It’s the little things

Being a senior in high school is stressful. Everyone wants to hang out. Everyone has jobs. Everyone is writing college essays and filling out college applications. Everyone has FOMO (fear of missing out). Everyone is thinking about prom. Maybe that last one is only my son, who just put it on the family calendar for 7 months in the future. Just so I know. Just so I don’t plan anything. That tells you how protective of his time he has become.

So when my son tells me that he is stressed and it feels hard to get on top of all the things he has to do, I help him out. I can’t do much, but I do the one thing that I know will make him happy and less stressed. I do his laundry.

This is a big deal. He’s been doing his own laundry since he was 5. I put stickers on the washing machine because he couldn’t read “hot”, “cold”, “maximum spin” and “tumble dry”. He could just push the arrows until the light lined up with the sticker, and he knew it was set right. I’m a believer in chores and contributing to the household, and everyone doing what they are capable of doing, so he’s been helping out since he could climb up on his Swedish kitchen helper chair thing to help me cut vegetables and make cookies.

So this was a small but significant gift from me, to take the mountain of laundry, wash it, dry it and fold it just the way he likes. I estimate the mess in his room is comprised of 90% laundry, 5% wrappers and 5% books on the floor. So tackling the laundry has the extra special bonus of pleasing my tidy-meter as well. Please know that this is no ordinary laundry. He has about 50 t-shirts, and a very special system that allows each shirt to be worn in rotation. The shirts are folded very neatly and uniformly in two stacks. Today’s shirt comes off the top of the right stack, and the stack gets slowly smaller. When new clean shirts appear, the top of the left stack moves to the bottom of the right stack and the new shirts move to the bottom of the left stack. Like a snake, he says. This means that no one shirt is worn more often than another. It’s very fair to each shirt. Also, he can be very inflexible about only wearing that shirt from the top – even if there’s a better shirt for the day (like St. Patrick’s Day or Spirit Day). More on the remedy cure for this OCD later! Combine all this with his extensive (35+) sock collection, and his habit of washing his socks inside out and you can begin to see the labor of love I took on.

So I sat on his bed while he did his homework and folded all the clothes, so when I was finished, every single item of clothing he owns was either on his body or clean and folded in his closet. I tried to make the most of this time by asking little questions, but he was busy making the most of this time by getting his multivariate calculus homework done. So this gift did not include conversational connecting. However, I was rewarded this morning when we watched a YouTube video together and he kept his head on my lap for a while afterward and I got to fiddle with his hair. It’s the little things.

Possible remedies for obsessive compulsive disorder (thanks to Robin Murphy):

Arsenicum: Fastidious, upset about disorder, dirt, germs. Obsessed with order and tidiness. Sensitive to disorder and confusion. Obsessive compulsive disorder. Extremely nervous, anxious and fearful. Desires company, fears to be left alone. Restlessness, changes place continually.

Nux Vomica: Anger when things are not in their place. Very irritable, sensitive to all impressions; noises, odors, light, touch, music. Zealous, fiery temperament. Ambitious, angry and impatient. Offended easily.

Carcinosin: Fastidious. Obsessive-compulsive disorder. Passionate people who over-extend themselves. Desires dancing and music, travel. Restless, feel hurried. Anxiety about what might happen. Worry about health. Worse being reprimanded.

As always, remedies are given in the greater context of a person’s symptoms and experiences. Giving remedies for chronic ailments is best left to a professional. Please email me if you have any questions about this.





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