Kids with Weird Quirks or Obsessions....

Updated on March 21, 2012
J.L. asks from Oakland, NJ
26 answers

I was wondering if anybody is dealing with any thing like this. My son is obsessed with elbows. Yes, you read it correctly, elbows. It's been like this since he was a baby and he is now 3 1/2 years old. He touches other peoples elbows and his own as a soothing thing. For example when he is on the couch or sitting on my lap he will reach around and touch the loose skin of my elbows. He sometimes takes my arm and straightens out so that the loose skin is easier for him to touch, pull, rub. I know its sooo weird. I notice that when he is upset he touches is own elbows or when he is lying in bed trying to put himself to sleep he touches his own elbow. When he got old enough he started asking for it....He would say "elbow" and I would have to give him my elbow or he would get upset. I know this is so bizarre and my family jokes about it, but sometimes I wonder if I should be more worried about it. Maybe, like an OCD thing. Anyway, any kind of answers would be appreciated...even if it's just stories about your kids own little quirks. : )

1 mom found this helpful

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So What Happened?

I am so happy to read these responses!! I guess my son isn't THAT weird LOL!! I see that the ear thing is very common and actually he was doing that until he turned 1 and then somehow progressed to the elbow. Thanks for sharing your stories!!

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P.M.

answers from Portland on

Oh, that is delightful. Could be worse… my going-on-5 grandson has a hard, hard time restraining himself from fondling his mom's breasts. That can get awkward in public.

I've always had a thing for certain sensations – as another poster mentions, stroking my eyebrows, but also gently pushing my fingertips away from my fingernails, lifting my lower eyelids away from my eyeballs, and pulling my upper lip away from my teeth. SO comforting. (So weird?)

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2 moms found this helpful

K.B.

answers from Houston on

My soon to be 3 year old rubs my arm from the elbow down to the wrist. My older two used to put their hand in my hair while drinking a bottle or sippy cup and then moved to twirling their own hair while drinking.

It's so funny what these little ones come up with!

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A.G.

answers from Boston on

My 3 year old will wear socks on his hands for bed.

4 moms found this helpful

A.G.

answers from Houston on

My oldest has a thing about her neck, she doesnt want it touched, wont wear scarves, shirts that reach up there, or neckalaces that arent long enough, she makes me remove the tags from clothing because it touches the back of her neck. I think this is called a pickadillo ....not sure how to spell that.

I would be so certain it was o.c.d. with your son, Most of the time o.c.d. involves rituals that delay or calm anxiety, rituals that if not accomplished mean unsdesirable things will happen. If your son told you, "if i dont touch my elbow grandma will fall out of her chair"...then id be concerned.Harming himself would be sign that the comforting was not comforting at all, but more of a tick. If his elbow is scabbed or scratched id be concerned as well.

my friends son has to touch the sidewalk twice before entering the door, and has ticks where he will throw away his shoes if they get wet or dirty., I think he is a candidate for o.c.d., but is too young to really express it.

3 moms found this helpful
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K.A.

answers from Little Rock on

It really not any different from a pacifier or a favorite blanket, or teddy bear really. It is just a source of comfort to him.

A friend of mines children have an obsession with ears. As babies they rubbed the ears of whoever was holding them, they had a family bed and each kid had a hold of someone elses ear to go to sleep. If no one else was available, they would rub their own ears.

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P.M.

answers from Portland on

Oh, that is delightful. Could be worse… my going-on-5 grandson has a hard, hard time restraining himself from fondling his mom's breasts. That can get awkward in public.

I've always had a thing for certain sensations – as another poster mentions, stroking my eyebrows, but also gently pushing my fingertips away from my fingernails, lifting my lower eyelids away from my eyeballs, and pulling my upper lip away from my teeth. SO comforting. (So weird?)

2 moms found this helpful
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S.H.

answers from Honolulu on

My son, who is now recently 4 years old.... likes MY arm-pits.
And my Hubby's face when it has stubble on it.
My son likes the "pokey" feeling as he calls it.
My son, has liked my arm-pits since he was about 3 years old. I don't know why... he will even tell me don't shave. LOL But I do of course. Its not something he gets upset about.

... my son tells me he just LOVES my arm-pits. He likes to rub it...
it is a soothing thing for him.
Hopefully he grows out of it.... soon!

