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Happily Ticked Off – The Book Preview

Hello friends!

Between my new very fancy all important writing job new barista gig at Starbucks, as well as a few writing gigs on the side/Ebay/kid wrangling, I’ve been neglecting the one place that always brings me contentment no matter what. So I’m back – and this time – I bring a video.

 

Until next time,

May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

bookcover profile pic

My Friend’s Kid is THAT Kid. ADHD

adhd jackson

Keeping this short. After a long day of cramming in freelance jobs, full time work searching, getting the kids off to school earlier than normal, an “OH MY GOSH I NEED A BATHING SUIT FOR THE YOUTH GROUP POOL PARTY” fiasco and then, of course, rushing over the party only to come home for two minutes to rush back, I wonder if I, perhaps, have ADHD.

Alas, just the ever persistent contact-switching mama brain.

Before the sun sets on another day in paradise, I wanted you to see an article written by a friend’s son, Jackson. It appeared in Additude Magazine and I thought it was so well written for a young kid.

With ADHD licking at our ears, it’s a good reminder to not judge but instead help our kids learn to advocate. I don’t know about your kids, but for us, Stink’s ADD is more of a challenge then the tics themselves.

Side note (because when am I ever on track?): Had a GREAT phone conversation with Dr. Nicole Beurkens. Situated in Michigan, this psychologist started out as a special needs teacher, then moved into the consulting side of special needs to more deeply support kids and parents. What began as a summer program for special needs kids in her basement, morphed into a 10,000 square foot practice where she treats all sorts of neurological disorders holistically.

With a team of nutritionists, psychologists and natural practitioners, she supports the whole child (and his/her family) to balance out their brain without medication. Here’s just a tiny snippet from her website. In depth article to come as well as a book review!

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nicole

If Meds are For You – No Judgement!

Again there’s no one-size-fits-all and I look forward to hearing from all of you.

Let’s Hear Your Success Stories!

Who has had success with drug options? Who has had success with medication? Who just has an awesome kid who is the best thing that has ever happened to them? (Me me me!)

I love and support you all. We are in this together.

Until next time,

May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

bookcover profile pic

7 Things to Help Reduce Tics!

7 TIPS

Before my book came out I was blogging pretty regularly for the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome. One of the posts that garnered 61 comments was on Five Things that Can Help With Tics.

A few years later, and with more research, I have decided to update the list a bit for new parents who keep writing me with the same question.

Question: How do I fix the tics?

Answer: There is no one-size-fits all answer. Every child is different.

What Can You Do If You’re Freaking Out About Tics? 

I’m no doctor, but after 10 years at this I can passionately state that all kids tic for a variety of reasons. I, personally , didn’t feel medication was the answer right off the bat for my son. It still isn’t. If it got severe enough, of course I would consider it, but so far it has not.

Here’s what I tell all parents who write me with concerns over their ticking kids. I tell them to ask a few important questions – the same ones I asked myself.

Questions to Ask if Your Child is Ticking

  • Could there be vitamin deficiencies happening?
  • What kind of environmental stressors could be worked on? (Less tension at home, less electronics?, etc.)
  • How much sleep is your child getting?
  • What kind of exercise is your child getting?
  • What does your child’s diet consist of?

It’s Up To You!

None of these questions are meant to either shame or suggest there are simple answers for complicated tic issues. Again, each child is different. My suggestion is to go to a naturopath and have your child evaluated for his/her individual condition. If you are low on funds (which I was) you can start with the basics and see if this helps. It helped in our case and I hope it helps in yours!

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5 Things to Help With Tics

  1. Magnesium: I gave my son 500 mg of magnesium a day, and it really helped with his eye rolls and vocals. For some little kids this might be too much, but I’ve been told the worst thing excess magnesium can do is cause diarrhea. Now my son takes a calcium/magnesium supplement as the magnesium is best absorbed with calcium. The ratio is double the calcium to the magnesium.
  2. Gluten Free: It was a pain, but it helped, and continues to help enormously. He can concentrate more and can fall asleep quickly. When he was not gluten free, it would take hours for him to settle down. He is still a high energy kid, but much less so now.
  3. Dairy Free: Ditto the gluten. It was a pain, but we’ve found many ways to supplement his calcium through rice milk, vegetables and fruit.
  4. Sleep: 10 hours of sleep a night is crucial and a huge tic reducer.
  5. No artificial flavors or preservatives: My son is very sensitive to chemicals. They can set tics off like bee around a honey pot. Not worth the sting of excess tics except on special occasions.

2 Other Supplements * Talk to you Naturopath first * 

6. NAC  – Standing for N-Acetylcysteine, this is an amino acid that can be purchased at any vitamin store. This natural supplement acts as an antioxidant and glutamate modulating agent.

