It’s Not All Mary Poppins

No! Not THAT!

It’s been raining. Have I mentioned that before? A lot.

Today, the children entertain themselves by pulling the cushions off the loveseats. No allowed, of course. I approach, intending to instruct them to put them back, when I see the debris underneath. Okay then, since the cushions are off anyway, I pull the handheld vacuum from behind one couch.

Seasoned professional that I am, I do a bit of predirecting. “Okay, you guys. I want you all to sit on the floor, right there.” I don’t turn to my task until everyone is settled. Well, everyone but baby Nigel, who is not in the age that causes my concern. Besides, he won’t stay sitting unless I’m watching him, and I won’t be able to do that, so no sense in giving the boy an impossible direction and set myself up to be disobeyed.

“Now, I’m going to make a big noise with this thing,” (I am. This thing is LOUD.) “and I don’t want anyone shouting, understand?” I don’t know what it is with loud noises and small children, but run a vacuum in a room of three-year-olds, and almost certainly bedlam will ensue. They shriek, they giggle, they jump, they bounce, they clutch at each other and a frenzy of delighted hysteria. The noise isn’t really the problem: the problem is that my back will be to most of them, and in the racing about and screaming, someone is almost certain to get trampled. Best to take protective measures.

Everyone settled, I turn the thing on. The motor whines into its roar, loud and high. I really do hate it. So, it seems, does Baby Nigel. I turn the thing on, he SCREAMS. Well, I assume he’s screaming. Not that I can hear him over that damned vacuum, but the signs are there: the mouth wide, the skin reddening steadily. Oh, and the tiny talons of terror imbedded in my thigh. So, kindly caregiver that I am, I give him a cuddle and then put him in the high chair in the next room so I can finish. It takes two minutes, then I snuggle poor baby Nigel while the others put the couch back together.

All is well. For about three minutes, then baby Nigel is SCREAMING again. I can see him. He’s in no danger, no blood, no gore, no toenails being ripped off. Why the shrieks?

The others are pulling the couch cushions off again! Poor wee Nigel, he knows what will happen next. He’s screaming proactively. Baby Nigel, my very own Early Warning System.

May 30, 2006 - Posted by | Mischief, Nigel, the dark side


  1. LOL! Poor Nigel!

    Is it bad that I finally gave in to the screaming during vacuuming by ignoring it, and that now both boys think it’s a really great game to run screaming around the house until I’m done?

    Please tell me they won’t still be doing it in five more years.

    Comment by Kristen | May 30, 2006 | Reply

  2. Hee hee, maybe they could use him on construction sites… You know, like a “men at work” sign, but audible. Pumpkinpie just stands back and watches with a wee bit of concern, just in case.

    Comment by kittenpie | May 30, 2006 | Reply

  3. I went to pick up my son from his childcare provider one day, and found her vacuuming and laughing hysterically at the same time.

    I asked her what was going on, so that I could join in the merriment. She was laughing because my son was hiding under a high chair and yelling “BACUUM! BACUUM!” as though he’d never seen one before.

    She caught me! Honestly, I really hadn’t vacuumed around Ben before. I HATED vacuuming.

    Comment by Andie D. | May 30, 2006 | Reply

  4. Poor Nigel! He just wants a nice, quiet day in the rain.
    I have one child who is terrified that I am going to vacuum her right up. She runs away screaming. The other one screams because I won’t let him vacuum/turn it on or off/unplug and plug it back in/etc. He thinks it’s a ride on toy.

    Comment by AverageMom | May 30, 2006 | Reply

  5. Vacuums are magical, mysterious, and monstrous to Ian. He loves to chase the upright as I go around the house. The canister is something to be cautious around. The handheld scares him to death. The minute he sees or hears it, he’s off and running in the opposite direction.

    Comment by Mamacita Tina | May 30, 2006 | Reply

  6. The cats head for the tall timber but the girls have always thought it was great fun.

    There’s just no accounting for kids.

    Comment by Granny | May 30, 2006 | Reply

  7. LOL !

    My kids would run around screaming like wild apes when I would get the vaccuum sweeper out.

    Guess that’s a universal thing kids do at that age.

    Comment by kimmyk | May 30, 2006 | Reply

  8. Clever Nigel!

    Q is still fond of his broom and tries to help sweep the kitchen. I don’t know where he learned that skill – definitely not from me! πŸ™‚

    Comment by Lady M | May 30, 2006 | Reply

  9. My kids STILL scream when I vacuum, because now I vacuum up their Legos and Bratz acessories if they leave them on the floor.

    Comment by L. | May 31, 2006 | Reply

  10. Kristen: They won’t be doing it in five years. Probably.

    Kittenpie: This works in theory better than reality. Hand-held vacuums are very scarey; enormous heavy machinery is exciting!

    AndieD: I’m picturing this, and laughing too. Good thing you have a good, trusting relationship with this caregiver, and aren’t worrying your boy is being left with a sadist… (You wouldn’t believe the things that cause people to get weird on their caregivers!)

    AverageMom: Too bad you can’t distill both their tendencies, and end up with a couple of children who have a mild interest in the thing… (Then maybe, when they’re older, THEY can do some vacuumming!)

    MamacitaTina: You have THREE vacs? Wow. I love that he responds differently to each, and am intrigued that it’s the hand-held that scares him, too. What is it about the smallest one?

    Granny: Indeed. This one seems to be universal. A few are terrified of the things, but most of them just go banzai when one is running. I will never understand it, but it’s what it is – amusing!

    Kimmyk: “Screaming like wild apes” – yes, that sums it up nicely, because it gives the impression of screeching, bouncing, and flailing limbs – all of which are happening!

    LadyM: Nigel far, far, far prefers the broom. I doubt he realizes they’re for essentially the same task, mind you, but he also loves to shove one around. Either that or a hockey stick. LOL

    L: You are a mother after my own heart. My kids are clutter-prone. Usually I give them some warning when I’m coming in to clean a room, but especially when they were younger and the clutter was toys on the floor, not school stuff on the tables and couches, I would sometimes just start at the edge of the room and sweep it all into a heap in the middle.

    Then I’d call out, “You have five minutes to put the good stuff away. Otherwise, it’s garbage.” I only had to follow through once, and all arguments that started, “I didn’t get that toy out, so I don’t have to put it away” ceased and desisted.

    (I hated that argument. They all believed it sincerely, yet there they’d be, all three of them claiming the same damned thing, and a scattering of toys still in the room. Well, it sure wasn’t ME who’d got those leftovers out… “Okay, then,” I said, and got out the dustpan and the garbage bag! Ha. Only once.)

    Comment by Mary P. | May 31, 2006 | Reply

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