Friday, July 20, 2007

More Parent Induced Tics

Many imperfections of the parent can be measured by observing their children. I'll give you a few examples from my house.

  1. Lil Bro is three. He can answer almost any trivia question you throw at him regarding Sponge Bob Square Pants. About three months ago, he didn't really know that show.
  2. I just listened to an exchange between my boys where reason never even entered the room. It escalated immediately to anger, impatience and annoyance.
  3. I've been seeing tics reduce in The Boy for the last three months. Yesterday, his play therapist said he noticed more than he's ever noticed before.

I know I'm in "special circumstances", what with being left by my husband who was the stay at home care giver and home maker (or maintainer would be more accurate). I survived the first few hellish weeks - my mother scraping me off the floor every morning and doing everything for me. My mother gave the boys amazing one-on-one care. When she left, I was still very not OK. It took me a while to get day care figured out. So Lil Bro, unfortunately, became fast and steady friends with the giant toddler drug - our TV. I had to work so I wouldn't get fired. And I couldn't get him day care until this week. Thus his knowledge of all things Sponge Bob. And his being able to quote all sorts of commercials. And his insistence that he needs all sorts of products I would never bring into this house.

So when I write it like that, people can see how it might happen and what could I really do. I get that. But it still makes me feel like such a sub-par mom. To see my kid so absolutely addicted to TV. Throwing fits when he can't watch it any more.

And then with #2 and #3 above, I chalk both of those up to the reappearance of their father on the scene. And I don't mean that in the sense that future ex is being an ass or solely responsible for this. I mean it in the sense that he's back in the area and interacting with me on a regular basis. I have to say we've had mostly good days and we are working VERY hard at being friendly and civil for the boys. But there are those moments where all sanity goes out the window. Maybe it's a passing comment from him that shows he has no clue exactly how flat my soul was made by the steam roller of his stupidity (oh yah - gotta love my nutty analogies). Maybe it's him asking the name of something he gave me years ago so he can send one to his girlfriend. Maybe it's watching him pine for someone that I see as the icon of destruction of all I loved. Maybe it's him flipping his mouth off about my beliefs and me trying to physically throw him out of the house. There have been about 3 big negative interactions with us since his return last Thursday. And while I look at that like, "Wow, only 3 bad moments in a whole week," The Boy and Lil Bro obviously internalize it or react very differently.

Their impatience with each other probably comes from listening to a stressed out mommy having a bit of an edge to her otherwise mostly patient and loving voice. I've snapped at them more since future ex left. Nothing horrible. But enough to teach them to just chuck the niceties and get straight to the attack.

And The Boy's tics, I feel so awful that I didn't notice an increase. I do notice he has to make a few tries to complete sentences lately. It's not stuttering. And it's not quite stammering. It's like, he's got 942 things he wants to say and trying to get #47 out is hard because all of the other thoughts are trying to rush out at the same time. So he'll make it almost to the last word of a sentence and get flustered. So in stead of taking a second to think of the last two words, he'll start the whole sentence over. And this might happen 3 or 4 times until he finally gets the sentence out. When I'm stressed or tired (which is...oh....always!), I find the insane me screaming the end of his sentence in my head. In my head I hear things like, "JUICE!! It's JUICE!!! You want some apple JUICE!!! I GET IT!!!!" But outside I have to just go, "Take it slow bud. Just take a breath and then tell me what you want."

His excessive blinking seems to be the one tic that has been a constant throughout his last year (next month will mark a year since he was diagnose with Tourette's). Lately, his little close-mouthed dog whine has returned. Such a weird description. But without being able to put a sound clip here, that's the best I can do. It's a short punctuated little noise that sounds like a dog whining. But short.

Yesterday, he was painting at our table with a friend. She's a year older than him. At one point, he put down the paint brush and just clapped his hands really quickly - his hands about neck level and very close to his body. And he looked up and rocked a bit when he did it. It totally reminded me of actions some of my mentally retarded adults used to do when I was teaching. His little friend just calmly asked him, "Why did you do that?" to which he replied, "Do what?" He didn't even know he had done it. She showed him what he did and he just went, "Oh. I don't know." So I just said, "He just did it for fun." And she just said, "Oh," and kept painting.

Anyway. Today, I'm very aware that I have to get over myself and start working my butt off for my kids. I've been giving myself a lot of slack - allowing myself time to be flustered or zombied or whatever. But seeing how things are affecting my beautiful's time to put aside anything selfish. Time to take on the hard tasks even though I still feel like giving myself breaks or slacking off. Time to knuckle down and be the uber mom again.

So today, I have KLOVE blasting. I'm constantly asking God to lift me up and let me do it. And to hold me to task. I have to start sleeping. I have to start being Johnny-on-the-spot again. I have to be present and there for them. I have to put away the hurt me. God's got her. Now I just need God's strength. I need it because the hurt and wallowing can still overwhelm me. And the whole doing this all by myself thing is constantly overwhelming. The whiny girl who just wants a winning lottery ticket threatens to pop up all the time.

I want my boys to be happy and healthy and not know every word to every episode of every Nickelodeon or Disney show.


Sarakastic said...

I think you're being too hard on yourself, but I also wish that all parents were so selfless & dedicated. You can do this.

Beck said...

The tv thing is completely understandable - you had EXTENUATING circumstances. Just gradually wean him back so he doesn't notice and you get television back to its proper space.

Kendra said...

You CAN do this, and remember there is GRACE for you and the boys during this season. It WILL pass, you know - it's just a season of life, not a forever state of being! You are a GREAT mom, and your beautiful boys are such a testimony of that! But do get some sleep . . I'll pray for that - sleep, it's a good thing! Loving you -

Allie said...

For one, I think you've got pretty good reasons for cutting yourself some slack - but I understand how even when that is the case, we can still feel terrible about things we can't reasonably be blamed for. Good on you for being the sort of person who goes one step further than is required of you. But don't beat yourself up about it either!