Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Compulsive much

My kids, especially my girls, are becoming compulsive like their mother. Before they ever even leave their bedrooms in the mornings, before they ever even stagger in to pee, they make their beds. I love the fact that my children do this and I never have to tell them. They are good kids. This morning, just like every other morning, I woke them up and then went about my business with the coffee and the unloading of the dishwasher and the starting of a load of laundry. They lay their clothes out at night so there is no quandry as to what they wear, they just get ready. I do not have to help them, they just do it. So I don't really get into their space too much. But this morning, 25 minutes after I woke them up, which was also a mere 15 minutes before they had to go down to catch the bus, Abby was still in her pajamas. It had taken her 25 minutes to make her bed!

I flipped my lid. My normally very responsible, reliable and no-nonsense eldest child had lollygagged? I was shocked, not to mention frustrated that now there was very little time to curl her hair, and trust me - this morning it needed it.

After standing over her like a drill sergeant and making sure she was dressed with no further distractions and after I curled her hair, I sent her up to get her coat on. I just happened to look in her room and found the source of the 25 minute bed-making session: somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 stuffed animals were placed in height order in front of the neatly placed, perfectly centered and aligned pillows.

The OCD is kicking in. Next thing you know she'll be alphabetizing her books, measuring things before she puts them in her desk drawers just to make sure they'll fit, putting all her clothes in color classification and making sure the sheets on her bed are exactly the same length from the floor on both sides. Not that I'd know from experience or anything... I mean, it's been a long time since I alphabetized much more than the videos and the canned goods. But by golly, those are the neatest canned goods you'll ever see in a pantry.

Yesterday Kady wanted to play with my Strawberry Shortcakes. Keep in mind these are my original SS's, the holy grail of circa 1980-something scented dolls with freakishly large heads. My SS's all have their original clothes and are in excellent condition considering how much I played with them. My sister's, however, are written on, bald and they may have 2 pairs of mismatched shoes amongst the whole collection. I pride myself in the care I took with my toys. So was I going to let my 3 year old play with the precious scented dolls? Youbetcha. But she had to keep them in the living room and they were not to go to the toyroom. Period. She was totally okay with that, she just wanted to play with them. I went about my morning routine - compulsively doing something I'm sure- and when I looked in on her she had all of the dolls dressed neatly, pets laid out next to them, lined up in perfect straight lines and was just sitting there admiring them all. And I realized that is exactly how I used to play with them! Now for the dolls themselves, I'm sure it was like the good ol' days, different strange little girl, same style of playing. And part of me was proud that my youngest took on my neatness genes and not her father's haphazard ways. But then as I found myself running over to the line of dolls and then placing their little combs next to their pets and Kady was like "Ooh yeah, good idea, Momma!" that I thought that maybe this compulsive thing is a curse.

I have always bragged that Heather is the "O" in OCD and is the medicated one. I'm the "C" in OCD and am able to keep my compulsions under control, therefore not requiring medication. Most of the time. But the older I get, the more compulsive I find myself becoming. At what point does one realize that her alphabetizing habits are out of control? I spent an hour weekend before last alphabetizing the video shelves. No kidding - a full hour. I have tried my hardest to just put things in the pantry at random. I really tried. It felt kind of good to just pull things from the sack and set them on the shelf and then walk out. For about 5 minutes. Then the nagging in the back of my head started saying,"Your peaches are in front of your applesauce. The green beans are behind the sweet potatoes. And the labels are facing different directions. " I held out for 20 minutes and then I was in the pantry, pulling things from the shelves and carefully alphabetizing them all and turning each and every label around to the front. My heart was pounding, my hands were shaking - and no I'm not exaggerating - and I could not get things in order fast enough to suit myself. Mr. Diva came in at one point and asked me "Whut the hayell are you doin'?" and I said, "Please. Leave me alone to alphabetize in peace." The man had/has no clue.

