Where I’ve Been.

This weekend was stressful and I was quite absent online yesterday. Instead of doing that again today, I’m just to going to write a very BORING entry to explain so that I can get this off my chest because it’s STRESSING ME OUT.

Thank you for letting me vent…in advance.

As everyone who has pets that spend any time outdoor knows, sometimes you see the periodic flea around your home. Which we have seen them a few times recently. And Nikki had a few bites which didn’t phase us too much because she has always been really sensitive to bug bites.

Well…Friday night Nikki woke up with MORE bites. Which seemed weird since I slept in her bed and woke up with NONE. Saturday night? She woke up in the middle of the night and needed an oatmeal bath, she was itching so much. SHE WAS COVERED IN BITES. The rest of us? Still none.

Since it was the weekend there wasn’t much we could do. We treated the yard, the dogs, and Donnie vacuumed the hell out of the furniture. We let Nikki sleep in Wes’s bed since it appeared there were fleas in HER bed. WHICH IS CRAZY because the animals RARELY go into the kid’s bedrooms. I keep them out for that reason specifically. Yet SOMEHOW…she was getting bitten CONSTANTLY. Even in her brother’s bed. WHERE HE WAS NOT BIT ONCE.

(This is evidently common, one person being the yummy target.)

So…Nikki came to work with me yesterday instead of school. We scheduled for the pest control to come out today after they inspected yesterday. We took Nikki to the pediatrician where she got chewable steroids and no magic remedies to keep her from itching. Not that I expected any…but basically she’s miserable. And then we took the cats to my friends house and spent the night picking up everything off the floors of our house for the flea treatment tomorrow.

Basically? This has been four days of STRESS. My daughter won’t stop scratching and she now looks like she has leprosy. AND she was on steroids. Which, you know, makes kids AWESOME to deal with. I’ve tried about every itch creme available and oatmeal baths and the only thing that really works is distraction. WHICH IS WEARING ME THE HELL OUT.

And I fear this is all my fault. I’ve not done a great job keeping house lately with the half-marathon training and the boot camp and the soccer and the theatre…I’ve not vacuumed regularly for awhile. That seems to be a key. If you vacuum regularly you can get rid of eggs/pupae/larvae etc so infestations don’t occur. I also hadn’t washed bedding much in forever nor had I given the dogs baths. Donnie’s schedule is just as insane, so while we’re both enjoying our lives and our extracurriculars, our house was/is suffering.

And now Nikki is paying the price.

So I’m tired, I’m stressed, worried this won’t work and wondering how long it will take before my daughter scratches all of her skin off. Or…will I lose my patience with her first and just lock her up in the bathroom with duct tape on her hands? And I feel gross. Embarrassed. Like somehow the world will conclude that my daughter’s bites indicate a higher level of filth than is truth. And then will conclude we’re lazy, as opposed to busy.

All in all? This is what’s been going on and why my weekend was so stressful and why I burst into tears on my couch last night asking my husband for reassurance I was doing a good job. I was tired, moving everything off the floors (which is IMPOSSIBLE, for the record) and I’m looking to another day of prep as I get the dogs out and move the last bit of stuff onto the beds after we leave the house. And then? WE HAVE TO PUT IT ALL BACK.

Thank you for letting me vent. I thought about posting pictures of my daughter so you can see how bad she is, but it’s so bad I just don’t want to document it. THEY’RE ON HER FACE. While the rest of us are bite-free. Because she is evidently the tastiest.


37 thoughts on “Where I’ve Been.”

  1. Not to add to your stress levels or anything, but have the pest control guys bomb your cars as well. A few years ago I went round and round with the whole flea thing until the 100 year old exterminator made me leave my car behind so he could treat it as well as the house. His logic was that the eggs end up on your shoes, which then end up in the car, which then doesn’t get vacuumed for weeks, which allows the fleas to mature, which lets them get back in the house, which allows them to lay more eggs….lather, rinse, repeat.. There also used to be an oral flea control for the pets as well. I had a friend who used it and it was very effective…

    BTW, it’s not you… I’m one of those ridiculously anal retentive people who vacuums 3 or 4 times a week… I suspect that fleas will be bonding with the roaches should there ever be a nuclear war…

  2. Aw that sucks! Poor kid. The cat we had when I was a kid got a few flea bites and developed a kind of dermatitis that had him compulsively licking himself for the rest of his life! But, no one can control where those little bloodsuckers are going to sneak in from – it has nothing to do with how clean a person is. ( I used to work at a vet’s office, and I’ve seen plenty of cases!) I’d like to give some advice, if you don’t mind… The doctors had told me that the pesticides and treatments would kill any “live” fleas, but nothing available at the time would kill the eggs (I guess their shells are too strong). It takes about two weeks for the eggs to hatch – so treat the house a second time in two weeks, that’ll get every last one. Also, anything that can’t be washed, like stuffed animals or pillows, put them in plastic trash bags and freeze them for a few days. Lastly, when you vacuum, take it outside to empty it after every use until you’re sure the fleas are gone. I hope you all get past this quickly. Good luck. P.S., sorry if this sounds like a lecture, just wanted to pass on the best info I know of.

