Tonight I had to write the letter below to Stink’s teacher. Apparently, this is the week of honest correspondence. Spineless salespeople…. ignorant gradeschoolers… at least I knew Stink’s teacher would be receptive.
From our first conversation last year in the halls – before she was even Stink’s teacher – she demonstrated not only humor and smarts but an emotional intelligence that I’d been dreaming of in an educator.
Still, those fears I had when he was diagnosed five years ago – worries that included being teased and harrassed for noises and twitches he couldn’t control – were finally being realized. It was a somber moment.
At the same time, it was liberating. Because although I wished I didn’t have to deal with this, I wasn’t scared. And my son wasn’t too upset either. Sad an annoyed? Yes. But broken? Hardly. The past five years had been spent concentating on Stink’s strength, not his weaknesses. No fourth grader was going to take him down.
So with strength (I fake it sometimes) and lack of fear (anxiety will hit later when I’m PMSing or out of Zoloft or Day 6 of my no nightly glass of vino quest) I give you the letter which all mothers of tickers worry about writing:
So I hate to be THAT mom, but I was saying prayers with Stink tonight and he mentioned feeling sad about some kid named
Mama Never Taught Me Empathy I’m a Cry For Help who always asks about his tics.Stink doesn’t care if people ask, and he gives the standard, “Oh, I have Tourettes and make tics. I can’t help it!” and that usually suffices.
But apparently this kid keeps saying, “You CAN help it. You CAN help your T.S..” He will move out of line if he’s next to Stink and say he does not want to stand next to him because of the sounds.
There’s 3 things going on in my opinion:
1. Of COURSE people are going to be annoyed sometimes. As a mom, I get annoyed myself but…
2. It’s an opportunity for kids to be more accepting of others.
3. Stink needs to educate the class on his condition. It might make his tics calm down.
Is there any way, sooner than later, my son can have the floor and just give an update to the class on what it is to have T.S..? I can get a video about it if that will help.
Or maybe Stink can talk about it in a PLC? (TRANSLATION for my blog readers: PLC stands for “Peaceful Learning Circle”. My kids go to a
fabulous developmental hippy co-op amazing public charter school. They call teachers by first names. They used to have an assistant T.A. who wore mismatched socks named who sported a fro and went by “ChaChi”. I can’t make this stuff up. Now back to the letter to Stink’s teacher.)
I feel bad hitting you with all this on the 3rd week of school. I just want to nip the “social” stuff in the bud now so I can really focus on, well, getting Stink to FOCUS and be the best he can be.
Thank you –
Andrea (and Rex!)
My question for you readers: So what would you do? No, kicking some kid to Mars is not an option. Stink doesn’t want meds for his tics. He says he feels sad, but not enough for more medicine. He thinks this kid just needs to deal with it. Do you? I see both sides, honestly, but most of all, I’m happy my kid is confident in himself. Still… where do I make choices for him where his social life is at stake? You know, like being invited to a party by an ignorant dumb ass who only hangs out with ignorant dumbasses? Oh, wait…
Note to self: Cancel anti-ticking drug order. And congrats on 5 pounds lost! 10 more to go!
Here are my babies at our cabin this weekend. They cracked us up by surprising us with Twin Day outfits in their suitcase. Of course they had no tooth brushes, but who cares? They’ll be old with no teeth but like each other. Let’s see if Ignoramous STOP TICKING bully boy from Stink’s class can boast that. Well, maybe the no teeth part. If he keeps it up, someone will knock his front chopper out one day. I
won’t cry will fake compassion for him.
5 thoughts on “It Finally Happened – The Mean Kid Tellith Stink To Stop Ticking”
I’d feel exactly like you do. You did the right thing by writing the letter to the teacher. My horns would absolutely come out if anyone was giving my son a hard time. Unfortunately, we are able to do damage control at all times, so I truly believe the best thing you have done is to have taught Stink to accept his tics. It’s such a great thing that he feels comfortable enough to just turn to a kid and tell him “I have Tourette’s and I tic”. From this point out, I believe the BEST thing you can do is to push to educate the kids at his school and particularly in his classroom. I work as a (substitute) teacher almost daily and I see how accepting (most) kids are of each other’s differences, but often awareness is the first step to their acceptance. This kid who is giving Stink a hard time probably does think he can stop ticcing (after all, I, too, thought my son could before I realized what the tics actually were), and as you and I both know, tics can drive a person to (drink heavily)…
So, I guess my point is that I, like you, can see both sides, and the only way to change the kid’s reaction to Stink’s tics is to educate him. Push for Stink to talk to the class. Hopefully the teacher/school will be accommodating and Stink will feel much better afterward. He is getting to the age where he is going to care more about the reactions of others and about peer acceptance, and again, from my experience, once a peer has a sort of “label” for the behavior (i.e: Tourette’s), he will be much more likely to be accepting (and will possibly end up being Stink’s good friend).
Best of luck! I follow your blog and often don’t comment, but I can totally relate. Fortunately, Aidan’s tics have pretty much subsided over the last 6 mos (but puberty is right around the corner, so I am bracing myself…).
Congrats on the 5lbs!
@ Claudia – Thank you for the helpful and affirming comment. It helps to hear it from a teacher, too! I don’t know much, but yes, education is KEY. As I told my husband, after hearing Stink speak, if this kid chooses to still be a weenie, then he use ignorance as his excuse. From there, Stink will have to learn the life lesson that some people just suck. He doesn’t need to have T.S. to learn that lesson. I sure got schooled in it growing up, as did everyone else. Welcome to life, right? Hey, I’m thrilled for you that Aiden’s tics have subsided. Is he on supplements? Meds? Diet? Forgive me if I’ve asked this before. I really need to have a seperate page where people give their coping mechanisms. I’ll add that to ever growing list!
Andrea, Aidan is not on any meds or supplements. I give him a multivitamin every day, and that’s about it. I try to stay away from too much processed food and artificial stuff, but I pretty much gave up the fight a while ago, when i realized that i was losing the battle against the tics and probably stressing him out trying to control everything in his environment ( for fear it would trigger more tics). He just turned 10 in June and they are the lowest they have ever been. We really don’t even notice them or even think about them much anymore. His sisters (20, and 18) don’t even think he has them anymore, but I do notice 1 or 2 from time to time. I’m definitely praying that they remain this mild or that he just simply outgrows them, which I understand can happen. But, as you and I both know, there is no rhyme or reason to this strange disorder and nobody knows what the future holds.
Oh boy, that’s hard. It sounds like he took it pretty well, but, still, if he brought it up it did affect him in some, even if in only minor way.
Reading this reminded me to remind my own kids (his classmates!) to be sure to speak up when you hear a friend being not treated so well or bullied. Like, if they heard a kid say that to Stink and then observed them move their place in line to get away from him, it would be the right/kind/AWESOME thing to do to say, hey, he’s my friend and he’s cool and so I’ll stand next to him…or something like that.
I do appreciate that you take the time to speak to the classroom every year and educate those (mostly) well meaning students…it can really go a long way.
@ Dar – thanks. It’s harder on me than on my kid of course. But he’s so tough and he knows who he is. I’m not really worried. Just a tiny bit. He’s my baby!!!!!