He does not know the peace and comfort I find in putting all of my blue panties in one stack, my purple/pink panties in another, blacks in another and whites in yet another. It makes sense to me to put things in color categories so that when I pick out my clothes, I can find coordinating undergarments and then grab the matching bra that goes with. Yes, my bra always matches my underwear. Sue me. He doesn't understand why I numbered all of the kids' socks so that they will forever remain in pairs. He thinks it's funny to move my canned goods around and then watch me freak out. He also thinks it's funny to make sure I'm in the room when he dumps the laundry basket full of socks and underwear into his drawer and then slams the drawer shut, leaving stocks hanging out. No piles, no stacks, no organization at all. Then he stands guard until I finally give it up and leave the room. Awhile back I would have eventually ended up back at his dresser organizing it all. Now I've decided that I will only control the things that pertain to me directly. I do not wear his socks therefore I do not do anything to his socks. This is how I know my compulsions are still controllable.

My children are not so controllable. This is really hard for a compulsive person. I like order and things I can control. Kids are only controllable to a certain extent. Things get messy. Life gets messy. I can't alphabetize my kids. And believe me, I've tried.

Last year for some reason Abby had to take off her shoes in class. A little girl next to her said, "Why are there 7's on your socks?" Abby shrugged and said, "Eh, I dunno. My mom's weird like that." Weird like that, yep - but at least her socks will all wear out evenly.


Anonymous said...

I don't think my kids have ever made their beds on purpose. Seriously. I have made them, but never on their own.
I remember owning ole big head SS! She smelled heavenly. I was more like your sister, though, all of my dolls went through life at least semi naked, with "tattoos" all over. Body art. It is a beautiful thing, SS was just too damn pure, and I felt she needed to spice it up a little.

Good Gawd, you would hate it here! I do good to put my underwear and bras away let alone color coordinate them. And wear matching anything? Shoot. I do good to remember to put any on at all.

Too Much Information.

(Next time you stop by my site, please make sure you wear coverage, wouldn't want you to piss yourself, what if you were out of matching bras/panties? ;o)

Babs said...

Watching a child with OCD can be frightening; I know I have one that I say has OCD tendencies. Always anal with spirts of OCD. When do your realize the habits are out of control? I've asked myself this question many times. I've answered with when it begins to interfere with one's life. I don't want labels or meds for my kid; so, I continue to study and do what I can do to help him at home with Behavior Modification.

You mentioned the older you get the worse it gets. That is a worry of mine. We were hoping he would grow into it; or grow out of it. You know, like he just has the weird little kid syndrome.

Thanks for sharing - it's a tough topic. Speaking of sharing, you have been tagged with the 5 question interview. You can answer on my site, or bring it on over to your site . . . the choice is up to you.

Redneck Diva said...

J - Hey, there are days that I conveniently "forget" to wear a bra, too! Ahh...sweet freedom, right?

I couldn't hate anything about you, girl! That's what's weird about me - I find that the things that bother me in my own little bubble is actually charming and endearing in others. Maybe it's because I wish I could be so footloose? :-) Oh to actually be able to wear a bra that didn't match my underwear...I'm sure it's empowering. If undergarments can be empowering...

Redneck Diva said...

Babs - Yes, I agree, it can be frightening and concerning to watch a child with OCD tendencies. You want to help them relax yet you know that they simply cannot help what they feel. Tonight my niece was arranging some jars according to height. And when she'd leave the room I would move them just to see what she'd do. Sure enough, she'd arrange them again when she came back in. She never commented that they were moved, just fixed them again. It was almost like she didn't realize she was doing it either. Strange disorder that OCD.

It's 3:30am as I write this comment and I think that the 5-question Tag is going to have to wait until I have clearer vision!

Thanks for commenting, Babs!

Anonymous said...

K- I don't even OWN a bra that matches any of my panties. Unless you count white Hanes Her Way matching.

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