Dema came home from theater camp today and I knew something was off. He has really enjoyed this three week experience at Class Act so I was surprised at how upset he was and, as usual, it took a while to get it out of him. This is part of the patience piece of parenting a child with OCD and I struggle with this the most. I have to gently dig to get to the heart of what is triggering certain behaviors. It ends up that the director changed a scene and Dema needs to smell someone's feet.
This is acting, my friend. Sometimes you are asked to do something that is out of your comfort zone. My other kids would have just gone with the flow, but for a person with OCD, smelling someone's feet and then being on your knees, on a dirty floor, during the scene can be extremely stressful.
He is going to get through it, but this week has been already more hand washing than usual and "getting contaminated". I'm sure my working on the a house project is not helping.* I wish I knew what would help. Since he is eleven, I can sit down and talk it out, but even when he understands that he'll be fine doesn't keep the anxiety away. We'll need extra snuggling and lots of patience to get through this week.
I think in some ways being involved in theater is therapeutic for Dema. He has to do a lot of acting in everyday life just to fit in, but acting does make him happier than almost anything else he does. I can't wait to see Free to Be You and Me. I just hope he doesn't let his OCD get in the way of performing and having a great time.
*Moving furniture around can really affect Dema, but living in an old house with lead paint and then working on taking off wallpaper and stripping paint can really unsettle him. In the end, he is always happier with the house, but there are days when I wonder if he wouldn't be more content in a new house.