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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!

supplements

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

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The Kids Got Talent

for dom

Today my kids auditioned for the school talent show. Pip is singing “For Good” with her bff, Miss L, while Stink is going to do a magic act to entertain the crowd. I don’t want to give away his shining moment in advance, but let’s just say that it involves taking a wand, forcing a platter to rise out of a box, and making food on said platter magically disappear.

Translation: Pip will hide in the box. Stink will take a Barbie doll (which he finds funnier than a wand) and scream: “Rise! RIIIISSSEEEEEEEEEE!” Pip’s hand will then appear through the hole in the box with a plate of cookies. The great magician will then take a cookie and toss it in his mouth, making it disappear.

Afterward, Stink will ask for volunteers. He’ll choose four children. Once on stage, he will ask them, “Now, which one of you want to make things disappear?” Once again, he’ll point to the box, but this time, pizza will rise – hopefully to every mini-foodie’s delight. He will then work his way up to cupcakes. Finally, over 25 of his rubber ducks will explode out of the center of the box. Why? “Because ducks are funny, mom. Duh.”

I bring you this little slice of silly because it reminds me that life doesn’t have to be so friggin’ serious all the time. Is it a piano concerto? No. But Stink isn’t interested in impressing adults in the audience with his musical instrument talents. He’s interested in making a whole lot of kids laugh. Because, really, kids find this stuff pretty funny.

I like that about Stink.

As we were sitting in the car in front of the driveway, he sprung the loaded question on me. “So, Mom, can I play video games NOW?”

He’d been on restriction for a few days. I had to. The tics were crazy. I couldn’t take it.

“I know you think they make the tics bad, but truthfully, Mom, I’ve been crazy anyway. I can barely concentrate in class. You know, PUBERTY and all.”

That made me laugh. But it also made me sad, because he loves his gaming. And really, he’s right. Video games or not, his tics are just up. Who am I kidding that it’s going to make that much difference.

“But look how mellow you are now, baby,” I said. “Your energy is so even. The lack of video games does make a difference.”

Enter exasperation on his part. “Moooom,” he sighed, “I’m holding them in so you will think my energy is okay so I can play.”

This made me feel like crap. “But you’re not supposed to hold them in at home, buddy. This is your place to let them out!”

He just looked at me and shook his head. “If I do that, you’ll just have one more reason for me not to play, so let’s just decide I can play a little bit and work on diet and exercise. And hey, why don’t you go back to drinking wine? You like it. Go for it!”

The upshot of this is that my kid is upstairs, playing an hour of video games. I am not drinking wine because, well, that’s another blog post. And we’re just going to take this day by day until we see the naturopath on Tuesday.

Until then, Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the tics I cannot change, change the tics I can, and have the wisdom to know the difference.

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Samstink & Deli-rious

The title is my bad attempt at reframing the Bible story of Samson and Delilah. For those of you who don’t know it, let me give you the quick recount.

Story of Samson and Delilah

1.  Samson is born with the gift of strength

2. Samson is to use his gift for God

3. Samson instead falls head over heels in love with a prostitute

4. Samson reveals to this hoe that his strength lies in his hair

5. While sleeping, said hoe cuts his hair

6. Samson, weak and defenseless, is taken to prison where his eyes are gouged out

7. Samson slowly grows back his hair, along with his strength

8. Other inmates and guards, perhaps due to amazing prison food or cellmate Bible hour, don’t notice his hair getting longer

9. During a pagan ritual, when Samson is marched out to be slaughtered, he puts his hands between two pillar posts and knocks down the temple, killing both himself and the everyone in it

10. The Takeaway: If Samson had just listened to God, instead of that slut, life would have been better.

My Version of Sunday’s events – Samstink & Deli-rious (me being delirious, Samstink being played by yours truly on the bike.)

dom and sophia on bike

1. Samstink is born with the gift of outrageous personality

2. Samstink should be using his gift for God

3. Samstink instead falls head over heels in love with all things Pokemon, BeyBlades, video game and comic book

4. Samstink reveals his passion during Sunday school class and, rather than pay attention, sneaks in a Diary of a Wimpy Kid book during Bible hour. In addition, according to his sister the spy, he talks back incessantly to teachers. Said informant’s testimony is backed up by Samstink’s defiance to parents the whole drive home. (No, we did not get him a do-nut. No, we did not stop at the park. No, we did not get tacos and he would be forced to eat gluten free tuna sandwiches for lunch. Yes, we are awful parents.)

