Sprained foot/ankle

Walk-in clinic walkin walk in Inwood Washington Heights 10034

Clinic of Dr. Franklin Ward, 692 204th Street west of Broadway, south side. 212.942.3369

I sprained my foot/ankle Tuesday, just by walking around in my rain
boots all day. By the time I picked the kids up from their dad's on Tuesday night, my
foot and ankle were in a lot of pain. I couldn't get it looked at,
though, because I had to leave for a work trip first thing after
dropping off the kids on Wednesday morning. Flying/driving all day Wednesday, then presenting in heels all day Thursday. Then I got stranded in North
Carolina (not even close to where my work trip was) Thursday night, and
by the time I got back on Friday it was too late. So I was cranky and
worried, and couldn't find anyplace that wasn't the ER up in my
neighborhood. (I'm putting in all the search terms I used up at the top of this post so someone else can find some helpful information on the web instead of a whole lot of nothing, like I did.)

Fortunately, a friend knew about Dr. Ward, and she showed up on
Saturday morning and took me there. Dr. Ward is super old-timey, like
that doctor in the Norman Rockwell painting. He assessed my foot and
ankle, asked me how it happened, how it felt, saw no swelling or
bruising, asked about the type and level of pain, and told me what I'd
suspected: sprain. He prescribed an anti-inflammatory, said he didn't
know how single moms did it, told me I was charming, and sent
my friend and me on our way to brunch with her husband and super-genius daughter.

It was the best experience with health care I've had since my second
baby was born, and I'd totally go back. I'm posting this so if anyone
else is looking for a walk-in clinic up here in Upstate Manhattan,
they'll find Dr. Ward. His office was super old-school, but clean and
efficient and fast. His helpers speak Spanish. They take some
insurance, but not mine, so it cost me $60 cash. I was in and out in less
than 90 minutes on a Saturday. Rock on, Dr. Ward.

What makes your life easier?

Hello! It's my birthday! I'm 37 today.

I'm on a work trip, and because of the weather in New York City yesterday and today, my flight home was cancelled last night. And then this morning. So I'm back at the airport (from a night in a lovely-but-generic hotel) waiting to see if the afternoon flight to LGA actually leaves.

I realized last night that my mobile phone is a miracle of technology. It allowed me to:

* find out that my flight was cancelled initially

* contact my kids' dad after I got rebooked so he'd know what was up, and then contact him every time something else happened to prevent me from getting back to the city

* contact our babysitters to let them know what was going on

* find a hotel to stay in last night (and find my reward membership number so I could get priority service)

* talk to a friend who made me laugh after I got to the hotel

* recieve calls/texts/FB messages wishing me Happy Birthday

* receive the robo-call that my flight this morning was cancelled

* rebook for this afternoon

* talk to my boss and coworkers today, and keep in touch with clients

Think about the isolation and helplessness I'd have been in if I hadn't had a phone, or if phone technology didn't exist. Business travel would be scary tedium. Those aren't pillows.

So, tell me, is there something in your life that you think is a miracle? That makes it possible for you to stay sane and connected in your daily life? Maybe something that makes your life easier with kids, or helps you feel like yourself in the middle of chaos, or just something that makes things easier?

And have a great weekend, everyone!

Q&A: Nursing and weight loss

Heather writes:

"Do nursing moms really lose weight just by nursing or does that only happen to Hollywood moms? I eat like a health nut and chase two kids yet 9 months later I am gaining weight. WHY?????"

Well, I hate to say it, but not everyone loses weight while nursing. I think most people lose the baby weight over time (9-12 months), but some women seem to hold on to an extra 5-10 pounds until the baby stops nursing. I have no idea why–it's probably just genetics.

If, however, you're actually *gaining* weight a few months out post-partum, and you are being honest about your diet, then I'd 1) pee on a stick, 2) look at how much sleep you're getting, because lack of sleep causes weight gain, and 3) go to your doctor and get your hormones levels checked. Wacky hormones and your thyroid can cause weight gain, depression, sluggishness, etc.

Anecdotal stories of breastfeeding and weight loss? How long did it take you to lose the baby weight? Did you ever lose it? Did you lose more?

The woman behind the curtain

I am going to tell you something now about myself. Maybe it will help one or two of you, and the rest can either read in horrified fascination or click to someplace prettier. It doesn't make me proud, and I've been hiding it for a long time, or just passing it off as laziness, but I'm beginning to realize it's more than just a casual problem. And that it hurts my life, and I want that to stop.

