Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Object of My Obsession, er - I Mean, Affection

So hanging out with little people and their moms and reading countless parenting magazines has reassured me that it is pretty common, and even normal, for toddlers to develop a fixation on a certain object. In my house, those objects are Dustbusters and fountains (of the landscaping variety). Yes, you read that correctly.

Cade has had what I would consider an unnatural obsession with Dustbusters from the time he was about eighteen months old. He now owns SEVEN of them, including three toys, three real ones, and a special car hand vac that his grandfather got for free for renewing his subscription to TIME Magazine. Stickers and candy carry very little weight with Cade, so his potty training incentive was - you guessed it, a Dustbuster. Which led me to one of the stranger moments in my life when I found myself screaming at him (in the throes of the umpteenth argument about the potty) - "Don't you talk to me about the Dustbuster again until you put your poopoo in the potty!". In the universe I previously inhabited (the pre-parent one, that is), Dustbuster and poopoo are two words that never would have crossed my lips in the same sentence. But I digress.

I was secretly pleased to learn that other children share this weird obsession - a friend of ours actually authored a book (in PowerPoint) about a family of vacuums for his son, who is Cade's age and shares his passion for motorized cleaning supplies. For a special reward for good behavior, we sometimes take Cade to the vacuum aisle at Target or Best Buy where he can inspect the newly released models of Dustbusters and stay on top of the latest trends. We were encouraged to learn from the Best Buy vacuum guy that there is another local three year old that frequents this haunt, only his drug of choice is the Dysons and he has to test drive them. We are grateful that our son at least has a more affordable addiction - his craving to add to his Dustbuster can usually be satiated for about $30, well under the cost of a Dyson upright.

Eventually the Dustbuster fascination subsided a little and he moved onto fountains. We now spend countless hours doing drive bys of his favorite ones - they all have names (Town Square Fountain, Library Fountain, the Duck Pond Fountain, the Target Fountain, Mommy's Fountain (the one by church), etc.). We have a bizarre ritual that we follow after pre-school pickup - we have to "check in" on certain fountains and follow a prescribed path before heading home for lunch. I indulge in the Tour of Fountains mainly because there are so few things that really interest Cade or hold his attention so I feel it's important to nourish this natural curiosity when it arises. Please don't remind me of how I enabled this behavior when I am complaining about the cost of anti OCD prescriptions in a few years.

Drew recently turned two and has elected to carry on Cade's tradition of honoring local fountains. Today, as we were driving down a new route, Drew pointed out from the backseat - "Look, Mommy! There's Baby Fountain!". Sure enough, there was a tiny fountain on a decorative grassy median at a three way intersection. I had to roll my eyes and laugh and repeat to myself that this is just one of those things that will pass when the Toddlooler (the parenting No-Man's land that encompasses the toddler and preschool years) phase is over.

As we left the intersection and drove past a local restaurant, I noticed another fountain in the front of the restaurant. Standing nearby and checking it out intently - two boys who looked to be about 8 or 9. Swell.


Barbara said...

The apple never falls far from the tree.

Bubbe said...

TWO trees in this case....

Momma Bear said...

my sons first word (no kidding) was vacuum...i understand.