Joanne Palmer: The Great Granny Garbanzo Advice Column


Joanne Palmer

Joanne Palmer's Life in the 'Boat column appears Wednesdays in the Steamboat Today. Email her at

Find more columns by Palmer here.

— Warning: If you don't like reading about bodily functions, slime and snot, this week's column is not for you.

Farts, burps, barf and boogers. No matter what parents do, kids seem to be obsessed-maybe even possessed-by these bodily blips and blights. Forget the sweet bedtime stories read, the time spent watching Mr. Rogers and Big Bird. When your child reaches the age of eight, passing gas and things that float in the toilet bowl are going to be all consuming for a few very long years. This week, Granny Garbanzo tackles this difficult stage in child rearing.

Q. I have three girls. To annoy each other, when they feel the urge to pass gas; they back up to a sister, bend over and cut loose at nose level. It's disgusting, yet they all do it. My husband and I certainly don't do this, so I am perplexed as to why they do this?

A. Didn't you ever have an older sister or brother?

Q. My child keeps singing this song, "When the log rolls over I will die, I will die,"

He finds this hysterically funny. What is funny about this song?

A. Ah, that's an easy one. Imagine a bug sitting on something that looks like a log in your toilet bowl and you will understand. When the toilet is flushed, the bug will die.

Q. Why do kids like gross stuff?

A. Kids demonstrate what's truer to our animal nature. As we get older, we are socialized out of it until you attend a large group function like, oh, say, a football game. Then you can see the animal nature of grown-ups emerge.

Q. What is funny about gross stuff?

A. Well, some gross words will tickle the old funny bone. Fart and booger are funny words; burp isn't. As one mother told me, "One night, I said to my son, "Good night little booger." Without missing a beat he replied, "Good night big snot! I laughed over that for days."

Q. My son won't stop singing the following song - what can I do?

Going down the highway, going 64

Someone blew a fart

And blew us out the door

The engine couldn't fake it,

The motor blew apart

All because of someone's supersonic fart

Fi Fi Fo Fum, Someone Blew Another One


A. Ah, let's see. Does he have grandparents? Send him there for the summer. If that's not an option, join in, sing louder and longer. Believe it or not, he'll stop.

Q. Is there any other reason kids like gross stuff?

A. Yes. It gets rid of people that annoy them, like parents and babysitters ... at least for awhile.

Q. Is there anything good about gross stuff?

A. Yes! It's a great way to teach kids about science. Check out

Here's a recipe for fake snot I found on the site.

To make borax solution

- Place 1/8 cup of borax laundry booster into a 1/2 liter of warm water.

- Shake until most of the borax dissolves

- Let cool

To make fake snot:

- Place 2 spoonfuls of Elmer's glue into a cup

- Add 3 spoonfuls of water

- Stir

- Add 2 drops of green food coloring

- Stir

- Pour into a baggie

- Measure 1 spoonful of borax solution

- Dump into baggie

- Squish the baggie to mix

- Remove your snot

- Fake a sneeze


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