5. Post-church, rather than hang at home and play videos, Mama forces long-haired, moppy Samstink to get a haircut

6. Samstink, moaning and defenseless, cries as the locks are shorn, transforming him from disheveled homeless child to good Christian solider in twenty minutes flat

dom pic

7. Samstink vows to grow his hair back, along with his manners and gratitude

8. Other family members, promising to remind him when he’s being argumentative, defiant and wearing food on his mouth, remind him of how much he is loved

9. During a pagan routine, one that involves Mama sitting at her work desk by 7am an hour from home, gets an email from Samstink’s father. It features a photo of Samstink all ready for school with his new hair and clean clothes

10. The Takeaway: If Samstink had just stopped acting like a defiant turd, his mama would never have had to resort to such evil measures

THE FINAL PUNCH

Samstink, insisting his new hair was goofy, had the final word with his outfit. Because, you know, shiny blue crocs, nylon shorts, a polyester Mario shirt combined with a Scooby Doo hat and rainbow gloves is far more subtle than a haircut.

Mama’s takeaway: Short of dressing the kid herself, this mama is going to have to learn to pick her battles her battles  . dom and sophia post haircut

 

 

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Your Twitch and Bitch (Slap)

my kid

I’ve been trolling a lot from my private group lately. There is just so much gold to be mined, I can’t help but share some of the nuggets. I promised my ladies, even though I keep their names anonymous, that I won’t be ‘using’ them forever for their stories.

But sometimes, I can’t help myself. When we share with others, it makes us all feel so much less alone and real. Besides, since my group is called “Twitch and Bitch,” I occasionally have to take advantage of my bitches. (Note to Margaret: I’m sorry. That really was kind of crass. Please forgive me. It’s bad enough that I went through 3 takes of a video I’m making because I accidentally used my kids’ real names. Your security motions are slaying me!)

Now, back to our original programming.

Today in my group a mom – who I’ve known over 5 years – was freaking out over upping her son’s medication. She is nervous about raising the dosage, even though she thinks he needs it, because she’s worried about what will happen if it doesn’t work. She’s afraid she might not be able to handle the disappointment.

I TOTALLY understand this. For you new moms out there, this is so very very very valid. It’s scary. You don’t want to feel you’ve exhausted everything and have no hope.

Even for you old-time TS moms, this is a valid feeling. No one should ever tell you what is okay and what is not okay to feel. But how you act on your feelings? That’s a whole other matter. And again, no one has to take my advice, but I have some anyway. For me, this means being harder on the old timers than the newbies in my group. They are tougher, and if they are not, I make them tougher by giving them a little Andrea boot camp. I call it the Twitch and Bitch Slap.

Maybe you could benefit from this, too. If I hurt your feelings, I’m sorry. Please know it’s for your own good. And if you disagree, feel free to say so! (But it doesn’t change my mind.)

My Note to Old Timer Sad Mom

Here’s you Twitch and Bitch-slap:
 
1. Get a therapist
2. If you don’t like the therapist, find a new one
3. If you don’t like that one, find a new one after that
4. When you find a great therapist, go every week for a year
5. If you’re not feeling better after that, try something new. Consider medication. Consider church. Consider meditation.  Consider a job. Consider exercise. Consider ANYTHING different.
 
