We went to the doctor and had everything checked. Some days it was better and some days it was worse. I video taped him making the noises and the eye movements and took it back into the doctor for more observation.
What it really all boiled down to is that my son has a vocal tic.
It is by no means a debilitating tic, like tourettes, but he does make the noise constantly. Jeff and I used to talk to him about the noises he made and people have commented on it. Before we knew exactly what it was, we used to imply that it was related to his asthma.
When the doctor diagnosed it as a vocal tic, at first I was surprised and felt guilty that perhaps I was the cause of this tic. I evaluated my parenting over and over again until I was just exhausted. Yes, Caderyn tends to have more of the tic when he is in trouble. This is where I'm going to have a momentary digression from my original topic. When I say discipline, this doesn't mean that he is getting severely punished--good heavens NO! I am one of those mothers who was very adamant as a new parent that I was just fine with spanking. Since I became a parent I have revised and changed my parenting skills probably hundreds of times. I will probably change them 500,000 more times in the next 10-15 years. Since Caderyn made me a mother nearly four years ago, I have discovered that I'm really not that much of a spanking parent as I thought I would be.
I don't like doing it. I always felt immensely guilty after and I don't think my child learned from the action. So, I have backed way far away from spanking all together and have now found that time outs are just as effective. I've also really worked on this with Jeff. Since he is gone during the week and sometimes weekends, he is really faced with the challenge of adapting to how I am parenting. He has tried to come in and be more controlling of the situation and hasn't had positive results. He and I have worked together and are usually talking about it constantly about how we parent. My biggest emphasis is that "we are not our parents." Now, we both have great parents, but how they disciplined us and how we discipline our own children do not need to mirror each other. Our discipline is specific to Jeff and I as a parental team and the needs of our children. Caderyn does not respond well to yelling or spanking. He will argue with you to no end, so he generally just needs to be removed from the situation and closed in his room until he can calm down. And this is what works.
My thoughts on this--and yes I'm still digressing from my original topic-- are that it is tough being a child. They are constantly having to learn and adapt to new situations. It is my job, as their parent, to teach them how to adapt and grow up to be the best individual they can be. I didn't feel like I was doing this when I spanked. Now, I use isolation in the form of time out. We have a designated time out spot in Caderyn's room, and if needed (if there is screaming involved) I just shut the door and let him have his emotional meltdown. Then, when he has calmed down, we talk it out. He's actually really good at talking it out. Before, when I would just spank as punishment, I was never giving him the chance to explain or process why he was in trouble. I feel really good with my discipline change and I have noticed a lot of improvement in Caderyn and his behavior. Anyone else notice the lack of "It's Tough Being Three" editions on my blog lately? Yeah, my kiddo has been AWESOME. He has him moments, but he really is just the sweetest little three-year-old I know.
Back to the topic, so Caderyn does tend to clear his throat more when he is being punished. The doctor said this was a normal comforting method, just the same as a child needing a security blanket. But he doesn't just make the noises when he's in trouble, he does it all of the time. Happy, sad, mad or excited, he will usually continually make the noise.
Our doctor said it is fairly common for children to have some sort of a tic that they grow out of, and that is what we are hoping Caderyn eventually does. So, we don't draw attention to it and we never, ever talk about it with him. The doctor told us that doing this would only make it worse and could possibly make it permanent.
If he seems to be clearing his throat more than usual, I try to look at what's going on around him. Is the television on? We turn it off and try to play a game. What is his mood like? Does he seem sad? We sing a song or I give him a big bear hug. Does he seem frustrated? I help him. And so on and so forth.
My main concern as a parent is that I want Caderyn to outgrow this before he enters a school system, because I never want him to be made fun of for it. Children can be quick and cruel when pointing out another's differences, rather than celebrating the unique and amazing individual each of them is.
It is important to remember that there is no definitive cause for tics. Caderyn's vocal tic could be related to his asthma and the problems he had with his ears before he had tubes put in. It could be related to the fact that he misses his Dad during the week and uses it as a coping method. It could be any number of things that we could speculate, but the important thing is to recognize that this is something very common and for parents to teach their children about differences in every person.
I've been doing a lot of reading on vocal tics, and I found this particular piece very comforting and to the point. And Caderyn sometimes doesn't make the noise at all, and other times he makes the noise constantly. I've attached a video to show how he does sometimes make the noise and then at other times he doesn't.
And that is my blurb for the day.