I'm messy. I always thought it was just laziness, or lack of knowledge of how to organize/clean, or just a symptom of my vertical filing (I put things in piles, and forget I own things if they're put away out of sight). But the older I get, the more difficult it gets, not less. And the more it hurts me, both by wasting so much time and energy looking for things or just navigating around the crap in my house or feeling bad about my apartment, or by making me feel like a failure because I can't seem to maintain a system of keeping things tidy and organized.

But I've been watching a lot of the TV show "Hoarders," and I've realized that a) people who are hoarders have an illness or brain condition, and b) I have that brain condition to a lesser degree. Yes, thankfully, it's definitely to a lesser degree: I'd never keep garbage, and I have no problems throwing things away, and things don't all hold memories for me.

But the basics–an inability to really get on top of system of organizing that works, or to maintain a system of neatness, or to keep on top of all the chores that need to be done–that's me. And it's always been me, for as long as I can remember. It's gotten worse since I had kids, just because I have more stuff to deal with, but it was like this before I had them, too.

I know for sure that it gets worse when I feel bad. The last few years of my marriage were buried under clutter so I could hide in plain sight. But even when I'm feeling good, it's very either/or. Either I can focus all my energy and attention on purging/organizing/cleaning, or I can have a "normal" life that involves works and kids and making meals and having friends, etc. but gives me a messy house.

So I had this epiphany the other day that I'm never going to be cured. There's no grand realization I'm going to have that will switch my brain around. No book I can buy that's going to put the secret inside me. No amount of shame or guilt or self-esteem or pride that will make this go away.

instead, I'm looking at it like a brain disorder, or a chronic illness that I can manage but not cure. I've decided to work on setting up systems to scaffold myself so that I can maintain the best brain health possible *for me* for housekeeping. I've decided to use Lent as the timeframe to make these changes to help scaffold myself. (Lent, for those of you who don't celebrate it, runs from Ash Wednesday–February 17 this year–through Easter, which is April 4 this year, and is a time of reflection and self-discipline in preparation to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus.)

These are the things I'm going to do to help myself manage this:

1. Pray about it. If you don't pray, just skip right on to #2. If you do pray, maybe you're like me and you do a good job praying for other people, but not for yourself. I'm trying to pray for myself for this issue. Not with any specific goal ("Make me less messy!"), but just that I can let this process happen, and that whatever's supposed to open up for me will open up.

2. Stop hiding it. You're only as sick as your secrets. If I admit this and can ask for people's help or understanding, I'll be able to get rid of a lot of shame. And even if I never get any better at managing this, losing the shame will make my life way better.

3. Ask for help. A friend who loves organizing asked me if I'd let her help me get my place organized. I was too embarrassed to take her up on it, but I decided to follow my step #2 and ask her to help me. She was delighted, and we're supposed to do it in a few days.

4. Give myself limits. I got brave enough to let a cleaner come and look at my place and make a plan to come clean for me every other week. The magic there isn't that she's going to make everything better. Instead, it means that I'm only going to be allowed to drift for two weeks before I have to make things presentable enough for her to come clean. In two weeks nothing is going to get so bad or so chaotic that I can't push through it. Two weeks is the limit.

5. Document my progress (or lack thereof). I'm going to track some milestones, and I might even take a few pictures.


Comments of horror or self-recognition? I'm about to hit "Save" even though it's scaring me…

Cloth diapering for 2010

Update: One of Kelly's friends read the site yesterday,recognized Kelly (not her real name) and her situation, and is going to
help. Yay for K! (And congratulations!)

I got questions from Sharon and Jenny about cloth diapers. And it's
been a long time (2006!) since we did a cloth diaper post, so I thought it was
time for another. (Read the ones from 2006 here: part 1 and part 2.)

Here's the rub: My life is fantastically diaper-free, so I'm not up on
the latest. For those of you with no experience with cloth diapering,
or who remember it from the 60s or 70s, yes, there is "latest" in cloth
diapering. I blame the internet, because it enabled work-at-home moms
to make and sell cloth diapers, and everyone's always trying to come up
with something better, so the improvements have been truly rapid.

