Let's Sit Down & Throw Some Words at the Screen For Awhile
Beautiful Plumage

Things Nobody Tells You: Four-Year-Old Edition

1) Learning to properly blow one's own nose is, in fact, a highly advanced skill. If you are able to blow your own nose, congratulations! You've accomplished something with your life after all.

2) Even AFTER one has learned and is perfectly capable of blowing one's own nose, it may take even longer before one has figured out that one SHOULD blow one's own nose, rather than sniff sniff snort snorting snot up through one's nasal cavities ALL THE LIVE-LONG DAY.

3) When one DOES opt to sniff sniff snort snort all the cotton-picking live-long mother-loving day and night, despite MUCH PLEADING AND PROMPTING from one's loving, concerned mother, one might eventually get sick to one's stomach and vomit.

4) A lot. A surprising, alarming lot.

5) Usually at 4 am, or so.

6) Maybe again at 5 am, on the sheets that you just changed, or in the wastebasket.

7) Incidentally, wicker wastebaskets are a poor, poor choice for a child's room.

8) Also, if you type the word "wastebasket" enough times it stops looking like a real word. Like you're referring to tissues as "noseblankets" or "snotwrappers" or something.

9) Anyway.

10) There will also be zero fever or any other signs of illness.

11) Which become obvious exactly two minutes AFTER one calls the bus depot and school to inform them that your poor sick child will not be attending school that day, as he is too busy consuming two bowls of Cheerios, a waffle and two fruit smoothies right before running laps at top speed around the living room while singing the Imagination Movers' theme song.

12) Then it all might happen again a week later.

13) At 3 in the morning, you can pretty much swear that you totally read an article once that said <EXACT THING YOU ARE CURRENTLY DEALING WITH> was one of the first symptoms of childhood cancer.

14) Google is open 24 hours. Also: IT'S MUCUS. BLOW YOUR NOSE. LAND SAKES ALIVE.

15)  If your child insists on taking non-traditional toys to bed to cuddle with, consider yourself lucky. It's way easier to clean vomit off a Candy Land board game than a plush teddy bear. Also: NICE AIM, KID.



Ew ew ew ick ew. Thank you for that reminder of why I should wait to have children, after the last few adorable posts of Ezra-ness.


Aw, poor Noah! I hope he gets better and stays that way, at least for a week!

My 4-year-old can blow his nose, but he still seems to prefer to just wipe it on his sleeve, no matter how many times I give him that "Oh God NO YOU DINT" look when he does it.

Sprite's Keeper

Who knew sniffling could lead to vomiting? I better stick that tip up my sleeve the next time Sprite tries to pull that one me. Um,I'd better disinfect it first..


My daughter does the snot-vomit thing, too. Also, for future reference, feverless kids are generally only sick enough to be home before you make the decision to keep them home. Once that decision has been made they are usually miraculously healed.


My 6+ year-old still tends to suck in instead of blowing out. Or he uses his sleeve. As we're trying to hand him a tissue.

Today he tried to tell me his stomach hurt too much to go to school. Until I reminded him he has the rest of the week off.


my big bro didn't learn to blow his nose properly until high school. true story.

also, we learned when he went to college that he is very allergic to cats, and that was why his nose was so damn runny for 18 years. we thought he was just trying to irritate us with his poor nose blowing skills, and later with the gazillion used kleenex everywhere. such is life.


Why oh WHY do children BARF SO MUCH???? I can totally wait for this phase thankyouverymuch as my husband is a diper-changeing gagger. I can only imagine what the sight/smell of baby barf will do to him. I'm sure it would require ME to clean up two puddles of puke. Ah...motherhood!


Please tell me how Noah learned to blow his nose. My son could really use some pointers. He just holds the tissue up to his nose and makes a loud sound with his mouth.


I don't know where my previous comment went. Oh well. I just want to know how do kids learn how to blow their noses? Seriously. I cannot get my kid to understand the mechanics behind it. He just holds the tissue up to his nose and makes a loud noise with his mouth.

Mommy, Esq.

Actually they are better off "snuffing" or just wiping their snot than blowing their noses. It will result in fewer sinus infections. I personally disagree with science on this one and agree with Amalah that it is a Serious Skill that should be encouraged from a young age.


Just don't do what I did with one of my kids. We used a candle to teach him to blow out. Can you see this won't end well? Stellar parent I am, I didn't see the train wreck ahead. He sucked in and burned his nose hair.

