Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Interrupted Sleep - Again

I want to post this so I don't forget it. The Boy has had some interrupted sleep here and there. Once due to cold medicine. But recently, we've had 2 episodes that are very similar and just not anything I've ever dealt with.

Tonight, we had just finished watching our DVR'd episode of NBC's 'Heroes' when we heard him come down the stairs (on a tangent here - LOVE this show!!). The Boy came down extremely agitated. When we got him to stand still at the couch, he was not making a lot of sense. I wasn't sure he was fully awake at first and still am not sure about that point. He was first crying saying he needed a snack because his tummy didn't feel good - at 10pm, that didn't make any sense to us. He said maybe it was the candy (Halloween) but I have to tell you, he had ONE lollipop tonight. One.

But I wish I had a video of how he was crying. He wasn't so much crying with tears and boo-hoo and all that. But he was agitated to the point of hysteria. His hands were in balled fists, every muscle in him was tense. I tried to sit him on my lap - a normal comforting tool I use with him with great success. But he was so stiff and tense, he pushed away from me and stood up. But then he seemed poised to just...I don't know...run or something. I told Hubby, it almost seemed like he was in that fight or flight adrenaline rush. His heart was pounding out of his chest. We kept asking him what happened, did he have a bad dream, did he feel sick, etc? But he couldn't tell us. Finally he said, "I don't like today!" and we said why and he said, "Because of THIS!" We asked what "this" is and he said "I just can't explain it!" with shaking fists of frustration. We asked him if he was awake and he said yes. Hubby asked him if something had woken him up and scared him or if he had woken up, not been able to get back to sleep and then gotten upset because of that. He said it was closer to the last thing. He was a bit calmer and Hubby, at this point, was able to remind him that most people wake up at night and it's ok. If it upsets him, he can always talk to God about it or take some deep breaths. He also reaffirmed that it's perfectly ok for him to come find us if he can't settle down.

He finally settled down enough for me to sit him in my lap. I talked calmly to him and asked if I could hug him. Once I did that, he seemed to relax and melt into me. His heart rate had finally settled down, too. We got him to try a bit of milk but he really only had a couple of sips. Then he laid down on the couch and started falling asleep. I laid down with him and rubbed his head, kissed him, told him we loved him. He was asleep very quickly.

I really have no idea what this is about. This absolute panic and racing heart thing happened a few nights ago or last week - can't recall. I don't recall what happened - oh yah. I was sick and in my room so I got there much quicker than normal. I met him in the hall and he had that same absolutely freaked out look, tensed muscles, real panicky stance and that incredibly racing heart. We got him calmed down in my room pretty quick but the intensity of his agitation was just scary.

I have no idea if this is Tourette's or related to his anxiety. Is this just The Boy's version of night terrors? Tonight, because of Halloween, he went to bed late. He was very concerned with whether he'd make the bus in the morning, could I drive him in so he could sleep later, but if I let him sleep in he didn't want me to bring him to school between this time and that because no one would be in his classroom at that time as they'd all be at their specials (music, art, gym, etc). This is the type of scheduling that The Boy keeps in his head all the time and he's very upset when his routine is thrown off.

So...I'm writing this down while it's fresh because I can never remember it clearly 4 weeks later when we meet with the psychiatrist. I might even send her an email to see if this concerns her. I really really hope The Boy isn't going to develop any sleep disorders. I know they're common with TS. But, like most things, I don't want to start any self-fulfilling prophecies here.

Other than that, Halloween was awesome. The Boy's first year going door-to-door. He never wanted to before this. He and Lil Bro had a blast. We have way too much candy left over. Why isn't there a food bank where you can donate candy?

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Boy's Letter in 'That Darn Tic'

I had to share this. The Boy makes me so stinkin' proud. He wrote this letter to the TSA a while ago and it is finally in their kids' newsletter. His gorgeous little face is right on the front page!


