Monday, March 4, 2013

The Tics Are Coming Out of the Woodwork Around Here

Our older son is doing that penis-eyeball thing again.

Tap the tip of his finger to his penis.
Then tap the finger to the eyeball.
Tap penis.
Tap eyeball.

It is a product of his OCD.  I know that he can't help it.  In fact, this particular tic is one that happens when his gastric system is hurting. It's a sign of distress. He is trying to find calm in a world that is in chaos.

Whatever it is about that particular tic--

Tap penis.
Tap eyeball.
Tap penis.
Tap eyeball--

It soothes him.  And, yet, it is also problematic.

I love him, and I know that his tics are a sign of anxiety.  But, it is my job as his mother to find a common ground between his special abilities and mainstream society.

I tend to think that mainstream society would not appreciate the penis-eyeball thing, particularly when he is having a really bad day.  Those are the days when he drops his drawers in order to be more efficient with his penis-eyeball tapping.

In the spirit of honesty, I'll also admit that lately I've started to think that there might be something in the water around here, because Little Brother has started repeating himself.

It first started in his awesome moments, you know, those moments when he successfully talks some fourth-grade smack talk while karate chopping his Dad. He'd say something really great, and then he'd repeat it under his breath. I simply thought he was reliving his awesome-ness.

Far be it for me to take away his moment of glory.

However, the awesome moments soon spread to the mundane moments. And now, he repeats everything.

"So, buddy," I asked him last night, " you know that thing you do when you repeat your words?" 

"Oh, uh, um, I, uh, don't know what you are talking about," he stammered.

"Puh-leeze," I said sarcastically. "You do, too. I'm curious about it. Can you tell me if it is similar to the feeling you get when you have to take the same number of steps on each foot?"

"I, uh, don't know what you're talking about there, either," he said, embarrassed.  "I'm just going to deny everything. It makes me feel stupid."

I sat there, looking at my child, thinking of both of my children, and remembering the days when their OCD first walked into our lives. Both times the condition was a product of duress. Both times, I felt both scared and saddened.  Even today, six years into the journey, I still have moments when I feel overwhelmed and helpless.

Society always jokes that it takes a lifetime of parenting before eventually  children are driven to seek therapy for all of their parents' wrongdoings. Often, I am presented with a challenge by my children, and I wonder if I shouldn't just pre-pay that therapy bill. I feel doomed from the start.

I'm no expert in their various special needs. I don't fully understand the penis-eyeball thing or why Little Brother repeats himself. After opening that conversation with our younger son and seeing that it wasn't going as planned, I decided that I was going to leave the heavy lifting to the experts.

My job was to love and to accept.

"Buddy, if your gecko was to suddenly develop a twitch in one of her legs, would you look at her, laugh and say that she looked stupid?" I asked him.

"NO!" he answered, horrified. That gecko is his best friend in the world.

"That is how I feel about you." I said "I would never think anything about you is negative. You are the best thing on this planet. Did you know that."

He looked up at me, shook his head and smiled. But the best thing was that I could tell he believed me.


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  1. Love is love is love is love. In all of its colors and sizes and twitches and glitches and glory. It's the good stuff.

  2. I am so glad to hear you say that your job is to love and accept. YES,that IS your job and you do it superbly. For all those doing the heavy lifting, big gratitude and other than your following through with their efforts, you're right, it's THEIR job.

    Always so enlightened by your writing and always so impressed with your parenting and your honesty.

    xoxoxoxo Author Amy, outstanding post.

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