauritius?!

And that right there people, that moment on the highway, is a great summary of the differences between holidays pre and post children…Peace and paradise versus nits and puke. That’s just how it goes.

Mauritius is well known and loved for many things and I would highly recommend it for its beautiful beaches, incredible snorkelling, luxury hotels and even to my surprise a rather impressive volcano. One thing Mauritus is not so well known for is it’s nit shampoo availability, which if I was asked to review the range of brands on sale, I would describe as ‘utter shite’.

Sitting for the third night in the bath with phoenix, shampooing, combing and rinsing I vowed to never again travel without a good nit product. How the contents of my ‘ultimate hand bag items’ have changed over the years.

And yes I did have them, I had the bloody nits. Indy got off nit-free, despite her slightly dramatic reaction to the scenario in the first place.

If you’re yet to go through the nits experience, some comforting words:

– They really do die, and quickly with the right stuff and it’s really satisfying combing out all the dead ones. Gross, yes but mighty satisfying.

– They will come back if you don’t keep applying the stuff. Even if you can’t see any more, keep using it until recommended, a resurge is not what you want

– It is pretty normal, they get them from other kids and you are best to tell school/nursery. Even though it feels really embarrassing, you have to have all the parents checking and washing otherwise you’ll get rid of them and then they’ll just come back which is exactly what happened when we returned home!

But even though I came out the other side feeling like I’d earned another ‘parenting badge’ and being able to get back to a fully nit free existence, when I read the following on the school information letter, I suffered an instinctive nervous twitch and mild palpitations….

“Please check your child’s head regularly as head lice are common problem at the school”

Oh joy.

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2 thoughts on “The one where we all got ‘the nits’

  1. Tracey says:

    Hi Emma, thanks for sharing this hilarious blog! You’ve had me both cringing and chuckling on my commute into London. Tom had them once – thankfully just that once – but I was equally nauseous and horrified by the discovery. I’d never seen one before! They were the stuff of nightmares – I had the shampoo on standby – but actually SEEING ONE WITH YOUR OWN EYES!!? OMG! When I was at primary school we had to form an orderly queue to see ‘Nitty Norah’: long gone now along with free school milk!

  2. haha, i know, seeing them up close is not for the faint hearted! gross but weirdly fascinating!

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