Thanks to Ann Douglas for the very nice mention of this blog.  She’s the author of several books on pregnancy and parenting, and her blog focuses on these issues.  And welcome to anyone stopping by as a result of her mention.  I’m afraid the place isn’t quite as up-to-date and "neat" as I’d have liked with company coming over, but I’ve been somewhat distracted from writing about parenting by… actual parenting.  So, don’t pay any attention to those dustbunnies, put the stack of books on the floor so you can sit down, and make yourself comfortable.

That’s usually the way I respond to in-person unexpected guests as well.  We’re not total slobs, and we generally stay on top of the dirty dishes and the laundry, but vacuuming is generally pretty low on our list of priorities.  I think the problem is that it doesn’t really get any harder if you postpone it a day or a week.  If you don’t do the laundry for two weeks, you have a huge mountain of dirty clothes to face when you run out of underwear.  But if you don’t vacuum for two weeks, it’s not really any more work than if you had been doing it all along.  And there’s always kids to be read to, and blogs to be written, and little things like sleep. So the vacuuming tends to slide…

That said, my husband and I have actually spent much of today taking turns vacuuming and dusting.  We don’t know what triggered the asthma attack, but the level of dust and cat hair in the house is something that’s within our control.  They’re probably not the major cause — if D. were really allergic to them, he wouldn’t have made it to age 4 without showing symptoms, not the way we keep house — but my understanding is that triggers are additive, and so it’s worth doing what we can. 

Jen commented in a thread on excema over at finslippy that her doctor "seemed floored that I was not willing to run home and scour our house from top to bottom every 3-4 days in order to keep a few bumpy spots from coming up on my kid’s arms and legs."  I’m totally on her side — but not being able to breathe is another story.  If vacuuming the heck out of the house keeps us out of the pediatric ward, somehow we’ll manage to do it.

6 Responses to “Vacuuming”

  1. Ann D Says:

    We have a two-week cleaning cycle at our house. Inevitably, guests drop by on the day before “The Big Clean.” Murphy’s Law in action, I suppose….

  2. Michelle Says:

    I agree on the eczema issue. Our son is allergic to our cats, it came up very positive with a skin test. He does get asthma-like symptoms, but only when he is coming down with a cold or illness. All allergists hate cats/dogs. ‘Well, I’m not telling you to get rid of your cats, but ‘get rid of your cats’. We found that daily baths of the kid and not the cats helps immensely and preventative nebulizer treatments when he seems to come down with something does the trick.

  3. Marian Says:

    While I totally understand what Michelle is saying about allergist hating dogs and cats, let me tell you about my experience.
    My husband and I just found out that my son, who is 6 and autistic, is allergic to our cats. We had him tested when he was 2, then again at 4, because he has severe allergies to other things, especially food. These tests showed that he was allergic to the cats, but not bad enough to get rid of them…We would get the cats groomed every 2-3 months so they would not bother my son.We have recently started using an alternative doctor for his autism, and this doc again tested him for allergies. This time he told us that on a scale of 0-5, my son is a 4.5 for cat allergies.
    I have my cats for over 13 years, yet I have to make that decision every animal lover faces, at one time or another – how do I choose the cats over my son’s health?? You can’t….
    Have your son get a blood test for the allergies.
    Allergies can develop over time.

  4. Rebecca Says:

    Heh. I find vacuuming to be the BEST part of the housekeeping. We don’t have wall-to-wall carpeting so it’s like a 10 minute thing and it all looks shiny and clean. Which I cannot say for the mopping of the kitchen floor which takes an hour and never looks clean. 🙂

  5. Elizabeth Says:

    It’s not the vacuuming itself that’s such a big deal; it’s the moving everything off the floor so that it’s possible to vacuum. We just don’t have enough storage space for everything to have an “away” spot of its own.
    And now, we’re trying to vacuum when D’s not around, since it stirs up dust in the process.
    The pediatrician didn’t recommend allergy testing; I’ll put it on the list to ask her the next time we see her.

  6. dave s Says:

    we put in a built-in vacuum. It’s not that much more expensive than a good HEPA filter, and there is NO WAY the small particles can come out again into the air through the vacuum bag. so far our kids (3,6,8) have been free of any asthma symptoms. Did this help? no way to know.

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