One thing I absolutely stand by from my original posts: Cloth diapering doesn't make you a better parent than disposable diapering. It is, however, way cheaper in the long run.  (And is arguably better for the environment, depending on where you live and how you wash.)

When last I left cloth diapering, some people were still using a system involving prefolds and covers. Read about it  in "The most common way" here.

But more people were switching to pocket diapers with cotton, hemp, or
microfiber soakers. Read about them in "Pocket diapers" here. I was a pocket diapering mom,
and loved it for the ease (two extra loads a week, no soaking, no
special cycle or anything) and the cuteness (there are some adorable
pocket diapers out there).

The most recent innovation when I exited the scene, was the one-size
pocket diaper, which featured a snapping system that took it from
fitting a 7-pound newborn to a 35-pound toddler. This was amazing, as
it meant you could use the same 2 dozen or so diapers for 2-3 years.
Bumgenius was the only big company making one-size pocket diapers,
although there were tons of WAHMs making them.

So what's new, people who cloth diaper? If you were starting out now,
what would you buy and how much would you get? (I stand by my
recommendations for washing, and my love of the PUL diaper bag.)
Comment, please. (And if you put the http:// in front of a URL the website will make it a clickable link automatically, if you want to recommend specific sites.)

Oh, and while we're at it, are there any innovations in environmentally-friendly disposables? I loathed gDiapers with the intensity of a gazillion suns (worst of both worlds, because I had to keep buying the liners *and* keep washing the covers, and I never touched so much poop in my life as I did with them, and then they were condescending when I asked if there was some magic secret to getting the liner to stay in place). But has someone else come up with something noteworthy?

Q&A: “help for a shitty mom”

Encouragement needed. Kelly, who has a 3-year-old son and 4-month-old twin boys, is in a world of pain. She writes:

"I really need help. Or validation. Or something. You're the only person I know to ask and won't tell me I'm a total loser.

am about to lose my mind. The boys still aren't sleeping. Actually,
they are on this fucked up schedule where 1 will go to sleep at 9:30pm
and sleep 3-4 hours, then wake up, eat, and sleep for 5-6 hours. The
other will go to sleep at 9:30 and sleep for 6 hours straight, eat,
then wake again after 3 hours. I am about to lose my mind.
Oh…wait…I already said that. I won't even mention about how they
don't always go back to sleep after I feed them. That is another whole
pain in my ass.

The worst part is that I am really getting
resentful of them and I'm to the point of mostly not even liking them.
It is completely stupid because they are babies for God's sake. I know
it isn't their fault and they are just being babies, but SHIT ALMIGHTY
I am dying here. Today, they didn't want to go to sleep at
naptime…they both cried uncontrollably, even after rocking and even
after putting them in the swings (and BTW…I am using the damn swings
as a crutch, but I AM SO TIRED). I finally had to throw them in the car
and drive. They fell asleep for 15 minutes and promptly woke up when I
got home.

I have never been a fan of CIO (didn't need to with
SuperAiden, the perfect baby but terrible toddler). My heart would break
at the thought of letting my baby scream, but I am starting to do it
now and the worst part is I don't feel bad about it. It is
awful…letting a 4 month old baby cry his little heart out, but I just
don't know what to do anymore.

My mom was here 5 days/week, but
she is 72 and can only handle 1 baby at a time. (She's now at her
vacation place in Florida for a well-deserved month vacation.) My
husband is worthless with all 3, but seems to think I should be able to
handle this after all my nanny experience (which I probably could IF I
COULD GET SOME SLEEP). I can't even nap during the day because they
take those bullshit 45 minute naps and I can't always get them back to
sleep…even if I put them in the swings. Then, of course, Aiden will
need to use the bathroom at least once during his 2 hour rest time. He
doesn't go potty by heimself because A. he's in that "I can't do
it…help me!" phase; B. he gets distracted and will wander through
the house/fill the sink/go outside/find something to hurt himself/make
a mess.

Between me no longer having a job and my husband's 35+% pay cut
from 2008, hiring someone is really not in the cards right now. And
even finding someone is so. much. work.

