Saturday, March 5, 2011

The OCD Stage

I’m pretty sure this is a stage that all children go through, but I think my son is temporarily OCD. He spent 45 minutes last night marching back and forth between his toy box and a shelf on the other side of the room, carefully piling up a large stack of rubber letter tiles. This is not an unusual occurrence in recent weeks. He loves to move objects from one place to another, or to take a series of objects and present them, rather ceremoniously, to someone in the room. Yesterday morning, we picked Daddy up from the dentist’s office and had to wait in the waiting room for a few minutes, and he very carefully moved the entire magazine collection from one end of the office to the other, one magazine at a time.

I assume this is a developmental stage in which the child is learning to understand order and the way things belong in a certain place. We’ve been practicing putting his blocks back into their box when he’s done, and putting his toys back into the toy box at the end of the day, so he’s definitely learning that certain things belong in certain places. But his focus and dedication to putting things in a certain place that he has spontaneously decided they belong is absolutely hilarious to me.

And to continue the theme of temporary OCD, one of his other recent habits is picking up minute (and occasionally invisible) pieces of lint or dirt from the floor and either deliberately throwing them into the trash can or very solemnly handing them to me. Considering that he’s generally the one who threw said pieces of lint or dirt on the floor in the first place, I find it particularly amusing that he suddenly seems so personally offended at finding them there.

Fortunately, I have no concern that this is a precursor of actual OCD, since when he’s not all wrapped up in putting things in a particular order or place, he revels in throwing things all over the room and is not at all uncomfortable in the middle of the mess he just made. In fact, he often sits in the middle of the chaos of toys and wriggles and giggles, delighted at the loud noise and mess. Yeah, I’m pretty sure he’s just a healthy, normal kid. But I think I’ll still miss this stage a little bit when it’s gone.

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