by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Inside Teaching : August 2010
Inside Teaching | August 2010 SEE ME AFTERWARDS 58 I’ll admit to being mortifed when the frst note came home from Kindy: ‘We have noticed that a child in this class has head lice – Pediculus humanus capitis.’ Obviously the scientifc name had been included in the note to make me see that this was a serious medical problem. Instead, because the name was written in Latin, I realised that nits must have infested Kindy way back in Roman times and I didn’t feel so bad. (In fact, head lice were infesting Homo erectus 1.8 million years ago. I wonder if teachers back then sent notes home chiselled into a woolly mammoth bone with a simple stone tool?) Anyway, we’ve only been battling our head lice for about six years. I’m positive the kids have lice that can trace their family tree to that frst day the youngest went off to school. And given that we’ve never been entirely nit- free, that means ours are about 115th generation. The lice at our place are more resilient than the Taliban in Afghanistan. They’ve had more chemicals dumped on them than the Viet Cong. They’re harder to get out than Ricky Ponting when he’s snicked it. It seems to me that unless every child rids themselves of nits at precisely the same time, these notes are utterly futile. We parents can’t be expected to manage that unless we all volunteer to meet at some pre- arranged destination for a mass hair conditioner and comb-in. Perhaps it could be done on school concert night just before we sing the national anthem. ‘Our school is girt by nits...’ Has anyone investigated the idea of a lice-dip at the school gates? Sending the kids down a chute into a vat of chemicals, just like they do with sheep at the farm? Just thinking. In the meantime, I like to trawl the websites for the latest cures: • Wash the hair with vinegar. Of course this doesn’t kill the nits, it just reeks and keeps all the other kids with even more nits away from your kids. You can also get the same effect with using ‘Fantasy,’ the latest perfume from Britney Spears. • Listerine mouthwash. This sounds good, and if the family is running late for the school run, you can get Dad just to gargle and spit on the kids’ heads. • Then there are the natural remedies: mayonnaise, orange juice, coconut oil, lemon juice and butter – all rubbed into the head. There’s also a rumour that you can use the blow dryer to kill them with heat. In fact if you do all that, and throw in a cup of sugar and two eggs, you can make a head lice souffé. Sounds like something Jamie Oliver would serve on that school dinners program – ‘and just 93p a serve. Wicked!’ My favourite method is to take off the top layers of the kid’s scalps with a sharp metal comb while swearing at them. Again, it doesn’t get rid of the nits, but it serves the kids right for having them and makes me feel better – because, let me tell you, there are fewer things more embarrassing than a professional hair and makeup lady fnding nits in your hair on a Women’s Weekly photo shoot. Don’t ask me how I know that. I just do. ■ Wendy Harmer is one of Australia’s best known humourists and authors, and a regular columnist for Inside Teaching. We all know kids take things to school and lose them, but it’s the things they bring home that can be the real worry, as WENDY HARMER explains.