I remember reading, in some university-level developmental psychology text book, that toddlers have a natural tendency toward obsessive compulsive behaviours. It’s a natural thing that they go through, as their brains work through a certain stage (wow, aren’t you impressed with my retention of that course? Ha!), and you’re supposed to just go with it. It will eventually normalize, they say.
I’m not entirely sure the Threenager will ever move out of this stage, but we will see. She is a Picker, but I can’t say with any certainty if it’s because of her age, or because she got it from me (either learned behaviour or genetics), because I am a hardcore Picker, too.
I pick at everything. I pick pimples, I pick dry skin, I pick peeling sunburned skin, I pick my cuticles and ingrown hairs. It drives the Husband crazy. And, oh my god, when the Threenager had cradle cap? PICKING HEAVEN/HELL.
Anyway, it’s the cross I bear. It’s probably a manifestation of my anxiety, so it gets better or worse, depending on my mental state.
The Threenager has two favourites to pick: the skin around her fingers and, of course, her nose. What kid doesn’t like to pick their nose?
About a year ago, I decided I would try a different tactic with trying to stop the nose picking. Instead of the constant, “Stop picking. Stop picking! STOP. PICKING.” over and over, I made it into an event. It was a ploy to distract her, make her laugh, and hopefully move on to doing something else. It worked, for a little while. Want to know what it was?
Remember that I’m a singer.
I would, upon seeing her picking her nose, sing “NOSEPICKERRRR!” loudly, and to the tune of “Moon River.” You know the tune? Here. You’re welcome. She would laugh, I would join her, and she’d move on. Yay, success!
Fast forward a few months.
We’re out for lunch at a local restaurant, with my parents and one of my aunts, visiting from out of town. The place is packed. My mom goes to scratch her nose, and…
“NOSEPICKERRRRRRR!!!!” the Threenager sings, at the top of her lungs. She looked so proud, having caught Grandma in the act!
Well that backfired, didn’t it? Whoops.
The din of the restaurant momentarily stops, as people register what just happened. There’s a bit of chuckling, and my mom can’t decide whether to be mortified or kill herself laughing. Thankfully, she chose the latter.
That’s my kid.