Once again, as is often the case, I had very different plans for this weeks’ column. In fact, I had it written, and just needed to tweak it a little before submission. I was going to finish up the story about Christmas and segway into the New Year. Then not long before I was to send the final copy to my editor, life happened. It’s no secret at all that life in my home is at the very least, entertaining. And once again, my daughters did not disappoint.

It’s January now, so I’m working a very limited schedule at my other job. Actually, my only job. This gig is more of a hobby and a therapeutic outlet. So my usual Mr. Mom duties during the day have skyrocketed to a whole new level, and carry well into the evening. When I spend the day playing with my 2 youngest children (little girls ages 2 and 3 if you are new to the column), I don’t have the usual pressure of cutting our antics short to go to work at night or handing them off to a sitter until my wife gets home from her grown up job.

Today was a typically wonderful January day. The weather was miserable, cold, damp, and windy outside. We got a dusting of snow, but not enough to make anyone want to go outside. My amazing wife turned off my alarm this morning before it went off to let me sleep in. She had gotten the 5:00 a.m. call and decided to pick up a shift at the hospital to compensate for my annual month-long Howard Hughes performance. She went in just late enough that she was able to take our 10-year-old to school on her way.

Hence, I got to sleep in until about 9:30 when my 3-year-old came in and climbed into bed with me. The words; “sleep in until 9:30” almost seem oxymoronic coming from a lifelong bartender, but that’s what my life has brought me to. It’s not at all uncommon for me to run on 3 hours of sleep or less.

Shortly thereafter, my two toddlers and I got up to start our day. They were each adorned in footie pajamas, one with snowmen and the other zebra print. There are few things more adorable that you will experience in life than walking behind two little girls with pigtails in footies to start a new day with exuberance and enthusiasm. They were so excited just to be. We should all look at life that simple, and put all of our petty shit into perspective. It’s refreshing.

I was a few paces behind, clad in my M&Ms pajama bottoms, a Speed Racer tee shirt, and my brand new $7.00 slippers I treated myself to because Santa forgot. Take a moment to lock in that mental image, and please keep in mind that I didn’t embellish the ensemble in the slightest. As we got to the kitchen, I asked my girls what they wanted for breakfast. The 2-year-old spoke first which is not at all uncommon because she is the only person in the house I can ever get a straight, unequivocal answer out of. Her priceless response to my query was; “Ummmm, bazonya!!” Which translated is lasagna, but she said it with such vigor and enthusiasm that I truly wish I could have obliged her. It’s not like we had it for dinner the night before and it was fresh in her mind with a bunch of leftovers in the fridge. Nope, she had just decided that on this cold Tuesday morning that was what she craved. I eventually sold the pair on a bowl of cereal and some fruit. Though they did insist I make a pan of bacon. I’m not sure where they get their penchant for that particular breakfast meat.

Not long after breakfast, the three of us were sprawled out on the living room floor playing. The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse was on the T.V. for background noise as we played. We were playing a pretty heated game of dinosaurs versus My Little Ponies versus Paw Patrol characters with a smattering of jungle and farm animals in the mix desperately seeking gang initiation. It was kind of like the animal kingdom’s version of the fight scene from Anchorman. It was a little bit West Side Story, and a little bit Land of The Lost.

After my T-Rex had just gotten his ass thoroughly kicked by a purple unicorn with a rainbow mane, I needed a bathroom break to jettison the first two cups of desperately needed coffee. Upon my return, I turned the corner out of the kitchen and back into the living room. I was greeted by my 3-year-old rapidly walking directly towards me. She was wide eyed as if she’d just seen a ghost and her right index finger was fully extended like a sword held by one of the Knights of the Round Table. She excitedly said as she approached me; “WHOA! Look Daddy, that’s the biggest booger I’ve ever scene!” The closer she got to me, I quickly realized that she was by no means over selling it. It looked as if she were coming at me with a brussel sprout attached to her finger.

There are very few things in life that I fear. In fact, lightning (because I’ve already been struck once but that’s a story for another day), serrated knives (despite the fact that I’m a bartender with a culinary background and handle them every day), spiders, and being stuck in an elevator with Oprah Winfrey. Other than that, I am a self proclaimed Boogaphobe. I’m not too big a man to admit it. I’ve since come a long way, but there was a time, roughly two kids ago that I said the following; “ If someone were kidnapping my children, and his accomplice were standing between me and them armed only with a giant booger he was aiming at me, I would have to pray for their safe return.”

I stood there in my own living room as she was getting closer and closer. I panicked. I shouted at her; “STOP! Don’t move at all, and don’t touch anything!” The way I reacted, you’d have thought she was coming at me wearing  a vest of live explosives like that pizza delivery guy from the Pennsylvania bank robbery a few years back. I knew that if she touched me with it, my beloved little girls would spend the remainder of the afternoon being neglected as I stood in the shower crying, vomiting, and scrubbing myself down with bleach. If she wiped it on the sofa, I would immediately be in the market for new furniture, and I would have a team of men in HAZMAT suits on site within the hour to remove it. If she wiped it on her little sister, I would have to sell the poor little thing to a band of gypsies. And if God forbid she ate it in front of me, I would spend the remainder of my days heavily medicated and in solitary confinement in a mental facility.

I manned up and did what I had to do. I quickly retrieved a fist full of baby wipes, just in case one wasn’t enough. I approached her with the caution of one of those guys who wrangles king cobras with his bare hands. In one desperate lunge, I incapacitated her right arm, captured the booger in the wipe, jumped up and ran out of the room. Given the sheer size of the nasal meteor I was obviously not content to just throw it in the trash can, and I didn’t want to risk it not flushing on the first try. I took it all the way outside to the big curbside trash can and made sure the lid was on tight.

When I returned to the house, my 3-year-old looked completely befuddled. I scooped her up in my arms and we shared a long, warm embrace. It seemed like it was in slow motion like at the end of one of those crime shows when the kidnapped child is reunited with the parent. While I may have shed a tear or two, she never stopped giggling throughout the entire ordeal. I hope that in time we will both fully recover from the traumatic experience, though it’s too soon to tell. On a side note, the 2-year-old thought all of this was hysterical and spent the remainder of the afternoon walking around the house chanting; “booger, booger, booger” in the hopes of seeing Daddy gag again.

I have absolutely no idea where these children get their warped sense of humor, dark and dry wit, perpetual sarcasm, or their penchant for bodily functions. I can only assume that if must come from a genetic defect on my wife’s side.

Thanks for playing along.

Until next week, Syd Nichols