I PROMISE YOU. You can’t NOT do what I prescribed and not feel better. It’s not possible. If you feel that it IS indeed impossible, it’s not, it’s just what YOU think about it and honestly, that is of no consequence. That “it’s not going to get better talk” is called depression. There is a cure for depression. Don’t know what it is? Re- read #1 – 5.
 
Take two drinks and get back to me in the morning.
 
Dr. Andrea
* Note about drinking: I’ve done it when the stress has hit. A lot of us have – it takes the edge off. But this is not a mechanism that should be a permanent fix. It’s a slippery slope between “mercy” and “alcohol abuse” and one that I find I have to watch closely. I hope you do, too. (Speaking of, it’s Saturday night and I’m drinking, shhhh, coffee. I know. I’m crazy. If Stink is going to head shake all day – which he’s been doing all week for whatever reason – I figure I can shake from too much caffeine in solidarity. I’m awesome that way.)
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One of These Kids Is Not Like The Other

“One of these things is not like the other…” That used to be my kids’ favorite Sesame Street song. They’d squeal with joy when one row of boxes containing 3 apples and oranges rolled by, while another box contained 3 apples and a banana. So similar, yet so different!

Perhaps you, too, can play this game with my children.

Pip’s Suitcase

1

Stink’s Suitcase

2

Pip’s version of arcade game playing

3

Stink’s version

4

Pip’s version of hat wearing

5

Stink’s version

6

While I’m stoked to say that no one laughs at Stink for a few tics, our family finds him pretty hilarious. He really brightens our lives.

Pip finds him pretty darn funny also. She’ll even tie his shoes for him. 7

After all, shirtless arcade play is exhausting. Plus he’s got those 100 pens to organize in his suitcase.

The takeaway: If your kid is eccentric like mine, like Stink’s treasured Scooby Doo suitcase, you better roll with it. They only get more eccentric with time. (And thank God. It’s so much more fun.)

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It Finally Happened – The Mean Kid Tellith Stink To Stop Ticking

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:

Hi –

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.

* This site is syndicated at The New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome’s blog. Come on over and meet other writers who share similar joys and struggles. Do you write and want to contribute posts to the NJ Center or guest blog here? Email me at LifeHappins@Gmail.com
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A Cure For Tics! Really! And Pigs Fly! It’s True! (Well, They Sell Cure-Alls!)

I am steaming mad tonight, and it’s not that Stink’s tics are pretty non-stop. Quite the contrary, I am really taking on my mantra: “If you can’t fix the tics, fix yourself.” I am exercising, relaxing, off the wine  (in an attempt to drop 15 pounds) and just counting my blessings.

I’m mad about the response I received from an advertiser who will remain nameless. I will not reveal if this douche bag advertiser sold magic pills, e-books, supplements or therapies for tics. I will just say that they claim to stop twitches and sounds for a fee that’s more than a cup of coffee but less than a pair of Lucky Jeans. (Evasive enough? Good. Let’s continue.)

The ad promises it will work 100% and that their own kid suffered from tics and they can END! YOUR! KID’S! TICS! ALSO! It’s that easy! Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!

I wrote them and said I would do a review for them in exchange for a free product. I was upfront that I could not spend more $ on something that I wasn’t sure worked. “But if it’s all it claims to be,” I wrote, “Then I will shout it from the rooftops and spread the word throughout Facebook and the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome.”

I would run a contest to get him more traffic! It would be a win-win for my son, his wallet, and nervous parents everywhere.

I received a quick response where I was asked for my site stats. I sent him a copy of them. (Believe me – I’m not exactly getting a million hits/day.)

He wrote back 24 hours later with this response. What you see is unedited. The first paragraph is in relation to my question about tic elimination.

His response

From my own experience and from feedback I get from people I would say the following numbers apply:

50% total elimination – it can take anywhere from a week (! but these are rare cases) to 3-4 months

30% significant reduction – and I mean noticeable and significant!

