We have discovered that Lydia has a split personality. Somewhere deep in her subconscious mind live two separate people. Much like Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde. She is two that are one, yet working against each other.
By day she is a typical 2 year old. She enjoys tearing open boxes of markers, drawing on inappropriate things with markers and leaving markers scattered all over the floor. Her favorite game is to secretly go to her bookshelf and one by one throw every book she finds into a different corner of various rooms in the house. By evening, even with constant vigilance, the house is a disaster.
But the other day something magical happened that has had her mother and I scratching our heads for days. It started with Lydia getting a very high fever. She was snuggled with her mother in the chair at around midnight in a hot daze. She refused to sleep and just stared glassy eyed at the wall. Then suddenly she snapped to attention and demanded that her mother let her down to the floor. As we looked on in stunned confusion, she proceeded to pick up every scattered item on the floor and put it away. She started with the cardboard box full of Christmas decorations, which she pushed into the corner turning briefly to explain that it was “in the middle of the floor” and now it was “in the corner”. Then on her way back to the chair she noticed Clara’s shoes, and placed those quickly where they belonged. Then she found several books and announced that she was going to put them away upstairs.
We blinked at her.
By the time we made it upstairs she was already entrenched in a heated battle to pick up everything on her bedroom floor. But, she seemed miserable about it. A whimpering tornado of obsession at war with the scattered debris of daytime Lydia’s earlier assaults. It took a lot of effort to pull her away from her machine gun nest of cleaning and coax her to sleep.
But this was just the first appearance. Two more times in the course of a week our child, in a fit of exhaustion and ill health, has turned into an unstoppable neat freak. A little girl that cries real tears when you physically try to make her stop, because she can not rest until the paper behind the chair is picked up off the floor and placed either on the table, or the trash. Her eyes hardly even open as she sleep walks like a bat with sonar tuned to sense the exact location of every misplaced item in the house and it drives her to madness. It seems like a loud static she can’t turn off.
We have considered our options. As unhappy as she seems when she slips into this other reality, I have to admit I have thought about the benefits of waking her up at 3 o’clock in the morning so she can take care of one or two problem rooms before going back to sleep. Perhaps we could teach her to fold laundry? But I don’t think this newly discovered superpower mutation of hers is something I want to encourage. I’m honestly worried about the little OCD explosions. Her mother and I each blame each other for passing this gene on to her, and the problem likely lies in the fact that we are both right. And the truth is that more often than not, Andrea and I are both crippled by similar tendencies in ourselves, and we have little advice to share to someone younger. Maybe we should send her away to Xavier’s School for Gifted Children where she can develop ways to channel her powers for the good of mankind, and not be overcome by it.