RSS Feed

Monthly Archives: October 2013

Wow, It’s Gone!

calvin

My husband’s job of 14 years, not the tics. (Got you excited, didn’t I?)

Before you all go telling me how sorry you are about the big sad scary loss, let me tell you that this is the best thing that has ever happened to us. He was OVER his job. With the new changes comes new opportunities for us as a family – GREAT opportunities. We walk the kids to school every day, pick them up together, shop together, cook together and hang out all the time. It’s awesome.

No work for him means I get to go back to work! I’ve started writing 2 times/week for an old producer who has 3 shows up for a series. There is talk of her hiring me full time for production on the set. But first.. I need a sample script. Which I don’t have – not an updated one anyway. Still, she read my book and thinks that it would be a great sample script as all the material is there.

And yet… yet….as awesome as that all sounds, I would really like to publish the Mom-moir sucker first. Plus I have a full time job interview tomorrow for a decent company because, well, I hear health benefits are kind of important. And food. I can live on rainbows and hope, but my kids cannot. I need to do what is best for all of us.

I tell you all this because, for some reason, I am not in fear at all. It’s been nothing but excitement and expectation. I swear, T.S. taught me that. I have really learned to live with uncertainty and to create my own norm. It took a while, but how wonderful it is here!

Stink’s tics are pretty low, though there are some vocals now. (I’m thinking a week of Halloween parties, gluten, school, tests and a pending Disneyland Trip are the culprit. Ya think?)

Keeping this short, but wanted to thank you all for your wonderful comments and support. I could not be so balanced without you. I hope I have given you as much centering as you have given me.

So, on a Halloween note, let’s take a show of hands: Who is letting their kids just go plum crazy on Tic Trick or Treat and stuff themselves full of more candy than we have complaints about  T.S.?

* Pic of my little Calvin at last night’s Boy Scout Halloween party post pie-eating contest. Grandma’s fat sausage Chihuahua, Lily, will be dressed as the tiger, Hobbes, for Thursday.

Advertisements

Running the Marathon

CAM01569

If there’s one thing I’ve discovered about my kid is that he can be a bit of a manipulator it’s important to stop and really talk to him. This means when he is complaining about school, or crying about some kids on the yard, I can’t just take it at face value. It’s time to really pay attention and dig deeply. One friend in particular encouraged me to really hear my son out – to tell him that we were on his team and would support and protect him no matter what.

And so, that’s exactly what I have been doing. I have been going out of my way, as has Rex, to sit and talk with him about the dynamics of class and the playground. Of course I would take him out of school in a second if I thought major damage was being done. But sometimes kids are awful. This does not mean we need to vacate. It means Stink needs to use his voice to change the situation the best he can, and what he can’t change, we deal with then.

In navigating the past month’s ups and downs, it has meant really talking to Stink, but staying detached and focusing objectively on the situation. Given this kid was literally attached to me for nine months, then spent the better part of the last decade tethered to me like emotional velcro, the task of staying centered is not an easy one.

But, having been at this parenting thing for a while, it’s exactly what I put into practice. Turns out, the play yard situation has indeed improved – something that wouldn’t have happened had I yanked him out of public school at the first sign of trouble. Together, with my husband, we spoke to his teacher yesterday about his lack of joy for school.  She set us at ease that part of this is fifth grade hormones and academic pressures. But a big part of it, we found out, was that Stink feels there’s no fun.

Me: “What specifically isn’t fun?”

Stink: “All the test prep. That’s why I want to be home schooled.”

(Side note: Wanting to be home schooled to get out of school work is far different than wanting to be home schooled because kids are being mean to him, hence talking a bit more deeply and really pushing him on the subject.)

Rex:  “What do you think being home is going to achieve?”

Stink: “I don’t know, but it’s more fun. There’s also the computer.”

Me: “It’s always the blipping computer I am going to bomb that sucker!!!!!!!!!! I know you want to play more video games, but it’s not good for your focus, especially now that you’re off your focus pills.”

Him: “Even on the pills, I find myself always thinking about playing video games. It’s what I really love.”

(Side note: I have often thought about taking away the computer all together, but here’s the deal: If a kid loved ballet and only focused on that, is taking away ballet going to make her study more at school? What if Bill Gates’ mom took away his interest. Instead, why not use the interest to motivate him to do the boring stuff?)

Me: “How about we let you play 30 minutes/day during the week IF you get your homework done. And IF you take up a sport to get your energy out, especially since you don’t have a pill to calm down your spinning but fabulous brain.

