Wednesday, October 14, 2015


I remember growing up, seeing toddlers with runny noses. Their parents would chase them around with a tissue. There were fears, tears, and smears. It was just gross. I thought that children were beings with a strange attachment to their bodily secretions (why else would they hide and deny the smell coming from their diaper!!). That, and they had super sensitive skin – to be bothered by a harmless wipe of the face.

Although I never wanted to have the boogery kid, I knew that every child was that way and there was no sense in trying to be holier-than-thou about it.

One day as I watched a parent embark on a stealth mission to catch the stream of nastiness from nose to mouth to cheek, I realized why the child reacted as I would had a spider just jumped on my face. The parent pounced on the unsuspecting child with an old napkin. No warning was given, no option to acquiesce. They grabbed the first disposable tissue-like thing, and scraped as hard as they could to fight against the thrashing.

The more incidences I watched, the more I realized that the child was fighting, not to keep the boogers (although that is a real thing that happens in my house), but to keep from being violated. Later incidences were met with the same panic – even if warning was given. It wasn’t about the snot, it was about the lack of control the child had in regards to their body. There became a stigma on the entire act. ANY attempts to wipe their face brought back the trauma and fear they experienced when it was brought on them like the SWAT team invading their home in the middle of the night.

I vowed to always warn my children.

We have a code word. I’ll say “Nosey nosey” or “Nose Nose Nose”, my children stop and wait. I am gentle and quick. They even started blowing for me! Roslyn, prior to the age of 12 months, would blow her nose any time a tissue was placed in front of it – forcefully enough to be productive! Beckett is not as coordinated, but he tries. At two, he can blow his own nose. However, it is not his favorite thing to do. I’ll give him the option for me to wipe or for him to blow, and he will decline my services entirely – choosing instead to go into the bathroom and do it HIS SELF (Did I mention he’s 2?). Sometimes, he is even proactive about it.

Today, I sat down to use the toilet, unrolled the toilet paper, and found this:

He went in, blew or wiped his nose, and left. I have no idea how long this has been here. The important thing is – he was empowered to wipe his nose himself. He knew it was part of life. It wouldn’t hurt. There was no fear.

Parents, remember that our children are going to be adults someday. They have voices that need to be heard. They have likes and dislikes. When they throw a fit, they are trying to express a like or a dislike and don’t have words that fit into your understanding. They yearn to be understood. They long to be heard. Give them the chance. Take the time to sit and listen. They will form a relationship with you built around faith and trust. Isn’t that what you want when they’re teenagers and adults anyway?

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