According to this webinar, featuring Dr. Mark Mintz, “They (a study) found the N-acetyl cysteine decreased symptoms of trichotillomania (hair pulling) compared to placebo. It makes theoretical sense as NAC can modulate dopamine. So, there are reports that NAC can improve mood disorders as well (such as obsessive compulsive disorder). There needs to be more research and reports to have a better handle on the effects of NAC in Tourette, but it appears to show some promise.”

7. Taurine – I talk about Taurine here. My son is currently on 500 MG but I think he could use 1000. That said, I will talk to my naturopath first!

What have been your experiences with tics? Did any of you find it made a difference for your children? What about in some of your cases where tics were more severe? Would love to hear!

Until next time, may God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

bookcover profile pic

Hippe…Hippie…Hooray!

Hippe…Hippie…Hooray!

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A few friends of mine are getting together in a couple weeks to get some goals accomplished. It’ll be kind of a mini salon, except without the French people and berets. Think moms and dads with pony tails and uni-brows shoving Trader Joe’s taquitos into their pie holes, sipping Diet Coke and downing Two Buck Chuck. (Um, with the crowd I’m known to link arms with, the uni-brows and pony tails describe either the men or the women. No judgement.)

It’s that last part that really gets me scratching my head at times. I truly never expected to be that person who, at 46, was sending out invites to fellow writers and painters to meet on my cull de sac on a Friday evening. I thought I’d be a hip studio climber, hob nobbing with script writers and discussing pilot premieres. And I did.

For a time.

But these days, I find myself less excited over television releases and more thrilled over musical theater releases.

It’s less about show launches and more about the premiere of book launches.

When it comes right down to it, I’m less interested in image. I’m more interested in soul. I’m not a hip person – I’m a hippie!

Many of my friends have gawked at me with my whale backpack, turquoise earrings and enough library books to kill a poodle in a single drop and utter, “Duh! HIPPIE!” But me? This comes as a surprise. Hippie-ness kind of snuck up on me while I was still fast clinging to my ego. And, well, as much as I hate to admit it, my ego was pretty massive. It had me twenty pounds lighter and twenty times richer.

It had me raising kids with hip names like Vida and Jax. These weren’t kids that snuck Hump Day videos on my computer every Wednesday or chastised me for not giving them money to get a fancy dog trainer for our dog. Heck, my ego would not have chosen THIS crazy mutt from the pound in the first place!

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I was supposed to have a yoga body not just because I worked out, but because I could afford yoga classes.

I was supposed to drink Starbucks every day because that’s where I had my writing meetings, not because that was where I worked. Maybe. (Not saying I will or will not be working there, but let’s just say that health benefits at this time do not suck.)

Lest you think I want to live as a modest hippie for the rest of my life, getting hopped up on free Venti White Mochas, I do not. I will not say no to a bigger career if that is what God has for me. I will live in abundance and always work my craft. But for now… when I get really still… when I drown out all those other voices that tell me what I should want, a quiet whisper defiantly rises up reminding me of what I really want.

And I want this.

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The big, messy, chaotic, impractical, not always perfect but amazing life that I have.

Because on the rare occasion after a hike we take that fabulous family photo…

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… most days we’re just getting through the day by day with as much joy as possible.

This means turning Costco into an icy adventure.

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And enjoying family walks to school because both my hubby and I are not working such nutty hours that we can’t enjoy the turning of leaves or a quick wave to Wing, the neighbor, who is so proud of his daughter for getting into UC Irvine. Go Ant Eaters!

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I want conversations with my son in the front seat of our stinky SUV on the difference between “taking a joke” and “not standing up for oneself” and, when the ticking – which is on a very high upswing these days gets a bit frustrating – I want to put my hand on on his and be grateful for his ticking heart.

 

Embracing what is, not what I wish was, makes my now living wow living. It’s not one I take for granted – even on my super tired, nothing is working, OH FOR DUCK SAKE days.

Along a similar bend,  a new blog I found, Grief Happens, has been talking about meditation these days. It’s been fun to watch her journey. I don’t know if I’ll start a sitting and breathing practice myself, but I’m all for becoming more intentional with who I’m sitting with.

b

And as long as I’m breathing in more peace – even if that means talking art with my friends on a Friday night instead of being at a club or a show premiere this hippie will take it.

Anyone out there find life different than what they expected? I want to hear!

Until next time, may God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

bookcover profile pic

 

The Cluster

sss

In the immortal words of Cartman, “Poor people… they tend to live in clusters.”

If I’m not careful, I can resemble that remark. Yes, I have a roof over my head, but my poverty mindset is always licking at my ears.