    1. Lynn – we were told the eggs can stay dormant for MONTHS! We just plan on vacuuming furniture etc daily for awhile to try to suck up any eggs that may be there. *sigh* May need to do the stuffed animal thing too, but I wonder if we should leave them bagged for months or not?

  3. Ugh. When my cats had tapeworms (which can’t bite you but are stillso disgusting ) I was an anxious wreck
    I just felt like I could see them and hear the and FEEL them everywhere. Even after the vet assured us they were gone. (They weren’t, but that’s a whole other story ). It’s not your fault… parasites are still around because they are sneaky little buggers.

  4. Poor Nikki :(. But, don’t beat yourself up. If you have “outside” pets, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll get fleas, especially this time of year. And I’m convinced it doesn’t matter what kind of housekeeper you are. It will be okay. :)

  5. I’m so sorry to hear that Nikki (and you) is miserable. I can relate to the horribleness that is all over itching. A few years back I had what the doctors think was an allergic reaction to Mucinex which resulted in a full body rash. I ended up having to take an oral anti itch prescription. What worked the best short term was a product called Domeboro. It comes in packets of powder that you mix with cold water. You saturate a wash cloth with that solution and lay it on the affected area.

    I don’t know how much time your pets spend out side or if you just have mutant super fleas, but what seems to work for us with the flea population is Frontline Plus. We put it on the dog every 3rd month and haven’t seen a flea in ages. With the cats we’ve always just used a flea collar. You can also take a flea collar, cut it up and put it in your vacuum bag. It helps to kill any fleas that might hatch / get sucked up in your vacuum.

  6. Yick, I’m sorry you have to go through this. We had fleas one time, but I don’t think it was due to any cleanliness issues. And like in your house, they picked ONE person to bite. In our case it was my cousin’s infant daughter, which my cousin did not appreciate. The good news is that they went away after we fogged the house (the fleas, not my cousin and her daughter).

  7. I’m so sorry you are dealing with this. I hope you zap those little critters soon. Hang in there mama. You are doing a great job, even if it doesn’t feel like it right now.

  8. Aww, poor bunny! If you aren’t giving oral Benadryl, try that as well. It really does help, and has helped me when I get flea or mosquito bites. I’m a tasty-blooded individual, too.

    Best of luck with the spraying etc. and the joyous laundering. Can you take bedding etc. to a laundromat to wash in hot in the mega-sized machines? Many machines makes it a shorter ordeal.

    And hugs to you.

    1. I think we may try to even just drop it off somewhere and pay for them to do it since…I FORGOT THIS PART…my dryer also died this weekend. *sigh*

  9. Honestly, with it being located on Nikki, it makes me wonder if a few got into her room and made a home. That is really, really bizarre that they are focused on her and not biting anyone else. And when you have a flea infestation, you can SEE those little buggers on your legs. There is no mistaking it (unlike chiggers, which are so tiny and red and hard to see.)

    Per usual, you are WAY too hard on yourself. We deal with fleas here and there — when you have cats and dogs they are a fact of life.

    However, I get why you are so hard on yourself. we are dealing with a trifecta of bug bits, eczema and seasonal allergies. Arun has scratched the hell out of himself and we’ve been dealing with this for YEARS. It will start to get better in the winter because we are only dealing with eczema, then spring comes and we start all over again. We’ve been to doctor after doctor and we are only just barely keeping it under control. TWO staph infections this year alone.

    You wanna talk judgement? I’ve had it. I get the questions, like does he have chicken pox, what is going on here? I get all the friendly pieces of advice, disguised as judgment (from one former friend, in particular, she WAS judging)

    So, I get this post. Totally. I am sorry you are going through this!

    But the fleas? Seriously have NO bearing on a person’s cleanliness. They hop on your animals and come right in.

    I’m not going to offer advice, but I will say this: I put flea treatments on our kitchen calendar so I don’t forget. ;-)

      1. I frequently get the suspicious questioning from the gym personnel at the nursery. As if I was SO desperate to work out that I would drop off a pox-infected kid.

      2. OOH OOH OOH – we had this with Tony JUST LAST WEEK and the school was flipping out. Nope, just fleas! We’re just animal people! Not contagious, just icky!

        … kids, man. Why do we have ‘em?

  10. I am sure you checked her out but are you sure it is fleas? I asked this because one time my son got bites that started on his ankles and went all the way up to his face and it turned out to be mites(some call them chiggers). You have to get a prescription ointment for that and it takes 48 hours of stinky cream but then they go away. You might look into it since she is the only one. They get them from playing outside. It just sounded like the episode my son had one year.
    I am so sorry you are having such trouble but that stuff happens to us all and has no bearing on your cleanliness or your abilities as a parent. Crap happens and unfortunately it happened to you. NO ONE blames you so don’t beat yourself up. She will be ok. Kids are resilient.

