Thursday, August 28, 2008

Beware the nose sucker

I have a confession to make. As a new parent, I know we all face certain tasks that we dread doing. One that I have heard a lot of moms complain about is the clipping of the fingernails. I don't particularly mind that one. Its not my favorite thing to do, but believe me, she holds still a heck of a lot better than the dogs do. And she doesn't do that nasty thing where she runs all over the house with blood dribbling from the middle of her toenail like the dogs do. I hate that.
For me, one of my guilty pleasures is...get ready...the nose sucker. While Sofia will most certainly require eventual therapy to recover from the emotional scarring that my nasal suctioning has resulted in, I find it to be one of the most fulfilling tasks of parenting (so far). It started before she was even born. I had to make sure that I had one ready by the time I got into my 3rd trimester, because I was obsessed with the idea of going into precipitous labor and having her on the living room floor with Hugo as my only birthing attendant and I wanted to make sure that he would have something to suck the secretions out of her nose if that happened. Get that? I was worried about sucking the secretions out of her nose if I should have an emergency unplanned home birth. That's the one thing I was concerned about. I went through several scenarios with Hugo where I described in great detail what it would be like and the imperative nostril and mouth clearing efforts that he would have to effect in order to allow the baby to breathe. I demonstrated how to use the bulb syringe. I told him to know where the bulb syringe was at all times. If Hugo ever happens upon a poor unsuspecting woman in precipitous labor, he will most certainly be seen shouting for a bulb syringe while the laboring woman tries to kill him. I can just see him, "Does anyone have a bulb syringe? This woman is about to have a baby! We must have a bulb syringe!"

So it should come as no surprise that I have taken my own bulb syringe duties very seriously since the birth of the child. I waited to pull the thing out until Sofia had her first legitimate episode of the sniffles. She woke up kind of cranky while we were on our family vacation with signs and symptoms that she had caught the common cold that all the kids were chummily passing around (while their parents desperately tried to get them to share their toys, which they were not nearly so accomodating with). I told Hugo, "This is a job for the nose sucker. Get it out of the diaper bag," (where I had fortuitously stashed it at the beginning of the vacation). I confidently squeezed the thing and stuck it into her tiny little nostril. I released it. Suckkkkkk! I felt a little thrill. I did it again in the other nostril. Sofia gave me a funny look, but didn't object too vociferously. I think I'm kind of a natural at it. I peered deep into the recesses of the bulb syringe and saw it. The first legitimate booger to be aspirated from my poor unsuspecting child's nose. I felt another thrill. I looked deeper into her nostrils and was certain that I saw another booger, this one was really far back. I had to have it. Five minutes later, when Sofia had become thoroughly exasperated and was fussing and getting ready to really start objecting, Hugo removed the device from my hand and put it back into the diaper bag. "That's enough," was his only comment.
But it was too late. I was hooked. I began going on a daily booger hunt every morning right after her first feeding. I think it must be because of my background as a nurse and the fact that I have been well indoctrinated with the importance of suctioning my vented patients. Most nurses are revolted by the suctioning process and vociferously object to doing it. "Why do we have to do it?" they ask. "That's what we have respiratory therapists for. They like secretions." I, on the other hand, have always found it extremely satisfying to apply the suctioning wand to the mouth, or the trach site, or the nares. Even more satsifying is when some huge goober comes up accompanied by a lovely noise, the likes of which cannot be imitated through this medium. I know most people who are reading this are probably dry heaving at this point. That's the wonderful thing about me though. I love it. I find it deeply satisfying to know that someone's lungs were contaminated and obstructed with that big hunk of nastiness and now, because 0f my intervention, they no longer are. Go Girl!
It is along the same vein (as misguided as it may be) that my obsession with the nose sucker comes from. I have actually offered to nose suck some of the babies in the postpartum group that I attend. I was chatting with the mom of Syndney, an adorable little blond chunkaroo when I noted that she had a very tempting little crust just inside her nose. "You want me to get that for you?" I asked. She smiled and then backed away, holding her infant just slightly to the side as though to use her body as a shield if I should happen to make a dive for her.
I'm not sure what it is that is so exciting about the daily booger hunt. Maybe it is the fact that Sofia's tiny little nostrils are too small to insert a finger into (I've tried) to retrieve an annoying piece of snot. She isn't capable of blowing on command when a tissue is held up to her nose yet. I know, in my heart of hearts, that I am the only person in the world who will remove that snot from her nose. Just me and nobody else. So therefore, it is a task I treasure and enjoy. Someday, when she realizes that she had the cleanest nasal passageways as a baby, maybe Sofia will thank me for my efforts. But for now, that noise is the only reward I require. Succkckckckck!!!!!!


Val said...

Love me some nose sucking. The sad thing is that my kids are 2, 4 and 10. All that is required is a nice tight swaddle (read: blanket restraint) and a good nose suck to set all things aright.

Anonymous said...

Guess the "apples" don't fall far from the tree. I remember plenty of nose sucking myself (especially on the child we affectionately called "greensleeves"!)

Khadra said...

oh my, I thought I was the only one with a snot issue.

the sucker scares me, but I get such pleasure out of snagging snot from a baby's nose! You have to get just the right angle in order to get it out since adult fingers obviously dont fit well in infant nostrils!

It's sort of like a challenge!