They truly never cease to amaze me. Here's the back story. For a while now we've had some issues with the girls' cleaning their bedroom. We've tried working with them to clean their room, we've tried taking away a few things. Even denied them dessert one time. Nothing seemed to work. Then one day the vacuum monster came to town.
The vacuum monster only comes at night, after kids have gone to bed. He can't climb around or anything like that, but he comes into the bedrooms of children while they sleep and if he finds any lose toys around, he sucks them up and takes them away to his house, gone for good. So far the vacuum monster has been "fed" by our children only twice. We have had to intervene on the girls' behalves a couple of times for the vacuum monster, but only for special nights where we've gone to Nana and Papa's or they were truly sick.
To some extent, this has worked out quite nicely. Rylee could care less all in all about the vacuum monster, but this is serious business to Haylee. Every night about 15 minutes before we start the final bed time routine, she asks, somewhat timidly, "Is the vacuum monster coming tonight?" For which we tell her yes he is, and she get's a slightly alarmed look on her face. This happens even when she has cleaned up her stuff earlier that day. So she runs off to the bedroom, does some final tidy work, and we tell her that things look good, the vacuum monster won't be coming by. For you see, the vacuum monster can smell the toys on the floor. If he pokes his head in, and doesn't smell any toys on the floor, he simply moves on to the next child's house. Sidenote: Haylee has actually woken up a couple of times in the middle of the night asking if the vacuum monster is coming, just to make sure things are okay with her toys.
Flash forward to last night. The girls have been fighting off some bronchitis, so they are feeling rather miserable. They had a late dinner and were starting to crash. About now Haylee asks about the vacuum monster. Taking a slightly different angle tonight, I say, "No, the vacuum monster is sick tonight, he won't be coming by. Jen chimes in and says, "Yes, he's so sick he's sneezing toys out of his nose!" We get a slight smile and giggle at the picture forming in the girls heads of what this might look like.
Without missing a beat, Rylee then asks, "Can we make a card for the vacuum monster so that he gets better?" Haylee says nothing, but has this look of "Yeah, what she said."
Right then and there my heart stops and melts. Here's this great, albeit mythical, monster that threatens (and has succeeded on a couple of occasions) to take away their toys. This monster has enough sway that Haylee has to be sure things are clean every night. And yet, at the first sign of the monster being sick, they want to take care of it.
You gotta love it.