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Boogie Man

The last time we had a newborn in the house, Archie was 19 months old. He clearly doesn’t remember what life with a newborn is like. They are funny, have skeleton fingers, weird poops, and eat from mama’s tummy? What are those? Brefts? With MILK? That’s cwazy.

Archie is consumed with curiosity regarding all-things Oliver. When we came home from the hospital, we brought free baby care supplies home. The little yellow scrubby bath sponge is awesome. The paper measuring tape could come in handy. But the best of the haul, aside from baby brother, is the blue bulb syringe. We call it a “snucker” which is a combination of snot + sucker, coined during a late night (circa 2001?) when hours are thin, tongues are thick, and confusion reigns. Approximately 3:27am.

“…and what’s this?” he asked, holding it up.

“It’s a snucker.”

“What’s it for?”

“It’s for getting boogies out of the baby’s nose.”

“Does he have any boogies?”

“Not right now.”

Disappointment. Archie put the snucker on the bedside table.

He’s a frequent visitor when I’m upstairs nursing Oliver. He pops through the door to say hi and discuss mammals and milk. He asks if I have enough water. And then, the inevitable question: Does Ollie have boogies? He holds up the snucker with hope.

He didn’t. He doesn’t. He hopefully won’t. No. Not now. He hasn’t since the third night in the hospital when he had a slightly stuffy nose. I answer him always with a no but he persists on asking. The contents of Oliver’s nose must be questioned, discussed, vanquished. Unfortunately for Archie, the snucker he holds aloft like a mythical dragon-slaying sword remains unused. “I want to help him!” he declares.

Archie and Oliver

“I know you want to help him,’ I say, ‘but the best thing for Ollie is to not get boogies at all. We don’t want him to get boogies.”

Archie exhales, returning the snucker to it’s spot. I know he’s going to ask again, so I’ve considered putting the snucker out of sight. The moment I put it up will be the moment Oliver’s nose will fill with goo, perhaps some last remnants of fluid from birth making its way out. Just needs a little help finding the exit. Where’s that snucker? Where’s that brother? He’s going to want to see this.

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