Saturday, 12 September 2015

Toddler OCD

Is it me or do all children have some degree of OCD? I used to think that Toddler Taylor must have some kind of genuine condition because everything had to be done in a certain way or in a particular order. For example, when he first started to take an actual interest in the process of getting dressed – and by interest, I really mean decided it was an aspect of his daily routine that he had to have absolute control over – the entire morning would descend into tantrum filled chaos if I dared to suggest that he put his pants on before his socks. Like, if I just got sick of the whole messing about of getting dressed every morning, pinned him down and forced him into his clothes in an order of which he did not approve, I would find him five minutes later standing naked in his room screaming bloody murder.

Usually these things come and go in phases. We’ve had the “I want to do it!” phase where Toddler Taylor behaved like I’d just committed the most heinous crime imaginable if I dared to close his curtains for him or put the toothpaste onto the toothbrush without his input. Shortly after that was the aforementioned daily clothing debacle. Now we have this thing where he has to win at everything. If I was late for work in a life before children, I would run like buggery down the stairs and hare out of the front door, throwing myself dramatically behind the wheel of my car and tearing out of the driveway. But these days I have to allow Toddler Taylor to go down the stairs in front of me while I work myself up into a state of complete internal panic because if I don’t then he will have an utter fucking meltdown about the fact that he didn’t “win”. This also goes for the following situations:

Finishing a meal first.
Putting Baby Taylor in the bath first.
Walking into any room in the house first.
Getting ready for bed first.
Doing absolutely anything first.

Seriously. If I sneeze first then I’ve overstepped the boundaries because Toddler Taylor wanted to sneeze first. I really fucking hope this phase ends soon. I’d like to win at something in life again someday.

I remember my mother telling me once that my brother went through a stage shortly after potty training when he had to use every toilet he came across, which very nearly led to a terribly awkward situation in B&Q. So when Toddler Taylor throws me another OCD curveball, I just try to remind myself of that and thank every possible deity out there that nothing that bad has happened to us... Yet.

The thing is though, sometimes I still have absolutely no idea how to deal with these OCD phases. The whole winning thing at the moment is particularly trying because, realistically, I cannot always let him “win”. There are many nights when I’ve given Toddler Taylor every possible opportunity to get undressed and into the bath before his brother and he’s still running maniacally around the house and I just want to get both children bathed and into bed so I can collapse on the sofa and stare at the wall for the rest of the night. I also kind of want to explain to him that there will be times when he will not win and that he will find life very disappointing if he believes that winning is everything, but I rationalise it by assuming that it’s just a phase and will pass eventually like all the other phases. But knowing that doesn’t always make it easy to deal with and sometimes I am just really fucking late to work and need to get down the stairs first, so I have to leave my poor husband to deal with the epic tantrum that ensues when the door slams behind me and the screaming is lost in the screech of tyres as I gun the engine out of the gates. Sorry, husband. This too shall pass!

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