Toddler OCD*

This morning Tator refused to take a bath. After I wrestled him out of his pajamas I lifted him over the water. You'd think I was lowering him into a vat of vipers. He hung there, his little legs in a rigid squat position and voice at full throttle. But I was determined that that stinky butt was going to make contact with water and at least a lick of soap. While attempting to ignore the screams of desperation and dodge the flaying arms, I threw a wash cloth around his privates and called it a wash.

Three hours later as I was preparing to leave the house, I heard a distinctive slosh. I had neglected to empty the tub earlier and now Tator was apparently ready to take bath. In the bathroom I find him with one leg over the side of the tub and his slippered foot and sweat-panted leg submerged up to the knee.

I have noticed something about my two-year old; he likes things done a certain way. (Oh, I know, every two-year old is particular, usually incensingly particular, and of course, only with the things they think are important). The wheel has to go back on the truck even though it is broken and therefore impossible to put back, the bowl has to go back in the cupboard even though it is caked with oatmeal, and the straw has to go back in the cup despite the fact it just fell on the restaurant floor. Well, apparently, if one slipper is wet, it is required that the other one be so.

Out comes one dripping wet red, corduroy bootie, he turns himself around and steps in with the other. Satisfied with the result, Tator then removes the saturated articles and flings them across the room where they slap against, and down, the wall.

The moral: If your toddler suddenly expresses distaste for something he loved just the night before, whatever it might be, just leave it out on the table, in the tub, or on the floor and vacate the premises. Sure as shooting, he will find some way to use the offending something to his own purposes. You can pretend the result was your original intent. This self-delusion is very helpful when attempting to control your anxiety.

Those slippers - and the wall - needed washing anyway.

* The therapists in my family have insisted I put a disclaimer on this post: A child who has to put both slippers in the tub is not OCD and should not be in anyway construed as such.

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