Monday, June 9, 2014

Progress

A couple weeks ago I was finally able to articulate in my head a very important element of my personality.  I realized I like progress.  Not necessarily change, but progress.  I know, I know...who doesn't?  But I really think that progress is a major element to preserving my happiness.  For example...
  • I hate getting bogged down in one single project at work because it means I can't be checking other smaller projects off my list.  
  • I have frequently gotten off the highway in the midst of a major traffic jam, because even if it ends up taking the same amount of time as sitting in traffic, moving along from street to street makes me less crazy.  
  • I get annoyed when I pass by construction projects that seem to stall out.  For example, around a hotel near us, they recently demolished a house and an old office building to reconfigure the hotel's parking and add some retail space.  I knew it was coming based on reading the town's planning board minutes (I'm nosy), but initially it took a while to get it going.  Once it did I was excited because it removed two eyesores...but now I'm annoyed because while the parking lot construction is moving forward, there's an empty hole in the ground where the office building was and nothing is happening.  
  • When I'm waiting for a delivery, I get annoyed if the tracking doesn't update at least once a day.
  • I love checking off to do lists, flipping up the calendar, and finishing up an event that's been on said calendar for a while.  
I've mentioned here before that when things in my life seem a little out of control, I find myself doing a lot of little things to try to control what I can.  I think that all plays into this too...that if I'm not seeing progress in other areas of my life, I try to make progress happen where I can.  

I think this is partly why Jacob's issues drive me absolutely batty.  When we were hoping that the gluten was his issue, I kept hoping that even though the progress was slow, we were getting somewhere.  Then we were setting up appointments with people who might be able to help him.  It took a while to navigate that setup, but we did and it felt good to "get somewhere".  But now here we are, having gone through all of that, and it feels like most of the time we're right back where we started from.  He's not having the meltdowns like he once did, but the behavior is terrible--disrespectful, defiant, quick-tempered, self-centered--and it feels like we've hit a bit of a dead end.  He's not messed up enough for a diagnosis, but he's also extremely difficult to the point of dysfunction with a lot of the things we need him to do.  I know there are more options out there and we just have to find them, but at the moment I feel a bit stuck and it bothers me.  It was one thing when we felt like we were building toward something--and even better, some weeks he was amazing--but now that we've been in this rut for a while and nothing has quite panned out, I am incredibly frustrated.

Another issue where this comes into play is the loss of my sense of smell and taste.  It's been four years since I really noticed it was an issue, and while I don't think it's gone forever (I have brief nanosecond moments where I'm pretty sure I just tasted something because I'd never remember that in-depth how it tasted), but I haven't found the magic bullet to fix it either.  I tried a couple years ago by going to an ENT.  They gave me steroids and a nasal spray to ease up the swelling in my nasal passages, but it didn't seem to make a difference.  I could get allergy shots, but when I was planning on getting pregnant it didn't make much sense to spend a year on a maintenance dose (since they can't change anything if there's a risk of anaphylaxis).  Lately I've been using castor oil in my nasal passages, as I read that it can decrease swelling, and I figure that maybe doing it longer term than what I did with the steroids might give the tissues more time to heal, if that's what's needed.  If that doesn't work I can try chiropractic work, acupuncture, Chinese medicine, allergy shots, or at worst, going to a clinic that specializes in the problem in Washington, D.C.  But as long as I'm trying something, it frustrates me a lot less than when I'm just sort of stuck.

On a lighter note, I see it with Carter, too.  We're at a very interesting point with him right now.  He's right at the cusp of walking and talking.  I'm pretty sure he started taking steps a bit before Jacob did, so I assumed he'd walk earlier.  Instead, we've just had a longer period of time where he could take steps, but generally wouldn't without prodding.  We finally seem to be getting over the hump a bit, as this weekend he took off a couple times on his own and can make it longer distances without dropping down.  But that interim was getting frustrating.  He'd make progress and then it wouldn't go anywhere.  Talking has been much the same.  He started out with "ball" and "no" (complete with wagging finger) pretty good, and he's added in "Night-Night" and "Bye-Bye".  He can say "Mama" and "Dada", though not too often is is really directed at us.  But it seems like we're back at a standstill now.  I think he might be trying to say "dog", which would be cute, but I think my frustration here resides in the fact I've been trying to teach him--both in words and signs--"more" and "all done" so mealtimes are easier for all of us, but it still hasn't taken.  He's at the age where he knows what he wants but is unable to communicate it, so he takes to screaming or mini-tantrums.  This is all manageable, though, and watching him learn new things is so much fun that I think I'm impatient because I just want more!  He's just beyond cute these days.  I love watching him toddle around like a mini-Frankenstein (arms out, one lumbering step at a time), and I love the look on his face when he realizes how far he just walked on his own.  It's great now that he seems to understand some of what we're saying.  He always wants to go outside or walk through the house with his walking toy, and he always wants to be where his brother is...to his detriment, I'm afraid.  Still no progress there, either, by the way.  Jacob's gotten a lot braver and is unafraid to (somewhat gently) bodyslam Carter when he's got the faintest inkling Carter might infringe on his domain.  It's awful.  We've talked to him, assured him, and scolded him.  Nothing seems to communicate to him the dangers of manhandling his brother...because even though it's a somewhat gentle bodyslam now, I wouldn't be surprised if it continued to escalate.  I hope not, but it wouldn't surprise me.  We do our best to keep Carter out of his way, but he's a determined little baby and Jacob's fast.  Bad combo.  Like I said, for now it's fine, but we're definitely keeping an eye out.

But yeah...progress.  I just like to keep things moving.  I like to keep improving, keep refining, keep moving.  I don't always have the time or energy or brainpower to keep doing it in all parts of my life, but I do what I can.  It's all I can do to keep my sanity some days.  I want things to be better, to be more efficient, more comfortable, and more convenient.  I don't particularly love change, but if we can constantly be in the process of moving toward a positive one, I'm all for it.  In fact, I need it.  Let's hope it keeps coming.

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