20% no significant change. Although many people say the kids are less hyper and calmer. And happier.

I think you would understand why i am hesitant to commit to your proposal…

Do I send you the eBook, wait for you 2-3 months and then unfortunately your case belongs to the 20% or even 30% and I get a nasty or no review?
My reputation could be damaged unfairly…

YES – i know! The way the sales page appears is as if this is the miracle cure. Sorry ….. so does every other product. 
My website consultant suggested and created it. (the testimonials are real by the way !!!)

If you want I can have (someone) Paypal you some money so it will be a paid post and you can just review the product and mention its existence.
You can also run a contest for a free copy.

I am not doubting your integrity as a writer – i would not want it any other way!
All I am saying is for you to understand my situation and realize that marketing and reality are not always on the same page.

He goes on to say a few more things, then ends it with, “God Bless.”

Where my head spins off its shoulders My thoughts

This person is willing to falsely lead frantic parents down a primrose path and then tell us that we are stupid for believing him since ads are never real. Translation: “We are complete and total frauds, but we need cash. PS: Jesus Loves You.”

My response

Hi Devil Spawn –
 
No problem. I totally appreciate you getting back to me.
 
I suppose I’m disappointed because, even if your marketing director said to do it a certain way, it’s kind of false advertising. Either it works 100% or it doesn’t. Your ad is appealing to people like me who, in desperate situations, will do anything to make their children’s lives better.
 
I think it would be more honorable to tell the truth: This works x amount of times and in x amount of cases. But that doesn’t sell as much product.
 
I don’t mean to sound high-handed. But it’s disappointing.
 
For the record, I would NEVER repeat an email from you or discredit you in any way. I’m not into character defamation of any kind. But I will tell my readers to be aware of ads that promote cure-alls.
 
I would ask you to humbly search your heart and consider revising your statements in your ads. It would add sooooo much validity to you.
 
Again, thanks for your honesty in your letter back. I wish you the very best.
(Note to my own readers: I am only repeating some of their email and gave no names, so I stand by my word.)
Their response

I agree !!!!
In an ideal world…..

I’ll tell you what:
Show me ONE ad/website/print that gives percentages and I will pay to have my site revised and rewritten!!!!

God Bless!

My response back

I do understand. I really do. But this isn’t a cleaning product – it’s placing false hope for a real disorder that affects real people. I understand that you need to make money, but there are some things where it’s more important to do the right thing. THAT’s what God blesses. It’s not a catch phrase or an email tag line. 
 
With all due respect, you should be really ashamed of yourself.
His response back
I’ll never know. I will delete it without looking at it. I can’t waste any more time on this. As the Bible says, “Don’t throw pearl to swine.”
God Bless!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
* This site is syndicated at The New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome’s blog. Come on over and meet other writers who share similar joys and struggles. Do you write and want to contribute posts? Email me at LifeHappins@Gmail.com and I’ll personally introduce you to the editor. Let’s get Happily Ticked Off and do something to support each other!
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How Is Everyone Doing?

Well, the moment I write “tics are gone” they always come back. But they are still at a minimum and I am very happy with the Intuniv. Stink is still Stink: happy and charming and sometimes a bit toooo silly. But I’ll take that over a flatlined robot.

I don’t know about you all, but I am finally hitting the wall with this summer fun non-sense. If I do one more load of dishes, or fold anymore laundry, only to see it pile up again in the course of one hour, I will lose my brain.

My kids have gotten excessively argumentative and hyper. They need structure. Apparently there really can be too much of a good thing in terms of swimming, friends and hang out time. It’s time for a schedule!

As I type this, 4 kids are running through the house. I normally take them to the pool or the Y or even Grandma’s house. Today? I’m cleaning. My house looks like a giant petri dish.

In closing, I am pretty stoked that I have air condition in this weather! And while I’d kill for a house that has more shelving and a prettier kitchen, I’m pretty darn grateful for what I do have. Pandora music, some fresh coffee, health insurance and a family I love so much I could die? I’ll take it.

