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The 5 Stages of Head Lice: From Denial to Depression

There are few things in this world that send a shiver down a parent’s spine more than the dreaded words, “Your child has head lice.” You never think it will happen to your children since you keep a clean home and even cleaner kids. Lice only happens to people who don’t bathe regularly, right?

Wrong. No one is immune to these infectious parasites. They live on the human scalp and feed on blood to survive. The female lice lay eight-10 eggs daily, which mature in less than two weeks and have the capability of living up to 30 days on the scalp. I learned the hard way that not only do lice travel at the speed of light through an elementary school classroom, they can also invade the cleanest heads and have the agility of an Olympic pole vaulter.  

My experience with head lice can be summed up in five phases similar to Kubler-Ross’ five stages of grief: Denial and anger, followed by bargaining, depression, and acceptance. 

Denial

When I noticed a tiny population of insects zip-lining down my daughter’s hair shafts, I was certain the dog had given her fleas. Although her school posted warnings about an outbreak of head lice, I never dreamed it would happen to my squeaky clean child. On closer inspection, I discovered hundreds of microscopic eggs in her hair and muffled a scream. MY DAUGHTER HAD HEAD LICE! 

I lined up all four of my children and found lice on every one of their heads. Before my husband could sneak out the door that night for a hockey game, I reminded him that he married me for better or worse, and this would definitely fall under the category of “worse.”

First, I made a trip to the drugstore for a lice removal kit. This was more humiliating than purchasing an industrial size box of heavy duty tampons, because even the cashier leaned away from me while ringing up my nit kit.

Once home, my husband and I boiled hairbrushes, vacuumed carpets, sprayed all the upholstery and mattresses in the house with lice repellent, steam-cleaned the car, stripped the beds, and threw a mountain of linens, clothing, and 50 assorted stuffed animals into the dryer. In between this delousing nightmare, we took turns washing and rinsing our children’s hair, then plucking out their nits like monkeys examining each other’s heads in a zoo. Six-and-a-half hours, 531 nits and lice later (yes, I counted), we were parasite free.

Anger

We lived in ignorant bliss for approximately 10 days while continuing the preventative measures of washing, rinsing, and spraying, when suddenly my youngest daughter began vigorously scratching her head. It was Lice Invasion Part Deux, and I was seriously angry at whichever parent had been negligent in the delousing process and sent their child to school with a head full of nits. Maybe they didn’t stay up until 3 a.m. running a nit comb through their child’s hair, or maybe they forgot to turn their dryer on a temperature equivalent to the surface of Mercury to burn the bionic bugs out of the family bedding.

Armed with a prescription of toxic nit shampoo and an electronic lice zapper, I went to work on four heads while my husband deloused the house for a second time. Both of my daughters had waist-length hair, but I snipped off their beautiful tresses in an attempt to cut my nit picking time in half. I’m not sure who cried more – me or my daughters – but as they watched me fill a vinegar bowl with dozens of squirming insects the size of weevils, they understood my desperation.

Bargaining

I promised the kids that if they allowed me to inspect their heads daily after school and wrap their hair in a mixture of mayonnaise and vinegar each night, I wouldn’t burn down the house to rid our family of the lice once and for all. They agreed, even though it meant spending a week with sticky hair that reeked of rancid salad dressing.

Depression

For weeks we remained ostracized from society, hunkered down in our home like lepers to avoid spreading the mutant parasites to other families. After the first seven days of confinement, I’d memorized the lyrics to every Disney song on the DVDs that my children watched for hours on end. It pushed me to a breaking point in my sanity, which explains why my husband found me curled up in the fetal position on the couch with a glazed look in my eyes.

Acceptance 

By the time we experienced a fourth round of head lice in a two-month span, I was a seasoned pro with a nit comb in one hand and a bottle of lice repellent in the other. I could spot a nit a mile away and had no problem donning a shower cap and rubber gloves to inspect the heads of every child on our block. Lice were a fact of life, and we had survived the invasion.

Luckily, our children’s lice never bothered to play hide-the-egg on my scalp or my husband’s. Which is a good thing, because if they had, my house would have been burned down long ago.

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Whether you're filling out your own registry or shopping for a soon-to-be-mama in your life, it can be hard to narrow down what exactly new moms need (versus what will just end up cluttering the nursery). That's why we paired up with the baby gear experts at Pottery Barn Kids to create a registry guide featuring everything from the gear you'll use over and over to the perfect gifts under $50.

