Although some days it seems like we know what we’re doing, every once in a while something happens that leaves us completely confused. Toddlers have a way of doing that. There’s no logic, no explanation. We just have to go with it, and shrug our shoulders at each other.
It started off with the roomba. He loved it. I’d be in another room and come in to see that E had started the roomba on his own, and was chasing it around the house. And then one day, he didn’t love it. He would cry if he saw it. There was no incident that we’re aware of that changed his mind, but suddenly it was the worst thing in the world. If he fell down and cried, he’d blame it on the vacuum. In the middle of tears and hiccups you’d just hear “vacuummmmm!”
He didn’t want to walk by them, see them, hear them, anything. We got used to vacuuming on our work from home days or when he was asleep. He’d still talk about them all the time, though. Anything that made a loud noise would mean tears and talk of all the loud vacuums in the world. Brooms were vacuums. Lawnmowers were vacuums. Helicopters, leaf blowers, ice makers. Vacuum.
The obsession never went away, but it did change recently. He started pretend play with vacuums. Give him any toy and he’d turn it into a vacuum, and make sound effects as he moved it along the floor. It became the joke at daycare as he’d turn everything into vacuums and talk about nothing else. They’d give him plastic fish to play with and he’d declare it a vacuum.
He asked Tom to vacuum the other day. We didn’t believe him, but Tom took it out anyway. He climbed into my arms and seemed a little nervous, but then Tom turned it on… and he was okay. And when Tom stopped, he said “More vacuum?” and pointed to the carpet. So Tom vacuumed the carpet. And under the table, and … pretty much everywhere. And then he asked if he could have the vacuum. So for the past few days he’s been walking around with the bottom half of our vacuum, pretend vacuuming the whole house.
It’s so crazy because he’s still terrified. He cries and shakes and acts all nervous, but he still wants it around! WHY!? We don’t understand. We don’t get it. I’m not sure he understands. But this is where we are. Still obsessed.