Oddly curious

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

She is not tall enough to open the door on her own, yet she's just big enough that it's impossible for her to close the door once she's seated.)

I'm learning, weird is normal.

- Kim, Marietta

My son throws a fit and makes me re-tie his shoes if the loops on the laces aren't exactly the same size.

- Lisa, Upper Arlington

My daughter went through a looooong phase with her socks. The seam had to be just so or she would have a fit. The socks were put on again and again; then adjusted.

- Jana, Dublin

From preschool through at least second grade, our son refused to wear long-sleeved shirts. He would only wear T-shirts, even in winter. I finally got him to wear a "hoodie" under his coat, so I could at least maintain respect as a mother.

- Neila, Worthington

- Ellie, Columbus

When my 3-year-old daughter is tucked in at night she requests five soft tissues. It has to be five, and they have to be the soft kind (i.e. Puffs with aloe.) She keeps them on a little stool next to her bed just in case her nose gets runny.

- Lauren, Columbus

My son insists on one song at bedtime. If I try to change the tune or words I get, "Seriously, Mom, do it the right way." The song is Away in a Manger and all three verses must be sung.

- Lana, Marysville

My daughter has always wanted ALL lights off when she sleeps. No hall light, no night light, her room must be pitch-black.

- Rick, Canal Winchester

My 11-year-old insists on going to sleep with no socks on. As a toddler she actually obsessed over it.

- Robin, Aurora, IL

- Jason, Worthington

My 9-year-old boy MUST mix all his food before eating it. He stirs everything into a big gooey mess then eats all of it.

- Patty, Canal Winchester

My niece can NOT have her food touch other food on her plate ... she's 23!

- Liz, Clintonville

- Nancy, Hilliard

My son used to plan out EVERY detail of our vacations. At Cedar Point he listed what rides he wanted to go on and in what order. When we deviated from the list he threw a fit. He did this on every trip. One year he actually came to me and said, "Mom, I'm really going to try not to spoil everyone's vacation this year."

- Gail, Clintonville

Our 6-year-old is terrified of wiping after going to the bathroom. It makes him sick to even look at dirty toilet paper. He was so excited a few days ago because he wiped himself. I was proud (cautiously) and I asked how he knew he was clean and he said he looked in the mirror. He has a wall mirror behind the toilet and after wiping, instead of looking at the T.P., he checked his bottom in the mirror!

- Jody, Dublin

RELAX. Your child's quirks are likely temporary according to pediatric/clinical child psychologist Dr. Bernard Metz, Psy.D. with Nationwide Children's Hospital. "All children play, they experiment, they're testing out different personas and different ways of being."

I'll take comfort in knowing that the next time I see Ellie sitting alone in the freezer, she has good company.

We encourage our children to be different. Different is good, right?

Young kids' quirky clothing preferences, sleep routines, food demands and bathroom habits are quite normal. And even better news, most likely temporary, according to Nationwide Children's Hospital pediatric/clinical child psychologist, Dr. Bernard Metz, Psy.D. He said it's only when quirks develop into more established, unusual behavior patterns that there may be cause for concern and further analysis needed. Things to think about:

  1. Does the behavior cause significant adverse impact? Does it cause problems with peer relationships, with learning, or some other important area of functioning?
  2. Have expected developmental behaviors failed to emerge in the predicted time frames?
  3. Do you feel intuitively that something with your child's behavior is not as it should be?
  4. Have there been concerns from childcare providers, babysitters, teachers, etc., who have had a chance to see your child interact with other children on a regular basis?
  5. Has the behavior developed into a pattern over time?
  6. Is the behavior something your child cannot stop or control?

Even though he's given us guidelines, Dr. Metz said it's best to resist the urge to diagnose your child yourself. Begin with a call to your pediatrician who will be better equipped to analyze your child's actions and determine if the behavior is anything to be concerned about.

Kristen Maetzold is a freelance writer and producer for Living & Learning TV with 18 years' experience as a television news producer. She lives in Worthington with her husband David and three step children, Will (22), Anna (18), and Andrew (16), and is a new-ish mom to Ellie (2).