Check out the picks below, and happy shopping (and registering)!

MUST-HAVE BABY GEAR

These five gift ideas are designed to make #momlife easier while solving some of the most common parenting dilemmas.

1. Doona All-In-One Infant Car Seat/Stroller

One of the first things you learn when you become a mom? Those infant car seats are heavy. Which is what makes the Doona All-In-One Infant Car Seat/Stroller so genius. It's the world's first completely integrated mobility solution, quickly transforming from safe car seat to functional stroller without any extra parts. Simply pop out the wheels, pull up the handle bar, and you're ready to roll.

Doona All-in-one Infant Car Seat / Stroller, $499

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GIFTS THAT CAN BE PERSONALIZED

Even the most utilitarian gift feels a little more special with some personalization. Here are some of our favorite options that can be customized with baby's name or monogram.

1. Nursery Blankets

You'll never forget the blanket you bring your newborn home in. And with Pottery Barn Kids' assortment of blankets, there's a wrap to suit every new mama's style. Choose from fuzzy neutral patterns or stylish printed options, and add baby's name for an extra personal touch.

Nursery Blankets, Starting at $39.50

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GIFTS THAT GROW WITH THEM

Save money and space by gifting items that will last long after baby's first year. These clever gift items will have mama saying "thank you!" for years to come.

1. west elm x pbk Mid-Century Convertible Crib

A convertible crib is an investment in years of sweet dreams. We love this mid-century-style option made from sustainably sourced wood with child-safe, water-based finishes. When your baby outgrows their crib (sniff!), it easily converts into a toddler bed with the matching conversion kit.

west elm x pbk Mid-Century Convertible Crib, $399

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GIFTS UNDER $50

Sometimes the littlest gifts mean the most. Here are our favorite gifts under $50 they'll be sure to cherish.

1. west elm x pbk Dot Muslin Swaddle Set

When you're raising a newborn, you can never have too many swaddles. Perfect for naptime, burp cloths, stroller covers, and spontaneous play mats, a muslin swaddle will always come in handy. And we especially love this neutral patterned collection in platinum, nightshade, and peacock.

west elm x pbk Dot Muslin Swaddle Set, $45.50

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Learn more and explore all Pottery Barn Kids' registry must-haves here.

In the moments after we give birth, we desperately want to hear our baby cry. In the middle of the night a few months later it's no longer exactly music to our ears, but those cries aren't just telling us that baby needs a night feeding: They're also giving us a hint at what our children may sound like as kindergarteners, and adults.

New research published in the journal Biology Letters suggests the pitch of a 4-month-old's cry predicts the pitch they'll use to ask for more cookies at age five and maybe even later on as adults.

The study saw 2 to 5-month olds recorded while crying. Five years later, the researchers hit record again and chatted with the now speaking children. Their findings, combined with previous work on the subject, suggest it's possible to figure out what a baby's voice will sound like later in life, and that the pitch of our adult voices may be traceable back to the time we spend in utero. Further studies are needed, but scientists are very interested in how factors before birth can impact decades later.

"In utero, you have a lot of different things that can alter and impact your life — not only as a baby, but also at an adult stage," one of the authors of the study, Nicolas Mathevon, told the New York Times.

The New York Times also spoke with Carolyn Hodges, an assistant professor of anthropology at Boston University who was not involved in the study. According to Hodges, while voice pitch may not seem like a big deal, it impacts how we perceive people in very real ways.

Voice pitch is a factor in how attractive we think people are, how trustworthy. But why we find certain pitches more or less appealing isn't known. "There aren't many studies that address these questions, so that makes this research especially intriguing," Hodges said, adding that it "suggests that individual differences in voice pitch may have their origins very, very early in development."

So the pitch of that midnight cry may have been determined months ago, and it may determine part of your child's future, too. There are still so many things we don't know, but as parents we do know one thing: Our babies cries (as much as we don't want to hear them all the time) really are something special.

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They say there's no use in crying over it, but for pumping mamas, spilled milk is a major upset.

When you're working so hard to make sure your baby has breast milk, you don't want to lose a drop, and Chrissy Teigen knows this all too well.

The mom of two posted a video to social media Wednesday showing her efforts to rescue breastmilk from a tabletop. She used various utensils and a syringe to try to get the milk back in the bottle.