Thursday, October 26, 2006

An Interesting Dinner with The Boy

Tonight, hubby and I were feeling especially lazy when it came time to make dinner. Trust me, this is no new revelation. We always feel this way when it comes time to make dinner. But tonight, we were feeling whiney enough to actually throw financial prudence to the wind, pack up the kids and head to Luby's. I could write an entire blog about how much I love this place but I digress.

We got to Luby's, went through the cafeteria style line (yes, I said cafeteria-style, get over it), paid, got to our table and all dug in to our bounty. YUM! The Boy ate a little but he kept chewing a bite and then spitting it into his hand. Sometimes he does this if he took too big of a bite. Our usual response is, just put it on the side of your plate and take smaller bites, ok bud? Tonight, however, it wasn't just once or twice. I don't think he got more than a few bites to actually go down. He told us that he has to do it. His body was telling him to spit it out. Now, he and I have been feeling a bit punky in the GI tract for the last couple of days. So I just don't know if this is a tummy bug thing or a TS thing. I asked him if he thinks it's a TS thing but he wasn't sure. So hubby reminded him that he can control a lot of his other tics and he should give it a shot with this one. I thought that was pretty cool - because hubby suggested that very matter-of-factly. But he wasn't able to eat any more.

So a teeny part of me is worried. But the larger punky-GI-tract part of me is sympathetic and assuming it's the tummy bug. Once his intestines stablize, I'll have to keep an eye on this type of thing - to see if it happens again. I'm hoping it doesn't - hoping it's the tummy bug. Because, honestly, how would I get a kid to eat if his body is telling him to spit it all out? For now, I won't even GO there.

One hint that we're fine: he had NO problem eating his Jello!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Taking on the "Tag"

Ok. Another non-TS aside: Trish has tagged me with a fun task and I have taken her tag.

She asked me to list "Five things I probably wouldn't mention at a cocktail party." As I noted on her site, I probably wouldn't be at a cocktail party unless the host was hip enough to consider Dr. Pepper as a cocktail. But that aside, yah, I can probably come up with 5 things that don't ordinarily cross the "small talk" boundaries. And honestly - as Trish already pointed out in her blog, is that really all we want to know about someone? Let me quote her here because she's just that quotable:
"We get caught up in the dullest conversations - 'What do you do?' 'Where did you go to school?' 'How old are your kids?' And we rarely move on to the juicy fun stuff that rounds out the edges of our lives and differentiates us from all the other people who share our job/school/rate of reproduction."

I doubt I can come up with anything that any of my regular members and readers didn't already know. And I must be careful here because there is a fine line between the task at hand and "too much information". No need to dredge up horrible past acts that will drive potential new friends away in droves. So I'll leave out my years spent as a dominatrix (for the record, mom, THAT'S a joke!).

  1. I'm a music lover that hates pretty much all radio except KLOVE. Now, to my Christian friends and family, that's not all that interesting. To my friends who knew me in the Boston rock & club scene, I think that would not only be interesting but highly amusing. While I was never a horribly debauched "scenester"...it wasn't exactly a sweet and loving persona I was putting out there. Anyway, I just don't have time to waste on music that isn't going to say something important or to lift me out of the valleys I periodically hit. (I say this as The Newsboys are singing "Amazing Love" on said radio.)
  2. Old news to most that know me but never fails to start a long and interesting conversation: I'm adopted and know my birth-family. That's a biggy and can still give me chills when I tell the story of how April (my birth-mom) found me.
  3. One of my "if money weren't an issue" dreams: to own and operate a country inn like the one in White Christmas. I would love to run a huge country inn in Vermont or somewhere like that. I'd have to hook up with someone who knows the business end. But I'd want to run the house and kitchen. Because you KNOW it would have a fabulous restaurant that would draw people off season. And it would be famous for the artery-clogging chocolate chess pie. And we'd have live entertainment - old school. I'd reincarnate Bing & Rosemary, man!
  4. One of my other "if money weren't an issue" dreams: to record all of my songs and a ton of hymns. I actually really want to do this one. I have a bunch of songs I wrote during my Boston music time that are just collecting dust. I'd love to record them with all of my musician friends as guest musicians. And I'd have my producer friends all do the production and my artist friends do the cover. Yah. I want to do that.
  5. And once I dropped that one, it would easily lead into the fact that I'm a singer who has done everything from singing to huge churches, opened for a big Boston hard rock band to a crowd of probably 3000, sang with the lead singer of said big band in a few Boston Rock Opera shows, to singing my lungs out currently at my church (apologies to the ear drums of those that sit in front of me). I've been Jacob Marley, Krishna, a drunken apostle, Simon Zealots, an activist, a priest, a Transylvanian, one of the 3 fates, one of 3 witches...it's been fun and nutty. That usually gets conversations going.

