Dilemma in a Vacuum

Vacuum Cleaner Antique

A few months back our trusty Dyson vacuum finally gave out after many years of faithful service. We’ve had it fixed before, but this time the main handle cracked in half. No repairing that.

We replaced it quickly with a new Hoover. When you have two dogs and what you might describe as a “highly active” son, vacuum cleaners are a survival tool.

And thus rose a dilemma. A dilemma only a parent of a son with autism would face.

When I was vacuuming with the Dyson, Clay would amuse himself by turning the vacuum cleaner off. Then on again. Then off. While I was trying to vacuum. He got a great kick out of doing that – arms shooting out, feet dancing. For me, depending on my mood and how much time I had for cleaning, it could range from mildly amusing to put-my-fist-through-a-wall annoying.

So, I’m using the new vacuum for the first time and Clay keeps following me to turn it off and on – and he can’t find the on/off button. The battle is over before it starts. This seems like a good thing, right? A miracle, even.

At the same time I feel bad that he can’t figure it out and that he is missing out on the joy it gives him. My father instinct wants to teach him about the new vacuum cleaner, even though it will come at a cost.

What to do.

In the end, I taught him how to turn the new vacuum cleaner on and off. It took him several tries to get it down, but, eventually, he resumed his annoying habit of stopping the vacuum over and over again while I try to clean.

I couldn’t be prouder of him for learning how to do that. And I have no one to blame but myself.


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  1. #1 by Anon on January 19, 2015 - 10:49 am

    sigh….I see the dilemma…

    not so different from the young Mother (me) who has a young son out in the rain, numerous puddles. He carefully walks around the puddles. Me…I KNOW the total joy he would have “stomping” and “splashing” in the puddles…so I “teach” him to stomp and splash in the puddles….(yup, total joy)…Of course I then had to deal with much wet/dirty clothes….Disaproving looks from others, etc…Ah well…

    One should take joy and accomplishment where one can find it.

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