Sunday, November 12, 2006

Hygiene

What is it with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder(OCD) and personal hygiene? It seems that people with OCD fall into two categories. They either scrub themselves until they bleed, or they become another Howard Hughes, by shunning bathing, hair cutting, and nail-cutting.

I realize that Z is a teenaged boy, who will avoid changing clothes or showering until nagged into submission. We know that when Z starts bathing voluntarily, there will be a girl involved. However, OCD has raised him to a higher level of filth. Z's scalp is overly sensitive. Hair washing and combing has been a lifelong battle with him. A lot of TS kids suffer from overly sensitive nerve endings in different areas of their bodies. Many parents battle with finding clothing that doesn't bind or itch. Right now, I'd love to shave his head, so we wouldn't have to deal with greasy, matted hair. In addition, the oil from his hair is causing an eruption of pimples on Z's forehead.

At the moment, Z's fingernails are all over an inch long. Some of the nails are broken. I'm sure they snag on everything, but this doesn't seem to bother him. Z is too independent to let me cut his nails. His OCD fear of cutting his skin, prevents him from cutting his own nails. Tomorrow is the day for nail and hair cutting. Let the battles begin!

When you factor in the forgetfullness of ADD, Z's hygiene becomes a nightmare! He gets sidetracked and forgets to brush his teeth or comb his hair. I have printed out a poster of a daily hygiene routine for Z. He never gets through the list without getting sidetracked. We now realize that we have to supervise EVERY item on his list, until it becomes ingrained in his head as a daily habit. Time consuming, but necessary. No wonder we're getting behind in his schooling!

Toilet flushing is another OCD battle we're fighting. Z has a constant fear that the toilet will overflow, which prevents him from flushing. We're currently making him flush, while standing behind him. The more times he flushes, without overflowing the toilet, the more confident he becomes. We're also teaching him how the toilet works and that the plunger is our friend. Another 'plumbing issue' Z has, is filling the bathtub. Even as a small child, Z refused to be in the bathroom while I filled the tub. Running water, except in the sink, freaks him out. Needless to say, showers have always been out of the question for Z. Maybe Plumbing 101 should be on his list of classes?

This semester, Z's health classes will focus on personal hygiene. We have to tread lightly, as the mention of germs may tip him into hyper-clean mode. We will focus on the comfort of being clean, and how much cleanliness improves his appearance.

On the bright side, as seen in my 'clutter' posts, Z is starting to overcome his OCD hoarding behavior. He has been struggling with cleaning his room for the last couple of months. Once again, Mr. Independent refuses to let us help. The motivation for Z's cleaning binge has been his desire to have his new computer in his room. The processor died on the computer that Z built last summer, so L ordered himself a new computer so Z could have his old one. We won't let him put the 'new' computer in his room, until the room is clean and organized. Z has become ruthless while sorting through his unused toys, many of which are 10 years old.

Z has Executive Dysfunction, which makes organizing anything extremely difficult for him. We're quite proud of the progress he's made in his room. L and I will need to fine tune a few things today, but we should be able to move his computer in by nightfall. Then we need to box up the discarded toys and make a trip to the Salvation Army. This will eliminate most of the clutter remaining in our house. Just in the nick of time too. We want to put up Christmas decorations Thanksgiving weekend.

30 Comments:

At 11/12/2006 4:20 PM, Blogger SME said...

Hard to say how much is OCD and how much teenage stuff. Demi is in a phase now where she wears the same shirt until we hide it, and Aaron usually doesn't wash his hands after leaving his tire-changing job, so he looks like he's been working in a coalmine! The nail-clipping thing is definitely OCD, though. I don't know what can be done about that. What they do with Howard Hughes?

 
At 11/12/2006 7:43 PM, Blogger Wandering Coyote said...

I always find it fascinating how we create what we fear, and how things tend to become self fulfilling prophesies. I have no advice to offer you, TSHS, but I hope it starts working itself out.

 
At 11/13/2006 12:17 AM, Blogger MonicaR said...

I have no advice either but it sounds to me like you have a really good plan for dealing with it all. Good luck to you and to Z. Good on him for decluttering his room. I still haven't gotten around to mine yet. lol!

