Sharp-Toothed Snail

Posted on August 5, 2011


Inside everybody’s nose
There lives a sharp-toothed snail.
So if you stick your finger in,
He may bite off your nail.
Stick it farther up inside,
And he may bite off your ring.
Stick it all the way, and he
May bite off the whole darn thing.
A poem from: Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

As a child, this was one of my favorite books.  It is a collection of children’s poems, and I have often used this book for great examples to my kids.  The above poem has been recited to many children over the years to get them to quit picking their noses; however, I have had a couple really funny responses from small children.  One of the funniest was my nephew Dagan.  When he was three or four, I caught him picking his nose and told him this tale in a very serious voice.  At first, he quietly pondered my words, but only minutes later, he was digging vigorously!  I said, “Dagan!  What are you doing?  You want that snail to get your finger?”  Without missing a beat, he excitedly replied, “No, Aunt Trish…I’m gonna catch ’em!”
I now have my three nieces, ages 2, 4, and 6, staying in my house in addition to my two children.  Due to their young ages, this poem has once again been brought out of my arsonal.  Today, however, it wasn’t a finger that got put up a child’s nose.  Out walks my 2 year old niece, whining, picking her nose and her mother discovers that she has a lot more than bugers up there…she has a cherry seed…crammed up and stuck!  Who does that?  Before finally giving up and taking her to the hospital to have a “foreign body extraction”, my sister and I try tweezers, blowing it out with a nebulizer hose up the other nostril, squeezing and working it down…all to no avail!  The only success we had was in stressing out the mother, and getting the child hysterical.
My sister was sick so I get my niece and 7 year old son, and head to the hospital.  As usual, we wait for an ungodly amount of time before even getting taken back to wait for even longer to see a doctor.  My niece no longer even appeared bothered by the obstructed nasal passage and she and my son played together while we waited.  The doctor comes in, finally, takes a look and decides to try the super glue on a q-tip trick (parents don’t try this at home or they may be removing the q-tip and the seed).  When he leaves the room to go get the necessary tools, I look at my son and say, “I can’t believe that she got a cherry seed stuck in her nose.  Who does that?” To which comment, my son, pricelessly replies, “Maybe she was trying to feed the Sharp-Toothed Snail!”  I laughed so hard that it was contagious.  Pretty soon, the two year old is laughing hard, and BAM!!! The seed shoots out of her nose and we all start laughing even harder.  The doctor comes in and we were laughing to hard to even tell him what happened.  All I could do was point to the seed as I gasped for breath and wiped the tears from my eyes.

I guess the Sharp-Toothed Snail prefers fingers to cherry seeds.

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