I’m cuddling the Ender before bedtime and he’s sniffling and snuffling and yup, there’s a big booger up the nostril. And I look at that booger and I become obsessed: IT MUST COME OUT NOW! So I reach and snatch it—Ender wails at the intrusion of his personal space and the violation of the mother-toddler nursing contract (Section 4.3.12 “The mother shall not use the promixity of nursing as an excuse to a. Pick the nursling’s nose, b. Scrape cradle cap off the nusling’s scalp, c. Clip the nursling’s fingernails or toenails)—and I am immediately punished. For there I am, all settled for the night in bed, with a giant booger on my finger… and not a tissue in sight.
I look at Ender. He looks at me. He has this, “Well, you’re the dolt who took that out of my nose. It wasn’t bother me at all” look on his face. I’m pretty sure I have a speculative look on my face. He’s my third baby, see, and my other two, well, they shared a habit that would be very useful right now. Yup. They ate snot. Which at the time struck me as horribly, terribly gross—but now I find myself thinking was a pretty useful thing to do.
I can’t believe I’m about to do this. I look at the booger.
“Want to eat it?” I ask Ender. Ender looks back at me. His little eyebrows go up. His little eyes go round. And very slowly, very solemnly, he shakes his head.
“Yuck,” he says. “You eat it, Mommy.”
It took me three kids, but I finally got one that won’t eat snot. This is good news, I remind myself. But there’s that booger on my finger.
I play my last card.
“Your brother would eat it,” I say.
Cause he would. When Cinder was this age—two-and-a-half and change, my life revolved around snot. His snot. Flora’s new baby snot. Her lack of snot. Here are the four bestest snottiest moments:
They share everything
So we’re in the nursing chair, Flora sucking away and holding on for dear life, Cinder climbing on my head, and me 1) reading (for the 7th time that day, god help me, perhaps I can accidentally “lose it”) Pooh’s Grand Adventure, 2) trying to keep Cinder from falling on his pantless bum, or 3) landing on his sister’s head, when all of a sudden Cinder leans over, pats Flora’s face, and says something. I’m sure I heard him wrong. I squint, I ask him to repeat. He says it again. I think, I can’t possibly be hearing that right. I say, “One more time, sweetie?”
“I jus’ put some of my snot in Flora’s nose.” (From Life’s Archives, March 22, 2005)
Things I’d never thought I’d say…
3:30 a.m, “Mama, wake up, I have a booger!”
“Should I eat it?”
“No… ah… here, give it to me, I’ll put it on the wall…”
3:56 a.m. “Mama, I have another booger. Should I put it on the wall?”
“Yes.” (From Life’s Archives, July 9, 2005)
They share everything still
J: Cinder, what are you doing?
C: Oh, hi, mama. I’m giving Flora some of my snot, because she doesn’t have any. (From Life’s Archives, July 13, 2005)
Why does my life revolve around snot?
Here’s the sequel:
C: Mama, look, Flora has a mosquito in her hair.
J: Oh, no. Oh. It’s not a mosquito. It’s… snot… how on earth did snot get in Flora’s hair? (minute examination of Flora’s nose for signs of a cold)
C: Oh, I remember. I put a booger there in the night.
J: ??? Why did you do that, sweetie?
C: I couldn’t reach the wall. (From Life’s Archives, July 19, 2005)
2012. “Your brother would eat it,” I repeat. Ender gives me the Look. And very slowly rolls away from me.
“Yuck,” he repeats.
I put tissues, box of, on the shopping list.