 
At 11/13/2006 7:08 AM, Blogger tweetey29 said...

I agree with all of you to be honest. None of you would have wanted to take a step into my room at his age so yes it could be partly from just being a teenager but from what SME has told me I understand some what, on the level that is going on here. Hope things go well for him. Hello Z and we hope to see you this summer sometime ok.

 
At 11/13/2006 9:15 AM, Blogger Vancouver Voyeur said...

I don't think the hygiene issue is just an ADD thing. My teenage son has to constantly be reminded to brush his teeth and put on deodorant. It's a hassle to get him in the shower, and then near impossible to get him out in under an hour. Even when he washes his hair, he comes out of the bathroom with greasy hair. It comes from him wiping his hands through his hair continuously to "smooth it down" until it once again resembles a grease slick. Then it triggers the acne. *sigh* I'm told this too shall pass, so I'm patiently waiting. Good luck on your end.

 
At 11/13/2006 3:19 PM, Blogger DirtCrashr said...

Maybe you can get him mercy-hired onto the Swim-team, chlorine works wonders.
I recall being reminded to apply some deoderant - it's just pure teenage blockheaded obtuseness sometimes that requires a direct approach.

 
At 11/13/2006 3:24 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

SME, that's the sad part about Howard Hughes. They didn't know that much about OCD then. Sooo, being the richest man in the world, they just let him do what he wanted, which only made things worse. :(

WC, isn't it weird how the brain works? So far, we've been able to nip Z's obsessions in the bud before they acquire an accompanying compulsion. VERY time consuming!

Monica, you and I don't get OUR clutter cleared because we have so many other things on our plates!

Tweets, you guys should try to come up when SME and her family are here next summer.

VV, I'm sooo happy to hear that! Hopefully Z will grow out of some of these issues.
I have a hard enough time getting myself bathed, without having to nag someone else about it. :(

 
At 11/13/2006 3:36 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

LOL, DC! That would be a wonderful idea, except Z is scared of swimming too.
Yeah, I'm sure most of it is the smelly-teenaged-boy syndrome. Sometimes it's hard to tell because teenaged brains are goofy already.;)

 
At 11/13/2006 4:31 PM, Blogger SME said...

Yeah, I guess when you're one of the richest dudes on the planet you don't HAVE to bathe. ;D

 
At 11/13/2006 6:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, part of it is being a teen. My son fights those battles as well, as far as cleanliness and hygiene. :-P /sigh

 
At 11/13/2006 8:21 PM, Blogger Candace said...

WOW!!! Congratulations to Z!!

Oh man, when my stepson was in his teens the whole shower deodorant thing was such a pain. And my 11 yo would probably never shower if I didn't make her. Argh! But you make me appreciate how relatively easy I have it!!

 
At 11/13/2006 10:30 PM, Blogger Nancy Drew said...

wow what a challenge, Tshsmom, the avoidance behaviour is only reinforced by the pain he experiences when he is showered later. Yikes. Do they make shampoos/skin treatments for that kind of skin? I'v found fostex was great for that kind of skin but don't know if them make it anymore (cuticura also). Not sure what to do re the nail thing, except the nails will cause him even more pain as they'll snag on everything.

The toilet flushing thing is understandable but once you learn how to use the plumber's helper, is ok.

hang in there sweetie, thoughts and prayers are with you all!!

 
At 11/14/2006 11:17 AM, Blogger DirtCrashr said...

I believe male teenage brains, besides having the attention span of a gnat and the physical motor-control of a caffeinated squirrel (which is to say none), they are so outwardly projected and "on watch" that they simply don't notice personal hygine issues.
I couldn't sit-still in Jr. High to save my life unless I sat on my hands, life was in constant motion - which is distracting and thrilling at the same time.

 
At 11/14/2006 5:48 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Notta, that figures! I swear that Z and K are twins of different mothers. ;)

Candace, you just keep thinking you've got it easy. Wait 'til Sluggie and Mollusk are BOTH teens! You'll then have 3 PMSy women in the house. :(

ND, I doubt if they have a topical treatment for it. It's a nerve/brain chemical thing. :(
Z cut his nails today, after reading my post! Yay!

DC, with Z's tics, he's never still OR quiet. Fortunately, his tics don't bother HIM as much as they bother us.

