Vacuum Fears Part I

Vacuums have garnered the notoriety from small children for being terrifying monstrous machines. The sheer size of an average sized vacuum to a newly crawling or walking child is undoubtedly petrifying in their eyes. In combination with the growling loud noise the vacuum makes, it is no wonder that small children find this common household item to be so scary.

Among the numerous young children that have jarring fears of the vacuum cleaner, I too have faint memories of running and hiding from the running vacuum cleaner. That fear eventually turned into mild amusement and finally mundane disdain (since I had to use it). I had completely forgotten about the terrors brought on by a vacuum in motion until my own small children quivered and cried in its presence.

My son’s fear of vacuums was delayed until he was almost two years old. His first home was a house without carpet. Once we moved back to the midwest and into a duplex with wall to wall carpet, his fear of the vacuum cleaner emerged. His first reaction was to cry and cling to the nearest adult. After a while he would run into a room that was not being vacuum and whimper until he could hear that the vacuum was no longer running. He continued to cry and hide (either behind an parent or aunt or under a blanket on the sofa. His crying reaction would occur as soon as he saw the vacuum cleaner out. As time progressed he stopped crying but would run and climb on the sofa with all his toys (he does not want them to get vacuumed up something I never even threatened). He would pull either a blanket or a pillow onto his lap and watch as I ran the vacuum. We eventually got into a vacuum cleaning routine together.

(To be continued…)

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