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The 10 nastiest nasties you’ll deal with as a parent

Disgusted woman

Don your apron, snap on your Marigolds and screw up your courage. To celebrate the launch of Mumsnet’s new book How To Blitz Nits And Other Nasties, we’ve gathered together quotes from battle-weary Mumsnetters on 10 of the most common things parents dread dealing with.

We’ve also found savvy solutions to all of them – but you’ll have to buy the book to read those. (Psst, Mumsnetters get 35% off with code NITS.)


Creepy, crawly and in-you-child’s-hairy-ey. There’s not much to like about a nit…


“We’ve had lice in our house for three months. Two bottles of Hedrin, two bottles of Lyclear and a bottle of Full Marks and I have just fished out 100+ lice from my daughter's hair. My son had a fair few (million) and I had one in mine. I wash the bedding each time… do I need to actually set fire to my home?”

“I swear my eldest is still picking stuff (empty cases) out of her head, even though we got rid of the little blighters four months ago. Ooooh, I love this subject now – NOW that we've got rid of them. Was in the Science Museum last week and HAD to buy a book called Head Lice – Close Up. My sister saw me looking at it and said: 'Carla, haven't you got close enough?'”


No one likes a worm much. Worms that live up your child’s anus and keep them awake at night? They can get in the sea.

Butt scratch sloth

“My middle child had the dreaded worms a few months ago. I was checking poo until very recently. It becomes quite obsessive. I’m ok with nits, but for some reason, these beasties filled me with absolute horror. Am frightening myself with knowing how common they are and on virtually everything I touch. How the hell we are not all riddled with them, I don't know.”

“One of my twins had headlice and worms within two weeks of starting a new school. My husband said simply: ‘Bloody hell, she's a walking wildlife park’ when I told him.”


Confusingly, not actually a worm, but none the more desirable for being ‘only’ a fungus.


“My son had ringworm a while back and it started off as a weird red patch, perfectly round, then suddenly started growing fast, so that over the weekend it had gone from a quarter of a cm wide to 2cm wide all at once – I could almost see it growing. “

“I’m really terrified they will get scalp ringworm since I saw some horrible Google image from the 1800s.”

Warts and verrucas

Anything that might require burning or freezing off a child is never going to fill a parent with glee.

Verruca “I bit a wart off once. It looked like a tiny, white broccoli floret.”

“I tried everything on my daughter's verruca to no avail. Eventually it got infected and blistered and erupted with a volcano of pus. The verruca came off with the top layer of skin. Twas grim as fuck.”


Latin-sounding, Victorian-looking and as tenacious as a limpet, these red bumps with evil, yellow cores are caused by a viral infection that requires some serious commitment to shift.


“Molluscum are pearly beads of hell”__

“I am completely obsessed with them to the point of dreaming about them! It is ridiculous.”


If there’s one thing worse than a child with a gungy eye, it’s a child with a gungy eye that has to have drops applied. Ready the chocolate buttons and gird your loins.

Eye drops

“There is apparently a knack to getting eye drops in. We couldn’t get them in my daughter at all. Much screaming, me pinning her down while my husband put them in etc. Mother in law came round, and with her 30-odd years' experience as a nurse in paediatrics, put them in in a split second. No tears, nothing. Still don't know what the knack is though…”

“ I am glad I am not the only wussy mother that cried at the trauma of having to do this! It reminded me of that scene from A Clockwork Orange. “

Foreign objects

Little fills a parent with more dread than the words: “Mummy, I put a Lego in my mouth/nose/ear/bum” – delete as appropriate (or inappropriate).

Confused child

“My husband had to get the pieces of snail out of our daughter's mouth that she'd chomped on when she was two – I was so glad he was there because I really don't think I could have done it.”

“My daughter had a raisin up her nose for about a week when she was one. A couple of times I could have sworn I'd seen something dark in there that popped out when she was breathing. No one believed me until she sneezed one day and it came out, very soggy.”


Deeply unpleasant for your child while he or she is in the act of puking, and even more deeply unpleasant for you when you are scrubbing it out of soft furnishings.

Vomiting child

“My daughter has a beautiful rag rug beside her bed. She loves it to bits. One night she threw up a portion of Thai green curry and rice over the rug. As well as being upset by being sick, she was upset about what would happen to the rug. I promised her it would all be OK. I spent the rest of the evening picking individual grains of vomited rice off the rug, before I could put it in the washing machine. Each grain had become wedged among the plaits of the rag rug. I had never imagined quite how many grains of rice are in a child's portion – nor how much the stench of vomited Thai green curry would linger.”


Pre-children you probably recoiled at the mere thought of contact with human poo. Post-children, it’s likely that at some point in the last week you’ve held a poo in your own fragrant hands (or worse, if you were unlucky).


“Once, a friend of mine was changing her toddler on my kitchen floor and a poo rolled out of the nappy and under the fridge. I went and got a ruler and got down on all fours to poke it out of there. We just carried on having a conversation as if nothing had happened. I didn't even think about it until later .. the lows we mothers sink to.”

“I've chased a fabulously curly poo round the bath with bare hands. Like trying to catch a Curlywurly in a whirlpool.”

Dragons under the bed

Dragons in the dark, wolves in the wardrobe and bogeymen under the bed are collectively enough to give you bats in the belfry and ridding your home of them can be a complicated business.


“My little girl has just turned two and has developed an obsession with monsters – I blame my husband for reading Where The Wild Things Are to her! However, her fear is very much associated with being in woods/shadows etc. I have sort of managed to convince her that monsters are in fact hungry bears (and she quite likes hungry bears, having fed them at the zoo)”

“We pick up our monsters from under the bed and take them to the front door and send them home to their Mummies because it is bedtime and they are going to listen to a story. Sharks in the bath get thrown out of the window. The scary clowns get a 'magic circus wand' waved at them and they go back to the circus to see the ringmaster.”

How To Blitz Nits (And Other Nasties) book cover

For solutions to all these common childhood ailments, buy the book – How To Blitz Nits (And Other Nasties). Even better, Mumsnetters can get 35% off when entering the code NITS at the checkout.