The Vacuum Cleaner

My father tells a story of the first time I ran to him instead of to my mother.

On a Saturday morning when Mom was cleaning house, I was sitting on a chair by myself when she approached, vacuum cleaner droning.  Who knows why I had not become accustomed to that in all my two years, but the fact remains that I was startled and terrified. I ran.

Not blindly did I run, but straight to my father, scrambling into his lap.  He remembers because I had never run to him of my own accord before.  Oh, not that I would not go to him if he called, but I always ran to my mother when frightened.  This time, of course, she was behind the fearful monster, our vacuum.

I do not remember the incident myself; I was too young when it occurred.  Still, when my father tells the story, I can smell the forced-air dustiness of the vacuum and hear its roar.  In my imagination I can feel my little heart pounding as I run for shelter.  I imagine that I stayed on my father’s lap for some time after my immediate fears had been allayed.

That vacuum holds no terrors for me now.  Long have I been used to wielding it myself.  My family has never had a chores system, nor were we required to help out around the house, but we always did when asked.  From early childhood, my mother says, I liked to help her with the cooking and cleaning.

I liked to help because my mother always made it pleasant to be with her.  I liked to watch her make cookies, and was always ready to lick the spoon.  Once I even tried to tackle cleaning the bathroom sinks without waiting to be asked, nor to be taught the proper way to do the job!  That had to be done over, but thankfully the sink was no messier after the first cleaning than before.

How do you teach children to like chores?  By making it fun and by being cheerful yourself.  I think this is one of the areas where children learn by watching others do more than anything else.  As a child, how can you teach yourself not to mind chores?  Why not try smiling at the dirty mirror as you wipe away the toothpaste?  Make a game of it, race your siblings, always trying to do your best job in the shortest amount of time.  My sister likes to put music on while she is cleaning, and I think it helps the time go faster.

Of course, music does not work very well when someone is vacuuming!

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Explore posts in the same categories: Growing Up, My Family, Parents

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2 Comments on “The Vacuum Cleaner”

  1. wm353 Says:

    I enjoyed this story. It made me think of my own childhood in our old house, and chores, and my mom. It also brought to mind my daughter when she was just a toddler. I was able to stay home w/ her during her first year, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

  2. Jennifer Whittaker Says:

    I hate cleaning. I always have, even when I was little. What is interesting is that my daughter has no problem with it at all. Any time I ask her to pick something up, she does it. She also is very good at picking up after herself. Maybe there is a clean gene?? If so, maybe I could get some gene therapy for my problem! 🙂


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