“In the parenting books, moms and dads wipe noses.
In our house, noses wipe YOU.” —Old Proverb, inspired by the Maiden’s preference for jeans instead of Kleenex
Your snotty preschooler sidles up to you, false affection in her eyes. “Mummy, I love you soooo much,” she croons, burying her face in your lap. You gently extricate her, patting her head while attempting to preserve the integrity of your outfit. Snot aside, you do feel sorry she’s not feeling well, so you stroke her hair and tell you that you love her, too. Mission accomplished: your attention is diverted. The preschooler promptly moves in for the kill, and uses your jeans as Kleenex.
It’s sad, but true: being a nose-wipe is indeed one of the lesser pleasures of parenting. I guess I can understand it, to a certain extent. After all, parents are soothing, warm, and soft. On the other hand, maybe not. Puffs has a whole marketing campaign extolling the same virtues in its own tissues, yet, when confronted with a runny nose and watery eyes, the Maiden will always choose my shirt, one hundred percent of the time.
While snot is sticky, slimy, and downright gross, I can handle that (dealing with gross substances was an early lesson in Mothering 101). For me, the main problem is that it’s germy. As I type this, I’m lying propped up on the couch, felled by some wretched head cold lovingly shared during the Maiden’s nose-wiping spree a day or two ago. It’s bound to happen. You can wash your hands until the skin peels, but unless you change your outfits and wash your hair every time they’re snotted on– like fifty times a day–the germs are bound to sneak in.
The stuff is also difficult to clean. You know how the parental wearing of white is downright foolish? Well, so is the wearing of black, at least during cold and flu season. Black has a powerful attraction for little, dripping noses. Unfortunately, although black might hide spaghetti sauce, it proudly showcases the shiny smears of “snoogies,” as the Maiden calls them. And trying to spot clean them off just spreads the love…all up and down the sleeve.
Speaking of which, I hear the Maiden and her runny nose returning from an evening walk. This time, I’ll be prepared; I’ll meet them at the door, tissue in hand. It’s probably pointless, though. She’ll give the Kleenex one quick sneeze, toss it on the floor, and make a beeline for my shirt.