Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I gave my daughter OCD

Yesterday Baby Toddler Flails-a-lot took a wet wipe and very carefully scrubbed down her favorite toy, an air-powered elephant that hovers plastic balls over its trunk while playing carny music. Toddler Flails-a-lot loves this toy and decided it needed a decent cleaning. She wiped down the outside then turned it on and made the wipe pop out of the elephant trunk.
My first thought? Genius. Not even two yet and she know how shit works. (This is entirely true, when her partner in crime is over she turns the toy off when he tries to use and then turns it back on for herself – blowing his mind every time.)

Second thought? Why the fuck is she cleaning the toy? What magic microscopic dust mites are clinging to it. Good Lord, I've passed on my obsessive tendencies and now she's ruined for life.

Toddler Flails-a-lot, it must be understood, has standards. She comes to us making little whinging sounds and pointing at her hand because there's some unseen bit of crap on her finger. It took us a while to get that there always was something on her hand and you had to wipe it with a dish towel or she'd worry you incessantly. It's just never visible to the naked eye.

Or she'll clean her tray when done eating by pushing everything onto the floor. Not angry, no temper, just doing what must be done to clean her plate and complete her meal. Or she'll drag us around, pointing angrily at some spot on the floor, as if to say, "I expect better of this establishment! See to it!" And we scrub these blemishes away because we're generally a little overawed by these spontaneous bursts of fastidiousness. Whoever heard of a fastidious toddler?

But back to elephant cleaning. As my mind whirred with the ways this might not be the most normal behavior I turned, in this time of crisis, to my mom to soothe the worried brow and whatnot.

Me: "Oh God, are we like that? Have I ruined her? Is the house too clean? Am I overdoing it? I mean other people's babies always seem to be grubbier than Toddler Flails-a-lot, is that because I'm freakishly clean? I just thought they all had jam immediately before I laid eyes on them. She's so fastidious."
Mother Magoo: "No. She's been like this since she was born. As for your cleanling…look around you, does this place look fastidious?"
A small dust bunny skittered across my line of sight.
Mother Magoo (watching the dust bunny disappear under my desk): "You are operating off of a false definition."
Me: "Oh, shut up….it could happen."

But she's right, my current definition of clean is if there's no dust on surfaces we use or giant dust bunnies lurking around every corner then the house is clean. When Toddler Flails-a-lot brings us dust bunnies to throw away there's a flurry of sweeping and vacuuming. When I can see the layers of dust on top of the tv from across the room I break down and hire the insane cleaning crew I know. I just have to remember that truly clean people don't have dust bunnies as their standards and that Toddler Flails-a-lot does what she likes. 

Besides, she's is just as likely to do this.
You all remember Toddler Flails-a-lot's destructive adventures with books, don't you?

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  1. This is hilarious. And reminds me why I don't quite have kids yet. Nor do I have a very clean house quite yet... Someday on both counts...

  2. It would be easier if you could just hire out both jobs. Preferably in the same person. Wanted: house cleaner with high standards, interest in surrogate pregnancy a plus. Will feed you and create messes for you.

  3. quick -- get her outside to play in the dirt and with those plums strewn all over ... see what happens.

    I am planning my niece's second birthday party with my sister -- I am in charge of the activity centers -- painting with pudding, play doh you can eat and ...

    I think your lil one would get into it just as much -- though she may asked to be cleaned after that...

    1. Lord, yes. Despite this clean phase she seems perfectly content to "clean" herself using sand and dirt. I can see her now, covered in paint and play doh, asking me to clean her hands.

  4. Also, I don't think it's abnormal at all. Hilarious but she has a really, really (unusually) good handle on how the world works so I think she's just incorporating new aspects of reality (cleaning) into her play.


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