Poverty Mindset

“I’ll never get a job that works for my skill set…” (Note: Highlites of skill set include being a six one white mom rapper and the ability to get life stories out of homeless people and Costco shoppers in five minutes or less. Sometimes four minutes if I’ve downed more than one coffee sample.)

“I’m a bad mom for not being able to suppress Stink’s tics after all this time…” (Note: The whole ‘I can cure Tourettes thing?’ That’s up there with my other skill set: Denial Clinging. I’m so good at it!)

“The credit cards… they are still not paid off.” (No comment)

“This friend cut me off… that family member is annoyed with me.” (The good news is I have more time for random strangers. Lucky!)

“Stink was bullied in school. Again.” (Hey, at least he’s not at private school. I’m sending him to public where he gets bullied for free. Win win!)

“Another temp interview today. But I can’t find my Social Security Card. So even if I get hired, I can’t work because I can’t prove I exist.” (If a woman blogs three days a week, but has no official paperwork from the government stating her official numbers, did it actually happen?)

This morning I got up at 5:30am to go running.

Like every morning, I aim to reverse my poverty mindset with one of abundance.

Abundance Mindset

“Today I might not get a perfect job, but I can put myself one step closer to one that will put me one step closer to another which will put me one step closer to my dream job.” (Back in TV! Write that musical! And tap dance! Oh, that last one – I can do that for free at the YMCA beginning on Tuesdays. Who’s ready to “Put another nickel in… in the nickelodeon…!” Aging myself. Moving on. )

“I don’t have to be a perfect mom. THERE IS NO SUCH THING. Stink might tic, but he is confident and strong. Why not concentrate on that?”  (It beats staring at his mom job bowl haircut. Seriously, Andrea, not good. Put the scissors down.)

“I can pay a minimal balance on my cards each month.” (Though what I really want to do is spend MORE money on things I can’t afford. Like a this $125 Cath Kidston backpack. To carry the scripts for the pilot that will be written after my book gets marketed and I finally remember to buy sandwich bags for the kids so they don’t go to school with their sandwiches wrapped in left over gluten free bread bags. Yup, I’m organized!)

www

“I can’t please the world. Apologize, let go and your real friends will remain.” (You know who you are. I love ya!)

Abundance! Grace! Forgiveness!

That’s what I’m aiming for! It’s only 7am! What can go wrong?

7:01

My daughter: “Mooooommmm… my alarm didn’t go off. I have to finish my homework and clean my room and I’ll never be ready for our walk to school.”

Me: (Annoyed as I watch her slowly eat cereal.)”Why didn’t you do it yesterday?”

My daughter: “I was making dinner for the family!”

Me: “That’s your chore for your allowance! You have to prioritize your time better!”

My daughter: (Now really crying) “I’m doing the best I can!”

Me: (Inside voice) “Me, too.” (Outside voice.) “I’ll help.”

But I don’t want to.I want to stew in my head and be hungry for things I can’t change. Poverty Mindset.

My daughter: “Okay.”

7:08

We’re now not walking to school. I can hear my son tick tick ticking in the room next door while I fold sheets for my daughter and she weeps in frustration. I am ready to join her but I don’t.

Because this is life on life’s terms. Abundant living requires abundant acceptance that sometimes things just don’t work as planned.

7:15

Me: “Pip, you know, you don’t have to be perfect. You just need to do what you can do for today. Be kind to yourself.”

Abundance! Grace! Forgiveness!

She’s not buying it. I get it. She will one day. So will I.

Me: “Want a hug?”

Denied.

I walk toward the stairs. I hear Stink in the next room. Tic tic tic.

Me: “Hey, Stink, got a hug for your mom?”

Stink: “Of course!”

He is soon at my side in the hall way, moppy head buried in my shoulder. He’s so tall now, I can practically look him in the eye.

His hug is expansive. Wrapped in his 13 year old arms, I am no longer in a poverty mindset, poor and living in a cluster. I’m clustered in what I strive for most.

Abundance! Grace! Forgivness!

All this by 7:45

I can’t wait to see what 8am brings.

Until next time, may God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

book cover

 

To Medicate or Not to Medicate – That is the Question

ddd

Many of you readers know that I’ve struggled with the idea of medication for my kid. He definitely has focus issues. And he’s definitely eccentric.

Fantasy thinking: If I were homeschooling him, his lack of attention would not be an issue. I could adjust his lesson plans to his personality.

Reality thinking: He’s going to public school.

Fantasy thinking: My kid could be so much more “accepted” by the regular herd if his energy and eccentricity were taken down a notch.

Reality thinking: Why should I medicate my kid for anyone else? If HE needs it to survive socially and academically, I’ll do it. But if he is managing, it makes no sense.

