What’s Your Favourite Animal?

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned the Hoover obsession on here before.

Tiny Tyger is obsessed with Hoovers.  He used to be terrified of them, once upon a time, and would cry if I tried to do the vacuuming (so I selflessly delegated the task to the Wolf – I know, I know: the sacrifices we make for our children).  There was a vacuum cleaner in a room where we had a baby group and he spent a large part of the time pointing at it and making ‘vvvvvvv’ noises.  Even after the hoover moved to a different room, he still pointed at the corner it used to be and made the noise.

That was the beginning of the fascination with hoovers.  Tyger had a strange relationship with them where he was simultaneously petrified of them and mesmerised by them.  I guess it’s not unlike the sort of relationship some religious people have with whatever god they worship: a combination of fear and respect.

But, gradually, he was able to get a little closer to the hoover.  He’d touch it when it was off and watch – captivated – when it was on.  And then he started to touch it when it was on, which led to…Tyger ‘helping’ with the hoovering.  These days, there is no excuse for me not hoovering (on Tyger’s part, anyway.  I still have to time it around Baby Bear’s naps but ‘fortunately’ Baby Bear thinks sleep is for the weak so that’s not a huge issue – but that’s a blog post for another day!).

He called hoovers ‘voogers’ and everything was a vooger.  If it vaguely looked like it had a hose or if it was electric/mechanical and didn’t fit into other categories like ‘car’ then it was a vooger.  You wouldn’t believe how man voogers can be seen in everyday life.  A tall lamp, pipes, construction machinery, a bouncy castle: all voogers!

For Christmas 2013 – when Tyger was a year and a half – we got him a toy Henry Hoover.  It was immediately promoted to favourite toy and within a couple of minutes he wouldn’t even let me touch the thing in order to straighten the hose because he seemed convinced I was trying to take it away from him (slightly offensive he thinks so little of me that he believes I’d give him a present only to cruelly snatch it away a minute later).  He has played with it almost every day since then.  It no longer has the ed attachment (that has gone the same way as some wooden shapes, the wheel of a car, and various other toys that have seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth) and we cannot under any circumstances put batteries in it (made that mistake once and had several days of alternating humming hoover sound or Tyger screaming when we had enough and turned it off until the batteries finally ran out) and the end of the hose has had bits of stuffing from my mum’s dog’s bed shoved up it but it has seen much use.

For Christmas just past Tyger got a small Henry Hoover (also missing batteries – we have learnt) supposedly for cleaning computer keyboards in his stocking and a cuddly Henry Hoover ‘from’ Baby Bear.  I’m not sure how normal that is for a two and a half year old.

The other day we took Tyger to get his feet measured at the shoe shop (or ‘foot maker’ as Tyger later called it) and popped in to the pet shop afterwards.  We got treats and replacement name tag things and worming tablets etc. but they were all ‘whilst we’re here…’ purchases.  Our real reason for going in was to show Tyger the birds/fish/small mammals that normally in habit the various tanks and cages.  Except this time, for whatever reason, said tanks and cages were empty.  Aw, shame.  Especially since we told Tyger he could go in and see the animals.  But he didn’t seem that fussed so we thought ‘no harm done’…and then…

As I was taking past the back corner just to see what was there he caught a glimpse of something through a curtained off area.  A glimpse of something black and red with a smiling face and a long hose.  Yup, there was a Henry Hoover behind the curtains and I’ll admit I did fear a meltdown.  Tyger was quite good, though.  He did try to get to the hoover and succeeded in dashing through the curtains more than once before I managed to grab him.  He also wanted to turn it on and every time I tried to take him away he’d walk a bit with me before stopping dead in the isle to say, ‘Vvvvvv…what’s that funny noise?  The voogert!’ and run back to the curtains.  (I don’t know why the ‘t’ has appeared at the end of the word now – Tyger has done it with several words.)

But we made it out.  And, yes, he was crying and kicking as we left but it was actually over the toy dog behind the counter he wanted to stroke and not because of the hoover.

We went to Costa for cake the same trip but when asked what we did that day Tyger, of course, replied, ‘See voogert.’  I have also been trying to teach him the meaning of the word ‘favourite’ and so told him when he was sat at the table with my sister that her favourite animal is a rabbit.  I asked him what his favourite animal was.  He paused to give it thought and replied, ‘Voogert.’  So, maybe he understands ‘favourite’ now but I’m not so sure he gets ‘animal’.

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