Here’s something I learned: I can only ask, “Do you need a Kleenex?” 17 times within a four hour period before I give up. Arlo inherited a clean nose obsession from me. If I feel anything clinging or flapping around in there like a sad little prisoner, I can do nothing else until I free it. Usually I blow it into a Kleenex, but sometimes I pick my nose because I’m a grown-ass man who can do whatever he wants while sitting at a red light or standing in line at the pharmacy.
I don’t carry around a handkerchief because who wants a 16 square foot piece of cloth smattered with nasal effluvium in his pocket? Also, I’m not 85 years old. My grandmother used to store a tissue inside the sleeve of her shirt nestled comfortably against her wrist and I’m still upset about it. When I see a guy pull out a “hanky,” toot his giant man nose, and then stuff it back into his pocket, I think, “Why not do the same thing with toilet paper, you frightening maniac?”
Of course I’m wrong about all this, but it’s just one of the many ridiculous opinions I hold onto that makes me a precious snowflake.
So my three year old son picks his nose. I know I know, but look — it’s hard enough to keep him from throwing a puppet at the TV or ripping up his brother’s wizard hat, so I have to prioritize. And my wife concurs. When I asked her what we should do about “the whole nose picking thing,” she answered as if I’d asked her if she’d read any good books lately: “What? Oh God, that’s so not on my radar right now.”
When my kid has his finger in his nose (and my kid is really really cute so it’s not gross — really), I say, “Stop picking your nose” (because I’m trying). He responds with “But I have a boogie.” “Can I get you a Kleenex?” I ask. “NO.” Well, OK then, I guess you have this all figured out and your mom and I will just commit to washing your sweatshirt more frequently and making sure you use extra Purel after visiting the petting zoo. I have to pick my battles as a parent and I think it’s best if I abdicate this one to his teachers and peers at preschool.