In retrospect, his like of my arm-pits... started about when we stopped his pacifier use.
But he also has a lovey he sleeps with, too.

all the best,
Susan

1 mom found this helpful

T.N.

answers from Albany on

Lovelies come in every imaginable package! With my daughter it was eyebrows, rubbed her own when she was nursing, had a curiosity about others, STILL rubs her eyebrows (at 13) when she is reading, watching tv, on the pc, etc

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J.M.

answers from Boston on

My son likes to rub the tops of my fingernails. He doesn't ask for it, but I can tell it's a source of comfort when he does it. The funny thing is that I used to do the same thing to my mom's fingernails (I remember doing it!). I wouldn't worry about it - he won't be grabbing his classmates' elbows in high school : )

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D.S.

answers from Tulsa on

mine has quirks with shoes. he must put them on everyone and himself and take them off. he throws a fit if the shoes dont play right (like him putting them on the wrong feet or putting a small shoe on a large fooot) I figure this too will pass. to soon to say ocd I doubt it.

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K.B.

answers from Houston on

My soon to be 3 year old rubs my arm from the elbow down to the wrist. My older two used to put their hand in my hair while drinking a bottle or sippy cup and then moved to twirling their own hair while drinking.

It's so funny what these little ones come up with!

1 mom found this helpful
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E.P.

answers from New York on

My daughter who just turned 11 LOVES squeezing the loose skin around our elbows. She also likes the extra skin her grandmothers seem to have on their hands too - lol. I'm not going to say that she's obsessed with it at all, but if she has a chance to grab that extra skin, she will. We laught about it now and it's an inside joke for us. We love animals and she found that many of them have that kind of loose skin under their necks (cows, dogs, etc.). She'll pet that area if given the chance.

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L.B.

answers from New York on

My brother was obsessed with ears for years. He soothed himself by playing with his or others' ears; come to think of it, he also really liked squeezing the skin on elbows and even bottoms (of course he didn't know that was inappropriate)! He completely grew out of it and is a normal, super creative young man.

L.P.

answers from Pittsburgh on

My son (4 1/2) puts his fingers in MY mouth for comfort. He started doing this when nursing, reaching up and fondling my lips, sticking his fingers in my mouth. Well, we are well past nursing, but he still does the finger-in-the-mouth thing for comfort. If we're sitting together reading, or watching tv, or before he goes to sleep, he will stick his fingers in my mouth one at a time. Usually I let him go through it once or twice and make him stop, and he's ok with that now, but he gets irritated if I try to make him stop without doing all the fingers! lol Of course, I insist on washed hands first. Boy does he get annoyed when we cuddle up on the couch, and I make him run and wash his hands!

I know he'll grow out of this, and it's just an odd comfort/lovey for him. He doesn't have a blanket or other physical lovey, he has just always used me! I'm sure he's not going to go to school and try to put his fingers in a classmates mouth, so I think we're ok there!

I'm happy to read here that lots of kids do these kinds of things!

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C.C.

answers from Atlanta on

My 2 year old son used to be obsessed with knees. When he got sleepy, he would reach down and rub his knees. And every now and then he would rub my knees. Now it is elbows and eyebrows. When he is sleepy or going to sleep, he rubs my elbow or my eyebrows. Weird I know, but it puts him to sleep! I too have wondered if it is something I should be concerned about.

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A.L.

answers from New York on

Our oldest, who is now eleven, had an ear thing when he was little--his own, mine, my husband's. He's completely outgrown it!

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R.S.

answers from New York on

This is so funny! I am giggling because when I was a little girl, I was obsessesd with shirt collars! Yes, my parents thought it was weird, and if they were concerned they did not show it. But I am a child of the '70's, and so you recall everyone had these fabulous wide, big collars as part of the fashion trend at the time. And lots of people wore polyester, so the collars were nice and smooth. I would find a collar, rub the pointy tip with my finger, and suck my thumb! My dad's old shirts from the '70's - he still had a few and you can see how the edges are all browned from my rubbing. I don't know what it was, but I would find the smoothness of those polyester collar tips soooo soothing and relaxing to touch. Sometimes it would even make me drift off to sleep (maybe that's why my parents never stopped me from doing it, it worked their advantage!). When I stopped sucking my thumb at 5 years old, I stopped rubbing collars. That was that! Although even now when I see I nice tip on a men's shirt I will rub it (only a little! and only occasionally, really!)

Now, my son....when he was about three weeks old, he started making these abnormal twisting movements with his mouth, randomly. Of course, I worried (is it a seizure? i wondered). My mother was perplexed but she insisted that it was probably normal and self soothing behavior. She was right. Now, 3 years later, when my son is sleepy or cuddling with his blankie, he will still make those twisting mouth movements (which I later realized what he is actually doing is sticking the tip of his tongue out, catching it between his teeth, and "sucking" on his tongue like a pacifier). It's so weird, but so cute! It makes him unique, I think.

