I think we have figured out what has caused Peter to become obsessive over doors. While we were on vacation last week, he was especially bad about opening and closing doors. And family members I thought were accustomed to his “oddities” repeatedly asked him to stop.
That like trying to repair a dam with a tube of Elmer’s Glue. It’s NOT going to happen.
Other family members, who see him infreqently because of distance, were even more bothered by Peter and Nathan’s tendencies.
Needless to say, I was stressed out and dealing with ulcer symptoms every night for most of the week.
My husband and I are discussing alternatives for next year. Obviously, vacationing with family in the same house will not work any longer and, while this is a sad, our obligation is to keep our sons safe and calm.
But because of the stressful week, we noticed when we returned that Peter wasn’t as obsessive over door opening and closing. I think he resorts to it for two reasons: first, out of boredom and second, and primarily, for the stress reduction.
Boredom: School’s not in right now and he doesn’t have as many activities during the day as he did before.
Stress reduction: Again, school’s not in right now and he doesn’t have the highly structured day he did there. Also, he has stopped using his weighted dog and pacifier to calm himself when he gets stressed out. We’ve noticed as well that Peter seems to be bothered by loud noises more than we thought. Maybe I should say that he has always been bothered by loud noises but his reactions were relatively mild. Now, he is responding in a much stronger, more tantrum-like manner to really loud and noisy situations.
We’re going to work on providing him with more structure until school starts in a few weeks. Up to now, I really thought he didn’t mind the looser structure of summer and he might not have at first but it seems to be really bother him now.
Nathan is adapting very well although both boys had their “quirks” at the beach house. Nathan just wanted to play with everyone else’s toys and look through their stuff like he was at a thrift store or something. I think he’s just curious but family members started locking their bedroom doors toward the middle of the week.
We were in a three-floor beach house with three other families and our bedroom area was on the bottom. The kitchen and family room were on the top floor so you can imagine the distraction Nathan must have felt walking up through the second floor where the three other bedrooms were (with toys!) to get to the top.
Also, the three-floor-three-staircase setup made it hard to keep track of both boys. One would be playing upstairs with cousins and the other would want down time and would go down to our rooms all the way downstairs. In those situations, my husband would often accompany Peter to the bottom floor and play with him or put in a video like Signing Time for him to watch. I would stay upstairs with Nathan to make sure he didn’t escape out the front door or try to break into someone’s room to find the Lightning McQueen car one of his older cousins had.
I know that vacations will always be a challenge but we had challenges with this one we weren’t expecting. While they weren’t dangerous or anything like that, they were stressful for all of us.