Posts Tagged ‘OCD’

“Ideal” Conditions

In Family, Inspiration and Motivation, Life Lessons, Pursuit of Happiness on April 14, 2010 at 7:19 am

This morning, a fairly insignificant moment with my daughter inspired this post and a life lesson that should benefit me going forward.  Hopefully those that read this will reap some benefit as well.

Potty training my 3-year old has been an experience (to say the least).  Like many kids, she resisted the idea of shedding the diaper, even though it meant bribery gifts, “big girl” underwear with her favorite characters and more.  Try as we might, there is very little that can be done to make it happen before she is willing, even if she is able.  It takes work, and it can be very frustrating at times.

To date, we have finally gotten her to use the potty at home.  However, we are still working on getting her to use a potty outside of the house.  This struggle seems to be more of an epic battle than it was to get her to go on the potty at home.  But it was no easy task at home either.

It started with the little potty because she was scared of the toilet with the potty seat.  Eventually, when we got tired of having our kitchen double as a bathroom, we took away the little potty and forced the issue a bit.  Though there was some screaming at first, it didn’t take long for her to realize that it wasn’t so bad to go on the big potty.  However, there was still one fear to overcome.  Let’s just say that she was no longer “regular” as she held it in out of fear.  Overcoming this fear was more work than just getting her to transition to the big potty, but before long, she realized that it wasn’t so bad after all.

Although we have conquered every milestone (aside from going outside of the house), it still doesn’t come easy at times, and this is where the life lesson was realized.

I don’t know if it is some kind of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) or if she is merely a stickler for details, but my daughter still requires “ideal conditions” before using the potty at home.

First of all, it must be a “fresh bowl.” Sometimes kids forget to flush, so the bowl isn’t always fresh.  I understand this compulsion.  What I don’t understand is the fact that she refuses to flush the toilet if she didn’t just use it, so the reinforcements (my wife and I) must be called in to handle the “dirty work.”

Second of all, the stool that she uses to reach the potty must be as close to perfect as possible.  This morning it wasn’t.  Usually the problem is that the stool has gotten wet because it is near the sink.  Today proved that my daughter either has OCD, or that she is a perfectionist.  The conversation went as follows…

“Daddy, I have to go potty, but there is something on my stool.”

“What is it, baby?”

“It looks like it’s a sesame seed.”

One single sesame seed threw her off her game!  It’s not as if the stool was inexplicably covered in sesame seeds.  It was one seed!  During this conversation, my daughter was “penguin walking” through the living room with her underwear around her ankles.  But this wasn’t surprising, because part of her routine includes the “penguin walk,” even if it is only across the bathroom.

I laughed to myself at the absurdity of a sesame seed preventing her from going potty.  At that moment, it hit me that my daughter requires “ideal conditions” for something that should be fairly routine.  It got me to thinking about some things that I have done in the past, and continue to do at times today as well.

My “sesame seed” is paralysis by analysis.  It is trying to get everything “perfect” before getting started on something.  But we live in an imperfect world.  Very rarely does the world fully cooperate and wrap everything up in a neat little package with a bow of perfection.  There are ALWAYS unforeseen circumstances and unexpected issues that arise.  Whether it is something small and insignificant, or a real hurdle that must be overcome, the bottom line is that action is better than inaction.  Smart planning is one thing.  Obsessing on making things perfect is quite another.

The truth of the matter is that this blog would not exist if I approached it with perfection in mind.  I would have had to have found the perfect domain name.  I would have wanted it to be designed professionally.  I would have added things to it that aren’t really necessary.  It never would have been launched because it would have taken too much time, money and planning.  Sometimes, in life, it is best to live by Nike’s tagline…JUST DO IT!

If I find myself waiting for “ideal conditions” again in the future, I will think of the sesame seed on the stool, realize that “ideal conditions” don’t really exist and JUST DO IT!

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