Saturday, March 5, 2011

Food and Frustration

I'm reading a book right now that I learned about from this post. I got it from the library and I've only read the first chapter but it was all about aspartame and the effects it had on some children when it first came out. (I'm looking forward to the chapter on breakfast foods as that affects our homeschool day greatly.)

So the fact that I'm reading that book is just background information. OK?

Little Bit's tics have been bad lately. Last Sunday evening at suppertime she started complaining. She always says the same thing, "I'm frus-ter-ated. My tics are bad." Then I tell her I haven't noticed her doing any tics. Then she explains that she has a lot of tics, but she's not doing them. Then I tell her to go ahead and do them and maybe she won't be so frust-er-ated. Then she says she doesn't like doing them.

We have that conversation a lot.

But this time she really complained. And she came and got me in the middle of Sunday evening Bible study to tell me they were bad. So I went into the room where she and Sweetheart were and talked with her and tickled her arm softly and let her play Smash Room on my phone and tried to do anything to make it better. But nothing was working.

Then she looked at me and said, "Mommy? Isn't there medicine I can take to make them go away?"

Oh my heart. Because there is. But we aren't even considering that a possibility. And I don't want to get to the point where it becomes one. That medicine is big and bad. It's not like administering Tylenol or Benadryl. It's the big guns. And she was very nearly crying.

So I slipped back into Bible study and wrote a note to S for them to pray for Little Bit. And they did. And everyone was concerned for her. My dad's answer was to sweep in when Bible study was over and take the girls to his house and feed them pancakes. He likes to DO something. And she was fine the rest of the night.

I liked it better when she was 4 and she did 372 tics a day but they didn't frustrate her at all.  Can we go back to that please?

Little Bit loves watermelon flavored gum. Sweetheart never chewed gum but Little Bit loves it. We got some today at Wal-Mart. It's sugar-free so everyone in the family can chew it. Later she said, "Mom? When I chew watermelon gum my tics are worse." I probed that a bit and she said she had noticed it before when she was chewing it. So of course I said, "Spit it out!"

Several hours later she tried another piece and immediately said, "Yep. They're worse." I told her to spit it out again. She was upset because she LIKES watermelon gum. I told her we could try another kind. It must be something in this kind of gum. So I look at the ingredients.

Aspartame. I'm not saying that's it, but there it is right on the label and I JUST read that chapter.

But don't let me get all scientific on you because at supper tonight she was eating chicken spaghetti which is easily her favorite meal on earth and she said, "Mom...chicken spaghetti makes my tics better."

Sure it does. I bet ice cream does too dear.

Earlier in the week she was jumping on a mini-trampoline at my parent's house. It seemed to help her frustration so we borrowed it. She jumped so much her back has hurt ever since. Sometimes a change of scenery helps. Sometimes I get her busy helping me with something. Anything to get her mind off the stupid tics. The only other thing I know to try is humor. So when she complained about her new "oy uh" tic (she has to repeatedly say "oy uh"), we made it into a song. It worked really well with Old MacDonald. And Jingle Bells. She giggled so that's good.

I've never read where food causes tics to be worse, but you better believe I'll be reading up on it.

'Cause I'm running out of strategies really fast.


  1. Oh, but YES!!!! My 9yo son has TS also and we keep his tics VERY much under control by diet! One good thing to do is have her tested for delayed food allergies. Those can affect a lot. Milk and wheat are biggies usually, but anything artificial like colorings or aspartame, splenda and such we avoid like the plague! Most people don't even notice his tics because of his clean diet. If I can help you more in this area, let me know!

  2. wow. all I can say is prayer and research. I understand about the big bad medicine... I did EVERYTHING in my power to not put Kaitlin on the big bad medicine- to the point of meds or hospitalization. I choose meds. But now after the fact... I believe I made the right choice for HER in that moment but it STILL kills me. I will never know what all the meds DID to her little body. But I go back to the question QUALITY OF LIFE... our quality of life was zero, literally. BUT for you it sounds like food will be an awesome path to walk!!!! Be prepared for your food bill to go up more! :) Dont you love that- healthy = cost! I said the only thing I saw out of going gluten free for MY family and of course less preservatives and dyes was maybe less whineness from Emily- which is of course MUCH appreciated! BUT perhaps it could be she is no longer having my diet coke- with ASPARTAME!

    Hmmmm... gonna get the book- gotta remember to check at the library today!


    At least she is home with you being FRUST ER ATED and not at school!

  3. Holy Moly . . . indeed. I'm reading Nourishing Traditions at the moment, and yikes, the ingredients in anything packages - including gum, are amazing. We don't eat much packaged stuff to begin with, but you can bet I'm really clearing it out for my imbalanced neurotransmitter sons!

  4. I don't know anything about TS except what I read from you here. But I DO know about a mama's heart who so desperately wants the best for her baby - and I see that so clearly through your writing on this topic. I do so hope for you that you keep finding answers and that you keep sharing what you find.

    Thank you for your blog.

  5. It could be the aspartame, it could be the food coloring.
    My little guy gets terrible headaches and is uncontrollable with just the littlest amounts of food color. We avoid it like the plague.
    I know some medicines have bad side effects, but talk to your doctor. There are many meds that might work.
    We have a little boy who has seizures and we will probably have him on meds for his entire life. The type of seizures he has cause brain we optioned to keep him on his meds. It's a personal choice, but I would ask about different meds.

  6. I would have mine on meds too! No doubt. But when she was diagnosed at 4 the doc pretty much said he wouldn't consider meds unless she "just could not function in daily life." I hope we don't get there. but if we do...I will look into it.

  7. See quality of life---- I think it truly boils down to that.

    My mom mentioned another book to read but I forgot it, I'll email you tommorow with the title

  8. Brenda, you are such a good mommy. The diligence, patience, compassion, and creativity you demonstrate is inspiring! Praying for you and Little Bit!

  9. i feel this post with everything inside of me.
    i've had the same you know.
    i hate it when it's something they LOVE!
    ry loves popcorn. so. much.
    i felt like the tics were just out of control after he would have it!
    don't know what the ingredient is with that (although i try to stay away from all dyes, especially red dye) but i started popping my own popcorn, and it has seemed to make a difference!


I don't get to talk to a lot of actual grown-ups during the day, so your comments make me really happy! :)