Wednesday, 13 May 2015

He Aint Heavy He's My Brother

When I was a little kid my grandmother, Alice, told me about a special crow named "Sammy" who would trade shiny objects for other shiny objects.  I would put out a shiny black button and find a coin in it's place, a few days later I'd put out a shiny rock and find a bright glass bead in its place. Sort of like Geocaching, but with my mom playing the part (as instructed by my grandmother) of Sammy the Crow.  When I've asked my mom about it as an adult, she told me about the random bag of stuff my grandmother had given her in her assigned role of the geocaching crow.  Neither of us ever knew why Alice was so insistent on this activity, but either way it's a fun little memory.

For anyone who's followed my blog for a while, you probably know that Jack has had some obsessive tendencies and used to collect and Gollum over bottle caps, contact lense cases and lids that he'd call plugs as his own sort of security blanket.   Thankfully after some work, Jack's obsessive tendencies have subsided and we have managed to dispose of all of Jack's "plugs" save for his favourite one which he has named Bammo.  Bammo is a boy plug, a "good boy" and is treated a lot like any of Jack's other stuffies or toys.  After months of ignoring Bammo, the plug has resurfaced into some regular play, which immediately signalled some alarms for us.  After a little bit of time playing with Bammo Chris suggested that we give Bammo a rest and put him on a high book shelf in our living room to "sleep".  In the two weeks since that time Jack has found and placed a number of other seemingly random objects on the shelf near Bammo as a part of "his family".  Objects include: a candle holder, our old doorbell button, Bammo (the plug), a blue box, a miniature teddy bear and a baseball.

Conventional advice talks about how perseverative interests can be damaging to the development of your child, and I'll be the first to admit that the obsession with plugs was a little intense last summer, hence why Bammo is "sleeping" on the shelf in our living room.

But why has this new interest in building a "family" of objects giving me a knot in my stomach level of anxiety?  Am I thinking too much?  Am I Googling too much?  The "family" isn't interfering with Jack's socialization, he's been great at daycare and home and spends less than 10 minutes a day tending to the "family".

bookshelf "family", Anne Rice Book collection
Meet "The Family"

Maybe it's the ominous name, because it sounds like the title of some sort of a doomsday cult. After worrying for a while decided that I'd do what Chris and several expert pieces of advice I had read on the matter suggested.  I sat down and talked to Jack about the "family".  I asked him, Why he liked them, which one was his favourite, if I could hold them, kiss them and why they were on the shelf.

It turns out, like Sammy the Crow, Jack collects items that he finds shiny and appealing.  The "family"  are his precious shiny objects, he doesn't want to misplace them and he wants to keep them safe.  He's affectionately named them the "family" because they mean so much to his own family.  This is about development, this is about control of his environment, this is about him calling things he loves family and this is about me (Momma) making a mountain out of a mole hill.

After I calmed down a little, Chris asked me if I knew that Molly was putting stickers on her pillows to "keep her safe at night".

"A man who doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man." Don Corleone (The Godfather)

To read about the 8 Things We've Learned in Our Journey to Manage Anxiety, Obessisive Tendencies and Encouage Speech Development click here.

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