It’s a Dirty Job


In terms of visceral reaction, it was a little like stumbling across a bunch of dead bodies in the basement.


I can barely write about this without gagging.

It’s true what I learned in the second grade. Boys are, in fact, gross. And since the boy in this particular story once threw his own poop under the bed, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. But I was.

The kids woke me up early this morning, and I was still half asleep as I stumbled through our morning routine. Paul usually gets up with the kids on Saturday so I can sleep in, but today he left for a day of snow skiing with the guys just as the rest of us were rubbing the sleep out of our eyes. So there were no reinforcements around when I made my gruesome discovery.

I was making Caleb’s bed, pulling up the sheets and tucking them under the mattress, when I felt something hard and pointy scrape across the back of my hand. Thinking it might be an exposed nail head, I ran my fingers along the inside of the bed frame. It was rough and pebbly, and I was completely flummoxed as to what it could be, so I pushed the mattress away from the bed rail to have a closer look. For a moment, my brain couldn’t even register what I was seeing into a known category. When recognition finally clicked into place, I recoiled in horror.

There, pasted against the hidden inner surface of Caleb’s bed frame, were a hundred thousand petrified boogers.

Yes, boogers.


(Author pauses to indulge in a renewed fit of shuddering and retching.)


It took forty minutes, reams and reams of antibacterial wipes, and all the mental fortitude I possessed to clean up the abomination. It was a magnificently revolting sculpture, layer upon loathsome layer, the cumulative work of many months of secretive mucus deposits.

All the time I worked, Caleb worked with me, while I lectured him mercilessly about germs and Kleenexes and the importance of not being disgusting in relation to his future dating prospects.

I mean, who does that?

Four year old boys, that’s who.

How naΓ―ve I was, thinking that the grossest part of parenting was behind me with the burp cloths and the dirty diapers. Apparently good hygiene education covers a lot more than cleaning behind your ears and washing your bits and pieces. If “don’t wipe your boogies on the furniture” has to be expressly spelled out, then what other instructions have I overlooked? “Don’t save toenail clippings in your toybox”? “Don’t keep used toilet paper”? “Don’t leave peanut butter banana sandwiches under your bed”?

That’s it. I’m starting a list. Feel free to add to it.

I just can’t handle any more crusty surprises.


27 responses »

  1. Oh my gosh, how disgusting! My brother used to do gross stuff like that all the time when we were little.

    I can remember my mom screaming at him when she would notice it seemed to have been a while since he last showered. Or saw his sheets in the laundry. She always started quizzing him, and she never liked the answer.

    And there was the one time she wondered why he hadn’t gotten up to get ready for school yet. She found him still in his bed, fully dressed. He said he thought he could sleep in if he got ready for school the night before. He wanted to save time. He was probably in late elementary school (or even later) when that happened.

    It makes me feel good to know my brother (who turned out perfectly wonderful and awesome, by the way — and not gross!) isn’t alone in the weird decisions he made when he was little.

  2. I’ve been there, only with bloody noses. Once the red smears moved their way up the wall, I looked closer and realized they were all over the sheets and bedspread, too. And what were the little crispy things? (Please say chocolate… please say chocolate…) Nope. Boogers. *shudder*

    Your story brought back so many memories. (And the poop story was a riot!) Thanks for the laugh– I needed that today.

  3. I just finished watching a MONK episode before I read this. Your reaction was so MONK! Way too funny!

    Funny thing about boys…I have also learned that you have to expressly forbid (good term by the way) many, many things that the rest of us (girls) don’t even think about. You may need your husband’s help in compiling your list. Remember…he used to be a boy. πŸ™‚

    You may consider adding this to your list: Don’t bite the armoire and/or coffee table. I don’t know how you would phrase this in a positive connotation, I don’t think it can be done. Good luck making your list ‘positive’ instead of filled with “don’t do this…don’t do that….” (I think that’s just a bunch of crazy psychology anyways…those psychologists who say never use ‘don’t’ must have only had little girls).

