Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Obsessions

Why do kids become fixated on certain things? I see it all the time with Jacob, and sure enough, thinking back on my own childhood, I did it too. I'm pretty sure we've all done it, actually, though I'd have to think that some kids (studiers, sensory kids, those who notice every little detail) probably do it more. There are just certain things kids gravitate to for no apparent reason, and it's so odd to watch from an adult's perspective. But as a kid, I know it seemed completely normal. I'm sure a shrink would have volumes to say on a lot of these fixations, but I'd have to think that a lot of it comes back to imagination and how a child-like brain sees a particular object. Or maybe something's happened that makes an object resonate like never before.

From my own experience I can think back to certain types of toys I gravitated to, or certain storylines my Barbies lived out repeatedly, or certain toys that I probably never used for their official purpose because my imagination thought they should be used in another way. I could probably dig in my memory bank and come up with tons of stories, but I'll give you two...at the risk of embarrassing myself. Example 1: We had this set of colorful clear plastic octagons that were slotted so you could interlock them and build things. But I don't think I ever built much. More often I used them in some sort of imaginary storyline where they were some sort of colorful food item or something. I would just distribute them into piles, stack them in the six sections of their box, and presumably just enjoy the colors. No clue what the draw was there, though to this day I still love brightly colored things like that. They'd make a lovely mobile or something now if I strung them up. Example 2: My dentist used to give out cheap rings after each appointment. Between those and ones that I found in the "junk boxes" at my grandma's house (from years of her four children living next door to a little grocery store with those alluring kiddie vending machines that every store has), I had quite an assortment. But the odd thing? I pried the stones out of all of them, so I just had a collection of the stones themselves. And at the time I became obsessed with the Home Shopping Network, and would often use the stones and a set of plastic chopsticks I had (from God knows where) to display and poke at the stones like they did on HSN when showing off jewelry. Again, no idea why that was something fun for me, but I turned into a relatively functional adult so I guess it didn't scar me in any way. I also had a thing for those colorful little rocks you find at science/educational stores....still do, actually ;-)

So, that said, I guess there's no telling what a child is going to be interested in or intrigued by. I can list off a whole slew of things that Jacob is bizarrely attached to. Let's see...

Anything sports - He pretty much has a hockey stick, lacrosse stick, or baseball bat in his hand at any given moment. However, there are times when he needs to have a certain one or the world will end. This morning he was determined to find a certain ball. He's also been obsessed with Craig's batting helmet that I posted a picture of the other day. I think the thing that's funniest though, is what he will turn into a hockey stick, lacrosse stick, or baseball bat. Yesterday at daycare he apparently pointed to his celery and said "baseball bat" and then pointed to a plum and decided it was a ball.

Stuffed animals - He definitely gets on stuffed animal kicks. Sometimes he nees to have a certain one in hand to get him to do anything. His crib is practically a zoo, not to mention a potential suffocation hazard, I suppose. But he just doesn't want to send any of his animals to the basket next to the crib at bedtime. He's also wanted to stockpile blankets in his crib, but I draw the line at two--one folded up like a pillow, and one blanket to cover him. One of the stuffed animal oddities lately is that he's been keeping this bear in his crib. It's a little knit/crocheted blue bear that my mom got him at the church bazaar back when he wasn't even six months old. He's checked it out a bit every now and then since then, but lately he's had that bear in his crib all the time. One night I tried putting some animals back in the basket, and he specifically asked for that one. Not that it isn't super cute, but it's just odd that all of a sudden he's totally into that one after months of indifference.

Sunglasses - After fighting us over wearing sunglasses last summer and part of this spring, Jacob now does not want to take his off. Ever. He wears them in the house and cries when we take them off, even before meals or bedtime. They do look pretty cool, but considering his track record of clumsiness, obstructed or darkened vision is probably not the best thing for him.

Elmocize - I already covered this one previously, but why is this video so darn addictive compared to regular Sesame Street or any other show on TV? Sure, the music's catchy, but so is the Elmo's World song and the little song Elmo sings at the end of Elmo's World to the tune of Jingle Bells, at the end of each Sesame Street episode. Part of me wants to let him explore the world of kids' TV a bit, but I'm afraid of a new, more annoying obsession. Craig talked about getting him some kids movies as well, but I'm just not sure I want to go there, both because he doesn't need to sit and watch TV, and because I don't need to memorize any kids movies from being on repeat play.

Turtle - Yesterday morning Jacob wandered into our room and noticed this clear plastic (lucite?) turtle that was on one of the shelves of my nightstand. It was a dollar store purchase years ago, basically a gag gift for Craig as I recall, because it's a back massager. Rub the feet up your back and it will give you chills. I actually have a non-dollar store version that's a dolphin, which lives on a shelf in the bathroom. So the turtle has sat near the bed for years, in one spot or another, just in case either of us ever feels generous and wants to give the other a backrub. Yeah, right. But Jacob found it interesting and he's been toting it around ever since. He even took it to bed with him last night. I took it back out after he fell asleep (that would be a rude awakening), but he asked for it first thing this morning. So odd.

Food - Jacob isn't much of a foodie. It's hard to get him to sit and eat a meal unless he's the right mood (which I have yet to figure out) or the food is what he wants right then and there. However, there are certain things that he constantly asks for or gets seriously excited about when he gets one. He loves pretzels. He's eaten them a lot at my parents, where there's a good, readily accessible supply. And now he knows where we keep them in one of our lower kitchen cabinets, so he's constantly digging in there to find them. Same with the Goldfish we keep there too. But he asks for pretzels by name quite often. He also asks for "beans" a lot. "Beans" are actually M&Ms or any other candy coated chocolate. He's also a big fan of Lucky Charms. Craig gave him a few of the oat pieces in the mornings when he poured his own cereal, and now Jacob loves them. And yes, he does get a few marshmallows but I try to weed them out when I can. Believe me, it was not my plan to get him into sugar cereals this early. He also loves smoothies that I make with strawberries, bananas, yougurt, milk and ice...though he usually sees me with the banana and says, "No 'nana." But he loves them anyway. He's also still a big fan of ice cream cones, with or without the ice cream. So weird.

Wearing Shoes - For some reason, just like he wants to wear his sunglasses inside, he always wants to wear shoes. He cries when we take them off, and points to them when he sees them. Not sure what the draw is, but he totally loves to wear shoes.

So, he's a bit of an oddball, but I guess if he didn't have weird obsessions, he'd be an even odder oddball! Gotta love the quirks, though :) And I'm sure there will be many, many more to come!

1 comment:

Mommy Trouble said...

One of my boys have an obsession with Pants. He won't try any fruits or vegetables on a regular basis, but if we threaten to get rid of any of his pants, he will eat anything and everything we ask him too.

If the weather is 175 F outside, he will still insist on at least a pair of pants, but more then likely a pants and jacket track suit.

Strange quirks. I love them! You're little guy is adorably quirky.