This whole lice ordeal has been taking a toll on all of us. I've been stressing, Jodi has been stressing about my stressing, and Olivia has been a big ball of crazy (which isn't anything new, but I digress). Upon finding these intruders we took immediate action by washing and treating Olivia's hair, washing and drying her clothes on supernova heat and vacuuming everything. We also used supercomputers, time-lapse photography, security camera footage and a psychic to try and figure out where these hitchhikers came from. We narrowed it down to our hotel stop in Pennsylvania on our way back to Indiana for the holidays. We make a completely rookie mistake by using the hotel's pack-n-play instead of our own, and now we're suffering the consequences.
We knew we needed to get Olivia lice and nit free before returning her to daycare on Monday, but we didn't know when that would be. I emailed the owner of the daycare on Sunday to inform her of our issue, and she assured me that with hard work we could be lice free overnight. We had just treated Olivia's hair the day before, and the product said to wait 48 hours before washing it again. My only option, the one we would end up doing every morning and night for the days to follow, was to go through her hair and visually confirm whether she was still infected. I set her down in front of an Elmo DVD, gave her a bottle and set about my task. 30 minutes later, and multiple cries of "Please stop squirming!," I had found multiple nits but no actual bugs. Apparently our hard work wasn't hard enough.
The next morning I checked Olivia again and found more nits, so I we had to keep her home. I notified my job that I would work remotely while simultaneously keeping my toddler entertained and doing my best to eliminate our pest problem. It had been some time since Olivia had been to daycare, so her energy levels were pretty high. She's also been on an incredibly bossy streak lately, demanding us to do things like sit in certain spots, fetch her books and toys, to stop doing things that annoy her (making eye contact, smiling, breathing, etc.) and to upgrade our cable so that she can watch the newest seasons of HBO's 'Girls' and 'Game of Thrones.' While I didn't get much work done that day, I was present for the first annual 'No shirt at work day' that Olivia instituted. She plans on making it a habit from now on, and I plan to stop making it a habit before she hits puberty.
We ended up finding more lice and nits in Olivia's hair until, finally, there were no signs on Wednesday morning. At last, it seemed as though there was going to be some light at the end of this tunnel sooner than we thought. I called our daycare and they advised that they would let Olivia return, mainly so that she could get back into their scheduling and rhythm sooner, but that we needed to make sure our house was being cleaned thoroughly. I dropped Olivia off and headed straight for the nearest pharmacy to buy some lice pesticide. After returning home I emptied Olivia's dresser and proceeded to do about 9 loads of laundry. I then hosed everything I could think of down with the spray: our rugs, chairs, the luggage from our trip, toys Olivia received at Christmas that made really annoying sounds (ok, maybe I just wanted those to stop working for my sanity). Even though it was only 20 degrees outside I had to open our windows to ventilate the apartment, or risk the same death as our tiny foes. So there I sat in my bulky winter coat with my hat and gloves on, clumsily tapping away at my keyboard while trying to catch up with work remotely and praying that all of this other "work" would pay off.
That night Olivia returned home and, of course, she had a single, tiny louse in her hair. Even though my hard work in the apartment might get rid of some of the lice, it meant nothing if there were still eggs in Olivia's hair. The next morning we found nothing again, called daycare who graciously allowed us to bring her in, and hoped we were on the road to recovery. Unfortunately that got cut short when they called us shortly after to say that they'd found more nits, and we needed to come get her immediately. Jodi had had enough and found a salon in the city that deals with just the sort of problem we were having. She scheduled an appointment for all 3 of us for the following day and we crossed our fingers. (I should point out that since this began Jodi had nits in her hair, but she'd found nothing in mine except for Twiddlebugs (which are harmless).
The next day we arrived at Hair Fairies (yes, I said Hair Fairies) and I was cautiously optimistic that it would do the trick. The workers were dressed like nurses, wearing scrubs and handkerchiefs over their hair for protection. The space itself isn't much to rave about, but it has plenty of toys and distractions to keep kids busy while they wait or get their hair treated. Jodi and Olivia get called over first and I worked on getting Miss O strapped in. She immediately freaks out, begins crying and won't let go of me. I eventually had to sit her in my lap, hold her arms down so they could put her smock on and tried to soothe her while her hair got checked. We were given a small DVD player so that O could watch something, but she just wasn't having it. At one point I asked the worker if Olivia was the youngest/worst she's had. She told me that the youngest she's ever worked on was 7 months, and that the child passed out sleeping after crying for a short time. No luck with us in that department, but we eventually got through it. All 3 of us checked out completely clean and clear of lice and nits, which both confused and overjoyed Jodi and I. How were we suddenly free of the bugs? It didn't matter, we needed this more than anything to boost our morale.
As I write this we're now a bit over 2 weeks with no signs of lice or nits in our apartment or hair. We've had a scare or two, finding some foreign matter in Olivia's hair, but that's thankfully only turned out to be food particles or dirt (yay?). We also managed to capture one of the lice's brain bugs, and our scientists are working hard to try and understand them, discover more about their plans for us as well as develop better ways to defeat them. I've been promoted to lieutenant and I'm positive that my squad, as well as the others in Federation, will help to win this battle in the end. Or die trying.