My sister and I grew up with an electric Kit Cat Clock on the bedroom wall, with its swinging tail lulling us to sleep each night, and its watchful roving eyes waiting for us in the morning. So, I took a liking to this book right away.
I have been in touch with the author, Andrea Frazer, over the years and have been a fan of her clever, humorous writings. But, only this week did I allow myself the luxury of reading her Happily Ticked Off—A Tourette’s Mom-Moir: When You Can’t fix the Tics, Fix Yourself book.
I recommend it as reading for parents who have an out-of-sync child dealing with tics, anxiety, OCD, hyperactivity or just quirkiness. It is for those who struggle with knowing when to put up a noble effort and when to relent. Not that Andrea has all the answers. She doesn’t claim to, and is constantly questioning herself. But I predict her descriptions will lift your spirits, and tales of conversations in doctors’ offices are sure to strike a chord. Andrea clearly relishes taking you on her endearing family journey. I predict it will resonate with you, even while at times it may make you cringe.
Here is why I think you will enjoy this book
- It is the funniest book you will ever read about tics
- Andrea’s family dynamics are perfect fodder for a sitcom. (Ah-h-h, maybe that’s because she was a Hollywood sitcom writer.)
- These examples of chapter titles make me wonder, “Who thinks like that?” UnrealisTIC, ScholasTIC, LunaTIC, NeuroTIC, UnanTICipated, TIC Tac Dough, ApologeTIC.
- We can (seriously) learn real life lessons from young Nicky, Andrea’s son
The scene for this excerpt: Andrea has just taken Nicky to see a nutritional doctor
The first things I find myself doing, other than having a heated debate with my husband Rex as to why exactly we spent a hundred dollars to be told we were going to have to change our entire way of eating, is to take inventory of my pantry and fridge. Anything that smacks of gluten or dairy has to go.
Goodbye food dyes! Goodbye artificial flavors! Sayonara to products with “natural flavorings.” It has been known to take me hours to embark on house cleaning of any kind, but this chore lasts me thirty minutes total. Spurred on by a passion to clear my son of anything remotely resembling shakes, jerks, and annoying warbles, I go to task like ants on candy.
Five garbage bags later, I have a nearly-empty fridge and pantry. It also occurs to me that I have absolutely nothing to feed my family for dinner that night. I had better go shopping.
First stop: Check out my bank statement. Sadly, elves have not stopped by and deposited money into my checking account. It is all too obvious I can’t afford this. $57.64.
For a brief moment I consider chucking my ideals and buying fifty boxes of Mac N Cheese from the 99 Cent store.
That thought is quickly replaced with something more enticing, thanks to my friend Rhonda. “Use your credit card and get some healthy food. You can always sell some stuff on Ebay for some more cash later or get a job to cover the extra expenses. What’s a little extra money if it means helping your son?”
Rhonda is rarely helpful, but in this instance that witch makes a lot of sense. Within an hour I find myself at a market with food prices higher than my mortgage.
“Is bread really $5.99 a loaf? I ask a young man who wears his hair in cornrows and sports a Ziggy Marley tee shirt. “It’s true,” he answers, “And I won’t lie. It tastes terrible. But if you toast it and add some cashew butter with rice milk to wash it down, it’s not too bad.”
What choice do I have? We have to eat. Clutching three loaves of bread that resemble mortar tile from my fourth grade California Mission project, some wonky bars of fake cheese, a few bars of organic fruit, some magnesium and B12 supplements, and “cookies” that resemble hockey pucks masquerading as Oreos, I exit the store. I am $137.00 poorer, but I am richer in hope. I finally have a plan.