What’s new with you?

My fave new song to go with housecleaning!

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Empathe TIC – My Kid

Vacations are great. Not only do they force you to slow down, but in doing so, you observe and feel things you might not otherwise with the hustle and bustle of real life.

One thing that has surfaced came from my little Stink the other day. I told him something he couldn’t do (after he and his sister’s Lord of the Flies excess experience at the beach house) and he started to cry.

I hugged him, explained why he couldn’t do it, then went on to pack for our mountain getaway. (Surf and Turf in one week… I know, life is tough… stay focused.)

Within moments a very sullen boy came into the room. I was prepared to hear a dissertation on why an extra six hour, 2 minutes and 37 seconds of electronics are not only okay but good for him, but instead he just sputtered, “Mama, I think 3 pills are too much for me.” He was fighting tears.

I sat down on his Scooby Doo bed and took him in my arms.

“Why do you say that?” I asked.

“Because I keep getting upset,” he said.

My kid is a con-artist. He can say anything to get his way, but I could tell this time was different. I dug deeper.

“You mean, because you can’t have extra treats like at the beach house or more computer time?” I offered.

“No. I mean… I just feel more sad… It’s like I have these mini cries… a lot… over little things.”

I was floored. I wasn’t surprised at his feelings – just yesterday my husband remarked that Stink seemed a bit too muted. A friend, a few weeks back, remarked that he seemed super mellow. Topanga T, during our Saturday get together, commented that he seemed a bit too robotic.

And yet, check out my previous post and video – he seems okay! I figured the pills just needed a few weeks to titrate.

But after talking to Stink a few days ago, my mama bear instinct kicked in. 3 pills really are too much for this kid. We need to back it back down to 2. Minimal tics are great. It’s been awesome to feed him crud and know he’s not going to spin like a tilt-a-wheel, and his focus is awesome, but at what cost? So we can then put him on antidepressants to combat the downer effect? This makes no sense.

We are going to back it down to 2, but first we need to talk to Dr. McCracken on Monday after our trip.

“Stink, we will cut back for sure. But we can’t do it before UCLA. Do you think you’ll be able to manage your mini-cries until then?”

He looked up, teary, and then smiled. “I think some extra computer time could really help.”

CON ARTIST.

“Fine,” I said. “A little bit only.”

SUCKER.

Take away for moms and dads thinking about starting meds for tics or focus: If you can hold out until your kid is at the age where they really know their bodies and can speak about the effects, it’s super helpful. Sure, a few years of hyper activity or trying out diet and supplement techniques are a pain (but yes, they really help in managing symptoms) but it’s a great baseline. If you start meds at 4, when they are 9, how will you know what their true personalities are?

* Butt coverage: Some folk absolutely need meds due to extreme ADHD or extreme tics. Of course, there is nothing wrong with that. It’s simply my theory for parents of kids who have medium to mild tics/focus/hyperactivity. And trust me: nothing helps build a parents’ tool box of character, patience, grace and forgiveness than learning to accept and nurture a child who isn’t a perfect cookie cutter kid.

Until next time, hug that ticker of yours today!

You can now follow me on Twitter: @AndreaFrazer. (Watch out – I might start following you.)

Tourettes, Uncategorized

What Makes Us Tic

I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching lately. It’s dawned on me that since my kids were born almost ten years ago (Stink will be 10 in January and Pip will be 8 in two weeks) I have done nothing but run. I run to ballet practice. I run to the market. I run to Ebay ten dollars worth of used ballet shoes. I run to cook up that $4.00 batch of chicken I just got at the market.

There’s nothing wrong with running – it’s part of the mothering experience. And truthfully, I just love the energy of it. (It’s this joy that has me running here to blog!)

But in running, I also am hiding. In particular, I have tried hiding from Tourettes.

Maybe you have done this also?

