liveOne of the worst sentences that can come out of your child’s mouth is, “Mommy, my head is a little itchy.” As soon as my daughter said this to me one morning last week, my response was, “I’m calling the Lice Squad. They will come over tonight.”

I now consider myself a lice expert. My daughter has had lice four times already.

Now, I wasn’t exactly sure that she had lice – maybe she just had a dry scalp – but I was not taking any chances. After dropping her off at school (because I didn’t yet know for sure she had lice and she just had a school lice check the week before) I went home and called the Lice Squad, a business that deals with, um, lice.

“When do you want us to come?” they asked.

“Um, like tonight!”

The first time my daughter got lice was after returning from Jamaica where she got her hair braided. Three days after our return, she was scratching her head like a dog with fleas. The woman who came over to get out the lice told me NEVER to let her get her hair braided on vacation, unless I bring my own comb. So, the next time we went to Mexico, and my daughter wanted her hair braided, I brought my own comb. When we returned, three days later, my daughter again was scratching her head like she was a dog with fleas.

“Okay, NEVER again are you getting your hair braided.”

At my daughter’s school, if you get sent home with lice, you cannot just go to the drug store and buy the remedy. You HAVE to call a professional lice picker and then show the school the note from them. The funniest thing, to me, is that people are embarrassed when their children have lice. I’m not. I’m like, “Eh, here we go again.”

When I called the Lice Squad, they asked me, “Where do you want us to park?”

I answered, “Um, how about outside my house?” They told me they were just checking, because they have cars with the Lice Squad logo on it, and many parents demand that they park at least a block away, lest the neighbors find out that their children have lice. I’m more like, “Park wherever you want. Just get the damn lice out of her hair.”

Whenever my daughter says her hair is itchy, I immediately think I have lice too, which is a possibility since we hug and cuddle and lie together a lot. As soon as my daughter told me her head was “itchy” I was like, “Fuck! Now my head is itchy too.”

All day I was scratching my head. I had my best friend, who has four kids, actually come over to check out my hair. (She’s a good friend!) She told me she didn’t see anything, and she would know, because her daughter had recurring lice last summer for a month. I also had my fiancé check out my head, because he has two daughters who used to get lice too. Neither of them saw anything, but then again, I thought, they are not professionals from the Lice Squad.

So the lice woman came over and looked through my scalp and said she didn’t see anything.

“Then why am I so itchy?” I asked.

Well, she answered, “Sometimes it’s IN your head, not on your head.”

My daughter, however, had 10 eggs, that hadn’t been hatched yet, which is a good thing. (The lice woman also told me that she recently did the hair of a girl who had over a thousand.) The lice woman spent over an hour combing through my daughter’s hair. My daughter told me not to tell anyone she had lice and I told her straight up, “It’s nothing to be embarrassed out. It happens to most people. Who cares? We dealt with it and it’s done.”

For now. Until the next time.

I learned some fascinating things about lice from the lice woman. One being, that lice can hold their breath for up to two hours. My daughter, smartly, asked, “So if you go scuba diving for three hours they will die?” (The answer is yes.) What interests me more than my daughter having lice is that these lice professionals know so much about lice! They are so passionate about it and can answer any question about the little buggers. Also, she told me that while lice professionals don’t like to admit there’s a lice “epidemic,” there is. According to her, one in four children now have lice.

Talking about lice for almost two hours is not exactly my idea of fun (And it just made me itchy.) However, I dealt with it. It’s done (For now.) She gave me a list of when next to wash her hair with the lice formula and comb it out and which dates to do it.

“Great! Those are the days her father has her,” I laughed. And the nice lice lady laughed too. “You’re not the first person who has said that to me.”

(photo: D. Kucharski & K. Kucharska/ Shutterstock)