Vinny has good days and bad days. Today is apparently not a good one. I was only awake for 15 minutes before he left, but this is what happened in that 15 minutes.
Vinny freaked out that his pants were falling down and he needed a belt. They weren't falling down, but since he felt like he wanted one, I tried to help him find one. His top drawers are packed, so I had to really dig through them to find one. He cried and yelled because me digging involved "messing up" his drawers. I close one drawer; he opens it and re-closes it. I go to the next drawer and fortunately find the belt. I leave the drawer open and start putting on his belt. He screams at me and runs to shut the drawer before letting me put on his belt. I pull a tag off his belt and put it on the couch next to me while I start putting on his belt. He grabs the tag and throws it away. I finally put on his belt. We walk out of his room and he pushes me out of the way so that he can shut his door, yelling behind me, "I'LL shut the door," although I wasn't even going to try to shut it.
We proceed to the kitchen, where he asks Marc what is for lunch. We are running late today and at the end of the groceries (I shop on the weekend), so he has a pizza lunchable. Vinny starts crying. This is odd, because he normally asks for these when we go shopping. I try to calm him down and explain that we are running late and need to go and that is all there was. Marc opens the lunchbox and tries to show him it is a good lunch, and he even packed him chocolate milk. Vinny starts to yell at us explaining, "When I open the sauce, it will get all over my hands!" I put a napkin in. It doesn't help. He is crying and complaining, too upset to listen. Marc starts to get upset and threatens to take away quarters if he doesn't stop complaining and get in the car.
Marc zips up the lunchbox, but Vinny determines it is not zipped all the way and starts to fuss with the edge of the zipper. In the middle of all of this, he starts to cover his mouth and gag, declaring that "something smells bad." Marc insists that nothing smells bad (truly- nothing did) and Vinny eventually stops gagging. Although the lunchbox is most certainly zipped all the way, he cannot get it zipped to his satisfaction and determines he needs to hold it by that corner of the zipper. Since the corner has no good place to hold, the lunchbox keeps falling on the ground, which is not helping matters (or helping us get him out the door in time). I calmly insist that he hold it by the handle or put it in his bag. He eventually acquiesces, distracted by the baggie of cereal that I am handing him. He opens the baggie and starts to eat some. As he is on the way out, he tries to close the baggie and can't, so he asks me to. I close it and hand it back, but he hands it back and again and says, "Close it all the way." I give it an extra squeeze for good measure and Marc and Vinny walk out the door. I hear more yelling on the way to the door. Who knows over what....
I wish I could say that this was just an abnormally bad morning, but it is not. It is sadly pretty typical. There are times when things are better, but there are times when they are worse too. As you have probably figured out, Vinny has obsessive compulsive disorder. For anyone who has thought I was joking or overreacting in any prior comments about Vinny's OCD, please understand that I am completely serious. It is a real problem, and I am really tired of always seeing my child upset and crying.
He wasn't always like this. He has always been a little particular, but it wasn't the cause of crying and meltdowns until this past year. It has gotten drastically worse over a relatively short period of time. I started doing some research and found that there is a cause for sudden onset or sudden worsening of OCD in children... scarlet fever. It was like a light bulb went off in my head.
Vinny had scarlet fever in June. It was pretty bad. His fever was so high he was practically limp in my arms. It was a Friday night, so I rushed him to urgent care. Despite having both Tylenol and Mortin in his system, his fever seemed unbreakable and he was throwing up all over. At the urgent care, they rushed him right in. He laid there on the examining bed, throwing up and crying. They gave him a strep test and discovered he had strep. With the red rash all over his body, they diagnosed him with scarlet fever. They eventually got his fever down with ice packs and sent us home. It was a sucky weekend, but with antibiotics, he was better by Monday. He had missed his preschool graduation carnival, which was sad, but other than that, everything was fine and we went on with our lives...
.... or did we? Shortly after this, Vinny started having anxiety attacks. At first, they would happen if he felt like he was being left alone, even for a brief moment, like alone in a room. I even blogged about it on June 23rd. When this was happening, I did a bunch of research, searching for answers to why my totally normally kid would all of a sudden act so irrationally. I couldn't find any reason.
But now, it is starting to make sense. This disorder is called PANDAS, which means Pediatric Autoimmune Disorders Associated with Streptococcal infections. On the National Institute of Mental Health's website about PANDAS, it says additional symptoms associated with PANDAS (in addition to the OCD) can include separation anxiety, which they describe as, "