Maybe you have told yourself, “If I just find the solution to these damn tics all will be okay.”

For me, the miracle finally came.

Stink got some medication. And his tics are at an all time low. (Though they are up 30% the past few days due to computers, yukky food, excitement, etc.) And now, with things okay in Stink’s world – with that magic pill and the answers to all I wanted to make everything okay – I’m starting to unravel.

Why is that?

Am I someone who is wired toward anxiety or fear? Do I need chaos to feel okay?

The truth is, it’s neither of the above.

It’s starting to dawn on me that life itself is nuts. This isn’t good or bad. It just is. People are weird. We’re weird. Nothing goes as we want it to. There is no fix. There might be a magic pill to calm down tics, but there isn’t a magic pill for life. All the booze, pills, exercise, money and running isn’t going to save us from things we can’t control.

And this is why I’m a bit unnerved. Now that I know Stink is going to be okay (he always was) it’s ME who needs to grow up and take life on life’s terms.

* My mom is getting older

* Some day my childhood home will be sold

* Family dynamics aren’t as Little House on the Prairie close as I’d like them to be

* My career isn’t what I had hoped it would be

* My husband is only able to relate to me in the way he can relate to me – he isn’t Prince Charming who can magically read my mind

* My kids won’t be babies forever

Instead of hiding behind the tics, or running, or blaming others or blaming myself, or holding on to my own childhood that is no longer there to comfort me and keep me safe, it’s time to let go. It’s time to just feel whatever I feel. Happiness at the dog across the street who rushes over to my doorstep every day for a treat.

Joy at watching my children sell beads in the kitchen for magical money and a kiss.

Gratitude that my husband makes a good enough living that I can sit at home on a Tuesday and type this post.

And absolute abject fear and terror of how much things are going to change in the next ten years.

Perhaps, like me, you don’t like fear. It’s, um, scary! You consider Zoloft. You drink too much wine at night. You work yourself to death to, there’s that word again, runnnnnnn from it.

But guess what? At some point, you’re going to come to the same realization I have that you can run but you can’t hide. And that horrifically tragic moment wonderfully life altering experience when you slam right into that wall and slide down and you’re exhausted and tired and hurt and angry you have the chance to do something wonderful, you can either:

1. Grab onto your ego and put on your make-up and fake it that all is okay and buy that fancy home in the hills and live a fake life with dotted “i’s” and crossed “t’s” where nothing is unorderly and all is accounted for in your bank account and living room or…

2. You can just go out into the world and show it your scars. You could be shocked at the response you get. Sure, there might be a few, “Oh, God, you really look like crap. Just get it together and grow up and buy retail and suck it up like the rest of us… with good hair please…” But more than likely, your battle wounds will be a beacon to others fighting the same battle. “Hey! I have been there also! Check out my knee scrapes! Got them from too much praying and digging in the garden with my kids and this one? Dropping to the ground at Good Will to score that train table before that other bitch grabbed it.”

I’m tired of “shoulds.” (I’m shoulding all over myself.) In allowing myself just to accept the ever-changing tides of life, I can float on the waves rather than drown in the longing that it were something else. It’s the wanting – this unrealistic wishing of what can’t be – that’s been the key to my discontent. Life won’t be better when my husband changes or my childhood home isn’t sold or I get an amazing job or this book is done. Life is okay now – just as it is.

I’m ready now to face this. It’s a scary journey, but one that is going to open up a whole new life of peace and joy. But for a while, there just might be some tears. And really, I’m okay with that. Discomfort sucks, but I’m brave enough to try if you are. Pema Chodron is someone I have recently discovered. My Christian friends might tell me to pick up a Bible for comfort – and I do. But I’m also picking up her book. It’ll arrive in the mail soon and I’m excited to read it.

You can check a bit of her out here if you’d like!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4slnjvGjP4

Until then, I’m off to be at peace with life on life’s terms. Wish me luck!