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Dear Jo: The Boogie Conversation

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April 1, 3 years A.B. (after-baby)

Dear Jo,

Today you held a discussion with a  toddler, an infant and a stuffed animal about the importance of using a Kleenex. You lined them all up and uttered the words, “Boogies go in Kleenex, not on couches.” Yes, this may be April Fool’s Day, but, no, this conversation was not a joke.

Dear Jo: The Boogie Conversation

Mom stopped by today, unexpectedly of course. The woman knows how to use a phone, especially in the evenings when you are frantically trying to get a half-way decent and somewhat edible meal on the table. Yet, when she gets an urge to see her grandchildren, she suddenly forgets how to pick up a phone. Of course you had laundry covering most surfaces of the living room. Emerson’s toys covered the other vacant spots. You meant to ask him to put them away, but you hadn’t gotten around to that quite yet.

So, the doorbell rings, in walks Mom and instantly  her eyes go to the mess. “Well, it looks like it’s a good thing I stopped by.”

You hoped that her being there meant that she could watch the kids, while you napped. Or bathed. But you knew instead that you should use their occupied time to finish the laundry, clean up the toys and maybe even vacuum.

Mom settled in on the couch with Lyla nestled into one arm and Emerson tucked under the other, holding his favorite Thomas the Train book that he wanted to “read” to her. You both had it memorized, but she didn’t know that. As he began his recitation, her eyes opened in amazement.

“When did you learn to read?” she asked him.

“Shh. Grandma, it’s time to listen.”

“Oh, sorry. Please, proceed,” she said, humoring him.

He was nearly to the end of the book when Mom moved her hand from around Emerson to rest on the top of the couch cushion. That’s when she felt it.

“What is that?” she asked.

Emerson shot her a look, once again annoyed by her interruption.

“Hold on, Emerson. There’s something back here. Something…sticky. And wet.”

She placed Lyla under her floor gym, so she could better investigate. That’s when she found a treasure trove of snot.

“Oh, Emerson!” Mom said.

“What?! It wasn’t me! I didn’t wipe anything there!”

So, you and Mom switched places. She took over the laundry for a few minutes, while you addressed the problem at hand. You saw the tears welling up in Emerson’s eyes. Mom’s exasperation had already frightened him and you didn’t want him to completely meltdown. So, you manufactured a line up: Emerson, Lyla and Bluey.

“One of you has been using the couch in an inappropriate way.”

Emerson avoided eye contact.

“I believe all of you know that when you have a boogie, it needs to go into a Kleenex.”

Bluely slumped to the side and stared off into nothingness.

“I don’t know who did this,” you said. Finally Emerson looked at you, believing the words you were saying. “The couch is a place to sit and rest, not a place to wipe boogies. If this happens again, there will be a punishment.”

You heard your mom let out a little huff. Of course she thought the entire line-up was ridiculous and that she believed Emerson needed to “own up” and be disciplined for what he had done. But you know your sensitive boy. Confrontation doesn’t work well with him.

“For now, Emerson, I want you to help me clean it off.”

“But what about Bluey?”

“We’ll put him in time out, so he can think about what he did.”

Emerson gladly found a spot for his stuffed friend. Then he helped you clean the disgusting little balls of snot from the couch. From the number you located, he had to have been doing it for a while. You tried not to think of how you had sat there without knowing what lay behind you. But if there’s one thing you’ve learned in the last three years of parenting, it’s that surprises are around each corner and hidden in dark places. Sometimes being oblivious isn’t a bad thing.

Dear Jo: A {fictional} Diary of a Modern Mom“Dear Jo: A Diary of a Modern Mom” is a serial fiction story written by Meagan Church. Stay tuned for the next diary entry of one mom’s attempt to chronicle what she has been told are the days she shouldn’t forget…spit-up, tantrums, milestones and all. Visit the Dear Jo page to catch up on the already-published entries. And, be sure to subscribe today, so you don’t miss a single installment:


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Motherhood Doesn't Come with Sick Days

{Photo credit: ©Meagan Church.}

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