The Boy And His Tics

School is still going great for Little Man (knock on wood!), but I’m worried about him. (I know what you’re thinking — not you!) I don’t know if it’s a nervous tic or what, but he has been picking the skin around his nails until they bleed. The skin picking has been going on for a while now, but has gotten worse. I thought maybe it was anxiety due to starting middle school, but he says he isn’t anxious about school at all. I’m worried he’s going to get an infection if he doesn’t stop. On top of that, y’all know how kids can be. If they notice, he might start catching hell for it.

It has always been something over the years. For a while, he grunted or cleared his throat every few seconds. There has been hand twisting, knuckle cracking, eye blinking. Up until a couple weeks ago, he bit his nails or chewed the skin around his nails nonstop. I bought something from Target that helped stop that, but when he stops one thing, he starts something else. He also licks his lips and above his lips constantly, to the point of leaving red splotches. It used to be that putting aquaphor on it for a couple days would clear it up and he’d stop, but that isn’t helping as much now. As of yesterday, he is doing a thing where he opens his mouth really wide, closes it, and repeats.

My husband took him to get a haircut, and the barber picked up on the mouth and licking things. He discreetly asked my husband if he has Tourette’s. My husband said he didn’t think so, but wasn’t sure why he did that stuff.

We are going to take him to BG’s psychologist and have him evaluated again. LM recently asked us if we thought he was like BG, meaning could he be on the spectrum, too. I told him that he was evaluated for that several years ago and they said he just had ADHD with autistic like traits (but not enough for a diagnosis) then. I mentioned that he does much better socially these days, too. He talked for a while about how he is quiet and watches what the other kids do and then tries to copy their mannerisms and stuff to fit in. That’s what led us to make the appointment with BG’s psychologist. He go on really well with two boys from school last year, and those relationships seemed authentic and not just faking to fit in, but I figure it can’t hurt to have him tested again.

My husband took him for the initial appointment last Friday. That was just to talk to the doctor to see if he thought he should be retested. The doctor said that if the previous provider thought he had autistic traits, that he should have been reevaluated within three years to see what changed, if anything, to be sure. They emailed me the contract for testing services yesterday, and I sent it back, so we’re waiting for them to call to set up appointments for testing. If nothing, we can get to the bottom of what is causing the tics/compulsions/whatever they are.

I was looking around online to see if there are any medications for tics and saw that magnesium can be helpful for that, so I ordered a thing of gummies. If there is any underlying anxiety that he just isn’t aware of, then maybe that’ll calm him down a bit. (If nothing, I guess it’ll keep him regular.) Fingers crossed.

Weekend Coffee Share: School And Stuff

If we were having coffee, I wouldn’t bitch and moan about the heat today. We’re getting some respite from the heat this weekend, with highs in the upper 70s. It’s accompanied by clouds and rain, so it’s rather dreary, but I’ll take dreary over 90s any day. Our area has had almost 60 days of weather in the 90s (real feel in low 100s typically, thanks to humidity), and that is more than this time last year, which ended up 74 miserable days. So, this break is welcomed with open arms, even if it’s rainy.

That’s not us this weekend, yay!

If you were actually at my house for coffee right now, you’d probably give me a pat on the back for having a reasonably tidy house. I missed the kids while they were off at school this week, but my house is not a disaster zone, and for that I am grateful. Silver linings, amirite? I’ve got a load of clothes going and need to wipe down the table from this morning, but otherwise, it’s all good. I wouldn’t even turn someone away from my doorstep if they came up unexpectedly, and that’s saying something for me. (They’d have to wait while I put on a bra, but that’s it.)

You’d probably ask how the kids’ first week of school ended, so I’d tell you that LM’s ended on a very positive note. He had zero complaints for the week, enjoys all of the teachers he has met, and has made a couple of nerdy friends. The boy also made a 97 on his English quiz and a 95 on a math quiz. As long as he stays on top of his assignments and turns things in this year, he should do just fine. (He had a few Cs and Ds on his progress reports for not turning in stuff last year, so I’m hoping that won’t be an issue!)

Baby Girl, on the other hand, is still trying to adjust as I mentioned in another post. She doesn’t have any specific complaints, and she seems to like her teacher, but she has cried in the mornings and at night a lot and says she doesn’t want to go. Part of it is she’s just not sleeping long enough, despite lying down early. She also wakes up in the night, so she’s understandably very tired. Hopefully when she gets those tonsils out next month, I think she’ll sleep better. Even if she doesn’t fall asleep earlier, she’ll get a better night’s rest at least.

