The Booger

I’ve done everything perfectly. Literally, absolutely, everything.

The boy has just been fed a well-rounded and nutritional meal of fruits, vegetables, top-shelf breast milk (thank you, wife!), and eggs. He ought to be satiated for awhile.

Merely minutes ago, his poop made a jailbreak out the rear passage of his diaper, requiring a full-body wipe bath and complete ensemble change, so this little guy is as fresh as he gets.

We had a full and engaged morning of floor play together, where we tinkered with a variety of hippie-approved wooden toys and gizmos. The small man still refuses to believe that he cannot eat wood. Damn if he isn’t trying though. Personally, I found the toys a touch below my preferred level of cognitive stimulation, but I’m sure the boy’s neurons we’re blasting off inside that oversized dome of his.

He has been kept up the optimal amount of time. Just long enough to provoke the sleepy cues, but not so long that he has ventured into the dreadful “overtired” territory.

The nursery is devoid of excess light. The sound machine is bellowing a womb-like drone at an optimal 50 decibels. I read him not one, not two, but three books in my best happy-soft-sleepy dad voice. I slide the pacifier into his mouth seamlessly. I sing the lullaby we have been singing to him since the day he was born; A song that has come to drive me mad, but through consummate repetition is to him an implanted piece of code thoroughly etched into his operating system signaling system shutdown.

His eyes are fluttering. This boy is as good as asleep. I predict a flawless touchdown to the crib mattress with ZERO crying, not even a whimper. But then….

There it is, hanging like precarious serac on the high alpine face of K2, a large, lovely, green booger protrudes from his left nostril. The amount protruding is large. Is this the majority of the booger I’m seeing, barely keeping hold, on the verge of dislodging? Or is this an iceberg situation where 90% of its goo-dom is looming somewhere up in that nasal passage?

Clearly, the child is not bothered by the boog, but it irritates me. I cannot let this situation abide. What if he smears it all over his face and into his eyes, the way he loves to nuzzle his face straight down into the mattress like a bear with a beehive? No, no, not happening, I’ll have to clean the aftermath up then. I must extract the booger.

With surgical precision, my fingers transform into delicate pincers that grip only the protruding portion of congealed snot and leave the nostril tissue undisturbed. I pull back..

Oh god, it’s a stretcher!!! It extends like a Laffy Taffy, and a long strand of nasal candy now lie strewn across his face. And there is certainly still more inside that nostril. This indeed is an iceberg situation.

The sleepy fog I had so successfully induced is now lifting, and my son is looking up at me groggily, confusedly, and surely disappointedly. I see the chin quiver, the water pooling in the eyes, and then it comes. Crying has commenced.

At this point, I have fucked myself.

Tact, delicacy, and exactitude are no longer needed and are therefore abandoned. Instead, speed, force, and vigor are employed. Aggressive digging is performed until I have a clear view to his brain through his nostril. Robust mopping of his face is performed with bath wipes, similar to how one might wash the side of a car. Of course, he protests all of this with every ounce of his being, but after a few moments, he is boogerless.

Now let us resume the napping.

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