BigBro has been making a strange noise a lot lately. I can't tell if it's a tic or he's just enjoying the sensation of it.
I can't describe it very well. The way I can do it is, if I close my mouth, breathe in through my nose and make my vocal chords vibrate on the intake. It's like an inhalation growl.
He does it now and then. I've noticed it every day for quite some time. Every now and then I'll say, "Hey, you're growling," or "Stop the growling." Not mean. Just kind of like you'd tell your kid to get their finger out of their nose in a matter-of-fact tone.
As we went to bed tonight, I followed him up the stairs and heard the growl. I said, "Hey, you're growling again." Lil'Bro asked why he does that. BigBro said he didn't know. I asked if it was tic-ish or if he just liked the feeling. He wasn't sure.
Lil'Bro asked what a tic was. I explained how Tourette's is a neurological disorder where the nerve signals get confused or crossed. Probably not exactly technical but it helps me to think of it this way. Lil'Bro wanted examples so I mentioned some. I tried not to list all of BigBro's manifestations - kind of hit all over the TS spectrum.
After a while, BigBro asked me to stop talking about the symptoms because it made him uncomfortable. He has told me in the past that he doesn't feel his TS until I mention it. Which I understand. But I also think it's important for his little brother to understand what TS is and how it might manifest. It's always good to have a built in advocate - even if he IS three and a half years younger than you!
So I told BigBro that I'm just explaining it to Lil'Bro and there's no need to feel like I was listing everything on HIS list of TS symptoms. He eventually joined in the explaining. Which was cool. I certainly don't want it to be a hush-hush taboo subject.
I understand how discussing TS can make BigBro suddenly very aware of lurking feelings. But I also know he can own those feelings, talk about it and be ok.
And The Ex
And on a totally separate subject, The Ex has been living nearby for just over a month now. I cannot tell you how spoiled I feel with the extra help he is giving with the boys.
But here is one weird little observation:
When I was doing this all alone - forced to do it - I did it. I mean, yah, I had days where I felt overwhelmed. Especially in the beginning. But by this third year? Our routine was in the can. I just did it. Not spectacularly, mind you. But we were all alive, relatively clean, fed and clothed.
On my own, if dishes needed doing? I did them. If laundry piled up, I tackled it (eventually). If errands backed up, I got 'em done. I could do all the shopping, unload the car and put it all away. Hey, who else is gonna do it, right?
Well, now I have a co-parent nearby. Within walking distance. He's been stepping up and helping. Suddenly, I can remember being one of a couple. Suddenly I remember how impossible it felt that I could have done the shopping and now I had to unload the WHOLE car all by myself! AND I had to put the stuff away, too?! Suddenly, one person couldn't possibly do any of the chores that needed doing - not alone!
Being part of a couple gave me this fragile-flower mentality. I see it all the time with couple friends of mine. The trash is overflowing but my friend won't touch it. That's his job. The dog can be scratching at the door, starving, but another friend won't get the food from the bag 5 feet away because that's her job. I mean, really?
But yah. Really. I was the same way. I remember thinking I would never be able to do it all by myself. And there are those that would look around my house and argue I am NOT doing it all by myself. (And I would agree.)
But let me tell you, my dainty-fragile-flower mentality? Feh! Because on my good days? (And lately, these outnumber my bad days by far) I can get up, get the school prep done, dress the kids, help Lil'Bro brush his teeth while hounding BigBro not to get distracted. I can get them to school and get to work and then kick ass to get back in time to pick them up from after-school-care. I can drag them home and whip them into homework-mode. I can make a dinner (and by "make", I don't mean Donna Reed's version of "make" - but they're alive and thriving so...), clean up the mess and put away the leftovers. I can do the grocery shopping, unload the whole car and put it all way - alone. I can run the errands. I can balance [air quotes] the budget and make all the payments. I can plan, pay for and execute all the parties. I can buy the clothes, shoes, school supplies. I can somehow squeeze 2 extra hours out of my...um...busy schedule for a birthday party for every kid my boys know. I can periodically dust (at least once a decade), vacuum (much more frequently), scrub, wipe, and scour the house. I can do ridiculous amounts of laundry. I can post meaningless jibber jabber on Facebook and blogs. I can make it to church on time with both boys in tow, contribute to the ministries there (including 'Comic Relief' and 'Official Wisecracker'), sing my brains out and get back home. I can do it. I don't need to half-ass it and whine that my partner should be doing such and such and if only he'd be doing THIS part, I'd be able to do THAT part better and all that horse hockey I used to think.
And this isn't judgment. These are all observations about my formerly whiny, selfish SELF.
When I became a single parent, I talked to God and said, "You're going to have to help me here. There is NO way I can do this on my own!" There really wasn't. It's not a one-person job.
Thankfully, my partner is the Creator of All Things. He still makes me unload the whole car and put the groceries away. But not alone.