The principal greats her every morning and lets her cuddle his dog, so that usually perks her up before she goes inside. I should probably make a point of asking if she gets upset or has a meltdown if they’ll take her down to cuddle the dog for a bit. We will have a meeting to go over a 504 Plan soon, so I’ll bring it up then. Hopefully the coming week will be easier for her! I know it would take time for any kid to get adjusted, and even more so for one who is having sleep issues and is on the spectrum. It just breaks my heart to see her so upset.

We have no real plans for the weekend. My husband originally wanted to go to the zoo since the weather was supposed to be cooler, but it’s a) rainy and b) the kids are tired and want to hang around the house. We can always do the zoo in the fall. My friend messaged me about going to dinner tonight, so I may do that, but that’s it if anything. I may also have a drink or two or three tonight. Lazy weekends are the best, especially when they come on the heels of an exhausting week!

How was your week?

Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Eclectic Alli

The Boy Is Back

Little Man has not had the best summer. He has often been moody and defiant. He hasn’t wanted to read or do any of the summer school work I’ve prepared for him (the last part is understandable, though). And he regularly antagonizes his sister, which leads to the screaming and name calling. I chalked a lot of it up to puberty coming on.

Since school is starting up in a week, I decided to put him back on his ADHD meds. (We don’t typically have him take them on weekends or school breaks.) Plus I made him start going to bed earlier, so he can get back on a sleep schedule that will be appropriate for when school starts.

And now my angel boy has been back for the past two days. He has been ridiculously sweet, hasn’t had an attitude about doing his chores — he even asked what he could do to help — and he finished a Harry Potter book and started another, without being asked to read. Plus he is making LEGO creations like crazy and isn’t asking to watch TV or play video games all the time.

Praise the lord.

It’s interesting. I know his ADHD meds help with focus (although he was always a big reader in the past, meds or no meds), but I never noticed not taking them affecting his mood/behavior in the past, but that is the only big change, so it has to be it. (He isn’t sleeping any longer than normal, so it’s not going to bed earlier I wouldn’t think.)

I am so grateful. Now, I know for a fact that he’s definitely in the throes of puberty (which I found out for a fact earlier this week in a way that has scarred LM and I both), so I know those mood flair ups will still happen at times. But seeing such a turnaround in his attitude and his love for reading coming back makes me so damn happy. There won’t be anymore skipping ADHD meds during weekends or breaks now.

In other news, BG had her kindergarten readiness assessment earlier this week. Her teacher said she is definitely ready for 5K and was impressed with her reading and other stuff. While she did well on that, BG said she isn’t ready, though, and wants to go back to preschool.

I think school anxiety is contributing to her meltdowns. She doesn’t want to be away from me, she doesn’t want to give up Pizza Hut Wednesdays (probably obvious, but our routine was Pizza Hut on Wednesday), plus she’s worried about making friends. BG said she doesn’t think people will like her because she’s different. And then she said if anyone asks her to be her friend, that she’ll say no because she doesn’t want to make new friends.

Plus her teacher doesn’t have superhero stuff and has “that yucky Barbie doll and princess crap.”

I think she’ll feel differently after she goes for a couple of weeks. She has her share of challenges ahead of her, but she’ll like getting back into a more scheduled day. I think she’ll also enjoy some of the enrichment classes she’ll take, like a STEAM-based class. Fingers crossed.

Quick Vent: Stop The Screaming

The closer we get to school, the more you’ll hear me making comments about how I’ll miss the kids and how I feel like we didn’t do enough this summer and so forth.

That day is not today.

At one point, I muttered under my breath, “I can’t wait for school to start back.” BG heard me of course, and after shrieking at the top of her lungs, she accused me of not wanting her. Oops. Dammit.

The kids were up before 7:00 as usual this morning. And BG has shrieked at the top of her lungs no less than 30 times today. We didn’t have the cereal she likes for breakfast? Shriek. Her brother looked at her funny? Shriek. I told her to pick up her toys? Shriek.

We are used to her meltdowns, but the shrieking is taking it up a level. And this isn’t just typical child yelling and fussing about. This is a blood-curdling scream that sometimes lasts for close to a minute (but feels like an hour), one that I am absolutely terrified is going to result in the neighbors calling the cops on us because they think we’re beating the child or something. It’s the kind of shrieking that is physically painful and makes my anxiety go haywire, and my anxiety has been haywire-y enough over the past week.