Much later (at 12 years of age) we found out he had enormous adenoids and that was why he couldn't blow his nose. Having those out solved many problems.


Wow. It blows to be you!
Thanks for the laughs! Hope you have a very happy Thanksgiving.

Mrs. D

Wow - that sounds horrible! Mucus + vomit = my personal nightmare.

Also, how DOES one learn how to blow one's own nose? Seems as impossible to teach as drinking from a straw.

Also, you crack me up.

Aunt Becky

Snarffuling the snot back up your nose is WAY more satisfying, tho.


As I read this I am listening to my 7 year old sniff, sniff, snort all the live long day. As I said good bye this morning he was doing and he he was till doing it when I picked him up from school. Blowing just takes to damned long don't ya know!!


My 4 year old is doing that RIGHT NOW (that=sniff sniffing snort snorting the snot back up all the live long day) and it is driving me NUTS. Thank you for letting me laugh about it!


Yes. And yes, yes, yes. And ICK!

ps. Blow your nose.


My 14 year old got the 'blow your nose!!!!' lecture from me this past weekend.

If I remember right, I sat him in front of a mirror when he was little and somehow taught him to blow his nose that way. He thought it was cool seeing the green crap come out of his nose. Weird, right? Ah well, it worked.


I think I read somewhere that taking Candyland to bed is one of the signs of childhood cancer.


Too, too funny. And speaking of taking non-traditional toys to bed: At one point last year, they only way I could get my then 2yo to bed was to allow him to sleep with 3 tubes of toothpaste. Not 1, or 2, but THREE. So very strange.


I'm sorry to have to inform you that you can save #2 - just tuck that right in your little pocket, because you're going to need it for Things Nobody Tells you: Five through 14-Year-Old Editions.


dude I didn't properly learn to blow my nose until I was like 7. I would always suck IN instead of blow OUT.


Some of them never grow out of the suck it back in phase.

I used to conduct SAT tests and every single time there was a chorus of sniffling and snorting. Even when I walked discreetly thru the aisle offing a box of tissues, there would always be a few who would not take one and continue to sniff.


My sister recently told me that her daughter still doesn't know how to blow her nose and uses a snot sucker instead. She's 13. True story.


My not-yet-two-year-old has been blowing her nose when prompted since about 15 months. I totally just modeled it for her - without a tissue so she could actually see the snot come out of my nose, then wiped it. She thought it was all sorts of funny. Eventually, I would put the tissue up to my nose and then blow. She got it right away. It makes her 9,379,479,484 colds a year so much easier on her. Also? She had a puking in the morning episode once and was fine. Google totally convinced me she had a brain tumor. I feel ya...

Parsing Nonsense

Ewwwwwwww mucus and vomit in the same post.


Hate, hate, HATE the sniffing and snorting. Bless you for teaching Noah to blow; some of my students (college!) apparently don't know how yet.

Jill G

Hey - what's the big idea?

Imagination moooovers (you gotta think about it)
Imagination moooovers (you gotta talk about it)

I am not even a mother - just an aunt who gets this song stuck in her head all the time. I wake up singing it. Thanks a lot, Amy!


Nasty. But funny from over here.

btw: my 4 year old still can't blow her nose. Now I feel like an inadequate mother. Thanks.

Carrie @ Who Knew?

Good news: Noah's a progressive thinker. I read an article that you're not supposed to blow your nose. You're supposed to swallow the snot and let your stomach acids destroy it. Yummy!


I had to comment on this one. My daughter took FOREVER and a DAY to learn to blow her nose so we had some of the nights you just described! She is 7 and is still nose blowing resistant. I think she just thinks its disgusting and prefers to swallow the mucus(oh so less disgusting, NOT).


Tell me that you threw the Candy Land board away and just bought a new one. Please, please, please tell me that I'm not the only parent who ignores all budgetary concerns and just replaces things that are touched by vomit.

Meanwhile, I'll get screened for OCD.


I'm practically a professional lurker here but HAD to comment on this one because IT IS MY LIFE. Well, no Candyland board, but the rest? I'm there far too often. Thanks for capturing it so well!

P.S. Could you maybe add something about a husband who can sleep through the whole fiasco? Or maybe that's just me...


