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    Photo by Mickie Winters

    “Let me suck the snot out of ya” sounds like an utterance devised by confused bullies or fetishists. Not always the case. Just in time for Mother’s Day, this reproducing woman would like to share a tool she couldn’t survive without, a snot sucker like no other, a handy little hotshot — the NoseFrida. 

    To the non-parents out there: Babies can’t blow their noses. So snot often clogs the nasal passages, creeps into the chest. It makes them miserable. What makes them miserable makes parents miserable. And tired. And because kid germs manifest swiftly and viciously in the adult body, now you have miserable, tired and sick parents who will do anything to free their beloved, cranky creature from the mucus within. Even putting what is essentially a straw to nostrils and going to town. 

    Pre-NoseFrida, parents relied on the bulb syringe. As God is my witness, I never got so much as half-an-inchworm’s worth of sludge with that thing. The NoseFrida?  I sucked the state of Montana out of my 16-month-old a few weeks ago when a cold followed by pneumonia stocked his sinuses. A Swedish ear, nose and throat doctor invented the hookah-looking contraption, and a Scandinavian company that makes other “Frida” products sells it.  (I presume whoever started said company was named Frida or had a child named Frida or just really liked the name Frida. I can’t find a Swedish definition for that word.) 

    A pediatric nurse once warned that, when I use it, my son will “hate you for about 42 seconds.” So true. Full on flail and wail upon seeing it in my hands. “Let me suck the snot out of you,” I’ll plea in soothing tones. “You’ll feel better.” So says the lady who with more lung capacity might drain the frontal lobe.

    For such a germy quest, it’s all quite sterile and safe. A tiny blue foam filter between the straw and catch basin blocks parental digestion of all that snotty horror, though I’m sure earthy types have found wholesome pride in accidental mucous bypass. Filters get disposed of after each use. (Yeah, right. In the thick of a cold or allergies, I’d need a warehouse full of filters.) Warm water and soap washes the plastic parts. (I swear I once read you’re supposed to use rubbing alcohol to sterilize it. Funny story: I didn’t let the alcohol dry in the tube and during one voracious sucking session I accidentally inhaled a few stray droplets. Felt real fuzzy for a bit.)

    The sound of a good haul is incredibly satisfying, a wet rattle of snot, angrier than chasing the last sips of a Slurpee but equally as loud. I’ve used it so much, but I’m still so curious. I told my husband I want him to try it on me the next time I’m sick. For the experience. What a terrifying thrill that would be. Or, maybe, just a lose-lose. If it’s as awful as my son makes it out to be, I’ll be paralyzed with guilt the next time I reach for it. If I like it, what an odd avenue to bliss.

    Method to the madness: Editor Josh Moss holds his son's head while his wife, to use the author's words, goes to town on the snot sucker.

    This originally appeared in the May 2017 issue of Louisville Magazine. To subscribe to Louisville Magazine, click here. To find your very own copy of Louisville Magazine, click here. 

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