I originally wrote this article for the Tourette Syndrome Association Georgia Chapter's monthly newsletter a few months back. I've made a few changes, but it's mostly written as it was in the newsletter. This is the follow-up to my previous post, which was also written originally for the newsletter. I will share more of the articles in the near future.
As I took clothes out of the washing machine tonight, I discovered two heads to Lego men had fallen out of a pocket and were stuck in the rubber liner of our washing machine. It’s such an unusual find, but it’s also one that brings back memories. The Lego heads, which I’m sure belonged to my youngest son, Little Man, have yet to be missed by my children. That wouldn’t have been the case if they’d belonged to Monster Man when he was little.
Most kids carry around a lovey of some sort for at least a short period of time in their lives. When I think of loveys, I usually think of blankies, baby dolls, or teddy bears. Monster Man, however, formed an attachment with an object that many people thought was crazy. If you’ve ever seen Toy Story, you know that Buzz Lightyear loses his arm in one scene. When Monster Man asked for a Toy Story Play-doh kit when he was little, I thought nothing of it. When he ripped off the arm of the included Buzz Lightyear doll, I must admit I was a little concerned, but I did find it amusing… until he grew attached to Buzz Lightyear’s arm.
The arm couldn’t have been more than an inch and a half in length, and was very narrow. It was something that could easily be misplaced, and it often did when the kids would play in their playroom, emptying their toy box onto the floor and burying Buzz Lightyear’s arm in the process. When toys were put up afterward, the arm would often get tossed into the toy box along with the other toys. It wouldn’t present a real problem until Monster Man decided he needed the arm, usually at bedtime, and we’d begin a frantic search to find the missing arm. There were even times that he’d wake up in the middle of the night to find Buzz Lightyear’s arm was no longer under his pillow, and we’d have to search in, under, and around his bed until the arm was found before Monster Man would drift off to sleep again.
I’ve heard other people talk about having a back-up doll/teddy/blanket in case their child’s beloved lovey was to disappear. I couldn’t see any way of having a back-up Buzz Lightyear arm, short of buying a whole other Toy Story Play-doh kit and breaking the arm off that one. That’s exactly what we ended up doing about six months after the original kit was bought. Buzz Lightyear’s arm ended up in the mouth of one of our puppies, and the arm lost that particular battle. By that time, the Toy Story Play-doh kit was hard to find, too, and we ended up in an extensive search for a replacement before finally finding one and letting Monster Man do the honors of breaking Buzz Lightyear’s arm free. Thankfully, he decided a month or so after that to let the Buzz Lightyear arm go, and he moved on to bigger and better things.
During the time that Monster Man was attached to Buzz Lightyear’s arm, I often heard people refer to his attachment as an “obsession”. At the time, I brushed it off and just counted it as being compared to any other lovey a child has, only an odd choice for a lovey. I didn’t give the word “obsession” much thought until after Monster Man’s diagnosis of Tourette Syndrome. In reading about Tourette Syndrome, I discovered that obsession was usually used in terms of OCD, but that there are some reported cases of obsession with objects, subjects, etc. Perhaps, in the long run, we’ll discover that there really was more to this unusual lovey than we realized way back then.