When I was a kid I used to do this weird thing with my eyes where I’d open and shut them really hard when I was nervous. My parents deemed it my “blinking.” They’d say, “Oh, there goes Ameena blinking again!” And they’d mimic me. I’m fairly certain Dr. Phil would say that making fun of me wasn’t the most effective way to get me to stop, but I don’t blink anymore so I guess maybe Dr. Phil doesn’t have all the answers.
Anyway, history is repeating itself because Maya has been doing this weird coughing thing lately. When I ask her why she keeps coughing she shrugs her shoulders and says, “I can’t help it Mama.” How sad is that? I notice that when I’m reading her a book or we’re practicing her writing she’ll be hacking away, but when we get to the park and she’s playing with her friends there isn’t a cough in sight. Her teachers say they don’t notice it either. So I took Maya to the doctor for a professional opinion and the doctor said that since there were no signs of infection or illness Maya’s coughing is probably just a habit that we should ignore. Easier said than done. It drives me nuts! Even Ali, one of the most patient people on the planet finally exploded the other day and told Maya she had to knock it off. Her response?
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to conclude that Ali and I are stressing her out, hence her nervous habit. Thus begins operation “Stop Maya From Coughing.”
Operation SMFC started off well yesterday. We counted to 100 together on the way to school and I managed not to freak out because she forgot a few numbers here and there. At sign-in time I praised her progress with her penmanship instead of criticizing her “Ns.” And at the park after school I didn’t remind Maya that her chin injury was a result of running in the sandy area – something I’ve told her NOT to do only about 5,000 times.
Since a burger and fries can cure pretty much anything, we took Maya to In-n-Out hoping for a miraculous recovery. From the coughing and the chin injury.
We were doing well until Ali got on the phone and Maya and I got into an argument about her picking the tomatoes out of her burger. The coughing started up again so I shut up. I also didn’t remark that her arteries were in overdrive when she ate 1.5 burgers and half of her fries. Or when she asked if she could have dessert. Or television time. And as a result the coughing was at a minimum the rest of the evening and this morning as well. I’m hoping that the weekend continues in the same way.
So I might get her to stop coughing but in the process I might end up with a kid addicted to fast food, television, sugar, and the word “no.” I’m not sure what the lesser of two evils is here!
Did/do you have a nervous habit?