black and white baby

TGB, Parenting Nemesis #1.


photo: hello pinecone

It was a lovely June morning…

I was snuggled deep into the covers as a soft light began to fill our peaceful bedroom.

From the baby’s room, next door, I heard my husband exclaim-

“Holy shit that’s a huge booger.”

My eyes snapped open.

I sat straight up, now wide awake.


I thought…

It can’t be….

It’s back.

The fucker is back.


The Giant Booger.


The day before, I had fished what I thought was the biggest booger of all times out of my poor unsuspecting baby’s nose.

He was sleeping on me, and I whisked it out of there like a ninja.

But now, in the harsh light of too-early-to-be-awake o’clock…I find myself face to face with The Biggest Fucking Booger I’ve ever seen.


I’d like to pause the story for a moment to say this…

Never, in all the parenting books, does it warn you about how many times you are going to have to pick your child’s nose.

I was prepared for poop.

And spit-up

And all manner of bodily fluids…but not boogers.

When you’re a kid playing make believe, and you are hanging with your imaginary child, you are not, at least in my experience, trying to fish imaginary boogers out of their imaginary nose while taking the utmost care to avoid the edges of their nostrils as not to wake them up.

That shit is weird.

Back to the story.


We quickly realized the reason for TGB’s overzealous recurrence.

Our 5 month old baby had his first cold.

What followed were three days of nonstop Booger Control: cradle baby in steamy shower to let boogers drip copiously onto my arm; nurse him in the 10 minutes he can actually breath through his nose; 20 minute nap (baby); 20 minute stare at him to make sure he’s breathing (me); 20 minutes stare at him to make sure he’s breathing (husband) while I nap; repeat.

It sucked.

Sick babies suck.

Listening to your teeny human’s blocked air passages has got to be one of the most anxiety-inducing things on the planet.

We were consumed with worry.

And in total baby fashion, he didn’t care at all.

He thought 3 AM steam showers were awesome.

And sick baby cuddles?  Well, dammit they are the sweetest.


But through it all…it remained.


My nemesis.

No matter how many times we steamed, baby still couldn’t breath well.

I began searching for a tool to vanquish it with.

TGB was my dragon.

My Goliath.

My white whale.

I became obsessed.


We tried the bulb syringe thing (useless)

The nose-freeda nose sucky thingy (not entirely useless but not great. Also, gross)

Silicone drops (effective for other boogers, but not TGB)

Finally I decided I had to break out some tweezers, but when I actually got close to my kid’s nostril a voice in my head started yelling

“You’re going to put a metal pokey thing up your child’s nose?  Near his brain?  You are fired from parenting.”

I listened.


My husband, not one to shy away from a challenge, went to our trusty parenting partner in crime, Amazon.

He came into the room grinning, and told me he’d ordered the perfect thing, tweezers with silicone ends for easier booger grippage, and less dangerous.

We rejoiced!

The next morning, Amazon delivered our savior!

It was 12 inches long.

(That’s what she said.)

Seriously, the tweezers were enormous.

If we had a horse whose nose needed picking, we could do it from a safe arm’s length away.

Husband tried again.

The next silicone-encased tweezers that arrived were around 6 inches long.


At this point, three things happened.

1. I began to lose my mind.

2. I began to seriously question my husbands reading comprehension.  Amazon does have sizes listed for these products…

3.  I took to the Internet.

Giant booger extraction apparently isn’t a category on WebMD.


So…I waded into the deep end of parenting forums.

Now, I normally avoid these like the plague.

Because they are inevitably full of stories about, well, plague.

“My 2 year old was healthy and thriving and then I gave him a new stuffed animal that was apparently made in a factory where they laced it with plague and now he has the plague”…etc.

And the last thing over-reactive-new-parent-brain needs, is thoughts of plague.


However, in this particular case, forums were a welcome community of distraught parents of babies with TGB.

And they all said the same thing, that, in the end, you just have to hold them down and get the damn thing out.

It will suck.

You will feel like a terrible parent and all-around horrible person.

They will scream.

But it’s for their own good.



We did.

In the wee hours of morning number 3 of the head cold from hell, my husband held baby down so I could straddle him and yes, use the original tweezers to grab that evil fucker out of his nose.

(I held the tweezers waaaay toward the tip so my fingers would stop them from getting anywhere near his brain.)

He screamed.

For about .8 seconds.

And then.

He took a huge, deep breath..

And laughed.

Glad someone thinks this is funny, kid.

My husband and I looked at each other… Exhausted, sweaty, disgusted…


But there were other emotions…


A sense of accomplishment…


We were a team.

A booger-besting team.


It’s in these moments that I really feel the essence of being a parent.

Because, yes….we obsessed over a booger for three days, but really, we just wanted our kid to be able to breathe.

And we made it happen, dammit.

Because that’s what you do when faced with a problem you don’t understand.

You learn.  You read.  You try things.

You try and fail and try and fail until you get it done.

In our case, you extract a booger the size of a toy car out of your squirming  5 month old’s right nostril.

I’m sure, one day, we will be extracting an actual toy car from that very same nostril.

In the end, what really matters is this.

The 12 inch tweezers are really awesome for cooking bacon.


Any booger extraction techniques are greatly appreciated in case TGB comes back for revenge.


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