You want to know something? It's really hard to teach a three-year-old how to clear his throat. Not in the "ahem-beg-your-pardon" sort of way, but in that guttural, hock-a-loogie sort of way, between the snort and the ptooey.
Let's backtrack. A pox has fallen upon our house in the form of large, localized phlegmballs. We learned this when Robert woke up yesterday with no voice. He padded sleepily out of his bedroom, and his morning "Hi Daddy!" came out as a couple of squeaky barks. His eyes widened and he gripped his throat, looking like a mad scientist who's just drunk the potion. He was scared shitless, and it's easy to see why. A voice is an easy thing to take for granted when you've never lost it before. It must be like waking up and finding your legs across the room.
On my way out the door, I brought him into the bathroom, cranked the hot water in the shower, and told him the steam would help get his voice back. He apparently seized on that and insisted on several trips to the steambath throughout the day, thus learning the salutary effect of a good schvitz.
Soon after I got home, I gathered my sons on the big bed and tried to teach them how to expel sputum from their throats with that special, masculine flourish. (On the list of things a dad must pass down to his son, this is a biggie. Somewhere between how to light your farts and how to burp the alphabet.) Thus began the conversation:
Me: Try it like this: Haaaaaaaaawk!
Me: A little more with the throat. Haaaaaaaallgghhggh.
Me: Better. Keep trying. Haaaaarrkklll.
At this point, my wife walked in for some final preparations before she left for the evening. And just as we stopped our urbane little snot-alogue to say goodbye, TwoBert looked up and sent Mama a big drooly raspberry.
Whereupon she turned on her heel, ostensibly in search of more dignified company.