I have posted before that one of our ongoing issues is bathing. This didn’t use to be such a big issue but he is a teenager now so I just did my best to get him to bathe every couple of days and let it go on the weekend. I knew I had to deal with it eventually but there has always been some other thing to deal with.
We went to the psychologists today and I intended to talk about the one morning a week that he has trouble getting up. We discussed and came up with compromise that if he gets up good every day I won’t nag him at night about going to bed. We will see how that goes but I am willing to try. He seemed very happy with this idea and somehow the conversation only took 15 minutes. He then wanted to leave and since that wasn’t an option he shut down. That was a rough 10-15 minutes because the psychologist wanted him to participate and I really thought he was going to participate with the meltdowns of all meltdowns. He finally calming asked her to just talk to me for a little bit. I was impressed that was how the tension ended. Now for the real miracle.
After about 15 minutes of us talking about school she asked me about hygiene and mentioned he could chime in if he wanted to. My eyes got wide. Did she really want to see the meltdown just so she could fully appreciate what he does when angry?? I made sure to say that he was doing a little bit better but I also said I thought it was a sensory issue. He said “yeah”. She then asked him what it was about it. He said he didn’t know. I said that once when he was sick he said it felt like slime.
She then asked him if he likes to swim and he told her yes. She commented that the only difference is that the pool is chlorinated. He seemed very interested then and said yes it is chlorinated. She then asked if he thought the tap water should be chlorinated and he said yes.
He then said “that water is for drinking, why is it the same?” The psychologist asked if he thought the water isn’t clean enough. Now he starts really talking about the water and how it isn’t clean. Also something about how the drinking water and the bathing water should be separated and that the water we bathe in should be chlorinated. The psychologist asked him why the water was okay to drink and not okay to bathe. He looked sort of confused. It all clicked for me in that moment.
I explained to her that he won’t ever drink tap water, only water out of the fridge dispenser which has a filter I guess or bottled SmartWater. She then asked about swimming in lakes. I said nope, no way. He then started his lecture about all of the parasites and whatever else that lives in water. We have also had a lot of instances when he has refused to swim in a pool if it doesn’t look clean. He has a whole obsessive thing with water now that I think about it.
The psychologist started talking about irrational beliefs and that the best way to counter an irrational belief is to research into the facts. Although I understand what she is saying I can understand how he got there in his head. He loves science class and is absolutely fascinated with water and what lives in it. He thinks it needs to be chlorinated or filtered in some way to get that stuff out. This is clearly real to him so I will do whatever I can to help him with this. I see some research about water quality and a possible field trip to a water purification plant in my future. Or maybe a special filter for the shower head…