It’s a tough call. He is struggling socially with the “in” folk, but he is wildly accepted by the “outside” funk kids. He knows who he is. (Bueller… Ducky… your buddy is available for a hangout at the card shop.)

I wrote something on my Facebook page a month or so back, and I stand by it:

In thinking about Prince’s death, I can’t help but look at it through the perspective of a middle school mother. Prince’s audacity, style and outrageousness is hailed as revolutionary by folk across cultures, lifestyles and ages. He, like Bowie, is considered iconic and to be admired – which he is. It’s truly a loss. But when non-typical kids in middle school dare to do the same, they are often shunned and discarded. It’s an interesting dichotomy…that to be cool… one first must have the courage to be uncool. I would have loved to known Bowie and Prince in Middle School. I have a feeling they would be at my house on Taco Tuesdays.

Here’s to your crazy ones – medicated or not. It’s a tough call, and I support you and your kids either way. We are in this together, Mamas!

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Until next time, may God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

book cover

Letting Kids Fail:When to Let Go?

I don’t know about you guys, but the only thing harder than being in middle school myself is watching my kids go through it. It’s painful enough watching my sweet Martha Stewart daughter deal with kids in the hall throwing curse words. Her Victorian sensibilities are under attack on a daily basis and she’s ready to throw up her parasol in despair.

“It’s just too much, Mom!” she cried the other day, fanning herself with yet another tween novel about pioneers and progress. “This is why I refused to go on the nature trip. Why would I deal with the insanity of boy crazy girls and bad food when I could be at home with a book and a cup of tea in front of a warm cozy fire?”

I wish I were joking.

k

Then there’s my son. He’s about as far a cry from Jane Eyre as Snickers is to junk food. Bring on the hump day tee shirts. Bring on the Pokemon hats with the bright yellow balls and the Pikachu-themed Nintendo DS’s. No skateboards and skinny jeans for this kid. Add in some tics and you’ve got yourself about as far out of the social circle as one can get.

nerd alert

A friend of mine, whose son has Asperger’s, told me that her son really began to shine when she put him in an alternative school.

“My kid was a duck trying to fit into a swan pond,” she told me, with nary a hint of frustration or defeat. (Apparently going through cancer can cure you of a lot of things that once would bring you down. But I digress.) “Now he goes to a school that’s only full of ducks. He can waddle to his heart’s content.”

This thinking seems completely reasonable. Why should a kid suffer for being who he is? I 100% applaud her decision.

But for my kids and my situation, here’s the real sticky mess – the Oreo filling in the center of two very logical crackers: “What if a little bit of suffering is what my kids need to grow and become strong?”

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In her book, The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed, Jessica Lahey talks about how we, as parents, can let our kids fight their own battles to become self-sufficient adults who don’t crumble at the first sign of adversity.

The Amazon description reads:

“In the tradition of Paul Tough’s How Children Succeed and Wendy Mogel’s The Blessing of a Skinned Knee, this groundbreaking manifesto focuses on the critical school years when parents must learn to allow their children to experience the disappointment and frustration that occur from life’s inevitable problems so that they can grow up to be successful, resilient, and self-reliant adults.

Modern parenting is defined by an unprecedented level of overprotectiveness: parents who rush to school at the whim of a phone call to deliver forgotten assignments, who challenge teachers on report card disappointments, mastermind children’s friendships, and interfere on the playing field. As teacher and writer Jessica Lahey explains, even though these parents see themselves as being highly responsive to their children’s well being, they aren’t giving them the chance to experience failure—or the opportunity to learn to solve their own problems.

Overparenting has the potential to ruin a child’s confidence and undermine their education.”

It’s tough. On one hand, I don’t want to hover. But where is that fine line between letting a kid learn his part to avoid feeling like a victim, and when is a kid truly a victim? If you’re like me, you know only too well your child’s short comings. “I can tell my kid that his new hair do makes him look like a candidate for the short bus, but if that punk with the flat top makes fun of his bowl cut he’s going to hear it from mama’s best side!”

fart

??????????????

 

Bottom line, like this picture of me (taken by said wacky son), life can sometimes feel sideways. It’s tough to stand back and watch my kids get hurt. But when I’m truly being honest – who is getting hurt more? Them or me?

Trying to keep mean children and sadness away from them is like trying to stop the ocean. On good days I surf those choppy waves like a pro. On bad days I go under. But most days, I aim to sit on the beach and remember that my kids have had their swim lessons. It’s time to let them go a bit deeper into the water. And when they need a breath, I’ll be right on the shore – warm towel in hand.

(But not for that mean kid in seventh grade whose name will go unnamed. That kid can be freezing and suck it.)

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

book cover

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