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Vacuum Fears Part II

It never crossed my mind that my children would be scared of the vacuum cleaner. From the moment my son experienced the sights and sounds of the vacuum cleaner, he was terrified. After lots of tears and exercise (he was always running away), my son and I fell into a vacuuming routine. First I would announce that I am going to vacuum which of course required picking up all the toys, clothes, papers, etc that were scattered all over the floor. Then we would move side tables, chairs, and other small pieces of furniture out of the way. Finally, I would get out the vacuum cleaner and my son would take his position on the sofa with a pillow or a blanket (sometimes both) on his lap, along with a few choice toys (that need particular protection from the vacuum). From the moment I turned the vacuum cleaner on, my son would sit on the sofa and watch me vacuum. I think this is the only time that my son will sit still for an extended amount of time (maybe fifteen minutes). He does not budge from his place on the sofa until I turn the vacuum cleaner off and put it away.

While my son’s fear of the vacuum cleaner appeared out of nowhere when he was almost two, his sister’s fear of the vacuum cleaner began as soon as she was aware of it. Her fear seemed to be more gradual and somewhat inconsistent. In the beginning she would sit in her bouncy seat and watch me vacuum or even sleep while I vacuumed. As soon as her mind grasped that this object was separate from mommy and was very loud and large, she could not take her eyes off of it. Sometimes she would fuss a little and sometimes she seemed fine but she always had her eyes locked on its location. However, recently she was taken to screaming as soon as the vacuum cleaner is turned on and crawling away. I have tried holding her while vacuuming and she seems to be happier if she is being held but it is not the most efficient way to vacuum (she is quite a chunk). Since her brother is always sitting on the sofa while I vacuum, I decided that his sister could join him. Now all three of us have a vacuuming routine. After picking up, both kids sit on the sofa next to each other with a pillow or blanket or both on their lap with a few toys while I vacuum. Sometimes my daughter will fuss and sometimes she is content sitting with her brother. When she does seem scared, her brother will hold her hand and tell her that it will be okay. For the time being both of my children are scared of the vacuum cleaner.