The other day I actually PAID my 4 year old to blow her nose hard and effectively, mostly bc I found myself screaming from 4 rooms away, "BLOW YOUR NOSE LILY or MOMMY WILL COME IN AND USE THE BOOGERATOR ON YOU!" (That's the dreaded bulb syringe, btw)So, she blows her nose, and later asks if she can rent a video from "the big red box". Of course, that blown nose cost me $24 when my husband lost the tepid 40 minutes "Stanley the Stink Bug" we rented and I had to pay the lost dvd fee.

and so I thank you for your post. at least I am not alone in my sniffling nightmare.

Kate at And Then I Was a Mom

First of all, even _I_ run around the living room to the Imagination Movers theme song when sick. That sucker is catchy.

Second of all...eh, I don't really have anything else. Feel better, Noah.

Lucy's mom

Unfortunately I can't read your blog regularly so I often come here and read several postings I've missed. I just read your post on synesthesia and the songs in color. When my son was a preschooler he would allow me to sing but not along with the radio (Stop singing mommy!). And all music was color-coded as well.
Today he is 15 years old, still quite an interesting, eccentric guy and an absolute whiz at producing beats on the computer. He has his own recording studio set up in the house and produces music that has received club play.
Yes, there are amazing things going on in these boys minds - Noah will continue to blow you away over the years. You deal with the frustrations of your child being "different" but the depth and beauty of that different is so much greater. We are lucky moms.


Just so you know...I *do* blow my nose, but every now and then, this VERY same thing happens to me. I have allergies, and with the post nasal drip, I wake up early in the morning after trying to sleep and start vomiting and can't stop. It really, truly, TRULY, sucks! Can we give thanks and hallelujahs for Phenergan suppositories PLEASE!!! I keep those on hand in the fridge at all times b/c when this happens, it is ALL that can help. You might want to call the ped to see if you can get some to keep on hand. He just might have the same issue, so this would be why I am sharing my experience with you. I'm 36, and it happens to me probably 2 to 3 times a year...yuck! Good luck!!!


Nice tip on the wicker wastebasket. Didn't think about it until now. Damn Pottery Barn Kids!


Oh yes....wanted to add that if you can head it off with mucinex, that tends to help before-hand. Seems to make the gunk easier to "process".

well read hostess

AH! The snot factor.

They can puke on me, bleed on me, poop on me, spit in my face, and fling spaghettios into my hair, but SNOT MAKES ME GAG. And the sniff snort snort makes me homicidal.

I think, actually, someone (maybe you???) should write a book about how to teach your child to blow his/her nose. Maybe there could be a companion doll - like the shoelace tying doll or the potty training doll...Just an idea.


That was my life last week. Thanks for writing about it, because I just couldn't find the words.


In our house we call this "snomit" You know..."snot vomit". Nice to know that not only do I have to occasionally deal with it in my infant but a four year old also? Awesome!! :)


Isn't nasal congestion/ post-nasal drip sometimes a symptom of acid reflux? What I mean is, maybe the snot isn't causing the vomiting - maybe he's got reflux issues that are causing the snot. I don't know about 4 year olds, but I think that young babies with reflux vomit more at night when they lay down. Might be something to check into if it keeps happening.


There was just an article in Parents or Parenting (seriously, I always feel like I read the same magazine twice but I can't cancel one subscription - WHAT IF I MISS SOMETHING IMPORTANT?) that said it was better for kids to swallow snot and let stomach acid do its work - though if he's puking, obviously it's not working... Seeing the trail of snot running out the nose ALWAYS grosses me out (and when they flick out their tongue and LICK IT? I'm done).

Snackbox puked on me last weekend (blueberries, natch) and it took everything I had not to add to the puddle - I cannot stand the sight or smell of it... even remembering it makes me a little nauseated.


The Offspring has thrown up mucus more times than I can count. And -- CONFESSION -- sometimes I've just lain a big towel over the wet spot, and left the sheets on the bed until morning. But he always goes to school afterward. These days, he's pretty good at aiming for the (plastic) waste basket.


I JUST tweeted this morning at 4:30 a.m. that my daughter had coughed, sniffed, coughed, sniffed so much all night that eventually at 4, she threw up. In my hair. So I got up and showered (which was a tie in to a tweet from the night before about how I never shower blah blah blah somehow it seemed funny at 4 this morning and BY GOD SOMEONE STARRED IT). I'm @thesearedays, btw.

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