Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Yes, we're officially obsessive

Yesterday I took Muffin to the therapist. We've been trying to see someone since MARCH about a few behavioral problems she had in school one week in spring. Yeah, child psychologists are few and heavily booked. Anyway, Muffin is pretty much over whatever bug crawled up her ass but I decided to go anyway since psychology has always intrigued me (it was my minor in college and I've always enjoyed scrutinizing people) and I thought maybe the psychologist would tell me how brilliant and wonderful Muffin is. Mom's like to hear that kind of thing. Go figure.

The session started off with a brief history of Muffin and her "issues" and by the end of it we had come to the conclusion that Muffin has an obsessive personality. An obsessive personality that I gave to her. Yes. The child psychologist diagnosed ME with an obsessive personality via the old "popcorn test." Never heard of it? Me neither, but apparently if you follow the same routine every day, happen to see three pieces of popcorn on your floor and couldn't go to bed without cleaning them up - you're obsessive. Well, fine. Color me obsessive. I like lists, I like organizing, I like doing things "just so." Fine. (Note to self: Do not get defensive! Do not!)

Surprise! There's no cure. Muffin and I aren't pathologically OCD, we just get anxious when things are not predictable or part of our routine. So that accounts for her belly aches and stuff. Ok, great. Good to know. Probably explains some of my nervous tummy aches too.

I also asked about her meltdowns after any perceived mistake and the doc said that it's part of growing up. She said that it's Muffin's job to learn coping skills and that I shouldn't try to distract her from her meltdown because it's not helpful for her. The doc said that if I continue to try and distract Muffin out of her blue funks then Muffin could wind up 30 years old and unable to cope with sadness, disappointment or fear. Hmmm. Food for thought.

Now, you know I had to ask about her irrational fear of public toilets. Doc said that was definitely "obsessive" behavior and gave me a few options on how to recondition or modify her behavior for the future. Because, we don't want a 30 year old who can't go to a public restroom! Right. Onward with the behavior modification.

Basically, it's the old "de-sensitization" technique. I'm supposed to take Muffin to a public restroom with auto-flushing potties (when she doesn't have to go to the bathroom) and make allow her to listen to the flushes from the safety of the sink area. Gradually we'll move up to her actually going into the stall and making the potty flush, but for now we're just going to stick with listening to other people flush. Alrighty! Off to the mall bathrooms we go!

If all of this sounds a little off-the-wall, just imagine being the parent of a paranoid four-year-old lurking in a public restroom listening to people go to the bathroom and flush. Yes, just imagine that. I'm getting a giggle just imagining it myself. I can't wait to post about the actual experiment.

Oh, and you know what? That woman never ONCE mentioned how fabulously gifted, talented, smart and wonderful my Muffin is. So in the end, I'm not sure if it was a productive visit or not! Hmph!


Unknown said...

omg, I would love going and doing this with my kids as well...first, it's a great blog post and secondly, I don't want them to be as obsessive as I when they are adults. :)

Burgh Baby said...

I know some people that are in their 30's and can't do public bathrooms. It is massively inconvenient to do anything with them. The one girl who I used to work with wouldn't even go at work--she would go home at lunch and hold it the rest of the time. Too bad her parents didn't try lurking in public bathrooms when she was four . . .

Madame Queen said...

Ha! I laughed out loud at the thought of y'all lurking in the bathrooms!

You know what? All kids obsess about order and routines. But it sounds like she gave you some good things to work on.