We’ve all seen kids do it…the rapid eye blinking, the mouth stretching, the seeming inability to stop themselves from reaching out and smacking their sibling for no apparent reason. I bet in about 90% of the situations, these are simply nothing more than little ticks and habits that a child picks up and then mysteriously drops after a few days or weeks.
But what if it’s more?
When I was little, I had a number of these little quirks. I did the eye blinking thing on and off for years. I bit my nails terribly (still do, though to a lesser degree). I rocked and banged my head against a wall as an infant, not unlike some children suffering from autism. I worried about things, which then I thought it was normal, but as an adult, I’ve discovered that it’s not so common for seven year olds to internalize their parent’s financial situation.
Even today, I count letters and syllables of words and sentences in my head. I count them in a pattern like this:
Kinda weird huh?
I’ve stopped doing a lot of these things, but there are still some things that I do that just aren’t normal. I have a burning need to do things equally, so much so that if I try NOT to do it, I dwell on it until I can’t stand it anymore and then I succumb. Luckily for me, most people would never know it and in fact, I’m not sure CareerMom does.
But recently, MLI has started the eye blinking thing. I knew it immediately for what it was, and knew that he needed rest and he needed to know he was doing it, without being reprimanded for it. CareerMom thought he could control it and she scolded him a couple of times before I explained to her that it was completely outside of his control in the long term and that we would just have to let it run its course.
But still, this being the information age and all, I did what everyone does when they need help–I got on the Internet and did a search on eye blinking. I found pretty much what I already knew, but I also found several references to this being just one symptom of Tourette’s.
Now I’m not one to find a illness/syndrome/disease online and apply it to my own situation, but the more I read about it, the more similar some of my “quirks” fit the “mild form of Tourette’s” bill. Many of them are classic Tourette’s, and apparently it’s genetic and far more commonly passed onto boys than girls. Apparently girls more often get OCD and boys get Tourette’s. Since I’m adopted, I don’t know anything about my father’s health, so I can’t do a regressive investigation. But so far, it’s fascinating.
In most cases, and certainly in mine, the child will outgrow the symptoms in the majority of the cases, but I must say that putting a name to my own oddities (even if it’s not the correct diagnosis) sort of puts me at ease and will at least alert me to what I should look out for with my own kids.
But don’t worry, if ever you come to Roswell, GA and we get together for wings or whatever, I won’t go all “What About Bob” on you and start screaming obscenities! Copralia is a very rare symptom…
Course…if I happen to be watching my College Football team when we’re together…(ROLL TIDE!)