Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ups and Downs

The past several weeks have been a series of ups and downs where Monster Man is concerned.  School starts this coming Thursday.  For Monster Man, that doesn't just mean a new school year; it also means a new school.  Monster Man will be moving up to middle school this year.

At the end of last school year, he was so excited about the new opportunities that lay ahead.  He was eager to join the band, attend after school clubs, and go to his first school dance.  Most of all, he was looking forward to having a locker.  Middle school would be filled with exciting changes!

Then the anxiety hit.  Kids in middle school can be mean, as Angel Baby so nicely informed him.  Middle school comes with more responsibility, and he suddenly realized that the school work would get harder too.  Just the thought of harder work alone was enough to bring Monster Man to tears.  He began to have panic attacks at the mention of middle school and the start of a new school year.

I was in between a rock and a hard place.  On one hand, I wanted to be able to stay at home and homeschool Monster Man again.  I wanted to be able to hold him back and protect him from all the things he found so frightening.  On the other hand, I knew that sheltering him from the things that scared him wouldn't help prepare him for the future.  I also knew that my own busy school schedule wouldn't allow me to be home to homeschool him.

Just when I was about to give up my own classes to stay home with him, he decided he was excited again.  Over the past couple of weeks, Monster Man has continued to go back and forth on the issue. One day, he's excited about going to school.  The next, he's back to being scared.  His backpack is packed and ready to go now.  We meet his teachers Tuesday night.  Thursday morning, I hope to be able to get him on the bus without his anxiety building up too much.  If it comes down to it, I will drive him to school to give him more time to calm his nerves.

I am sure he will be fine.  I can't wait for Thursday to get here so I can hear how his first day of middle school goes!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Haircut Time

Monster Man has been trying to let his hair get a little longer.  He has a certain style in mind, though we're having to come to a compromise on it.  He wants it longer like many of the boys are wearing these days, with his bangs coming slightly over one eye.  I, on the other hand, do not like the way it looks having hair over the eyes and worry about how it would affect both his vision and his eye tics.  I've agreed he can wear it a little longer as long as the bangs are not in front of either of his eyes.

The biggest problem I am having is getting Monster Man to understand that it needs to be trimmed from time to time to make sure he doesn't end up with a mullet or some other crazy hairstyle.  He's afraid that even a trim won't let his hair grow out.  The need to trim his hair has become a bit of a battle, and battles with Monster Man are never easy.

Last night, I gave Angel Baby and Little Man some very much needed haircuts.  Theirs were not trims, but instead were major cuts.  I planned on trimming Monster Man's hair afterward.  When he sat down and I started trimming just a little off the bangs (about 1/4 inch, if even that much).  I knew I had to take it slow, cutting very small amounts at a time since his head shaking tic has been bad again and I didn't want to end up cutting it too short.

I barely got any of it done before I came to the realization that I'm not going to be able to be the one to trim his hair when his head shaking tic is so severe.  Between the need to keep my hands steady and work to keep his hair looking good (especially since I have no training when it comes to cutting hair) and the need to fight back tears watching him struggle so much, it makes cutting his hair almost impossible for me.

I think for now I'll take him to get it trimmed, and try again another time if his head shaking isn't a problem.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Camp Twitch and Shout

Monster Man had the honor of attending Camp Twitch and Shout last week.  This incredible camp offers kids with Tourette Syndrome the chance to spend a week with other kids like themselves, being themselves and not having to worry about hiding their need to 'twitch and shout'.

When we first dropped Monster Man off at his camp last Sunday, we were a little concerned about how he would do.  After everything we had read about the camp, and after the wonderful tour and friendly staff, we had no concerns about it being the right place for our son, but we weren't sure if he was ready for a week away from us.  We had some many questions about how he would react being away for so long, whether or not he'd have a rage episode, if he'd try to test the limits while swimming, etc.

Thankfully, the counselors had taken the time to get to know everything that we reported might present a problem during the week.  They had come to the camp prepared for anything Monster Man might throw at them, and they did an amazing job giving him what he has told us was 'an amazing week'.

Monster Man loved the camp so much that he was in tears when I went to pick him up, sad to be leaving his new friends behind him.  He is already counting down the days until the family camp in September, as well as making plans for his trip to camp next summer.

I am so thankful that he has Camp Twitch and Shout to help him make new friends like himself and to help him discover that he isn't so different after all (and that being different is a great thing to be!).