How a person’s day is going to stack up often has to do with their children. Are the little ones happy or sad? Healthy or sick? Did they eat a nice balanced breakfast or boogers?

When the 4-year-old came to me grinning, I knew something was wrong; it wasn’t a Disney grin, it was more like the Joker’s.

“Hi, honey,” I said, trepidation in my voice.

“Look in my nose,” she told me.

What? Nose? Yep, the day wasn’t stacking up too well.

“What’s in your nose?”

She laughed out loud. “A raisin.”

There are times as a parent when our stomach feels like it drops out of our shoes. Then there are times when a child does something so unexpected it takes us by surprise and all we can do is stare. This is also why there are no good pictures of Bigfoot.


“I stuck a raisin in my nose.”

A raisin? Up her nose? Isn’t that where fingers go?

Panic began to stab me with little, pointy raisin stems. Our daughter had just stuck a foreign object up her nostril. Was this an early attempt at science? Did she forget what her mouth was for? Was she going to fall behind in preschool because a dried grape was touching her brain?

So as not to startle her, I screamed and shot to my feet, grabbed her and stuck her in front of a light harsh enough to be used in police interrogations. The preschooler would have been startled if I’d remained calm.

And there it was, in the left nostril, a raisin far enough up there I’d have to hire Indiana Jones to retrieve it.

Why do small children stick things up their nose? Today’s Parent claims it’s because they’re experimenting with the world around them or they do it out of curiosity. The article said nothing about kids doing it because they’re jerks.

The most common things children insert into a nostril are crayons, pebbles, small toys, cereal, peas and, yes, raisins. Why do we keep feeding children these things?

At our house, I’m the one the family asks to fix things. Please fix this lamp, fix my toy, do something about the toilet that’s spewing like a geyser. I’ve never been asked, “get this raisin out of my nose.” What did I have? A hammer? Power tools? Plunger?

No, no, no. I needed something smaller, subtler or she’d quickly turn into some raisin/human hybrid sprouting grapevines from her nostrils. Sure, it would be awkward for anyone sitting in front of her during class, but we’d enjoy the wine.

“Get your coat on,” I said. “We’re going to see your mother – or the doctor.”

By the time we got to the truck, her nose had started running and the raisin hung out like a ripe fruit. I removed it.

“Why did you do it?” I asked, holding a slimy raisin no one would ever eat.

She shrugged. “I thought it would be funny.”

That’s going all in for a joke.

Later that day she came to me with the front tire of a toy bicycle wedged between her front teeth. I don’t know if comedy should be her career choice.

– Jason’s newest novel, “Bad Day for a Road Trip,” is available at