There’s a running joke in one of the great comedies from the Eighties, “Mr. Mom,” about how a little boy around Annie’s age is absolutely terrified of the family vacuum. Whenever his Dad (“Mr. Mom”) tries to vacuum the house, the little boys loses it. It’s funny stuff, but I always assumed it was pure fiction because I don’t remember being even remotely afraid of the vacuum as a boy. It was no fiction, though. Just ask Annie.

It’s pretty crazy – all I have to do is pull the vacuum out of the closet and in a split second Annie goes from zero to losing her poop. The thing scares her so much, in fact, that even before I plug it in she dashes off to one of her favorite hiding places.

Under The Counter:

Hiding From The Vacuum

Behind The Arm Chair:

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Under The Covers:

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Look close and you’ll spot a foot!

In The Playhouse:

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Since I don’t want Annie to freak out every time I vacuum, I sat her down recently and tried to explain that the vacuum is actually a great thing because it helps us clean our house. “You should think of the vacuum like a friend!” I suggested, over selling it. Annie, however, was buying none of this. In her eyes the vacuum was pure evil.

This posed a bit of a problem because, as much as I would like to never vacuum again, that’s not really an option unless I can convince Heather it’d be awesome to live like one of those people on “Hoarders.”

Having said that I should mention that I do try to do most of our vacuuming when Annie is out of the house, but that isn’t always possible. Yesterday, for example, I heard Annie’s little voice call me from the kitchen saying, “Look, Dada!” When I turned I saw Annie smiling from ear to ear while holding the salt and pepper shakers upside down. Salt and pepper, as you can imagine, were pouring onto the floor like sands through an hour glass.

“No!” I yelled. This startled Annie who ran away leaving a trail of salt and pepper on the carpet. Just great.

Upon finding Annie on the couch I took the salt and pepper shakers from her, then pulled the vacuum out of the closet. This time, for whatever reason, Annie didn’t run off to a hiding place. Instead, she stayed on the couch and frantically pointed at the vacuum.

“No, Dada! You put that away! Put that away! You don’t need it!”

“This will be quick, sweetie. It’s okay.”

“It’s not!” she screamed hysterically. “You don’t need to vacuum! The house is clean! Put the vacuum away!”

It was one of those moments as a parent where, even though you feel bad for your kid, it’s also pretty funny.

Luckily, we all survived my hasty vacuuming (including Heather who must have loved hearing this drama while trying to sleep off her migraine in the back room).

I can’t wait for Annie to outgrow this vacuum fearing stuff, but if there’s one good thing to come of it it’s that the phrase “Don’t make a mess or I’ll have to bring out the vacuum” means Annie is a lot less messy during meal time!