In the park the other day, I came across a snotty nosed kid – in the very literal sense! It was the day after a stinky hot one. The cool change had come overnight and it was a refreshing, albeit reasonably cold day. A welcome downpour of rain had wet the ground. My daughter and I had closed shoes and jumpers on when the previous day we’d been in shorts and t-shirt.

We made a trip to the local park. Princess Toddler was excited upon our arrival especially because, with the heat, we hadn’t been for a few days. She carried out her usual circuit of the park. Slide first, then big slide, a crawl through the tunnel, onto the swing, a ride on the sea-saw and then finally the sandpit. A father and his about 4-year-old son were also in the park at the time. Son had on thongs, shorts and t-shirt. I guess no one told Dad that there’d been a cool change!

The local park is usually a pretty friendly place. That is, mums, grandparents, carers, usually exchange ‘hellos’ with each other and sometimes a short conversation about the kids is also struck up. But not with this dad! Not even eye contact from this one! I felt like a real local for the first time as I told myself Dad and Son must be tourists staying at the caravan park. I even felt a little territorial of the park my daughter and I often enjoy.

Dad and I were, however, happily ignoring each other until Princess Toddler and Son met in the sandpit. Dad continued to ignore myself and my daughter. But that was okay with me as Son and Princess Toddler were quietly communicating – my daughter copying whatever Son did. He built a sand mound with a stick placed in the middle and then so did Princess Toddler. Son even said a few words to me and I chatted back – a bit more friendly than Dad!

Then I saw IT! A thick green and rather nasty looking booger escaped from Son’s left nostril. Dad quietly said to Son that he needed a tissue, but alas nothing of the wipe your nose variety was forthcoming. Next time I glanced at Son the booger was gone. Princess Toddler continued to play in the sandpit but I was now hoping she’d tire of it quickly so we could get out of there. I didn’t want my precious daughter getting sick.

I figured, however, that the two kids were far enough away from each other. But I couldn’t help looking at the child-sized jumper slung over Dad’s arm. If you can’t give your son a tissue can you at least put a jumper on him, I thought but didn’t say. Then the green monster reappeared, coming out of its cave to rest on Son’s upper lip. I was sure Dad would do something this time – after all there was a toilet block ten steps away. Get your kid some toilet paper to wipe his nose!

But no, Dad said clearly and without embarrassment, “Sniff!” That poor little boy was forced to sniff the green monster back up his nose. At this point I was feeling a little ill at the mere thought of it and was extremely tempted to hand him a tissue out of my own bag. Perhaps if Dad had at least acknowledged my existence I would have offered one. But being cowardly, I instead told Princess Toddler it was time to move on. Thankfully, she was happy with the time she’d had in the park, as I made a hasty dash for home!

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