Marta got a Roomba for Christmas. She has a very vocal dislike for the amount of hair our dog Finn leaves us as gifts around the house, on the couch, in dusty corners, on our clothes, behind the bookshelves, in the fridge (how does he do that?), etc. With baby-raising now part of our daily lives, we’ve also have much less time to clean.
So we got Marta a Roomba, which we spell Rumba, like the Afro-Cuban dance, but also like the Spanish verb that was derived from the dance, Rumbear, one of my favorite verbs to use while I was living in Colombia a couple years ago. Rather than asking you what you like to do for fun, people would ask you what you do to Rumbear. Where you like to Rumbear? How you like to Rumbear? Every time I used the verb I felt like I was a character in Flashdance.
So, anyway, our Roomba, is a Spanish Rumba and she knows how to dance. She sweeps through rooms sucking up Finn hairs and afterwards, multiple times, Marta declares: “That is the best purchase we’ve ever made!”
I mention plane tickets to Spain, plane tickets to Guatemala, trips to Santa Fe, etc, as possible alternatives, but she shakes her head and repeats her exertion.
Then the other day something happened to make me agree.
Rumba began double work as a babysitter.
Marta discovered the trick. What you do is you put Nico in what we call her “OVNI” (Spanish for UFO) in the kitchen (Here Nico is in the Ovni recently)
(And then several months ago–back when the OVNI alone worked as a babysitter):
Then, after Nico is strapped into the OVNI (which when used alone will only entertain her for fifteen minutes, tops), you turn on the Rumba and get it cleaning said kitchen. Nico will instantly become entranced and will quietly and contentedly watch the Rumba dance from one end of the kitchen to the next with complete fascination (think club kid with sucker or cat following laser pointer).
And THEN (wait, just wait, it gets really exciting), you will then have about a half hour to also clean dishes, make dinner, etc. I.e. do other chores in said kitchen, all without darling baby ever once needing you to pick up the dozen of toys she’s dropped on the ground or to watch her and make sure she’s not about to grab a sharp object she has mysteriously found on the floor or fall over on her head. She is safe and entertained.
Because apparently babies love the Rumba.
And tired lesbian mothers love them even more.
(apparently, Dads do to: I just found this video, among many other Ode TO Roomba videos new parents have made, in which a child about Nico’s age rides the Roomba, something I had been contemplating, but have not yet tried…)