When I was a little girl, I had hair past my knees - and I don't mean just hair, I mean HAIR. I mean hair you couldn't wrap a pony tail holder twice around. I mean hair that took all night to dry. I mean hair that kept me out of foster care because it made up 6/10 of my pathetic, starving body weight. I could get out of the shower, comb my hair out, and walk out of the bathroom completely naked, because I was Cousin It with calves. Or Samara, if you're under 25. #stayingrelevantforthedamnkidsonmylawn
And one night I was laying in bed, and found a bug in my hair. A bug. IN MY HAIR. I imagine all kids are senstive about bugs, but when you live in the 'hood, and everyone you know lives with cockroaches and ants and shit, bugs in your hair are not. even. a. little. okay. I ran downstairs crying, and shoved the bug on the tip of my finger between my mother's nose and her Nintendo paddle. She smacked my hand away from her face and yelled at me OH MY GOD SHANNON IT'S A FUZZY GO BACK TO BED. Because Tetris.
So I went back to bed. And then more fuzzies I found, the more silently I freaked out, because fuzzies are really disturbing things to find. Eventually I stopped finding them, mostly because I stopped looking. I got off lucky with a hand smack that one time, and I was not about to tempt fate, or my ass.
Years later, someone I knew from church told me her most vivid memory of me was this dream she'd had of me once, in which she was sitting behind me and my hair, my veritable wall of hair, was moving. - because it was full of bugs. I never did tell her it wasn't a dream.
By the time the school realized I had lice, all of the eggs had hatched and my hair was, quite literally, crawling with bugs. I don't even want to think about how many classmates I infected. We had to use a bottle of lice shampoo on all three of my siblings, and then another one on me. A whole bottle. And then the little comb thing, which was laughable but by then my mother was so completely freaked out by the infestation on my head that she sat Tetrisless, night after night, slowly combing dead things out of my hair. It took about a week.
A few weeks later, once it was done and the house was bleached and my head was empty and I was able to re-enter public society, my mother saw in my hair what she thought was a nit, but was ironically probably just a fuzzy - so we did the whole thing over again. And it kind of burned my scalp, which created flakes, which she mistook for nits, so we did the whole thing again.
That's how cycles are created, which is kind of ironic because the other day after swim class, my daughter was pulling her cover-up over her head and something fell on her chest/jumped on her chest, depending greatly upon whom you ask. MOM THERE IS A BUG IN MY HAIR AND IT JUMPED ON ME!!! No, honey, it's not a bug, it's a fuzzohshit.
I still contend that it was a fuzzie. I haven't flat out sat down and dug through her hair yet, because I'm still too traumatized by my last encounter with lice, and a bit too freaked out by the nearly-exact repeat of this little slice of my childhood, but I am going to have to eventually, and I guess I'll just have to pray that you can't give someone lice through flashbacks.
Updated to add: 8oz of prevention is worth a pound of cure. My friend Melanie found a way more elegant lice-prevention method than never-let-my-kid-out-of-the-house-again.