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Digging For Gold

All week long, I’ve been sitting on this issue. Trying to figure it out on my own. Pondering the complexities. And as always, whenever I come up against a brick wall, I come to you all. No matter how hideous the subject matter. I know you will have the answers I seek.

The delicate subject matter to which I’m referring is the picking of one’s nose. In public.

Which seems to have reached epidemic proportions in these parts. I’m not talking a little pick here and a flick there. I’m referencing mass numbers of children shoving their entire pointer finger up their nostril, until all that remains visible is the knuckle. And they don’t care who is looking. They don’t care if they are called out about it. They do not respond to requests or even threats to stop. It is as if it’s an addiction that cannot be resisted without intervention.

You may think that I’m talking about my own children. And you would be justified, since my own daughter’s nose picking habits have been well documented on this blog. But, thankfully, my children now consider nose picking to be a covert operation. And Cailey no longer uses it as a form of weaponry against her sister.

As far as I can tell.

I was around a group of homeschooling youngsters this week. Granted, there was a welcome change in the weather here in Armpit, Florida, so the humidity was down. I knew this to be a fact, as I was having a particularly good hair day.

The children, boys and girls alike, could and would not keep their digits out of their nose cavities. And there was even a diner, people. It was making me sick. And I have a pretty high gross out threshold as a result of birthing 3 children. My Cailey, who is usually inexplicably drawn to the gross and disgusting, even had to turn away to gag.

What the?

Frankly, I’m baffled. I mean, I’ve been around the block a few times, and I cannot for the life of me figure out what is going through a child’s head (save for his finger) to make him or her think it’s okay to publicly excavate one’s nose. AND THEN EAT IT.

Is this just homeschoolers that are affected, or do public schooled children display the same behavior between the ages of 4 to 9. I have a few elementary age teachers out there who read this blog. Please enlighten me. And moms, how do you deal with it?

I think I’ve found a new subject matter for my Manners Matter class I’ll be teaching in January to our homeschool co-op. I’m relying on you all for feedback, as it were, because I have yet to find anything about this in my manners curriculum.


Food for thought.

29 Responses to Digging For Gold

  • Hi there. I’m a newbie to your blog and I’m sorry to say, I have NO IDEA. We’re homeschoolers too so I have no real exposer to schooled kids in their natural habitat:)

    I know my kids, especially the 6 year old, love to gross me out! Their bodily function of choice is farting. Any help with that? No. I’m at a lose too:(

    Good luck!

  • Um, yeah. Public schooled kids do this, too. In fact, fact a little boy in my fifth grade class earned himself the nickname of “Digger” for that exact same behavior.

  • When I worked in children’s ministry, some mornings it was all I could do to get through a lesson without vomiting. I’d try to offer a tissue to the offender, but they usually declined. Then I’d offer to let them go to the restroom to blow their nose – at least I didn’t have to watch.

    And you’re right – they display absolutely no shame about the whole event!

  • I can’t believe you just said “food for thought.”

  • At church, we know the carpet in the Kindergarten/First Grade room used to be flat, but now is textured thanks to all the boogers kids wipe on it.

  • Having been a teacher before I became a homeschool mama I can say–absolutely. My oldest and youngest both do it, as do their entire Sunday School classes, and all of my former students.

  • My five-year old twins go to public school, and they went through a terrible nose-picking phase. At one point, I exclaimed, “Gross!! You did NOT just eat that booger!” To which one of my boys said, “You should try it Mom. It’s gooood. Kind of salty.”

    Oh. Nasty, nasty.

  • We used to live on a busy street and my then 6 year old actually counted the number of drivers passing who were digging in their nose. Men outnumbered women. Seems bugger eaters grow up to be driving diggers. Hopefully they have tissues in the car.

  • Oh my. Ya’ll are by far exceeding my expectations in the comments department. I’ve been giggling all morning.

  • I can’t handle it. I need to go barf now. Sick. Poop explosions I can handle. A little barf…bring it on. The thought of booger eating brings me over the edge. My gag reflex is starting to heave…..
    Pick away children…but just please don’t eat it. Please.

  • Congratulations! I’ve been reading your blog for some time but this is the first time my stomach actually flipped from grossness ( I don’t think that’s a real word but anyhoo). Most disgusting post yet. Kudos! Job well done!

  • Better hope they’re never celebrities or they’ll end up on pages like this or this. Even the Queen of England does it!

  • gag…

    I have taken some dirt and sand in a bowl, mixed in some saliva until well mixed and asked them if they’d eat it. Then when they said NO WAY, I said What’s the difference between that and your snot?


    When you blow your nose, would you open the tissue and lick it?
    ok now wht’s the difference in that?
    (My mom used this one with me when I was 6 years old)

    I quit doing it when the cute boy in 2nd grade class caught me red handed(er rather green fingered)
    Never did it again.

    I have not yet met a person who didn’t do it at least once whn they were a kid.

