My OCD Child

“Dada, crackers please.”

All the kid asks for are crackers and milk. But at least he said please, so I happily retrieved a few Ritz crackers and tried to hand them to him.

“No dada! Bowl!”

Of course, how could I forget? He needs to have all of his food in a bowl or else he can’t eat it. So I fetched a small plastic bowl and I dropped the crackers in. And that’s when Will lost his fucking mind. I’m serious. He cried and cried and screamed like a friggin lunatic. And for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why, because I had given exactly what he wanted.

Even though Will is extremely communicative right now and able to express himself very well for a 2-year-old, his fit of rage left him temporarily speechless. His chest was heaving and he couldn’t stop the sobs long enough to speak. Finally, after several minutes and a whole lot of soothing, I was able to extract from him the reason for his hissy fit.

It was because one of the crackers had a piece missing.

I shit you not. The edge of one cracker had crumbled slightly. So because of that nearly imperceptible little flaw, my son could not eat ANY of the crackers currently in the bowl. I thought maybe he just had a hangup with crackers, so then I went and got the deli cheese out of the fridge, which I know he loves. And sure enough, he was totally excited for it. But before I gave him a piece of cheese, I ripped a very small piece from the corner.

Bad idea. He threw another hissy fit of epic proportions.

At first I was confused but then it all kind of started to make sense. When Will sits in his booster seat to eat at the table, before he dines he needs me to roll his sleeves up. Even if he’s not wearing sleeves. Hell, even if he’s not wearing a shirt. Doesn’t matter. I still need to pretend to roll his sleeves up so they won’t get messy. And when it comes to the food on his plate, you cannot fuck around. If there are two separate foods on his plate, they sure as shit better not be touching. God help you if they’re touching. He will allow different food to be on his plate, however the food must be in his Mickey Mouse plate and stashed in the ears because there is a divider that keeps the food separate.

But it goes beyond food.

Will has a bunch of toy cars with which he loves to play. Some of these cars have doors and hoods that open up. But they can absolutely not be opened while he is playing with them. If a door or hood is ajar it ruins his whole playtime experience. He will lose his mind. And if the cars or trains or blocks aren’t lined up directly in front of him in neat rows, it’s all over buddy.

When it’s time for bed, Will has to have his “friends” with him. He has to be holding Lambie, Monkey and Bear. And when he goes to sleep he clutches them to his chest tightly, and then rolls over three times before settling on his stomach, as I sing him the same verse of the same song to lull him to sleep. Note that I once tried to sing another verse from the song, and all hell broke loose.

I wondered how the hell my kid could be like this. I’m so messy and not organized whatsoever. My desk at work can best be described as chaotic (although I pretty much know where everything is) and there is a constant flow of dirty clothes littering the floor and my side of the bed. So how, I asked myself, could my kid be such a freak.

Just then I walked by our bedroom closet, and the answers suddenly revealed themselves.

I always knew MJ’s side of the closet was neat, but I had never really studied it before. What I saw wasn’t just neat, it was organized to the nth degree. See I put my “nice clothes” on hangers in the closet. I throw them in there haphazardly and don’t give it a second thought. But MJ? She not only has her good clothes in there, she divides them up even further. I realized she has dresses she wears socially separated from her work dresses. Then the business suits and power outfits are separate from that.

Intrigued, I went into her dresser.

While I have a drawer for underwear, she’s got an underwear system. On the left side is the frilly stuff. Lace, thongs, all the cool shit. In the middle it became the second-tier stuff. Still sexy but definitely a step down. And then, on the right, are her everyday undies. Faded and worn cotton numbers. The kind married guys are used to seeing except for special events, when she harnesses the left side.

On and on it went. Socks, shirts, jeans, pants. Everything had its place. Not to mention MJ doesn’t like her food touching either. I once made her a burger, put it in a bun, put the bun on the plate and then scooped her some baked beans. And the baked beans touched the bun!! It was a near catastrophe I tell you.

