Tag Archives: surprise

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 na├»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.