So Trish...how'd I do?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Just Checking In...

I have no real updates, revelations, epiphanies or anything really regarding The Boy. Which is good. I am glad that all I have to write about him is, he's gorgeous, smart, funny, a giant pain in the ass, and the most wonderful six-year-old that's ever been ripped from my abdomen.

One thing I was pondering today: Isn't it funny how most humans have a desperate need to know exactly why something happened? Or where it came from? I'm speaking about the thing almost all of us do. Most people try to trace all genetic traits back to this side of the family or that. Good or bad. We're always trying to connect the dots. As an adoptee, I am particularly guilty of doing this. But, as an adoptee, I've always thought it was just us "disconnected" adoptees who did this. However, from the moment I knew I was pregnant, the practice began. And it came from all sides.

As soon as the kid is born, we're trying to peg exactly from whence came the nose, eyes, ears, toes, eyes, texture of poo. It's insane. Everyone does it. (I have a theory that all the post-partum nurses just say things like, "Oh, he looks JUST like [insert you/dad/any other relative in the room]!" Just as they're trained to tell every mother that hers is the CUTEST baby on the ward. I've seen a lot of newborns. Those nurses lie about 73% of the time.)

It happens at all ages. Not just with babies. My sister and I are both adopted and are like polar opposites. She's the tall, lithe, blond-blue-eyed nordic queen. I'm a dark haired, brown eyed hobbit. And seriously, I've had people say things like, "Oh yah...I see it now!" in response to me saying she's my sister. Oh yah...I see it now...you look...NOTHING AT ALL ALIKE.

Yah, so, I was thinking about this. Because, even with the "bad" traits - everything from hammer thumbs to wide Fred-Flintstone-feet to TS - I'm amazed at how quickly people want to claim it as from "Their Side". I find it odd because, well, when The Boy was born and we discovered he had renal reflux, I cried and went through lots of guilt. I had it as a child and went through tons of tests and surgeries and almost died a few times (cue violins). Fun stuff, that. So of course, even though The Boy came 35 yrs later (ie - medicine probably has a better grip on this now), I just assumed his fate was the same. And shame on me for reproducing and saddling my child with such bad genes and it's all my fault and woe is me. It didn't last long because my husband is wonderful and snapped me out of it. But it happened. And guilt like that happens all the time when there's any kind of non-desirable trait that pops up in a wee bairne. So...my point...what the heck was my point here? Oh right. So with this Tourette's thing, yah, genetically, it could have come from anywhere. And at this stage in my life, I'm very much at the point of "who cares, let's just deal with it." So I pretty much assumed it came from my side since my half-brother had it. Kind of a done deal in my head as far as the genetic tree branch from whence it came. So today, I got an email from my dad-in-law and he was theorizing that it might have come from his side. He has also claimed responsibility for some temper tantrums and other less-than-desirable traits. I just found that funny. Most granparents are claiming the cute humor, the genius factor, the good looks, the whatever-is-good trait.

But as I thought about it, it brought me back to that desire that most of us have to try to connect the genetic dots. And it's not just us adoptees who are just trying to find our roots. I found my roots. I have all my birth family present and accounted for (which could be the subject of a whole other blog!). But I still always try to figure out where everything comes from - who looks like whom, who acts like whom, etc. And everyone else does, too.

