Now that Santa has rewarded her devotion with a new and useful vacuum cleaner, my wife is no longer crippled by inferior equipment and can finally display her vacuumin’ acumen to its fullest potential. Nobody hits a carpet with more gusto than she does. If vacuums could pick up juice stains, you’d be able to eat off our carpets, as our children often do, juice stains notwithstanding.
I am starting to suspect that our baby has inherited an appreciation for a quality vacuum cleaner from his mother. I don’t know for sure which chromosome carries the Vacuum Cleaner Appreciation Gene, but I’m pretty sure he’s got it, and I’m equally sure he didn’t get it from me.
I haven’t run any experiments on this hypothesis, but I think a lot of babies would be afraid of the vacuum cleaner, or at least be indifferent to it. Our baby chases it. He follows the vacuum cleaner around as if he wants nothing more than to give that glorious dirt buster a giant hug. He is absolutely fascinated by the machine.
I recall him following the old, junky vacuum around sometimes, but I don’t think that was for love of the machine. I think he was just looking for the crumbs it turned up and left behind it so he could see how they tasted. There was no better way to discover interesting crumbs in our house than to follow the old vacuum and sift through its tailings.
Even when the new vacuum is not on, the kid can’t stay away. He has to touch its various parts and see how they fit together. It’s a really good vacuum, but I can’t help but think that he is working out some improvements in his head. Maybe he’s trying to figure out why the wheels don’t fall off, because every vacuum he’s ever known before had wheels that fell off.
Come to think of it, his big brother has a bit of a vacuum fixation too. If he spots a floor sweeper in a restaurant, look out, especially if you are part of the wait staff. He’s tripped a waiter or two in his zeal to make dining room carpets more appealing to customers. It turns out that carpet sweepers don’t pick up juice (or wine, or beer) stains either.
Without the benefit of any professional psychological assessments, I’m going to posit that my family’s fascination with vacuum cleaners is a good thing. Yes, it may be a little unusual, but I look at it this way: if these kids are that enthused about the prospect of pushing a vacuum, they have already set themselves upon the slippery slope that leads to mowing the lawn. When the boys discover how much louder, hotter, sharper, and generally more dangerous lawn mowers are, they’re sure to want to trade up. Call the vacuum a gateway machine; it works for me.