Thirty times. And the day isn’t quite over.

LM hasn’t been helpful. I’m pretty sure he is going through puberty now, and he is Mr. Moody Tween Asshole a lot of the time. Despite complaining about his sister shrieking today, he still antagonized her and made it worse. She doesn’t like him grabbing her or getting in her face, and of course he does it. She doesn’t like him doing jump scares, so of course he does it. Aside from the usual punishments of taking privileges, we started making him do push-ups this summer. His arms are getting pretty swole for an 11-year-old.

So, boo, yucky day. After my husband got home, I took some extra strength headache medicine and a couple of Xanax. I’m still waiting for it to kick in.

At least we’re on the list for therapy to help her manage her symptoms of ASD. I don’t even know if that’s what this is, though, but I’m sure we can address this mess and hopefully move far, far away from it.

Right now my husband is giving the girl a bath. She’s yelling for me to come. I feel like Ryan when Michael wanted him to come help him in the bathroom.

Pray for me, or at least send rum vibes my way.

School Nerves

In three weeks, BG will start kindergarten. And in slightly less than three weeks, LM will start sixth grade (rising sixth graders start on Friday). Every summer feels shorter than the last one. We were especially busy this summer, so that kept things moving quickly along. The kids have made their bucket lists for the remainder of the summer, and they’re short, so we should get it all in. Strangely enough, both kids added going to eat at Chili’s to their lists.

And, yes, they sing that when we go. And LM always makes a point to say that he feels God in this Chili’s tonight.

I’m kinda nervous about the kids going to school since they’ll both be changing schools this year. LM will go to a middle school out of our area and participate in a theater program, while BG will go to the charter school that LM went to. The middle school is 25 minutes from our house, the elementary school is 20 minutes away, and the schools are in opposite directions of each other. I haven’t figured out drop-offs and pick-ups yet, but I’ll get there. Hopefully.

The schools the kids are supposed to go to are about five minutes from our house, so we are doing good at keeping things complicated, huh? We have good reasons for sending them to the far-away schools, though. The program at LM’s school is something he’s really interested in, plus the class sizes will be smaller. And BG’s school is really small, with only 18 kids per class. It’s so much easier to get in touch with the principal and other leadership there, too, which is important.

We’ll have to meet with LM’s school and go over his 504 Plan, and I doubt any changes will be made to it. I hope the transition goes well for him. I imagine getting packed up to go from class to class and using a locker will be challenging for him. But on the other hand, I think having classes that have a set beginning and ending time that don’t overlap each other will help as far as him shifting gears mentally goes. Plus, middle school classrooms are typically more no-frills with less distractions. His fifth grade teacher was wonderful, but there a dozen different places to hand in assignments and stuff, and he’d usually end up cramming everything in his desk. And middle school won’t have desks that you can cram crap into, so there’s that.

I have a million worries with BG starting kindergarten, which I could probably turn into a 10-part blog series, but I won’t. Some of it’s just typical anxious mom worries, but a lot is more legit. I’m going to meet with her teacher and student leadership team before school starts to discuss some concerns (like the potential for meltdowns and how that would be handled, her running off, food stuff).

I also need to talk to the teacher about how BG sometimes just shuts down when certain issues come up. At the end-of-year preschool party, I was sitting on one side of the bounce place and saw her approach some boys from another class, but they told started throwing balls (from the ball pit) at her face, and she just sat there, crouched while staring at the ground while they threw the balls and laughed. (That broke my heart, and they got in big trouble.) And sometimes if someone does something that bothers her (like comes up from behind and grabs her or something equally annoying), she’ll let out a blood-curdling shriek, but she ends up being the one reprimanded for screaming, and she won’t explain why she yelled. There are things like that communication-wise that I can see being problematic if the teachers aren’t made aware/keep an eye open.

While BG’s teacher doesn’t yet know the full scope of some of her struggles, she does have a feel for her, at least. They met a few times earlier in the summer as part of a Head Start program. She saw first-hand how BG can be super chatty, struggle to stay in her seat, or just shut down and refuse to do anything. She seemed really sweet, yet bewildered, but she didn’t lose patience at least.

