I’ve discussed my own quirks regarding germs and bodily fluids in the past (see What a Mess for full details–if you dare…). I’ve never felt that I pushed my problems onto the kids. I accept the fact that a) kids are messy, and b) that means their clothes skin and anything else they touch. So long as they don’t touch me, we’re in good shape. However, it appears that my little imitator has picked up on some of my insecurities and obsesses over the cleanliness of things.
For example, the other day we were out at lunch with the little kids while Brendan was at school. Their lunch came with an optional free sundae, and since we weren’t in a hurry we got it for them. The sundae consisted of one small scoop of ice cream and chocolate syrup. Kaylee, in typical fashion, attacked it like she hadn’t eaten in months. She did not want help eating, which meant as the ice cream began to melt she started making a terrible mess.
Now, from my experience, most two year olds would not have blinked an eye about ice cream dripping all over the place. Maybe if it dripped onto them since it would feel cold, but the table? Forget it. Kaylee’s a little different in that aspect. As soon as a drip would hit the table she would instantly demand, “Clean the table mommy!” then take the napkin from my hands and wipe the mess up herself. Her progress was impeded by the fact that she still had her drippy spoon in the other hand which would begin leaving a trail of ice cream drips in it’s wake but she refused to put it down or let me hold it.
I wish I could say this was a one off situation, but it’s not. When she was first starting to eat real food instead of baby food we had a big problem getting her to eat. We weren’t sure what the problem was and since she couldn’t talk yet she couldn’t tell us. It took a couple weeks, but we finally figured out that she wanted to use a fork like the rest of us. She didn’t want to get sticky, nasty food all over her hands, not when there was a utensil that she could use to prevent that from happening.
And when it comes time to clean the kitchen table she’s the first in line to grab a sponge and wipe up the mess. In this case though all of my kids love to do that job. Something about dipping a sponge into warm soapy water and squeezing it out into the sink entertains them immensely. (in fact they spend more time wringing out the sponge than they do actually wiping up the table, but that’s another story).
But for wanting things to be so clean, Kaylee has a couple of things that she does NOT like to have cleaned. One is the car, the other herself. The car isn’t too big a surprise, all of my kids have been afraid of the carwash at one time or another, but holy cow she takes it to a new level. Brendan was afraid of it until we told him that the car was just getting a bath. Then he was very excited about the whole prospect and wanted to know why we didn’t give the car a bath more often since he had to take one just about every day. For Cameron, all it took was going through it a couple of times and reminding him that the water couldn’t get him.
Kaylee is so bad about it that if you even mention the word “Car wash” she starts screaming her head off. On a rare (for winter) warm and sunny day last week we were filling the car up with gas and I popped my head out the door to suggest to Matt that we get the car washed while we were there and the day was so nice. As soon as I shut the door Kaylee started crying and screaming no over and over again. Matt finished pumping the gas and we drove around the building to enter the car wash. The closer we got to the entrance the louder and more frequent her screams became.
This was Matt’s first experience with her in a car wash, up to then I had been the only one to take her through one. He was amazed at the level of her fear. He agreed with me that the boys had never been quite this scared of going through the car wash. This time around I was prepared with a handful of things to distract her and attempt to get her to calm down. We had a cup of juice for her which usually keeps her attention pretty fully. She accepted the cup from me easily enough but wouldn’t stop screaming and drink out of it. I also tried holding her hand, thinking that the contact and my soothing voice might be enough to bring her down from the irrational fear but to no avail. Guess we’re just going to have to wait for her to grow out of this one.
Then there’s her. If she gets messy eating, she’s the first one to ask for a napkin. But if she misses a spot on her face and you later try to get it off with a wet wipe or a washcloth and suddenly she screams as if you’re attacking her with a rusty knife. She refuses to poop in her potty, but has no desire to have her butt wiped either. During a diaper change you’ll hear her pitiful cries of, ” be gentle mommy, not faster.” I’ve tried hundreds of times to convince her that if she poops in the potty she wouldn’t have to go through all the hassle of being wiped up (and yes I am glazing over the fact that she needs to learn to wipe with toilet paper–one hurdle at a time people!!) but so far she’d rather complain than actually go in her little potty.
I suppose there’s a chance that she will grow out of these little quirks, but I’m not holding my breath. I frequently hear from family members that Kaylee looks and acts exactly like like I did when I was her age. That doesn’t bode well for her getting less quirky…only more so.