Nits, Worms, Bed Bugs and Cillit Bang

My life is being invaded by parasites this month.  It feels like, at every turn, I’m faced with another nasty little bug threatening to invade my home and infest me and my family.  Even as I type, Chris and Pui on CBeebies are singing ‘We’re hunting for some bugs’ with the inane cheeriness of single television presenters that have never had to inspect a bottom or comb for lice, and the editor has seen fit to have this  happy dance interspersed with shots of scrabbling ants.  Given recent events, this is making my skin crawl.

First of all – and if you’d read the last post you’d know this, chuh – Boy got up one night complaining of an itchy bottom.   Cue horrific memories of being force-fed disgusting powdered drinks as a child, and my mother’s head rammed down the toilet bowl so she could peer for threadworms (pinworms for the trans-Atlantics).  Husband No.1 delighted in informing me he’d never had any need to take  worm medicine at which I instantly bristled, assuming his comment to be a personal attack on my shoddy housewifery.   However, my close friend consoled me with her memories of having to drink the revolting powder on more than one occasion, because you could lick your way round her mum’s house without picking up anything worse than the tang of furniture polish.

Some hasty Googling turned up further evidence that this wasn’t a cleanliness issue, with one article ‘reassuring’ me that at any given time it is estimated 40% of children under 10 are carrying worms.  40%?!  That’s nearly half!  How can I combat that kind of statistic?!  Nonetheless, with everything in the house that isn’t nailed down run through the washing machine, hourly bouts of hoovering, twice-daily showers for the whole family, sheared fingernails all round and a dose each of what turned out to be quite a tasty banana medicine, we think we’ve got ’em licked.  My hands may be red raw and look like I soak them in Cillit Bang overnight, and my back screaming out to me to please, please stop lugging mounds of damp towels around, but it’s worth it to think those horrible things have been obliterated.  Until next time, anyway.

Then yesterday, as if worms weren’t bad enough, good ol’ Jane Garvey on Woman’s Hour decided they would discuss the recent spate of bed bug infestations which have been cropping up around the country – mainly in London (ha ha).  They reckon it’s being brought over from New York, of all places, and Garvey had a very squeamish guest on from Manhattan who’d suffered an infestation and was struggling patently to cope with the other guest; a cheery chap who’d turned up in leather trousers and a polo neck with printed on the front, clutching a jam jar of the little nippers which he fed from his own arm.   He was of the opinion that London is actually infested on a grander scale than New York but you could probably infer from his jumper that his motives weren’t entirely altruistic and he was hoping to drum up a little business, not just dish out helpful advice to the listeners while traumatising his fellow guest.

I had a predictable reaction to the whole piece; first I got itchy, then paranoid, then I turned our bedroom upside down until it resembled the scene of a destructive burglary out of a Sunday night drama.  I tipped the bed-frame on its side and indulged in a frenzy of hoovering and damp-dusting, all the while searching for tell-tale bed bug signs; poppy-seed poos, flaked off skins and the little critters themselves.

Hang on, What??  I thought bed bugs were microscopic, invisible things!  No, apparently they’re perfectly visible to the naked eye; they just go into hiding with the snooze button of a morning.  Eek.  Imagine these fellas crawling all over you in your sleep…


Anyway.  I felt a bit better after another deep clean turned up none of the above indicators.  I did have a brief panic this morning when I saw small black dots all over the front porch but realised quickly it was just that annoying 5-a-side pitch grit that Husband No. 1 spreads around the house every Monday night when he comes home from football.

Finally (I really do hope), in the school playground this morning we were approached by – of all people – Efficient Mum, warning all us other mums (FAR more transparently than my handling of Wormgate…) that they’d had a case of nits.  Good grief, it never rains but it pours.  I’m sitting here scratching my head in psychosomatic discomfort and wondering where the nit comb is.  We’ve never had them (touch wood) but the last time there was an outbreak at nursery, I shampoo’ed, combed, washed, vacuumed and scratched my way through the subsequent two weeks anyway.  I’m not sure my poor, bleach-damaged mitts can take any more.

Scritch, scratch, scritch…


Bra Sizes

Listening to Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4, with a discussion on bra sizes imminent.  I’m intrigued as I would LOVE to wear a correctly-fitted bra, however having dilligently measured myself on several occasions I’ve firmly established that my bra size – an anomaly brought about by a small frame and a passion for swimming continued from childhood – is 36-AAA.  It is simply impossible to find a bra that size and so I spend my life either pinched uncomfortably at the chest, or with my small breasts flapping about in over-sized cups.