When Your Kids’ Obsessions Drive You Nuts

When my son, Max, likes something, he really, really, really likes it. To the point where he’ll want to talk about it all the time, enjoy it all the time, and basically eat, sleep and breathe it. This may sound familiar to anyone whose child has ever had a thing for Thomas the Tank, LEGOs, Disney princesses, Minecraft, Star Wars, YOU KNOW. Yet not all obsessions are created equal, as I am well aware of given the variety of ones Max has gone through. Some are more expensive than others. Some are more time-consuming than others. And some are seriously more annoying than others. To further clarify this, I’ve rated the obsessions my son has had over the years on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 defined as “makes you want to pull your hair out” and 10 being “utterly awesome.”

The purple obsession. Rating: 7


The color was Max’s passion when he was 6. As with most of his obsessions, I had no idea how or why it started. All I know is that one day, I had to stop and take a photo of a house with a purple door. And we had to read and reread Harold and the Purple Crayon. And hoard purple crayons. And get him purple Converse. Still, in the scheme of obsessions, this one was cute and fun.

The spaghetti obsession. Rating: 4

Spaghetti with sauce for breakfast: check! Spaghetti with sauce for lunch: check! Spaghetti with sauce for dinner: check! Spaghetti with sauce for snack: check! It was a wonder Max’s head did not sprout strands of pasta. For a good year, Max was one big walking carb and getting him to eat anything other than spaghetti was quite the challenge. Not. Fun.

The car wash obsession. Rating: 1


Yeah, we had the cleanest car in the neighborhood. But centering your family life around car washes gets old really fast. Hosing down the car at home wouldn’t do. No, every time we drove by a car wash, Max wanted to go. When we gave in (about once or twice a weekend), he’d inevitably want to go through a second time. For the record, car wash obsessions are not cheap. When we refused to get our car washed, then he wanted to stand outside one and watch other cars go through. One time, Max grabbed a rag out of a bin and before I could stop him, he started wiping off some guy’s car. At home, his favorite activity was watching videos of, wait for it, car washes. My husband and I got to the point where we’d lie through our teeth and say all the car washes were closed for the day. The only part of this obsession I enjoyed: Making Max a car wash for Halloween, complete with a bubble blower shooting out suds.

 The Lightning McQueen obsession. Rating: 6

I loved the movie Cars as much as Max did. Lightning McQueen ranks up there as one of the most entertaining movie stars ever, even after you’ve seen the movie for the fiftieth time. (Trust me on that one.) As it turns out, there are a whole lot of Lightning McQueen items you can purchase. This I know because I’m pretty sure Max got every single one of them: Lightning McQueen pajamas, a Lightning McQueen comforter and pillowcase, a Lighting McQueen DVD player, Lightning McQueen books, Lightning McQueen sneakers, Lightning McQueen slippers, a Lightning McQueen suitcase, remote control Lightning McQueen, a Lightning McQueen garbage pail, need I go on? We invested a small fortune. And then … Cars 2 came out! With more stuff to buy!

The firefighter obsession. Rating: 10


Last spring, Max decided he was going to be a firefighter when he grew up. Every weekend (I am not exaggerating), we visit our local fire station. Totally free! OK, not so much the fleet of fire trucks but still, they’re far cheaper than frequent car washes. I got Max a plastic Fire Chief hat that he wears everywhere except to school, to bed and in the bath, and he looks seriously cute in it. It’s been a great conversation starter; strangers are always telling us about relatives who are firefighters. Recently, when we were on a Disney Cruise, a man walked up to us and handed Max a firefighter badge; he was one, and he wanted to recognize a kindred spirit.

This obsession has proven educational. When a smoke detector went off in our house the other day because of a loud battery, Max decided to hold an impromptu fire drill and reminded us all to stop, drop, and roll in case we were ever on fire. We are in good hands with Fireman Max, as he prefers to be called these days. The guys at our local station have taught him all about the equipment they use. For his birthday, firefighters gave him a ride to his party in a fire truck, a day neither of us will ever forget. Also, as my friends like to point out, I get to hang out with cute firefighters. As far as kid obsessions go, this one’s a win-win.

Images courtesy of Ellen Seidman

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Article Posted 5 years Ago

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