Kids do the Darndest Things

Kids do weird things: swallow pennies, cut their own bangs, and eat dirt. As an educator, I see kids do really foolish things on a daily basis. And can we blame them? Living through dumb decisions is how we learn.

When I was very young – maybe 4? It was an age when I couldn’t communicate the way I can now. An age when I mostly observed and yearned to be more grown up. I had this aunt – Aunt Virginia. She was “eclectic” because she never got married and lived in New York. I adored her and watched her every move.

She used to take a tissue, twist it up nice and tight, stick it up her nose, move it around a bit, and VOILA! Now, it’s important to remember that I am of that very young age when it is quite probable that I don’t recall situations accurately, but in my young mind, that was how Aunt Virginia excavated mucus.

So one day, when I was supposed to be napping, I decided to do the Aunt Virginia nose trick. I took the tissue, twisted it into a tiny sliver, and rammed it up my nose. I wanted to make sure I got a good clean sweep, so I let it linger. Just when I was sure everything would be cleared away, I pulled out the tissue, but half of it was missing. I go in after it with my young fingers, just to shove the tissue further up my nose. Every time I think I have a hold of it, there it goes – further and further up into my nasal cavity.

Even as a child, I was very independent. I didn’t want to tell my mom what had happened, but I realized the severity of the situation. Tissue living up inside of one of my nostrils was probably not a good thing. So I inched my way to my mother’s bedroom. She was there, sitting on her bed, doing whatever it is mom’s do.


“Yes, Dear.”

“I shoved tissue up my nose and now it’s stuck.”

She looked at me, confused. I looked fine, so she said, “I don’t see it.”

“I know. Because it’s up my nose. Far.”

She didn’t believe me. How preposterous. Tissue up an adorable child’s nose? “It will be fine.” And she sent me on my merry way.

I was a good child, so I didn’t mention the tissue again. For a whole week! According to my mother, we were in the car, and I nonchalantly said, “That tissue is still up my nose.”

My mother was shocked that I clung to this week old story, so she decided to investigate. Off to the pediatrician we went.

I don’t want to go into graphic detail, but the doctor found that tissue, and it wasn’t pretty. He chastised my mother, “Why didn’t you bring her in sooner? It’s infected. This poor child.” My mom couldn’t stop laughing. Between snickers she got out, “I didn’t believe her. Who sticks tissue up their nose?”

Kids do! That’s who. And guess what… I never did it again. Because that’s how we learn. I survived and lived to tell the tale of how NOT to blow your nose.

So, let’s cut our little ones a little bit of slack. What doesn’t kill them makes them stronger – and smarter. But please believe them if they say that they have tissue stuck up their noses.

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