This I Believe

Jennifer - Palmyra, Virginia
Entered on May 24, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: parenthood

There are skill sets one acquires through parenting that go unheralded, like giving each character a different voice when reading out loud, clipping tiny fingernails that fidget, and negotiating with small, irrational people.

Perhaps one of the most underrated skills of all is mastering the use of a bulbous contraption called an aspirator. Parents use them on their infants when they are congested to extract congestion. Most moms and dads have them, since hospitals usually send these snot suckers home with the baby.

The nose aspirator has confounded many a parent. Not me. I’m so good, I should have a Ph.D. in phlegm-botomy. All those long hours hunched over the game “Operation” paid off after all. When I pull out one of those rubber baby boogers, it’s as if I had just extracted gold from my daughter’s nostrils. If I did in fact receive a golden nugget for every glob I’ve taken out, her college tuition would be covered.

Some mothers remind their children throughout their lives about the hard labor they endured to bring them into the world. Instead, I shall recount to my offspring tales about removing blockages the size of pebbles and small kiwis from their nasal passages.

I should note that my husband is no slouch with the aspirator, either. But I always wave him off like a cocky All-Star outfielder when there’s a sniffle: “I GOT IT!”

Our infant, unamused and irritated while undergoing these procedures, does not share my joy during these special bonding moments. In fact, she looks up at me as if she would like to see a gigantic plastic bulb vacuum me away from the changing table.

But it’s the little, everyday and unspectacular efforts that make a difference in a child’s life and bring immense satisfaction to parents … especially sleep-deprived, punchy parents like myself, I believe.