As we were flipping through, I came across this poem:
Inside everybody's nose
There lives a sharp-toothed snail.
So if you stick your finger in,
He may bite off your nail.
Stick it farther up inside,
And he may bite your ring off.
Stick it all the way, and he
May bite the whole darn thing off.
And, I thought, "Awesome! A poem about nose-picking!" I figured it would be a perfect silly poem because I probably tell Gavin 14,592 times a day to stop picking his nose. Literally, I probably say it at least seven times per hour.
So, I read him the poem, and then we discussed it. I said, "See, Gavin, you can't pick your nose because there's a sharp-toothed snail that lives up there, and if you put your finger in your nose, he'll bite it. If you're not careful, he'll bite it off." I then proceeded to put my finger partway in my nose and then screamed when the pretend snail bit at it. He laughed. And then we moved on to the next poem.
As I read the next poem, he wasn't really paying attention. "Mommy, pick your nose!" No way! I'm not putting my finger up there! The snail might bite it off! "You're just kidding, Mommy!" Am I? Put your finger in your nose and see. See if there's a snail up there! "No, you pick your nose!" Not a chance! That snail is not biting my finger!
Then, all of a sudden, he jumps up off of the couch. He returns seconds later.
"Mommy, I just looked in the mirror and there's no snail in my nose." Are you sure?
"Yes. I didn't see one. Pick your nose, Mommy!" No! There's a snail up there and if I pick my nose he might bite my finger.
He gets very quiet. He looks at me for a long time. "Mommy, look up so I can see in your nose. I don't see a snail." Oh, he's way up there where you can't see him.
Suddenly, his eyes start welling up with tears.
What's wrong? "I don't want there to be snail in my nose, Mommy."
I was just kidding, Gavin. It's just a silly poem. There's no snail in your nose.
"You were just kidding, right?" I don't know. Stick your finger in your nose and find out.
And now, I'm laughing.
Gavin, it was just a silly poem. It's fine. There's no snail. "Okay, then I'm going to pick my nose."
And because I can't resist: Okay, but be careful.
"Mommy, I'm mad at you." Why? "Because you're lying. There's no snail in my nose, and you're lying to me." (Note: both hands are on his hips as he says this to me.) So, at this point, I'm laughing so hard I can't stop, and he's just getting angrier and angrier.
Okay, Gavin. I'm sorry. I was just kidding. There's no snail. It's all made up. There's nothing to worry about it. It was just a silly poem.
"But, Mommy, my nose is running!" Then get a tissue! "What about the snail?"
Sigh. There's no snail. It's fine. Just get a tissue.
We went around about this for over thirty minutes.
But, you know what? I never once saw his finger go near his nose . . .