"I spilled my breastmilk and this is how important it is in this house," she says while suctioning up milk with what appears to be a baster.

In a follow-up video Teigen continues to try to rescue the spilled milk.

"We're trying," she says as she suctions up a drop or two. "I got some."

Teigen is currently breastfeeding baby Miles, her son with husband John Legend, and has been very public about the fact that she pumps a lot as a working mom.

She's also been open about the fact that milk supply has always been an issue for her, not just with Miles but with Luna, too.

"I actually loved [pumping] because I'm a collector of things, and so when I found out I could pump I [did it] so much because I knew the more you pumped, the more milk you'd make," she told POPSUGAR back in March. "So I loved collecting my breast milk and seeing how much I could get, even if it was very, very little."

Like a lot of moms, Teigen did struggle emotionally when a pump session wouldn't get her the ounces she wanted.

"I wasn't producing a lot of milk, and it was frustrating. When you're frustrated, [it can also make you] not produce that much."

Research backs her up. Stress has been linked to lower milk production. Because of that, she's trying to stay positive this time around, but captioned her video post "EVERY DROP COUNTS IN THIS HOUSE" because, well, they do.


So many mothers can relate. Have you ever tried to save your breastmilk?

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What is it about networking that's just kind of...awful? Typically inconvenient and often awkward, formal networking events rarely yield the results most women (and especially mamas) are looking for.

Whether you're reentering the workforce post-baby leave or simply looking to make a complicated career switch as a busy mom (or just struggling to juggle play dates and professional meetings), making the right connections is often a hurdle that's difficult to surmount. And more and more often, networking comes up short in providing what moms really need.

When time is truly at a premium—a session swapping business cards can be hard to prioritize. Shapr wants to change all that.

Designed with busy people in mind, Shapr is an app with an algorithm that uses tagged interests, location, and professional experience to match you with 10-15 inspiring professional connections a day. You swipe to indicate interest in networking with any of them, and if the interest is mutual, you're connected. (But don't worry, that's where the similarities to that dating app end.)

It makes it easier to connect with the right people.

From there, you can chat, video conference, and even meet in person with potential mentors, partners, and investors while growing your real-life network. No more wasting hours trying to pick someone's brain only to discover they don't have the right experience you need. And no more awkward, stilted small talk—even suggests a few preset icebreakers to help get the conversation rolling more quickly.

The best part? You could do virtually all your connecting from your couch post-bedtime.

It simplifies switching careers or industries.

Sysamone Phaphone is a real mom who was fed up with traditional networking options. When she quit her full-time job in healthcare to pursue founding a startup, she quickly realized that in-person networking events weren't only failing to connect her to the right people, they were also difficult for a single mom of two to even attend. "I was complaining to a friend that I was so tired and didn't know how I was going to keep doing it this way when she recommended the Shapr app," Phaphone says. "I tried it right there at dinner and started swiping. [Later], in my pajamas, I got my first connection."

From there, Phaphone was hooked. Her network suddenly exploded with developers, potential partners she could work with, and even people to hire for the roles she needed. She was also able to connect with and empower other women in tech. Now, checking in with Shapr connections is just part of her routine. "I look for connections after drop-off at school and on my commute into the city," she says. "Then after bedtime is done, I go on to check if there is anyone I've connected with."

It helps you find a mentor—no matter where they live.

Another common roadblock Shapr removes? Location. While you probably wouldn't fly to LA from New York for a networking event, the Shapr app lets you connect and chat with the person who best meets your needs—regardless of where they're based. Even better for parents, the "mom penalty" many women contend with when trying to get back into the workforce doesn't exist on Shapr—if you have the right experience, the connections will still come.

To connect, simply create your account, enter up to ten hashtags you want to follow (either industry related like #film or #tech or by person you're seeking, such as #developer or #uxui), preset what you're looking for (investors, collaborators, etc.), and indicate how you prefer to meet. To connect with more people at once, Shapr also has community groups within the app around interest topics that you can join. And even though the connection begins in the digital space, it often results in the in-person experiences mamas crave.

"I wish I could encourage more moms and dads to use it because it has been a lifesaver for me," Phaphone says. "It empowered my career and career choices, and it provides so much convenience. I can put my kids to bed and not go to an event, but still meet 20 people in a night."

For women looking to grow their business, position, or simply achieve a little self-growth, Shapr is changing the way we connect. This powerful new app could change everything, mama. Download it today to get started.

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