Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tidy it up, Tidy it up

As I mentioned Daniel is getting into this cleaning thing. We had company all weekend and at one point Daniel was cleaning up the toys in the family room. When I remarked to my cousin that possibly Daniel is getting a (bit) obsessive, her comment was, "ahem, I wonder where he gets THAT from". I know you can't see the gesture she made with her eyes toward me. . . and I know I can be a (bit) ahem, obsessive myself. I would like to know, where is the line between being neat and well, ocd? I am not schooled in this area and am really wondering if any of you moms out there can tell me.

I think I can let it go. . . sometimes. Sometimes I can't. Daniel can't stand anything out in our family room or the kitchen. Neither can I. This is what he has gotten used to, so now when there are toys out in the FR he immediately starts perseverating that they need to be put away. I assure him that once people are actually finished with them, they will be. This weekend our visitors left our some things and Daniel just went behind and put them back where they belong. If his brother makes himself a bowl of cereal and eats it is the FR and leaves it there (usually the case) Daniel who GAGS at the cite of cereal or anywhere cereal has been, will carry the bowl to the sink in the kitchen while trying not to puke and make yet another mess. He would rather move the bowl and gag, than leave it there. The (seemingly) easy answer is to get the BROTHER to move it, but that happens 10% of the time. I'm working on it though.
Between the visitors and the party Sunday, I've been staying on top of things. Then today I had the contractor coming over who gutted my kitchen a year and a half ago. He was coming to take pictures for his business to show his work. So yet again this morning I was cleaning the kitchen. Of course that winter sun was shining bright which will show any dust on the floor or the windows, so I was maybe, well, obsessing just a wee tiny bit. But c'mon, these pictures are going to be shown to his prospective clients for years. Do I really want there to be fingerprints on my microwave?? I remember looking at the pictures when I was deciding on which contractor to use and went through saying things, like, why did they keep that old dishwasher, why did they do this, why did they do that. It makes me crazy to think someone might be doing that to MY kitchen. . . but I digress.

Daniel came in the kitchen and said, "you're cleaning the kitchen, ahhhhh I love that". He said with such happy satisfaction. The "mop" was sitting there. It isn't actually a mop, I don't know what you call it, I put these washable pads on them to clean my hardwood floors. He said, "can I mop for you?" and proceeded to run around the kitchen with the "mop" singing his favorite Bear in the Big Blue house song, c'mon everybody let's clean up the house, LET'S GO". etc etc. I looked everywhere on line and can't find this video? What's up with that?
When we finished, he sat down with a look of comfort and said, "I love the house clean, can you smell those cleaners .. . ahhhhhh". I have to say, I totally totally agree Daniel. It makes me happy. I get a bit angry myself when things are junky and it really bothers me visually. So the question is, is this the autism, ocd, or just a desire for neatness? Am I making it worse? Or am I helping him learn how to be responsible and clean up after himself and take care of his surroundings? Where is the line? Let's hear it.


Cale said...

I would bet on it just being a desire for neatness. I have checking-OCD, not cleaning, but the cleaners I have met go far beyond this level of obsessiveness. Things like vaccumming the living room every time someone walks across it, even in the middle of the night, to ensure that those nice just-vaccummed lines remain there. Or lining every item in a cupboard up by height or width or in abc order.
OCD is far more severe than simply needing things to be just so. It is more a matter of having thoughts that just keep circulating and circulating until you have to activate them. OCD cleaners I know will be completely distracted in class by the thought that they might have left a shoe sticking out just slightly from under their bed. Nothing else can be accomplished that day until they run back to the room and make sure that shoe was put back.

I don't think there is any problem with encouraging Daniel's cleanliness. I quote one of my favorite philosophers, (Crow) here: "If it makes you happy, it can't be that bad."

Jude K. said...

I think the line is crossed when your own desire for neatness stops you from allowing less neat people and situations into your life.

That's not you so I believe, while skirting the cusp of OCD, you are simply very very neat.

Plus... imperative neatness gives you a sense of order and control in a universe where things sometimes can and do spiral out of control at least temporarily.

That Daniel understands he too has some control over his surroundings by keeping them clean and tidy is a positive in my book! He's looking out for himself and his own positive mental state as well as yours when he sees something that needs to be done and 'takes care of it' himself.

I say, "Good for him and good for you!"


Mama Mara said...

I agree with Cale and Jude. I don't know about you, but for me so much is out of my control, and most of what I do never seems to accomplish anything tangible. Cleaning allows me to do something with an immediate, tangible result, and you can always tell if things are rough at my house because the place is immaculate.

Also, my son with the overactive sense of smell, Rocky, always likes the house after I clean because it neutralizes all the smells in the house, at least temporarily.

Mama Mara said...
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