I could be ticked off, but I’m too excited!

kids start school

Greetings from Happily Ticked Off. Remember me? That once faithful blogger who helped you navigate through the highs and lows of tics? The person who gave you all sorts of encouragement when you felt worse than a nit in your kid’s hair after a session with the lice lady?

Side note: Do any of you non-L.A./New York readers have this service? A real, live nit-picker who will comb baby lice out of your kid’s hair one painstaking strand at a time? Yes, even with much of our world in dire poverty, I say without apologies that I blew $400 bucks a few years back to deal with what I can only refer to as the Lice Infestation of 2010. It’s chronicled in this article, “Of Lice and Men.”


Did you all have a good summer? I, personally, did not. Mine consisted of this:

  • Commute 1 1/2 hours each way for a writing gig that kept promising insurance but didn’t give it
  • Schedule kids for play dates and camp dates around my husband’s work schedule – that schedule being his very own IT company start up which, of course, does not pay insurance, but we have a dream, people! Dental, schemntal, insurance. Who needs teeth! I’ll start on my smoothie regime, lose weight, save money on the gym, and buy health insurance!
  • eBay on the side to make $29/month to put toward elusive insurance, only to inevitably spend it by the end of the month because I can’t take cooking, cleaning and kid wrangling ONE.MORE.SECOND. so I give my hard earned income to El Pollo Loco, Taco Bell or some other fast food joint that is not full of gluten but inevitably causes me to worry that I’m going to make my kids die an early death from their GMO-laden, toxic, hormone pumped chicken/cows, not to mention increase tics because, you know, I’m going to cure this whole syndrome with food alone.
  • Have a few people close to me be less close to me because I’ve been so busy working my patience resembles a burned out electrical chord on a dried out Christmas tree and, well, apparently I’m not as much fun to be around when I’m on four hours of sleep, six cups of coffee, and enough Oreo cookies to make Santa vomit.

After 8 weeks of this insanity routine, my kids started school.

Normally I cry.

This year, it was all I could do to numbly kiss them goodbye at the classroom door.

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A first for this mama! FantasTIC camps for my kids!

It was a monumental day for me. For the first time ever, I signed up my kids for day camp. That kind of activity used to be relegated to my sister only who has a steady gig working for the public defender’s office.

That role used to be for those moms at school that I only saw in dashes and blurs as they dropped their kids off in power suits and designer jeans with blazers before rushing off to the office, studio or friends at school who were working girls. Not normal moms like my friends and me.

Not us — the coupon-cutting rebels who’d spend our summers packing four kids into dirty SUVs, careening mountain roads on half tanks of gas for a glorious day at the beach. No Starbucks and fancy sandwiches for us. Dollar Mickey D coffees for us and some packed sandwiches for the kids. If we forgot the lunches, no worries! Some other mama from our tribe, already at the beach with a blanket spread and story ready, would surely share some extra vittles with a fellow sojourner on the journey of Mama Summer Camp.

But this year, it was me who careened into a parking lot, spent after a long day at the office. It was ME, not some other mom, who ran into a camp office and dropped almost $400 to give my kids a summer camp experience next week so I can get to and fro work without the hassle of play date coordination.

Do I miss the days of staying home with my kids over the summer? You betcha.

Do I take for granted that there are plenty of other mamas not as lucky a me – moms that work for less pay than I do — who don’t have such luxuries as summer camp at the local park? Not for a second.

This is going to be a different kind of summer. And while my kids’ experience at the local park and rec is a far cry from fancy camp of alternate suburbs, it’s new for them. Firsts doing crafts. Firsts lining up for camp songs. Firsts for weekly talent shows. Firsts for long swims in overly chlorinated pools. Firsts for tight knit friendships that can only be made from first day jitters standing in line for Lemon Heads next to a kid in the same colored group shirt as them. Instant war buddies. Instant connection. For that, I’m so thrilled.

And just a wee bit nervous.

