I get up, walk into her room, she smiles at me as I pick her up, and we head to the kitchen to get her morning cup of milk. Once the lid to the sippy cup has been secured we amble back to the bedroom where I sit her on the bed beside me and we chill out. It's the weekend, after all.
She babbles, I babble back. She drinks her milk and pats the bed sheets and looks around. Her mom lies asleep beside us. Every now and then Abby slaps at her mom's back to wake her up, but it doesn't work.
The sun creeps through the bedroom window, casting a subtle golden light into the room. As it climbs higher the light gets stronger, and ignites the fine fibers of corn silk hair on my daughter's head. Her chubby cheeks are crested with sunlight from the window behind her. She looks up at me with a content smile. She leans back to drink more of her milk, and I cup my hand around the back of her head to keep her from leaning too far back and falling. She pulls the sippy cup out of her mouth and looks at me. I smile at her.
"I love you Abs." I say.
Kind of a sweet moment, right?
Have you ever used one of those hand-held misters? The spray bottles with the little fan attached to it? You pull the trigger and the fan spits a cloud of vaporized water into your face, coating you with a cool sheen that is refreshing on a hot summer day. Well, it's slightly less refreshing when you're in your bedroom, and the liquid that is scattered across your cheeks isn't water but baby snot.
I caught the look in her eyes less than a second before the sneeze hit. The first wave misted my face with globules of mucus. The second wave shot an earthworm-sized snot rocket from my daughter's right nostril that flopped over her mouth and began oozing its way toward her chin. The third and final wave pushed the booger rope further out of her nose, and she smiled that adorable OPEN MOUTHED smile at me once the sneezing fit had ceased. The slime from her nose sagged into her mouth.
"Oh no! No no no..." I say as I look for any available napkin or tissue. Normally my nightstand is a Swiss army knife of useless junk: books, remotes, earphones, mail, a cup or two. I take a quick stock of items near me. There are no absorbent materials. Finally I accept what I already knew was the answer the minute I saw the goop hanging from her nose: I would have to sacrifice my shirt.
I keep hold of the back of her head, work my hand beneath my shirt, and make a sort of puppet out of my thumb and pointer finger. I clamp my shirt-covered fingers onto Abby's nose before she even knows what hit her, squeeze, and swipe. It gets about half of it, so I have to do it again. This time, though, my daughter is ready. She takes evasive action as I struggle to hold the mouth of my shirt puppet - now smeared with boogers - open. After she jukes me a few times I catch her nose with my hand puppet (let's just call him Booger McSnottersen) over her nose and mouth and make a quick sweep across the bottom half of her face. I get it all that time, for the most part. Later there will probably be a crusted coat across her mouth, nose, and chin, like the cracked ground of Death Valley, but the hard part is over. All it costed was a perfectly good t-shirt. Booger McSnottersen is a mess, to say the least.
Moral of the Story:
"Tissues are your friend. Keep them everywhere.
(with menacing eyes and deep voice) EVERYWHERE."
- Booger McSnottersen