Ain't that funny? Or is it just me?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

An Aside: They don't KNOW from cold!

Just had to share. I went to my local huge-gantic grocery store today. I have, not surprisingly, made friends with 3 of the regulars behind the deli-meats counter. There is something to be said for when you walk up to the deli, they automatically pull the white American, the muenster and the beef balogna. And of course, on those rare occassions where I don't have both boys with me, I am peppered with "Where are the boys?"

I'm totally off point here.

So, Sweet-Lady-With-Five-Daughters is chatting me up and says, "Are you ready for the cold front tonight?" "Is that hitting tonight?" I ask. "Oh yes," I'm assured. "It's gonna get COLD tonight!" "Really? What's the predicted low?" I ask, knowing I'm about to get the definition of cold from a native Texan. "They say it's going to hit FIFTY!" I turn to Transplanted-Lady-from-Maine and say, "They think fifty is COLD!" and we laugh. If there was any poetic justice at my grocery store, someone from Canada would have walked up and shut me up. Canada KNOWS from cold.

But the Texan definition of cold still cracks me up. Give me a year or so. I'm sure I'll be shivering when it's 70!

Is It TS or Just Being Six?

At this early stage, it's so hard to tell if The Boy is tic'ing or just being a six year old. If you've read previous posts, you'll recall I said something to the effect of, if you put 100 six year olds in a room, most of them would be twitching, twiddling, clicking, grunting or something else. It's like a miniature glance into puberty - your body isn't under your control and you're usually full of incredible amounts of sugar.

So The Boy has allergies. This means sinus drip. This means disgusting stuff dripping down the back of your throat. This means you clear your throat. Constantly. But there are times when you can just tell The Boy is clearing his throat for sinus drip and then there are times you can tell it's not quite under his control. Then there are those times you can't tell which is the cause. But clearing throats doesn't really bug me.

One of the other attributes The Boy tends toward is difficulty in recognizing and implementing social limits. Is this TS or is this just The Boy being The Boy? I know a lot of 6 yr olds that have way too many social limits because of shyness or overbearing parents always tapping them on the shoulder so they can give them that slight disapproving glare that means, "Quit it!" I know a lot of 4 & 5 yr olds that are just as exuberant and in-your-face as The Boy. They haven't picked up on the subtle body language thing yet. Backing away from them just translates to, oh wow, I can step toward you more! I have been led to believe that, by 1st grade, most kids have started recognizing these social signals and are getting better at understanding and implementing boundaries. So, The Boy is a bit behind in this. Or so I'm told. I might just be being a typical blinded-by-love mom here, but I like innocent exuberance better than kids that are afraid to do anything because they're afraid they'll screw something up or get a tap and a glare. I dunno. This of course is coming from someone that used to walk up to people and say, "You and I seem to have [fill in subject here] in common. We should be friends." I have made quite a few good friends that way.

The blinking and eye rolling is still happening and it's definitely not under his control. But there are just certain sounds he makes that I'm not ready to chalk up to TS every time I hear them. There is an interesting little squeaky noise he makes when peeing that cracks me up. But again, I'm not ready to wave the TS flag at that one.

