Monday, July 15, 2013

Rosie the Roomba

We have a Roomba vacuum--you know, the little round robots who zip around and vacuum the house while we sit on the couch and eat bonbons go to work all day?  We named her Rosie after the Jetsons' housekeeper robot.  She does a pretty good job of keeping dog hair at bay during the week, but she's somewhat inefficient.  I mean, I could vacuum the room myself in much less time than it takes Rosie to bob and weave back and forth and back and forth.  But that would also require me vacuuming the room myself instead of sitting on the couch eating bonbons doing other important tasks.  So anyway, Rosie serves her purpose.

(Although I will just note to any and all people who might be wondering, since apparently this is news to some people--coughcoughDavidcoughcough--that her purpose is NOT vacuuming up half a bag of popcorn kernels when they are spilled all over the kitchen floor.  It would make MUCH more sense to simply SWEEP THEM UP YOURSELF rather than dodging a robot vacuum who is spinning all around the kitchen because she doesn't know she should focus on the popcorn kernels.  Which by the way, hurt to step on.)

Zuzu was naturally intrigued by Rosie when she first encountered her.  She plays a little song!  She has a light-up button on her back!  She moves across the floor in a teasing little dance!  Obviously she is a toy made for children!

One day, I'd turned off Rosie and left her sitting (rather than docked under a side table where she usually is) and Zuzu crawled over to investigate.  She was all kinds of pleased with herself and making excited little squeals about touching Rosie, and then she hit the "on" button.

Rosie lit up, played her little song, and started spinning.  She turned and bumped right into to Zuzu's thigh, and then did it again and again.  From Zuzu's perspective, I can see why this would be somewhat terrifying, especially because Rosie has bumped into my feet before and it's not exactly comfortable.  Zuzu started crying and I picked her up and comforted her, but it was too late.

She's terrified of Rosie.  If she so much as hears Rosie play her little "power on" song, Zuzu will burst into tears.  If I walk NEAR Rosie's docking station, carrying Zuzu, her little arms will tighten around me, and there's no way she'd let me put her down.

I'm kind of surprised that our fearless little daredevil is so freaked out by the Roomba.  She's not at all afraid of the regular vacuum or the dust-buster.  Of course, I haven't ever rammed into her with the vacuum or dustbuster, either (before you think, Wow, what a good mom for not terrorizing her child with the vacuum, you should finish reading this blog post.).  It hasn't really been that big of a deal--we usually run Rosie only when we're out of the house so I haven't thought too much about it.  Zuzu can work it out later with her therapist, right?

But then we've had to deal with this:

I've got this
It was the new favorite activity, despite a certain lack of skills when it comes to NOT tumbling over backwards.

I made it more than half way up!
She started darting for the stairs whenever we set her down on the floor.  Our floorplan makes it difficult to block her from approaching the stairs, so I put a baby gate at the bottom the stairs, which would prevent her from crawling up them when we weren't looking.  I didn't count on this:

You think you can stop me from climbing the stairs?
I'll just scale the bannister and give you a panic attack.
Our floor plan makes it virtually impossible to completely block off the staircase, so I needed a new solution besides leashing the baby to me.

And then it hit me.

I parked Rosie at the bottom of the stairs.

At the next opportunity, Zuzu crawled gleefully through the house at top speed, heading directly for the stairs.  When she got near the entry way, however, she spied the small, round robot, sitting silently, turned off, but lurking.  Waiting for her.

And she stopped short in her tracks and burst into tears, backpedaling to get away from the vicious vacuum.  She was desperate to have someone pick her up and save her.  She wanted to go nowhere near the stairs!

I know, it's super mean.  Also somewhat hilarious.  And very effective in keeping the baby off the stairs.

Small victories, people.  Small victories.

Dear Zuzu's Future Therapist for Overcoming Robot-Vacuum Fears,

You're welcome for these billable hours.


Zuzu's Mom


  1. That was hilarious. Perfect solution!

  2. Well this has made my day! I'm still listing the things my parents did that should entitle me to therapy....

  3. So funny! But I only give it 2-3 months before the appeal of the stairs outweighs fear of Rosie, so you may have to let Rosie attack again. :)

    Also, would you recommend the Roomba? We are planning to rip out our carpet in the next few months and the gameplan is to get a Roomba to help keep the dog hair somewhat at bay. I know I'll still have to vacuum too, but I don't want to have to vacuum daily.

  4. Way to outsmart the one year old, Mom. Bravo.

  5. Ha ha Caroline! :) Thank goodness for small victories!

  6. I am seriously laughing so hard right now.

  7. Brilliant!

    The outside the stairs climbing is dangerous looking!

  8. I only wish we had a Roomba or something equivalent to scare the bejesus out of Benjamin from those damn stairs.

    Good news is that ours are not blocked, and yet he doesn't find them nearly as enthralling anymore now that he can walk. Like he has found so many better things to conquer.

    Not that it makes me any less uneasy because I also have a climber (screw the stairs... let's try tables and strollers!


    It's going to be a long time before Zuzu can outsmart her scholarly parents.

  9. Oh. my. god.
    Climbing up the other side of the railing?! It's the stuff you don't think of, man. That STINKER!!
    Makes me laugh (and be grateful) because Catherine would TOTALLY do the same thing if we had stairs like that. There are enough other things to wig out about.
    I think it's hilarious that you placed the Roomba there. Though I feel for poor Zuzu's terror. Sweet baby...
    She'll get you back somehow, I'd bet on it. :)
    Also, love the note to the therapist. hee heeeeee!

  10. So funny! When she was young, my daughter had a serious fear of any toy that moved around on it's own. She hid in terror from her walking Baby Alive doll. I think it's totally ingenious that you have used this fear as a deterrent- I wish I had thought of that!!!

  11. OMG that is officially the funniest ROOMBA story ever, even beating out this one: (SERIOUSLY, read it!). Also, HOW CUTE is Zuzu's little ruffled butt!!!???

  12. That is too funny! I may need to park the evil Soda Stream (Maxwell's terror-inducing appliance) next to the floor lamp.

  13. lol! That's hilarious!

    We have the same first step base thing. Grace is a MASTER of the stairs (up and down) and is also fearless. We have the additional worry of the fireplace having a step up hearth in front of it (does that even make sense) that she really likes standing on, oh, and JUMPING on!.


    Still, I laugh because you've outsmarted her, for now.
    AND YES, David and Scott must be made out of the same stuff because he does not understand why we can't leave popcorn until the cleaning lady shows up every two weeks. yikes!

  14. Everything about this post is HYSTERICAL. OMG. She is DETERMINED to climb those stairs. Charlie did the same thing while we were at a house showing once (he was about the same age), only he was about six feet off the floor when we noticed.

    You gotta do what you gotta do, right?

    Also, once we were visiting my parents and heard a funny whimpering noise. Upon investigation we found Wes trapped in a guest room closet, afraid to walk past the vacuum cleaner to the safety of the door. I laughed as I helped him out. He's going to have a lot to talk about with his therapist too.

  15. I am laughing SO HARD. This is beyond awesome.