I dropped off the paperwork her psychologist gave me about the autism and ADHD diagnoses, and they’re supposed to be lining up services for her. We also got permission to take her out of school early one day per week so she can continue going to her speech and occupational therapies. Those are about a 45-minute drive from the school, so she wouldn’t have been able to keep going if we had to wait until the end of the school day to go. That’s a huge benefit of going to the charter school vs. the regular school. (Just like how she would have been able to delay 5K a year if we wanted, but wouldn’t have been able to at a regular school.)

On a different — and amusing — note, BG has developed a Hanson obsession. She has asked to watch a Hanson concert (I have like 9 DVDs) every day. She also keeps asking me when she’s going to get to go see them in concert. ❤

BG presented me with this picture last week:

I asked what was going on there, and she said that it was her holding a Taylor Hanson doll. It took every fiber of my being to not laugh. She might have it worse than I did. (Well, do.)

Female Randomness

The girl wanted me to paint her fingernails. LM was disgusted and said, “Aren’t we raising her better? Nail polish is absolutely pointless!”

True, BG hasn’t been a girly girl. That’s due in part because of me, I’m sure, but I read that ASD girls are typically more tomboyish, so maybe I’ll fall on that the next time one of the grandparents points a finger at me.

Really, though, I’ve always encouraged BG to make her own choices. The first time I let her get a “baby” at Walmart, I let her choose from a plush Elsa and a plush Spider-Man. It was Spidey, of course. She does love the superheroes (but who doesn’t these days?), the body organs, the road signs, and now the dinosaurs and the solar system. I so love her interests because she’s truly doing her own thing. And choice-wise, she also gets to pick out her clothes, and while she mostly gravitates towards superhero stuff (some of which we get from the boy section), she has picked out the occasional dress. So she’s not 100% tomboy.

Enter the nail polish.

A couple of weeks ago, she mentioned wanting to paint her fingernails. She asked if we could paint our nails together, too, sweet girl that she is. I’ve only painted my nails once or twice over the past few years, but I was down for it. I found some non-toxic polish for her at Target because she has her hands in her mouth constantly. She wanted red and blue for Spider-Man, but they only had blue. I got a plum color for myself.

Cute, right?! After painting them she told me she wanted to take it off, but I encouraged her to give it a couple of days. I didn’t have nail polish remover, and even if I had, I didn’t particularly want to use it on her hands. We saw all the grandparents over the weekend, and the grandmothers were so pleased with the polished nails. I could see visions of pretty hair bows dancing in their heads.

Did I ever tell y’all how my mother-in-law bought BG around 100 hair bows? She constantly bought those things starting when we found out BG was going to be a girl. She was not a fan even as a baby (although we did get a few cute pictures of her wearing them before snatching them off), and never became one. That didn’t stop my MIL, though. Up until the girl was 4, she continued buying them, convinced that it wasn’t a matter of BG not liking the bows so much as just not finding the right one. LOL.

The nail polish has since worn off, but I’m glad she asked for them to be painted. It was a fun mommy-daughter time, ya know? My polish is holding strong, and let me tell you, my husband is not a fan of my polish.

“Why are you trying to be all goth?” he asked when he saw them.

I held my fingers in front of his eyes in the light and showed him they are a plum color.

“They look black, like you’re trying to be all goth.”

I refrained from gouging his eyes out even though I was in prime position to do so.

I just laughed at him, of course, but that reminded me of when I was in middle school and painted my nails a midnight blue color. It also looked very dark when not in the light, and my busybody old cousin (she’s like 30 years older than me) told my grandmother that obviously I was on drugs because I had black nail polish. I was sitting right there, too.

Y’all.

Can you imagine that? Being told you’re on drugs because you have a darker color nail polish? Crazy.

This is also the cousin who told my grandmother that I wasn’t really hard of hearing and that I was just faking so I could get the TV turned up louder. (Let that sink in.) When she told my grandmother that she used to whisper and make low noises to “test” me to see if I was faking it, my grandmother was super pissed. (And the cousin said the results of her “test” were that I was simply ignoring the noises and whispers because I wanted to continue faking them.)

We didn’t care for that cousin, but my grandmother put up with her because she was her sister’s child. She would always come over making snide comments about my grandmother’s home and other stuff. She even makes passive-aggressive comments on my FB page at times about not visiting her mom. Which I do feel bad about, but they talk major shit about people’s kids, and I’ve heard them say much worse about kids who are far better behaved than BG. And I’m not dealing with anyone talking shit about her when I don’t have to.

Wrapping it up…this enough randomness in one post for you? We’ll just call it a stream of consciousness post, which I hadn’t intended, but here we are.