As I turned in the registration form today, I had to play that mental game with myself: “Do I tell the counselor my kid has TS? Do I let him advocate for himself? What if I say nothing, but he has bad eyerolls. Will they think he’s having a seizure at the water sly? If I do say something, am I being that defensive mom who is putting my kid on the radar unnecessarily?”

What would you have done? Come back later this week and I’ll fill you in on my decision.

Summer is ending

When I used to write for BabyCenter, or Good Housekeeping, I’d use all sorts of clever titles to get reader’s attention. It didn’t matter if it were necessarily true or not. It simply meant that it was enticing enough to get someone to click on my post.

Because then, for $13 per post, I was able to make some fancy advertiser a gajillion dollars for investing in the site. I’m not saying that ensures me a ticket to hell, but it’s not entirely honest.

So now, while I’m not writing for any corporate sites right now where my title would say, “Having baby No. 3!” (which would then go on to explain that the baby I’m really having is not in my uterus, but instead a dream for a peaceful start of school), I’m just going to be more honest.

Which is why maybe 34 people regularly visit me here. For those of you who do, God bless you. And this is what my title means today.

Summer is ending!

It was glorious. It was full of Miss L and Cam and Jul. We took my mom on errands every Tuesday. While she did not ever win the Lottery, she did make sure the 99 Cents store, Vons, the post office and Bank of America stayed in business.

Every Monday we would visit Pasadena where my kids would do art with my best friend, Topanga T, while I chatted with Sam about life, love, tics and religion.

Occasionally, we’d take a weekend in a beach house or camping or our cabin (oh, the cabin upgrade) where my discipline schedule would turn into Lord of the Flies. (Free food! Stay up late! Whoo hooo!)

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Hope floats while summer rolls on

So far, it’s been a pretty good summer. I’ve been off-and-on sick for the past few months but finally got on some antibiotics and am starting to feel better.

Jacob is doing well. His tics are about the same. His cousins have been here for the past few weeks, and his cousin told me that Jacob kept waking him up with “beat boxing.”

The next morning, I went in and heard what he was talking about … Jacob’s vocal tics. They are definitely more noticeable lately, but I haven’t seen any new tics. That’s probably more from the fact he’s been keeping busy with his cousins. They’re leaving next weekend, so I’m sure his tics will go into overdrive, and they are always worse when he’s sad — which unfortunately happens when his cousins go home.

I got a job offer the other day to be a PPCD (Preschool Program for Children With Disabilities) teacher, and of course I accepted. I’m excited but nervous.

Overall, I’m always going to be Jacob’s advocate, and I feel bad that I haven’t kept up with the Embracing Difference page on Facebook as much as I was when I first started. Life got busy, but we still haven’t lost hope that one day TS will be met with more acceptance.

Above all else, we hope that children with TS will be more accepting of the way God created them and live life in such a way that it doesn’t matter how the world views them. It only matters how much they see their worth in the whole scheme of things.

I know that Jacob is meant to do wonderful things in this world, and I will keep pushing him to see his potential. He starts middle school in one month!

Tics ALWAYS return and summer ALWAYS lasts too long

Well, the moment I write “tics are gone,” they always come back. But they are still at a minimum, and I am very happy with the Intuniv. Stink is still Stink: happy and charming and sometimes a bit toooo silly. But I’ll take that over a flatlined robot.

I don’t know about you all, but I am finally hitting the wall with this summer fun nonsense. If I do one more load of dishes or fold anymore laundry, only to see it pile up again in the course of one hour, I will lose my brain.

My kids have gotten excessively argumentative and hyper. They need structure. Apparently there really can be too much of a good thing in terms of swimming, friends and hang out time. It’s time for a schedule!

As I type this, 4 kids are running through the house. I normally take them to the pool or the Y or even Grandma’s house. Today? I’m cleaning. My house looks like a giant petri dish.

In closing, I am pretty stoked that I have air condition in this weather! And while I’d kill for a house that has more shelving and a prettier kitchen, I’m pretty darn grateful for what I do have. Pandora music, some fresh coffee, health insurance and a family I love so much I could die? I’ll take it.