Tuesday, March 20, 2018

4 Ways Kids React to the Vacuum

I vacuum at least twice a year, whether I need to or not. So, you might say that I'm an experienced vacuumer. (Spellcheck doesn't think "vacuumer" is a word. Spellcheck is wrong.)

I also am the father of four kids, so I know everything there is to know about kids. (Except for a few things here and there.) And, based on my expertise with children and my experience as a vacuumer, I can definitely tell you about:

The 4 Different Ways Kids React to Vacuuming!

1. The Runaway Runawayer
Some kids, as soon as you fire up the vacuum, leave the room immediately. They run away. They hide. They may even leave the house. They want to be as far away from that vacuum as they possibly can. It might be because they hate the noise. It might be because they are afraid of getting sucked up into the vacuum. Or, it might be because they don't want you to ask them to do the vacuuming. Whatever the reason, as soon as the vacuum is turned on, they are gone. (This category often also applies to cats. You want to see how fast your cat can run? Turn on the vacuum.)

2. The Feet-Holder-Upper
These kids will pretend they don't care either way if you are vacuuming or not--until you get that vacuum within their personal comfort zone. That's when they raise their feet up in the air. They usually try to look nonchalant about doing this, but it's hard to look nonchalant with your feet unnaturally hanging three feet in the air. ("Feet in the air, feet in the air! Looking like a fool with your feet in the air.")

Why do these kids put their feet in the air? Maybe they're afraid you will suck them into the vacuum. Maybe they think they're being helpful by getting their feet out of your way. Maybe they're doing some weird leg-lifting exercise. Whatever the reason, always be sure to take a little longer vacuuming under their raised feet, just to see how long they can hold them up. They'll thank you later. (Probably not.)

"Here, let me help you with that!"

3. The Unwanted Helper
Some kids will see you vacuuming and think, "Hey, that looks like fun! I want to do that." These kids will want to "help" you by taking over the vacuuming for you. This sounds like a good thing, doesn't it? Who wouldn't want their kids to do all of the vacuuming for them? Well, the problem is that this category is usually reserved for kids who are too young to actually be an effective vacuumer. These are toddlers whose "help" is actually a huge hinderance. Because they are grabbing at the vacuum and trying to push it, a ten-minute job turns into a twenty-minute job.

You might think, "Hey, if I let them help me now and train them in how to vacuum, they'll soon be able to do all the vacuuming themselves, leaving me more time to sip exotic drinks with umbrellas in them." That's a nice thought, but the problem with it is that by the time the child is actually old enough to properly work the vacuum, they'll no longer show any interest whatsoever in helping with this particular chore. No, they'll only "help" you when their "help" is of no help at all.

I dare you to vacuum me up!

4. The Moving Obstructionist
These kids are dangerous. They see a vacuum as an opportunity to play a game of chicken. Instead of running away from the vacuum, they run toward it. Their attitude is, "I dare you to vacuum me up with that vacuum!"

I thought I had seen it all with my first three kids. They each moved through the first three categories at various times. But, my fourth child is fearless. He sees the vacuum as an opportunity to play a game of "Get In the Way of the Vacuum." He's not afraid of the vacuum. He doesn't want to help. He's just there to get in the way and make the task more difficult for me. When he's in the room I end up using fakes, jukes, end-arounds, reverses, and any other misdirection I can think of to vacuum around him.

He makes it quite a challenge. I can't vacuum when he's napping, because the noise will wake him up.   The only real solution I can think of is just not vacuuming until he goes off to kindergarten. (I don't really need to vacuum in the next three years, do I?)

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