Mr. X and Rex are busy this week trading a cold between them. They each have a stuffed up nose and a bit of a cough. Rex has been out-snotting Mr. X, though, with an impressive crusting of snot around each nostril that he refuses to let me even look at let alone touch. The kid is snot-nosed.
I understand, though, why Rex has snot crusted around his nose and his cheeks and in his hair. I get why snot ends up on my sleeve and shirt. The child will not be picking up a dainty handkerchief and deftly unloading each nostril for some time because he’s all of 20 months old and does not understand the concept of blowing one’s nose. Oh, what joy he will have, though, with the discovery that his nose is a cannon when air is blown through it. Then I will probably miss the days of snot only on clothes.
Mr. X, however, I don’t get. The man hates to blow his nose. He will snort the snot back into his throat, or sniffle, or sound pitiful rather than just blow. When he finally reaches the point where he cannot stand the backlog any longer, and he does blow his nose, his eyes tear and he makes noises like a wounded animal. It’s painful to watch and hear.
Before Mr. X, I had never met anyone who has such a problem with what I thought was a basic human biological function. Doesn’t everyone blow their nose? Sure, everyone has different styles, different choice of catch-all, and makes different noises. My dad prefers a handkerchief and the side-to-side blow that makes him sound like a goose (which was soooo embarrassing when I was a kid. Mortifying.) I prefer a regular Kleenex and tackle one side at a time. But, we both blow our noses when required.
My expert nose-blowing has not convinced Mr. X that it is a normal bodily function that does not have to be either painful or something to dread. I just don’t have the heart, though, to try to get him to practice more. Maybe nose-blowing to him is like getting up on high things for me – unless it’s life-threatening, I will not do it. I remind myself of this after the umpteenth sniffle which could be snuffed out so quickly with a good blow to the hand but will not be put out of its misery.
With Rex, though, there is a clean slate. I’m already reading up on how to teach kids about nose-blowing. I’ve done plenty of demonstrations of the concept for him since I’ve had a perpetual cold it seems since he was born. I’m sure Grandpa will give him a good show, too, at some point. When he’s old enough and hopefully fully proficient in nose-blowing, if he asks why Daddy doesn’t blow his nose, we’ll just have to tell him that Daddy is a conscientious objector. And we’ll pity him his inability to just blow.