Monday, October 18, 2010

The Sharp-Toothed Snail

Marley has a terrible habit. She picks her nose. A lot.

I feel like every time I see her, she's got one or more fingers jammed up her nose, probing for the perfect specimen.

She picks her nose at dance class. She picks her nose at preschool. She picks her nose at the park. She picks her nose in her high chair. She even picks her nose while running, eating, crying, or going down the slide. (A true multi-tasker.)

I tried to get her to stop, but nothing worked! I yelled, "NO!," sent her to time out, I even smacked her hand.

Then, I stumbled upon the perfect remedy. It's actually a poem called "Warning" by Shel Silverstein.


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 further inside,
And he may bite your ring off.
Stick it all the way,
and he might bite the whole darn thing off.
-Shel Silverstein

Now whenever she reaches for her nose, I yell, "SNAIL!" and she stops.

Naturally, now Marley is totally obsessed with the elusive sharp-toothed snail. She brings me the book five times a day and says, "SNAIL, Momma! Read SNAIL please!" She asks me to look up her nose to see if I can find the snail.

"Oh, he's up there alright," I'll answer, squinting into her nose. "Let's see if he's hungry," I'll say, and put my finger by her nose.

"No Momma, don't!" Marley cries. "The SNAIL!"

In addition to helping correct Marley's bad habit, it's helping me as well. God forbid I ever pick or scratch my nose in her presence. "SNAIL MOMMA DON'T THE SNAAIILLL!" She'll yell.

Ahh, the power of the written word!


  1. I did the same thing with both of my kids. They are all grown up now. But they stopped picking their noses after I read this to them. Whatever works!! :)

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