That collar story is bringing back so many fond memories and as I am typing this I am totally cracking up between your son's story and my own! LOLOLOL! Anyway, I figure, since I stopped, one day your son will too. Enjoy it for now! Make sure you videotape it so you can have a good chuckle years from now!

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L.F.

answers from New York on

We have an elbow obsession over here also, she is 2 1/2 and has been doing it since she was born, literally sitting in the hospital bed within the first couple of hours this started. At first it was the skin by the tricep, I had to make her squeeze the elbow so I could not scream in pain when I was feeding her. I told my husband about your post and he was relieved that there were "others" out there. LOL. I was hoping she would grow out of it but it seems from the posts I have a couple more years before that happens.

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E.C.

answers from New York on

I wouldn't worry - it's like sucking his thumb. Just like we don't touch other people's faces or bottoms, we don't touch other people's elbows - that can be explained.

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E.M.

answers from New York on

My son is 2.5 and he always wants to play with my hair when he is tired. It has gotten to the point that he will say "I need your hair." Sometimes I worry it could be something, but really I think it is just something he finds comfort with like a blankie or stuffed animal! If I were you, I wouldn't worry. Give it time and if you are still worried, maybe ask at his 4 year old appointment!

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J.M.

answers from New York on

B thankful it is only your elbow, I had a child in one of my programs that would rub other peoples nose. My nephew did the elbow thing also, he is now almost eight and very, very rarely does it any more it was a soother for him too.

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M.M.

answers from Raleigh on

My sweet almost-5-year-old has been into elbows since infancy and is definitely comforted by them. He loves to just hold someone's elbow when talking to them. And even when he is asleep will reach out and mumble about finding one. I think it is sweet. He never wanted a pacifier, never had a blankie, didn't really fixate on a lovey ~ he just wants to hold someone's elbow. :)

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A.B.

answers from New York on

My son loved feet. He would crawl on the floor and lay his head on your feet and fall asleep. Holiday dinners were fun for him, becasue he'd go under the table and have a choice of feet, he'd take off your shoe and settle in(lol) That lasted till he was 3 or 4. Then he switched to hands, mine really. And he just needs to put his cheek or tuck my hand under his chin and he can fall asleep in seconds, he's 7. Funny I never thought any of this was weird. I always thought these quirks were his form of a blankie.

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L.P.

answers from New York on

My daughter is almost 3. She sucks two fingers and has the other hand on her belly button. Occasionaly she has wanted to rub other random things on her belly button too.. I remember before she found her bb, she used to pinch some skin from her neck.
Thanks for posting this question! :)

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C.D.

answers from New York on

my son it was ears they out grow it

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L.P.

answers from New York on

I'm surprised hair twirling wasn't mentioned by more Moms. My 3 year old daughter loves to twirl my hair, her hair, Grandma's hair as a source of comfort while snuggling, falling asleep, etc. When I asked her why she said "I just like it."

K.I.

answers from Seattle on

My daughter is an ear toucher :) She touches/squeezes/rubs her own ears when she is going to bed and has done it since she was just ity-bity! She also will do this with mine and her father's ears when snuggling on the couch or lying in bed together. I am not worried about it..I know it is a soothing thing for her!

I am more worried about my (almost) 5 yr old and his nail biting habit! He bites his finger and toe nails! He has for as long as I can remember...I have NEVER actually clipped any of his nails...he has always kept them super short and actually hates it when they are long enough to feel. He occasionally picks at my nails when sitting with me...he always tells me I need to clip them and could spend hours trying to bend mine backwards, if I let him-but I don't because it hurts and gives me the hibby-gybeez having him just touching mine:)

S.F.

answers from New York on

My brother had a fixation with ears. He would rub his own earlobe, and when my Mom held him or he was sleepy he would rub hers. He even had a name for it. Don't know if you'll get the full effect without hearing it but he used to say "dedoo" while he did it. Lol. As he got older he would do it once in a while for fun, and make everyone giggle. If you're worried about this, my brother is an adult now, married with a baby girl. He doesn't do it anymore, and he doesn't have OCD, although we joke that he does, because he's a little insistent on where things belong. Move something just a tad, and he'll know it. But, nothing dramatic. He is a healthy guy ;). I'm sure yours is too. Your sons elbow thing is like his pacifier, or blankie. He'll grow out of it. I think its adorable :)

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