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Does my child have obsessive compulsive disorder?

Q: Our 3-year-old son has these little quirks, which we jokingly refer as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). He has to have pepper on his food first, before the salt. He picks apart every green bean on his plate and eats the beans inside first. He has to have a clean spoon for his fruits at dinner. He can't use a napkin more than once. If he changes food at a restaurant, he wants a clean plate for bread and another for his appetisers. He has a certain way of doing everything and if someone drops something on the floor he is the first there to pick it up and clean it. We have even noticed this with the cereals that if it has 2-3 colours, he has to eat one at a time or he can switch, but he cant have 2 different colours on the spoon. Is this typical or the start of OCD. I too have my little quirks but it doesn't get in the way of my everyday life. Like I can't have certain foods touch my plate or I have to eat around what touched. I eat skittles and M&Ms a certain way, like the least number of colours in my hand to the most not mixing colours. I have to first put sugar, then cream and then coffee in my cup. My quirks are more like a ritual and I don't even notice I do it. Until my husband jokes and says there are two of us in the house. I try to hide my quirks from the little one so he isn't copying me. And he is my stepson so it is no way genetic. Maybe we both just like things done a certain way or do we both have OCD. Please advise.

A:Your child does seem to be meticulous about the aesthetics of his food. As long as it does not upset mealtimes or any one else in the family, catering to his special demands would be OK. If he has taken after a parent, there is even less to worry about. There is no need to give his behaviour a label because your handling of it without fuss is important. A little humour helps, but not laughing at the child.


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