  4. My son just told me his secret the other day. There is a hole in the wall he asked me not to patch because that’s where he puts his boogers. His 5 year old brother pipes up and says, “Yeah, that’s HIS wall, Mom!”

    Ewwwwwww! I haven’t investigated yet. I’m afraid to.

  5. I was laughing AND completely grossed out! Let me just say that you may find something way more gross in a few years. I’m not even sure how you’d include it on the list but it will surpass anything disgusting he’s done thus far.

    I agree it is better that he disposes of the boogs instead of munching on them. We are currently dealing with the booger snack issue.

    Girls aren’t as gross as boys. Or maybe they’re just sneakier?

  6. How about expressly forbidding peeing in the backyard. I let Bubba do it once when we were training and that was all it took. The backyard was suddenly the new toilet!

  7. Thanks for the laugh!

    I must share a little boogie story with you. 10 years ago I moved into my first house. After moving in, I was getting ready to paint and I too found a forest of hard boogers in the wall! I took a scrapper to them. Two little boys shared the room.


  8. Ewwwwww! So it’s true!!!! See my post “Happy Birthday, Angel Boy”, and your heart may drop for me. However, your post does not come as a total shock because my two year old has begun the “eating them, and I think it’s funny” thing. It would be one thing if he didn’t sport it around for all to see!

  9. As a former (and mostly reformed) boy I must say that there was much laughter and reminiscing on my part when reading your post. May I recommend Calvin and Hobbes as a primer on little boy mischief? As for your list, please do make it positive and focus on the rewards:
    -Closet monsters can be kept away by brushing your teeth before you go to bed.
    -When you jump off of the roof make sure there’s something soft under you (like a trampoline!).
    -When you learn how to go poop in the toilet by yourself, we’ll see what happens when you flush the cat!
    -Bathing daily keeps girl cooties away. (to be replaced with “Showering and using deodorant daily impresses the ladies.” at the proper time)
    -Use your knife to trim your fingernails so that they don’t get caught in between your teeth.
    -Pop your zits in private. (unlike that guy who sat near me in chapel at HU)

    Just a few recommendations for your list.

  10. I guess I’m havin’ a male moment here: if a guy can’t wipe boogers on the wall or under a school table or on a bed frame and if he can’t take a leak in the back yard and isn’t supposed to throw his own poop under the bed and gets in trouble for depositing finger and/or toenail clippings in his toy box (I put them in the top drawer of my desk), if all of these pleasures and many more of being a boy and a man are discouraged (or even punished), what’s left? How can a boy expect to know he is a boy if he must conform to the don’t be gross pressures of the world (dare I say it? the girls’ world?)?

    Alas. Poor Caleb.


  11. Not the blog you want someone to read as they happen across your blog randomly. Yuck. Did remind of my older son’s hiding place of a different gross thing. Toe nails he’d clipped over who knows what time period-dropped behind the sofa in the den. Even the vacuum cleaner rebelled.

  12. LMRSSO!!!!!!!

    I remember me brother making a stalitite (sp) out of his bogeys that sort of hung under his bed for months, I think he was trying to get it to floor level…… I also rememeber me mother gagging as she chistled it off LOL

    Funny post πŸ™‚

    All Hail to sons aye πŸ™‚


  13. That was hilarious. (For reasons I would rather keep to myself, being a boy and recalling in the back of my mind one particular sofa we had when I was a kid that was a little too close to the television and too far from the Kleenexes in the bathroom …)

  14. Pingback: Notes on a Napkin: Boys are Gross « Chronic Discontent

  15. That is certainly gross and I am sorry you had to go through that. I don’t think you are out of the woods yet though. You still have the “teen years” to deal with. I have had a hard time getting my 2 year old to eat what is on his plate at mealtime. He instead has decided to eat whatever he finds on the floor that looks “crunchy”. I guess the only good I have learned from that is to sweep the kitchen after every meal. More work for Daddy. Thanks Zack!

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