On Gloves and Mittens

Obsessive compulsive disorder affects Robert’s behavior if not as fquently as Robert’s speech impairment then much more severely. Over the years, we have dealt with it without the help of proscription drugs, but with eclectic approach aiming at widening Robert’s world, exposing him to new things, places, activities, and people. A great part of this approach was aiming also at building more unified vision of universe to replace Robert’s idea that world is constructed from separate spheres that do not intersect. For instance, there was a time, when only respite providers could take Robert to McDonalds, but not we, his parents. We could take him to Applebee’s or Outback. There were shoes Roberet could wear to school and another pair he would wear to parks. At some point, Robert learned that some interchanges make sense and make a life easier. Convincing Robert of that required constant efforts, as Robert’s need to compartmentalize his world has been lurking under his acceptance of the uniform universe.

March 22,2014
With the help from his father, Robert put on his ski boots, then he looked in the bag for his dark blue gloves. There were not there. He checked the other bag. No sign of his gloves either. Without a word, although rather slowly, Robert reached for his mittens, and squeezed his hands and hand warmers in.
If he felt a little uneasy about his gloves, it was my fault. Before we left home yesterday, he placed them in a bag. I took them out and replaced them with much warmer mittens. I should have told him, but I did not. Just a few minutes before that, I suggested to him to take mittens instead of gloves, but Robert protested. Of course, I could have stood my ground and say, ” This or else”‘ but I was not in a mood for a discussion. So I waited until he left and switched.
When I did that however, I knew it would not be a big problem when Robert would discover my treachery later.
Four weeks earlier, I hid his gloves before the trip to Sunapee. He looked for them, but ultimately decided to take his mittens instead. For the two concurrent trips to Sunapee, he didn’t have any issues with following my advice that mittens are warmer and thus better.
But trip to Killington, was something completely different so different rules applied. In the past, even on the coldest ski days, he always wore his gloves there. He wore them, because, we, as the saying goes, chose our battles. For Robert first encounter with Killington, we chose another obstacle to conquer: wearing hands’ warmers.
For, as long as I remember, he kept refusing placing hand warmers in whatever he wore on his hands. Or in his boots, for that matter. It was during his first trip to Killington when Robert, watching his ultimate role model, Amanda, placing hands’ warmers in her gloves, decided to follow his sister lead and put hands’ warmers in his gloves too.
Of course, I ask myself a question, “Should we insist on hand warmers and gloves sooner?”
I don’t know the answer. I am happy that Robert wears both today. It feels like an accomplishment. His an ours.


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