    And just an added tid bit of gross, I was at a City Counsel Mtg. last night and one of them counsel members dug real deep, and when my eyes bugged out of my head he quickly stopped. I’m SO GLAD he did NOT eat it.

  • UGH, it’s soooo gross. I gag every time my little guy does this…..and yes, he eats it too. I don’t know how to break this habit either…so I’ll be watching your comments to see if I can gleem info from you. (We are hs, too) I’ve threatened spanks, but now he goes off and hides…..so I’m open to suggestions.

  • “Food for thought” LOL!!!!!!!

  • Perhaps this would be one of the reasons for the Best Nitty Gritty nomination! You fearlessly lead us to the difficult but necessary topics.

    I will be following the comments for nuggets of insight.

  • I know this is gonna sound harsh, but it works. I put tobasco sauce on my kids’ fingers when I find them picking their noses and eating it. I have five kids and only my oldest one does it (as far as I know). I cannot stand it, I instantly get the heaves. Also I ask people at our church to call my kids on it and embarass them but good if they are caught doing it there. The hardest part is consistency, but as you can imagine, it works. They think twice about it after that, and I LOVE Sisterlisa’s ideas. I just might try that myself next time. If there is a next time. 😉

  • It’s probably time to break out the microscope and have a little science lesson on just what kind and how many bugs live in the goo that they are eating.

  • AND ATE IT??? ::gag:: Oh my goodness… that’s disgusting.

    I harp on my kiddos — THAT’S SO DIRTY!! Oh my heavens… How they are as children will be how they are as adults… won’t that be disgusting!! LOL

  • I like JenLo’s science lesson idea. And maybe compare it to eating what comes out of other holes in their bodies…germs and all.

    “We aren’t supposed to eat what comes out of our body because our bodies are trying to get rid of of it. You wouldn’t eat your poop or pee would you?” (Please, say ‘no’.)

    I have to add something about the whole issue of having constant mucous. Your body is telling you that you have a food allergy. I’m not talking about the clear snot that runs like water when you have hayfever or a fresh cold, but the thick stuff that makes you always feel stuffed up and doesn’t blow out easily. Hence the desire to physically scrape it out.

    If you stop eating the offending foods you can’t believe how clear your nose feels. No kleenex needed unless you cry.

  • Oh, my goodness, I knew this was gonna be good! I love all the comments!
    I’m not grossed out at all. But eating boogers would be tame around here. There are much more disgusting things to gag at here.
    And yes, at least one of my kids will not only eat his own poop, but loves kitty litter coated cat turds. Just try to take them away and you will find out just how much he loves them.
    Boogers are much preferred snacking!
    Oh, and cat food snacking causes poop to smell like dead fish. Not kidding.

  • I think a little public or family embarrassment goes a long way to break bad habits. I just remember one mom telling me how she broke her daughter of her forgetting-to-flush-the-toilet habit by calling all the brothers and sisters and saying “Look, everyone, Christie wants you to see something”. The kids’ reaction was enough to end it right there.
    I know it’ snot the same thing as boogers, but maybe still helpful?

  • Unfortunately, you are not alone. It is DISGUSTING, and ALL children do it.

    I did go over it with my nephew, and told him the “Mannerly” thing to do is excuse yourself from the room and to the restroom to blow your nose. Then toss the tissue and wash your hands.

    He’s 11, and ocassionally we still have to correct him. I don’t understand it…

  • EEEWWWW Ok, my Train Junkie is notorious for this offense. I have berated him with, “Its gross, nasty, dirty, germy (No Its not Mommy!) will make you sick, etc. All to no avail. The picking keeps on keeping on. I like the idea of comparing it to other things that come out of our body that we wouldn’t eat.

  • my older one does, my younger one doesnt…they are public school pre k….
    I would hazzard a guess that its about a 90% thing cause my mom has caught my neice doing it as well and she is in a small private day care situation…

    Keifer who will fight you for hours on how nasty food is eats his…tanner who in general will eat anything that wont eat him first will fuss and holler and say’dats nasty when keifer does it in front of him…
    i have tried EVERYTHING i can think of w/ K and thinking maybe the tabasco isnt sounding so bad…

  • Yes I totally agree with you. It’s a syndrome with the public schoolers also between those ages (K and 1st grades). As I was an elementary school librarian for years, I read to the smaller children before they picked out their books. I tried to ignore the nose picking/eating thing as long as I could. Then I just got up and got the offender(s) a tissue. Then we just got on with things. But let me tell you, I wiped those tables down every day after school with DISINFECTANT lol.

    So I guess I can’t help you much, but wanted to let you know it’s everywhere. If the nose bugs them – they will dig!!!


  • Food for thought? Oh, you are just too funny.

  • eeewww. I think the digging for gold in the restaurant would have grossed me out too.


    Laura Williams’ Musings


  • For a humorous take on the issue, read the Dec. 16 post from this blog: http://thewoodenporch.blogspot.com/