So what’s my life going to be like? Apparently I’m going to be surrounded by ridiculous amounts of needless organization while sitting on the couch that must be exactly parallel with the carpet. I’ll be eating perfectly round circular food and pieces of cheese with sharp 90-degree angles. All of our plates will be replaced with cafeteria trays that adequately isolate our meals, ensuring everything is contamination free.

Basically I’ll be rooming with Jack Nicholson from “As Good as it Gets.” Minus the good-natured racism and witty repartee.

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14 thoughts on “My OCD Child

  1. My son doesn’t want his food to touch either. He uses a segmented plate to keep each one separated.

    He is also a die cast car collector. They are sorted by color, or model, or type – NASCAR, military, etc..

    My son is 17yo now, but he sounds so much like your son.

  2. I can sympathize… with MJ. I can’t stand it when my food touches, my canned goods are organized by type of food (veg, fruit, soup, etc) and then alphabetically within, each type of clothes in my closet (jeans, shirts, etc) is on its own COLOR hanger and each hanger must be evenly spaced, and on it goes…. Drives my husband crazy. For me, it comes down to control. So many things (BAD things) happened to me, things that I couldn’t control. So I started going crazy, organizing and cleaning, just to feel like I had some control over something. I doubt that is Will’s problem, he probably learned it subconsciously from MJ – it’s amazing the things that kids will pick up – but maybe MJ had some shit go down and that was one way for her to cope. I will admit that when I had my son and he started exhibiting similar behavior, it pushed me to let go of some of the crazier shit (I no longer iron all of my paper money, for example).

  3. Oh boy haha..my daughter is picky about a few things…crackers need to be in the bowl etc…and if the food gets “yucky” it has to go on the floor…always a HUGE mess. However, I think you def. have an OCD baby there:) but hopefully he’ll put his obsessions to good use one day. My sister is starting a professional organization business using hers!:) Ugh. Good luck.

  4. Like Jack Nicholson in that movie, Vincent will not step on cracks. Drives me crazy. He also freaks when his food touches, even syrup when he eats waffles. He cuts his waffles and pushes them to the right side of his plate. He then tells me where to pour the syrup and it better not touch those waffles! He has to individually “dip dip dip” the waffle pieces in the syrup. I find he’s also like me in the sense that he has to dry his hands after brushing his teeth even though he is about to wash his hands next! What have I done??? Love the post…our boys are too adorable.

  5. I bet you were the same at this age. Go ask your parents, then come back and tell us all the funny stuff. It should be epic.

  6. I love this!! Because it’s not happening in my house! Good times over there for sure. My third child has a small degree of this…he sorts his Halloween candy like a science. All kids do this, I recognize but his must be lined up precisely according to what the items is, brand, etc. It’s freaky.

    Best of luck to you, my friend. I think you’re going to need it! ;)

  7. i think i’ve told you this before, but you and MJ remind me of Lovie and me. (except, no offense, but it sounds like you may be a tick higher on the slob-o-meter than yours truly).

    favorite line: “you cannot fuck around.”

    we have a lambie, too.

    Vegas just called me . Will’s future occupation just hit the board. early favorite is Accountant at 13:2.

    PS — the patriots suck. but you, my friend? you’re the shit.

  8. If you gave the kick ass, responsible answers I give, you wouldn’t have that problem.

    Last time my son asked for crackers I told him chattel property was illegal.

  9. Neat is never a word to describe me. Even cluttered would be kind. I refer to my desk at work as a black hole…things disapper never to be seen again. However…my closet is organized like MJ’s even down to colors grouped together. I have a underwear system that even involves a separate drawer for some types of items…and if you want to hear me scream like a crazy person put food on my plate in the “wrong” spot or touching other food.

  10. LOL…I laugh because I have a 5 year old who has actually been diagnosed with OCD. He really freaks out about certain things. Good news is that it is typically a sign of higher than average intelligence (according to our neurologist) and children who learn to keep it in check tend to do very well in the sciences. So maybe stocking up on those expensive divided plates and throwing out cracked crackers will pay off in the long run with a brilliant neurolosurgeon who allows you to retire at an early age!

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