    1. Vicki – I thought that at first (I had an AWFUL chigger outbreak as a kid) but I was actually seeing them jump on her and get her (ON HER FACE!) which is weird b/c she really was acting like a magnet. We hadn’t even seen any on our bed and she sat on it and BAM! One jumped on her face…it’s CRAZY.

  11. You need to ask your vet for monthly Comfortis for the dogs then frontline or revolution for the cats and keep them all on it all year. Don’t use anything from stores/pet stores. You will be good once you get the house and yard treated!

      1. Me too. We live in Alabama as well, and our dogs have never had fleas cuz I frontline them religiously year round.

  12. Oh love! Fleas can get into even the most immaculate home! I’ve had super clean freak friends end up with infestations, and I (who don’t keep a terribly clean home, have a dog, and have a flea-prone yard) have never had much of a problem. We just treat the dog with flea stuff (she takes a pill every month because the topical stuff irritates her skin too much) and we get by. So… fleas are weird, anything happens, and it is SO not your fault. I hope the itching gets better. It probably won’t work, but Aveeno Eczema lotion might work for the itch. We got it for the small eczema spot on Evi’s arm, and we put it on her mosquito bits and then she doesn’t scratch them. She gets HUGE, red, welted bites (sorry kid, got that from me)…

  13. This kind of stuff happens to everybody. Don’t beat yourself up! You are doing what you can to fix the situation and let those bad feelings go! You are an excellent mother.

  14. I feel for you, my oldest has bad skin that breaks out with just looking at it badly and daycare has questioned it to death. For the itches, after it goes down somewhat, try Dermablast antibacterial/anti itch (red can not blue can). It will help if she tore up her own skin at all and knocks down the itch.

  15. Exact. Same. Thing. Happened to us last year… And just like Nikki, my daughter was Covered and the rest of us had NONE! Not one, not a few but None. So weird! Sending her non itchy feelings and you lots of hugs. You are a great mom and fleas live in clean houses as well as not so clean ones. It’s not your fault!

  16. I guess one advantage of living in the frozen tundra of MN or ND my whole life is that I have never even SEEN a flea (or a chigger for that matter). I hope things clear up soon. Poor girl and poor you, too!

  17. You can’t be expected to do everything all the time. Things happen….deep breath in a few days it will start getting better. I think you have some great advice, getting the animals treated every month, it isn’t cheap but needs to happen. Get the kids to help you with the vacuming every day. I know in HS my sister and I had to switch off doing it, maybe you, your hubby and son can take turns from doing it. Don’t take it all on yourself!!! :)

  18. Oh, Kim. These things happen and it’s certainly not a reflection of you. You are an awesome Mom and I’m sending you a hug.

  19. Don’t know if anyone mentioned this or not, but you might also want to get the yard treated so the pets won’t bring in any new fleas. Also, I think some years are just way worse than others and I know several others who are dealing with flea infestations right now. It’s been a crazy wet Spring for us…maybe that has something to do with it.

  20. Oh, how sad for her! That is crazy that they are just drawn to her! It does not make you a bad mom though! Fleas are just a part of having pets, and you do what you can. And, luckily, it’s just fleas. Can you imagine if it was bedbugs?

  21. Hi! Don’t be too hard on yourself. Like Nikki, if there’s a bug around, it WILL bite me. When our cat picked up fleas, I was covered in bites. But really – remember that this might not have come from your home/your animals! I once slept over a friend’s house as a child and brought home fleas/mites in my sleeping bag/pillow. Because they came home in my stuff – which went in my room – I then served as the permanent buffet and nobody else got bothered. I wonder if she may have picked one up at a neighbor’s/classmate’s house? If it’s not in anyone else’s rooms, I’d think that’s a distinct possibility. So don’t be too rough on yourself! It happens! Hugs.

  22. To me it seems the same as lice, where there’s this HUGE STIGMA (filth! disease! poverty!) that is completely unjustified. And, AND, what drives me crazy is that it’s possible to do all the right things to prevent fleas (Incredibly Expensive Monthly Flea Treatments given every 3 weeks, for example) and STILL end up with the little guys. They’re evolutionary specialists. Rich people just have better cover-up, that’s all.

  23. This happened to me when my boy was a toddler. Fleas are terrible and NO reflection on you as a mom and keeper of the house!

    Be gentle and kind with your self.

    (Be sure to keep your girl’s skin really clean so she won’t end up with a staph infection from all the scratching.)

  24. Kim,
    Don’t worry about what other people think. I have had the same issues before, even with regular vacuuming and all of that mess. Plain and simple, crap happens.

  25. Yes, we’ve been here (many, many, many, ugh, I really should vacuum more often, times, too) and it’s not your fault the crap finds its way into the house, for goodness sake, I forgive you. {{{more hugs}}}

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