 
At 11/14/2006 8:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

TSHS - I know, some of the things you describe are parallel to what we go through. At least I know I'm not alone. :-)

 
At 11/14/2006 9:50 PM, Blogger Squirl said...

Good luck with Z. Lots of good luck to all of you on this!

 
At 11/14/2006 10:57 PM, Blogger Sadie Lou said...

Oh my goodness. My son is 10 and doesn't have Tourette's and he's guilty of all of Z's annoying hygene issues!
Ryan refuses to wear pants, even when it's cold and he will insist on wearing the same pair of shorts as many times in a row that he can get a way with. (which is NO times, currently)
His aim in the bathroom is awful and he forgets to put the toilet seat up. I have to tell him to change his underwear. I have to sit on him when I clip his toe and finger nails.
I was actually laughing when I read this post because it reminded me so much of my sweetheart son.
This soon will pass, right?

 
At 11/15/2006 2:05 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Notta, it's always nice to know that we're not alone on our journey. ;)

Thanks Squirl!! How are YOU doing?

Sadie, I'm soooo glad you're back!
You guys are making me feel much better about all of this. Maybe it is just a guy thing?
I found a cure for the aim thing. I banned Z from our bathroom and made him clean his own bathroom. His aim got MUCH better after that!

Vest, that's IT!! You're finished here; NO MORE!!

 
At 11/15/2006 4:52 PM, Blogger Squirl said...

I'm doing okay. I'm also appreciating every day that I get with my loved ones and friends. Sometimes life shoves these lessons in your face. I hope I need any more very soon. :)
Thanks!

 
At 11/15/2006 4:52 PM, Blogger Squirl said...

That's I hope I DON'T need any more.
hmmm

 
At 11/15/2006 5:38 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Squirl, I've also learned that lesson the hard way.
Another thing I've learned is why can't our extended families get together other times besides weddings and funerals?

 
At 11/16/2006 1:45 PM, Blogger DirtCrashr said...

Part of the aim thing is a belief in superior marksmanship and a disbelief in collateral damage from side-spray. You have to teach the view of the "curve." The majority of "rounds" may impact downstream center-of-aim, but there's always a residual Gaussian effect that extends concentrically outward in a circle, and which impacts the seat if it's not up...

 
At 11/16/2006 4:20 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

DC, LMAO! I think the "disbelief in collateral damage" is what's behind poor aim. That's why cleaning up his own "collateral damage" worked so well. ;)

 
At 11/16/2006 6:18 PM, Blogger Gardenia said...

Boy, the hygiene issue I think is a boy thing anyway! My son had the skin stuff - his tags had to be cut out of shirts, all materials tested on our cheeks, socks with seems made him crazy, and so on.....sitting on grass with the pokey ends was painful...sometimes I wonder if he had something never diagnosed - way back then.

Well, don't know what to say other than I admire your tenacity! And Z's too! Blessings to you all.

 
At 11/16/2006 6:26 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Doll, that's exactly what I'm talking about. It seems that the sock thing is a big issue with other kids too.
Fortunately Z just has an overly sensitive scalp, not his whole body. We have enough issues to deal with, without that! ;)

 
At 11/18/2006 11:14 AM, Blogger Nancy Drew said...

Tshsmom, I've dated (one time only) the 'odd' ADULT male who have had the same issues.

Sometimes it is a guy thing.

 
At 11/20/2006 2:31 PM, Blogger Candace said...

Ha! Good point, LOL!

 
At 11/25/2006 2:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You just described all of my 4 kids during a life of motivational failures on my part. The Latest is my only girl slammed dunked the phone on my sensitive ear drum after I pleaded with her to quit her Job at the Hamburger joint cause she's too young to be a corporate slave. Hit your Mom and Bro up for spending money, 12 is too young to be working right or am I not up to speed here? Okay unless working for Nike shoes in Pakistan is the motivation for our young people here, I forgot our new economy employs children inspired by cheap wages if any...

 
At 11/25/2006 2:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay I'm rambling now, don't encourage me more : )

 
At 11/25/2006 4:19 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

SS, 12 is definitely TOO YOUNG!!
In fact, it's ILLEGAL here!

 

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