On another note, I have way too much saved on my DVR. One of the things I have saved is the HBO documentary "I Have Tourette's But Tourette's Doesn't Have Me". I mentioned this before. I had decided not to show it to The Boy because the kids in there range from very mild to very severe cases. I didn't want The Boy to think, oh, this is what must happen to me. So it's still on the DVR because Hubby wants to check it out. SO...the other day, we're scrolling through our recorded items list to find something for The Boy and he sees that title. "What's that?" he asked. So I told him about it. He wanted to watch it. I was hesitant but thought, why not. So he watched it. I asked him what he thought and he told me he wasn't very interested. If "not interested" means his eyes never left the TV and he stayed to watch the whole thing, then yah, he must not have been very interested. It's a great documentary but is hard because some of the kids explain that they have a really hard time at school or socially or whatever. Some of the home video makes you wonder how some families survive this. But The Boy watched it and hasn't had any questions since then. But I have to tell you what a sap I am. At the end, they wrap things up and then give you little updates on each of the kids you saw. And while they're doing this with pictures and text, they're playing this version of "Tomorrow" from Annie. A song I learned to hate long ago because I grew up in the NY/CT/NJ tri-state area and had to listen to commercials for "Annie" on broadway ALL the time. But this version was really good and it fit the update so much and I sat there watching my son who has TS as he's watching the updates with lots of interest. And it was just all too much for me. It's one thing to watch a documentary like that by yourself. But watching my kid watch it - I don't know how to describe it. I was watching him watch something that may or may not happen to him. I'm sure there is way more fear in ME than in him. But it got me. And I had to walk into the bathroom to cry. I came out to find Hubby doing the same thing. But in the end, we both just grabbed The Boy and hugged him and told him he's so awesome and he wiggled away to go do computer time, wondering, "Why are my parents so weird?"

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Happy 10th Anniversary!!!

Just had to share that today is the 10th anniversary of Hubby's and my wedding.

Hubby said to me today, "Who would have thought back then that we'd be living in Texas in 10 years!" Yah, that was definitely not in the original plans. Two adorable boys weren't quite in our sites either. The "kids" thing was definitely still a "someday" plan back in 1996. Funny how at 30, I still thought I had plenty of time to ponder that one.

Ten years with one of the sweetest, kindest, most loyal men I've ever met. And he gave me two of the most wonderful boys in the WHOLE world.
The Boy & Lil Bro at the playground - circa Oct 2005
How'd I luck out, man? (Thank you, God!)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Gotta Chill Out

So...I was up in Boston last week chatting w/ my boss. If you recall from earlier posts, she had TS as a kid and has a rather "twitchy" aspect when under stress. She was asking how The Boy is doing and I told her that mostly, it's just the exaggerated blinking. I told her a few other things that he does that align with the write-ups on TS and she gave me some interesting and good advice: Don't read into all of his actions as having to do with Tourette's. I mean, let me give you some examples. His constant throat clearing...at one point, this was definitely something that was not under his control and it was also not related to anything like sinus drainage or something like that. But now? Since moving to this area, he's dealing with all sorts of allergies. His docs actually confirmed that. So, yah, his throat clearing could be his allergies, TS or both. Who can tell? Another one that the psychiatrist noted was his tendency to echo something someone said. He happened to do it with her - she said, "Follow me. I'm way down at the end of the hall." The Boy followed her singing "Way down at the end of the hall," over and over. Um...if memory serves, I'm pretty sure that was an obnoxious thing I found very funny when I was 5 or 6. And I notice that lots of K and 1st graders tend to do this, if they are of that ilk (wisenheimers). So is that TS or is it just The Boy being a goof. I have to say, I don't see him do that echoing very often. So I'm chalking that one up to goof.

Anyway, I'm not being stupid by thinking everything is just coincidence. But at the same time, I'm trying to chill out on the analysis of every movement or sound. All of my reading has told me that diagnosis of TS at the age of 5 is not the norm. Probably because TS can be progressive and usually gets to the point of someone saying, "OK...that's just not normal" when they're more like 8 or 9. I think The Boy's early diagnosis was fortuitous but also a fluke. If he hadn't told me that his body was making him do this stuff, I would never have noticed most of his actions as anything other than The Boy being The Boy.

So, Hubby and I are trying to let him be a six year old. His blinking and eye movements are still a reminder that TS is there. Some of his noises still remind us, too. But then, some of his noises remind me of experiments most of us were doing with noises in the 1st grade.

Just thought I'd share. Because I was starting to watch everything with too much scrutiny. Making myself nuts. I think I'll save that energy for a time - if it happens - when his TS needs it. For now, I'm the mom of a pretty normal (and as Trish points out - genius) six year old.