Nick King's Blog

I've done some pretty cool things, but nothing's as cool as creating our family

Eeeew! 3yo wiping her own nose + her streaming cold results in nose wiping move I fear the most - the upward swipe! Snot everywhere - Yuk


No one warns you about the snot.


They should do.  I assume it's something every parent faces.  

As adoptive parents though we had no preparation.  No preamble through the baby years.  The tsunami of light green mucus hitting us with gross out immediacy alongside the arrival of our three year old son.

He, at least, had been socialising quite widely for eighteen months prior to his moving to live with us.  This meant he had built some immunity to the myriad of cold virus' lurking in the corners of every play group, children's play centre and little friend's party.

We therefore caught, relatively, the tale end of his early dew-drop years.

Not so with our daughter.  She was eighteen months old.  Had not socialised widely with other children prior to joining our family. Her potential as a repository for germs enormous, open and inviting.

So, just as we thought we had reached the end of the gross out period along came our daughter, with nasal secretions that have been much longer lasting and more widely spread.


Snot really is ubiquitous in the toddler.  It has the ability to cause damage not only to your clothing and your health, but also your psychiatric well being.  Turning a calm, loving moment into a welter of screaming, tissue grabbing, pleading activity.


Up close and personal it can be truly terrifying.

Not long after our son arrived to live with us I found him, under the weather, full of cold, lying sleeping on my chest as I lay on the sofa.

We stayed like that for almost an hour and a half as he snuggled into my chest.  

The closeness, the sense of a bond being formed, of acceptance growing.  Recognition that we were the people to whom he now looked instinctively for comfort, with whom he was most at ease.  The growing warmth of my relationship with our son was sustaining and loving.

Lasted for about 20 minutes.

All of those lovely thoughts were forgotten however as I lay under our snoring, snorting toddler, transfixed with horrified fascination.  A large glob of snot formed in his nostril.   A bubble of light green mucus.  A diaphragm, expanding and contracting, it beat with the rhythm of his breathing. 

About two inches from my face.


The residue of course can be even more unpleasant.

Entering my office I found the computer keyboard covered in a white deposit.  Our four year old son had just been in there.  I sort him out to find out what it was.

"What's the white stuff over the keyboard?" I asked.

He looked up from his game.  "It's your fault.  You didn't hear me sneeze and bring me a tissue."

My stomach heaved.  "I think I'm going to puke," was the best retort I could manage.


Snot has brought us moments of profundity.

Leaving for work one morning, J knelt to say goodbye to our son who was playing with our dog.  

The dog promptly sneezed on our little boy.  Who wiped his hand down J's clean shirt.

J remonstrated.

Our son, looking up, appeared puzzled.  "That's what childs do!" (sic)

"That's what we're here for!"

Profound indeed.


Our eighteen month old daughter had an early lesson in how to get 'the boys' to all scream at the same time.

Shortly before her second birthday we were all sitting at the dining table.

She sneezed.  A tear drop of green mucus descending slowly, gracefully floor-wards from her nostril.

Elegantly she stuck out her tongue to catch it.  Smiling broadly at the three males in her family who screamed and squirmed at the horrific sight.  


Toddlers' ability to scare you with the failure to adhere to social, let alone health, norms knows no bounds.

I was poked awake, as I so often am, by our daughter early one morning.  As usual demanding tea.  Her face slowly came into focus and I noticed the huge snot glob lying on her upper lip.  I grimaced and turned to get a tissue.

Turning back, the snot had gone.

She had anticipated my move.  "Snot gone!" she said proudly.

"Where?" I asked suspiciously.

"In my mouth!" Our little girl answered, sticking out her tongue to prove her statement.


Growing independence shown by our daughter held out the prospect of some relief from my constant nose wiping stoop.  No longer would I risk developing a widows hump as a consequence of my bending forward to swipe mucus from our daughter's nose every few minutes.

Proudly, our fiercely independent daughter shooed me away from helping her wipe the abnormally large deposit she had just sneezed from her right nostril.

Grabbing a tissue she executed the nose wiping move I have come to fear most.  

The upward swipe.

No longer contained just beneath her nose, the viscose material spread up her face, across her cheek, reaching her hair line.  



Adoption Services of the UK.

Snot doesn't feature in your training offered to prospective adopters.  It should.  It's one of the greatest challenges any parent faces.