That’s Not Where Snot Goes

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.

I'm a contributing writer to Parents Magazine, GQ, Psychology Today and some others. My book, "This is Ridiculous. This is Amazing: Parenthood in 71 Lists" is available here Look for two more books in 2015: "Must. Push. Buttons (Bloomsbury Kids), and an as-of-yet untitled memoir I’ve appeared on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and “Nick Mom’s Night Out." I live in New Jersey with my wife and two sons and enjoy making them laugh more than anyone else.

36 comments On That’s Not Where Snot Goes

  • goodevilgenius

    I’ve given up trying to get my 2-½ year old daughter to stop picking her nose. I feel like a hypocrite whenever I do, since I know she does it because she sees me pick my nose. So, who am I to tell her to stop?
    And then she eats it. But I recently read an article stating that eating your boogers can boost your immune system (, so maybe my poor parenting is doing her a favor.

  • MyHalfAssedLife

    Once I was driving down the road and number one said I need a kleenex (he had a boogie on his finger). After we arrived and I dug around to find a a Kleenex for him he said “no it’s okay, I put it back”.  For the record he’s now 21 and still wipes them on the dog.

  • True, even my 4 1/2 year old will tell you the booger goes on the dog… duh.

  • KaraCherryLittleton

    Really LOVE this! I have two pet peeve’s with my 3 boys and no I’m not 48 years old. One is I can’t stand it when they don’t blow the damn booger out their schnoz and two, they don’t drink water when they feel “icky” cuz they are dryer than the Mojave desert!

  • Once again, so true. But my daughter EATS IT… and I CAN’T. GET. HER . TO. STOP. lol

    • @Julie OVER SHARE! hahaha :

    • @Julie Ugh! My daughter too! I told her that there are some things we only do in private. Seems to work. She never does it at school or other people’s houses. Just our car and our house. I’ve decided I’m okay with that.

    • @Julie Tell her that if she’s willing to eat boogers, she forfeits her right to refuse broccoli or any other food she finds yucky. “You eat your boogers. Your argument is invalid.”

      • goodevilgenius

        @Amy I don’t know if you’ve eaten your boogers recently, but I seem to remember that they taste a whole lot better than broccoli.

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