Stink: I would love that!

Teacher: I will say his focus has dropped, but it’s not affecting his school work at all. He’s really learning all the material.

Stink: See, Mom?

Me: Okay, but are you sure the kids at school aren’t—

Stink: NO ONE IS BEING MEAN TO ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I believe him. This is a child who is not depressed. This is a kid who cannot hide pain or sadness. He’s a con-artist, but not a great bluffer.

So that’s where we are at. My kid is not being bullied. My kid is thriving academically as far as tests go. My kid is just lazy and wants to sit on his butt and play computers all day.

Please tell me your thoughts on using an obsession/passion as bait to accomplish the school work?

PS: As always, I would like to encourage you that parenting and tics and everything in between is best run as a marathon, not a race. We’re gonna have good days and bad ones, and it’s best to pace yourself!

* Pic taken at his school’s Kids’ Dash. As you can see, he is clearly miserable.

Check out more posts about Tourettes at the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome where this blog is syndicated.

Daring Greatly and Eat! Your! Vegetables!

agent d revised

Call it the Fall winds, the thrill of the spy themed Christmas music he’d been practicing or just the excitement of being in a crowded room of children dressed as masters of espionage, but Stink was HYPER AS HECK on Thursday. He dashed out of the practice room like a bat out of hell. Every person he’d pass he scream, “Eat! Your! Vegetables!”

Rest assured, that trio of words was not some wonky verbal tic. It was likely something from his script or some improv that tickled his fancy. He was probably just reliving the high. But honestly, it was inappropriate to say the least. I’m all for eccentric theatrical artists. I’m not a fan of scaring young babies out of their strollers with bug eyes and legume threats – especially if the veggies are not GMO free. I mean really, for gosh sake, I live in Los Angeles surrounded by lots of organic minded mamas. I could get sued.

I was annoyed. I was frustrated. I was tired. But I was also, in retrospect, elated, because one thing I was not was embarrassed.

Not ONCE did I think, “What will other people think of my child’s behavior?” My entire response was based on the interest of my own child to act with respect and dignity for himself and those around him because good behavior is important to function in this world. Other’s reactions are inconsequential.

For someone who started this blog out of the need to suppress tics for Stink’s sake, my sake and, truthfully, to not have others have the wrong opinion about my precious boy, I have come a long way.

If any of you are worried about what other people will think about your kids, I want you to know that I’ve been there. I still dip my toes in those waters when people don’t circle the wagons around him when he needs it most – when friends let him down – when my own “friends” make veiled excuses why their kids can’t hang with my kid as much for whatever social climbing b.s. they choose to participate in.

I get sad about human behavior, but I don’t get sad about my kid, because in the end, he is on this earth to make a difference as Stink – not a shadow of someone else who, for this small moment in time, might seem like a “cool” kid but in the long run will be facing their demons while my eccentric art kid is at Harvard or Art School doing a thesis on the “Dance of Vegetables.”

Today, as I finish up (I do mean finish) the epilogue to my book, I am ending a long few years of silence… of breaking away from the noise and clanging of social group chatter. I am coming up for air refreshed and more balanced than ever before. Although painful at first, taking time for me was incredibly liberating, because it forced me to face a lot of demons in my life, from my marriage, to my own writing abilities, to my children. What I discovered, in going to battle, was how to draw boundaries and rise up stronger than ever before with an amazing husband, children and a few true friendships by my side.

So much good has come out of this refinement process, but the greatest has been to live in future. People might quote meditation as being the best thing because you’re present, but for a mother of a son who might have a hard day of ticking, the idea of living in the presence of incessant head nods and throat clears sounds like hell. During these times, while of course working to accept the moment, I find it so helpful to look at his future – one where he has risen above social norms and become stronger and greater because of adversity. When I look at my son as the beautiful adult he will be because of the tapestry that T.S. and his eccentric personality has painted, I am much calmer in my present.

In closing, I am reading Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly.

dar

In it, she speaks of her famous T.E.D. talk on vulnerability. She lectures about how, in talking to people about connection, she often hears about their deepest shame. She reveals that it isn’t until we face our shame and love ourselves from the inside out that we can connect to others.

I have a lot to learn and love about myself and others, but when my son vollies inside jokes at unsuspecting strangers and my only thought is “Stop that!” and “Oh, that reminds me, we need to buy brocalli” I know I have transformed more than I could ever have dreamed possible.

I encourage you, too, my readers, to dare greatly, focus on the future, and always eat your vegetables.

Andrea