Lice Mothers

Will you eat snake and grasshopper? 


Will you watch pole dancing?

I didn’t think I had a choice at the time.

Will you breathe semi-toxic, industrial Chinese air for six years?


Will you be a luizenmoeder?

A what?

A lice mother?

A what?

A parent who helps us check all of the school children’s hair for lice on a regular basis? 

Go fuck yourself.

You know it’s very common in Dutch schools to do such checks, right?

I’m not Dutch.

Do you know that the beautiful and much loved Queen Máxima of the Netherlands has been a luizenmoeder at her daughters’ state school?


A queen and a lice mother (image source)

A queen and a lice mother (image source)


In a decade of life abroad, I have finally been confronted with an aspect of expat living that I may rebel against.

Can you imagine spending your Monday mornings picking through the hair of a dozen squirming school children looking for tiny, crawling parasites?

Your head is itching right now, isn’t it?

Would it help me seem less self-motivated in my reaction if I mentioned that US trends have swung against such school-wide checks (especially by lay-people)?

What’s an expat to do?

Update: I checked childrens’ heads for lice on several different occasions and actually it was no big deal. I would do it again.

22 responses to “Lice Mothers

  1. I was going to write a whole blog post on lice. The terrifying and humbling moment when you pick out a crazy creepy crawly out of child’s hair. Years of teaching kids did not prepare me for that moment. I had no idea what I was looking for so I didn’t see the warning signs. Weeks of diligence followed. Just think…you could become an expert! I’m really good at finding nits now. You could also inform people of all the idioms that come from lice like “nit picking” and “nit wit”.

    • You should write a lice post! As a teacher I’m sure you have even more insights.

      I spent much of December combing through my own children’s hair… At first it was horrifying, but I was surprised and quickly my own revulsion left me. But another person’s child…

  2. Just say no – let the parents check their own kids! I wouldn’t go near other kids’ potentially lice-infected heads. Maybe on your own kids it’s cute – doubt it though 😉

  3. Tell them that the very day they make you Queen, you’ll start checking. Hair, underarms, toes, arseholes, whatever. But NOT until then.

    Seriously, can they not get a nurse in to do this???

    • Oh I like that response: Make me the Queen and I’ll nit-picking anything you’ve got!

      (Yes, why don’t they have school nurses doing this kind of thing? Good question.)

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