It's 103 / by Susie Lubell

I have a feeling that all toddlers suffer from a mild case of obsessive compulsive disorder. I think it's how they learn. My son asks me at least a hundred times a day if I have my cell phone. And my keys. And my wallet. And is my wallet in my bag. And did I call grandma. And is my phone charging. Over and over and over in a relentless pursuit of affirmation. On the one hand I know he's learning about the art of conversation. He hears us say this kind of stuff all the time. He's mimicking. But on the other hand sometimes I feel like I'm raising Rainman.

And it's not just the repetitive questions. He becomes inexplicably attached to the strangest objects. It's usually the stuff that I use all the time - like my phone, my wallet etc. The other night though he woke up nearly in tears because he wanted to sleep with my Crocs. (?!) This was at 4am. He was calling "I want to wear your Crocs" and wandering around his room half asleep. I brought him back to his bed and he promptly returned to sleep. An hour later he wanted the crocs again so I brought them and he slept with my shoes. I mean, that's weird right?

The crocs was just a one night thing thankfully. The item that seems to have captured his imagination for the longest duration is his ear thermometer. I started using it on him when he was about a year and a half because, frankly, no one is a fan of the rectal thermometer. The ear one is so easy. And he loved it. He liked to check his own temperature, check mine, check his stuffed cat, check Micky Mouse. Then he wanted to carry it around the house and put it in and take it out of its case a trillion times. He wanted to sleep with it. And bring it in the car and to the supermarket. I indulged this behavior for the short while that he was sick but then when he went back to daycare I told him that I had to bring the thermometer back to his doctor since we didn't need it any more. He was not happy about that but little boys should be playing with cars and dolls and play dough, not ear thermometers. He asked about it for the next week and cried a little at the thought of his beloved thermometer. More recently I had to pull it out again to check his temp. It was 103. He spent the next two hours checking his own temperature and reminding me that it was 103. Which it no longer was, but try telling him that. "It's 103" again and again and again.

Now when he sees the thermometer he reminds me that we have to give it back to the doctor. I don't have to hide it anymore which is nice. He's growing up. His magic number remains 103. He got a little soo close to the oven the other day and then quickly backed away.

Him: It's hot.
Me: Yes, you have to be careful sweety.
Him: Is it hot mommy?
Me: Yes, it's very hot in the oven.
Him: Is it 103?

Yes it is.