Thursday, February 9, 2012

In Search of Perfection: OCD and Down Syndrome



Somewhere, embedded in the extra chromosome that graces the genetic makeup of our children, there is a little compartment labeled, in neatly-organized organic matter-type letters, "Perfectionism," and I don't mean the kind that just says our kids are perfect (which they ARE!).  I'm pretty sure they all have it.  Somewhere.  Although, in anticipating some of your responses about how messy or disorganized your children are, I'll venture to say that that little "compartment" may not have been accessed just yet... 

First of all, I have not done any research into this topic, although I'm sure plenty of data exists.   But leaving it up to individual experiences and heresay is so much more fun, don't you think?  And trust me, if I thought there was a problem, I'd be all over the web in a hot second to find out more from that expert data, wherever it may lie.

Samantha likes to have order in her life.  Advanced warning of things-to-come is key to a smooth transition from activity to activity, and following the rules on how things should be, or how she thinks things should be (often based on something she'd observed us doing on at least one occasion, whether right or...gasp...wrong...) is just something she does (okay, not always, but most of the time).  Especially when we've given her some sort of reasoning as to why something should be done a certain way.  Telling her that a seatbelt needs to be on so she can be safe (thank you, Dora!) is a very compelling reason, and she's obsessively gung-ho about it, to the point where she yells for me to wait and not drive the car yet because Daddy's seatbelt hasn't been fastened yet.  Okay, okay, I got it!  Right now we're working on the "Don't use too much toilet paper because it'll break the toilet, okay honey?" lesson.

Closing the downstairs powder room door is a biggie for her, and one for which I don't believe I've ever given her reason to feel that need.  I'm thinking that she's seen us do it often, which is reason enough for her. 

Changing her underwear twice a day...well, I have no idea about that one...  Any time there's a clothing change, it has to include underwear.  Or she has a whiny little fit, eyes squinched, feet stomping, arms crossed...  Do I give in?  Well, unless I can provide a compelling reason not to let her change, yes.

There was a scene in Monica and David that both Steve and I call back to memory often.  Monica and David were making their bed, carefully, neatly.  When it came time for them to place the little decorative pillows on top of the spread, there was an urgent back and forth between the two of them, one moving the pillow into a position they thought was perfect, the other tugging it back just slightly into what they thought was the right place.  Samantha does that when she helps me make our bed.  If I move it to where I want it, she jumps in and quickly edges it back, just. so.

Consistency.  Order.  Object Permanence, perhaps.  Control

Such important concepts that shape the brains of our children. 

Is this a bad thing?  Nah.  Well, not unless it starts to get in the way of daily functioning or leads to anxiety.  Applying reason to the situations may help mitigate some of the less-desired behaviors, but for now, I'm going to pick my battles and enjoy the nice, (mostly) tidy room with Samantha's name on the door. 

What has your experince been with OCD and your child with Down syndrome?

16 comments:

Debbie @ Three Weddings said...

Peanut has little areas where I see this, but for the most part it's very mild. I'm grateful for that and yet when she runs though the house making one distraction after another, I wish she had a little bit more of it. :-)

krlr said...

My girl's too young for any schedule issues & the way she trashes her room does NOT suggest a neatness streak... but the doors. Oh, how she loves to close the doors! When she was smaller I read about other kids' door obsessions & thought "nope! not us" - pretty sure it started the following week.

At least it keeps the heating costs down.

lovemy3 said...

We don't have experience with that yet because Hailey is young still. I worry though because I am so OCD on so many things....she has it coming at her from everywhere!

Yo Mamma Mamma! said...

Violette is a door and drawer closer. And in her bed the other night I tried to move Dumbo to her right and Baby Addie to the left. "NO! NO! Mommy, Baby Addie sleeps HERE!" She consistently throws trash away. And clothes go in the hamper for the most part. It is awesome!

Lisa said...

Cate is a door closer but I never really thought about it before I read these comments! She also does the seatbelt thing and thrives on schedules (as long as they are the ones she wants to follow). She has very specific wants but so far is completely unconcerned when it comes to toys, her room & her hair.

gwen said...

Yep, Alaina is a door closer too. She also is continually bossing her sisters over rules such as no climbing on the table, going in the road, and eating with manners. It's quite a refreshing difference from her sisters who can't seem to obey the rules :)

Kathy said...

PJ is 4 and a half. No tidiness characteristics emerging yet, but my fingers are crossed. :o) He is good at closing doors and turning off lights, for the most part. :o)

Chromosomally Enhanced said...

this is crazy! I have been just noticing that Maddie has this OCD thing...and even her ot's brought up the other day...when she plays dolls the blankets have to be perfectly straight...all cupboards have to be shut...me, Chad, and Max have to sit in certain places...if there is not order in her world then nothing is right! smiles

Rochelle said...

I am sure we will see more of these types of behaviors from Alayna as she gets older. She loves order too. But, I would say Aidan loved order as a young child and now could care less so maybe it is in our genetics (probably that English gene)LOL

Anna said...

I am laughing! yesterday we spent the day at Drs offices and she was insistent "Chicken and french fries" Because last time at the eye Dr marathon 2.5 hrs I treated us to chick fil a. Then today papa was still home when we woke up, so to her it felt like a Saturday but then he went to work. She was off and i didnt put two and two together until I mentioned to him that I thought it was because her foot hurt. He reminded me that it was prolly that we didnt have eggs and her watch her dvds. UGH. Im learning.

tekeal said...

i definitely see this in livia too, although i've never been fully sure what part is derived from the swiss culture of order and structure which she grows up in. she insists on closing the dishwasher before everyone is finished loading it, she also is very particular about how her shoes/boots line up next to one another, she basically won't tolerate having food on her plate that she doesn't want to eat (she puts it on someone else's plate without asking), she is very picky about where her glass is placed when eating... and if she decides that she wants to sit on a specific section of the sofa and someone else goes there- help us all! and then she plays a favorite "switching-places-according-to-livia's-whims" game which takes a fierceness of authority to stop. and there are certainly more examples :-)

april narretto said...

this makes me feel so...so...so normal HA!
William is the cabinet door police and most importantly the microwave door MUST be shut!!! Let me clarify I never just leave the door hanging open but as soon as he knows im poppin' something in the microwave he pushes his chair up and slams that door quickly! I have actually had my head slammed in the door as I was taking something out ...guess it wasnt fast enough for him :)

Alicia Llanas said...

Elias lately has to have every button of the shirt button up, dont know why he came up with this, since i think the top one doesnt need to be but oh try tell him not to, and yess there will be drama, i give up on that although my husband doesnt want to he keeps trying to show that he doesnt need to have every button up, but oh well, i tell my husband that this is his choice, maybe he likes it that way?

also the door of the bathroom always must be closed, and the lights off if you are not in the room (thanks for saving up energy!)


Eva, other than she must have the reason, i dont think she has some ocd, lol, maybe because the way she grew up? dont know. oh i think of something now, the rug of the bathroom must be in its place correctly, in order she can use the toilet, if she see is folden in one corner or misplaced she will put it ok and then use the toilet. thats pretty much it.

Michelle said...

Interesting topic! I don't notice to much OCD behavior with Kayla right now, but I when she was younger she did a few things like making sure doors were closed etc. We joke now that Lucas has OCD because of how he is so I wondered if it was just the age that they go through something like that. I remember chuckling at that scene in Monica & David!

teal915 said...

The Monica and David thing made me laugh. When my husband and I first got married, he was shocked by the way I folded a shirt. He tried to teach me his way, but I could never get. We ended up going with my way lol. I remember Monica having a few things that she was repetitive about. She had to put all of her things in the drawer in just the right place, and then open the drawer slowly several times to make sure nothing had moved. We're obviously nowhere near finding out Kamdyn's little quirks like that, but I will say that my 5 year old is obsessed with where the things in her room go. Somewhere in the last year, she has decided that she KNOWS where everything should go, and if I move it, it is not acceptable haha. Maybe it's more of a girl thing too. I don't know, but I prefer tidy over sloppy any day.

Crittle said...

M is totally in the club. Lights off, doors closed, cabinets shut, etc. And she thrives off of routine. Her dad gets her ready most mornings, so if we stray from that because he's out of town, she does not like that I prefer clothes-breakfast-teeth, as it MUST BE breakfast-teeth-clothes.

Lord help us if we want to skip a bath on a Friday night.