I really wanted these
little twits…I even wanted twins. I knew the first few months would
suck, but I really didn't expect things to suck this bad. For this long.

regarding the going to bed thing, we talked about how my husband can just stay
up and wake the 3 hour sleeper to feed him before bed, but what do I do
about milk supply? I am already struggling (as I did with Aiden). I'm
taking fenugreek and goat's rue. As it is, they eat every 2 hours
during the day (another sucky chapter to this story), but if I go 4
hours, I can't pump any more than if I pumped after 2 hours. I'm afraid
of what will happen if I go 6 hours. I'm already supplementing and I
really don't want to supplement more if I can help it.

I want to
look back on this time fondly (like I do with Aiden), but right now all I
see is a crazed lunatic mother who yells all the time and resents the
kids she so badly wanted. WTF do I do???"

Oh, crap. I am so, so sorry that you're in this awful place right now.

I don't know exactly how to fix things, but I can give you a reality check:

1. It's really OK that you hate things right now, and even that you resent your babies. You won't forever. A lot of us have, especially in the really early days like this. It's easy to feel love all the time when you're not under constant physical torture.

2. It sounds to me like your prioritizing a lot of ideals over your own health. Maybe take a step back and assess how you'll feel in 5 years about supplementing or doing CIO or having a really crappy come-to-Jesus conversation with your husband vs. spiraling down into emotional despair and physical ruin that make take you months if not years to climb back out of. There are a lot of women out there who are eternally grateful that they supplemented (or switched entirely) with formula, or did sleep things they don't actually approve of (CIO or cosleeping being the top two examples I can think of), or just told their partners the truth: You need to step up or I could end up in the hospital and you'll have to do it all by yourself. You made the decisions you did about these things when you had a whole different set of information than you do now.

3. You have twins. And a kid who can't go to the bathroom by himself yet. That's hardcore. Of course it's really difficult. You're doing an amazing job.

4. Tell someone. I mean, besides me, because I'm thousands of miles away and can't give you the physical help you need. But your local friends, they love you. And they will feel horrible when they find out how much you were hurting and that they didn't know to help. Please give them the gift of trusting them enough to let them know this about you and help you. As someone who's not currently sleep-deprived except by the stupid Olympics schedule, I would feel like you were really my friend if you trusted me enough to ask me for help. They will, too.

5. It's not going to be like this forever. If you can keep waking up every morning, eventually it will get better. It'll get better faster if you ask for help. But it'll get better no matter what.

Are there any moms of multiples who want to offer sympathy or stories or suggestions about getting the babies on similar schedules?

Any moms of singletons who want to offer sympathy or stories or support?

Please do.

Well, that was something

Does anyone else feel like they were in kind of a timewarp?

I know I felt really strange having the snow day on Wednesday and then traveling for work and then having a day off yesterday. But I know lots of people who kept getting snow and having days off school and work who are only going back to work today.

It begins to feel like suspended animation. Like being in a Stanley Kubrick movie, only trapped inside with kids instead of an insane writer. ("All play and no outside makes Mommy go crazy.")

It's like we need a reset button.

Mine is sitting at my desk at work and doing all the officely things that I don't do when I'm working from home or am on the road.

What's your reset? Or are you still trapped inside?

I’m not even going to try to think of anything cute for this one

So here's a topic that's bound to bore those of you in warm climates:

What do you do when school (preschool, daycare, your babysitter can't get there, etc.) is closed because of snow or other bad weather conditions?

They just announced that NYC public schools are closed tomorrow, and I know bunches of the rest of you dealt with closings yesterday and today.

I can probably work from home (although I'm supposed to get on another plane for work on Thursday), but what about people who can't? What do you do? I'm especially thinking about it as our babysitting house of cards has been shored up a little lately, but three weeks ago this could have been an enormous disaster. What do yo do if you have to be at work and there's no place for your kids to go?

(Also, remember my ire about being puked on last week? Well, I got food poisoning/stomach flu myself on Saturday. I never ever wanted to vomit on the NYC subway, but I did. I'd really like to thank my ex-husband for rearranging every part of his Sunday that he possibly could to take the kids while I was wishing for a fast death, and for bringing me gatorade.)


I'm sorry. This week has beaten me. It started off so well on my work trip, but then a lot of things happened (good and bad) to mess up my sleep schedule and I've felt like I was struggling through some really, really uncooperative mixture of sand and molasses (treacle) since about Wednesday morning.

And then my URL was up for renewal and I couldn't remember my password to get in and do it and I thought it was going to disappear, and that some ill-intentioned illicit pharma manufacturer was going to grab it and you'd click over here and be offered discount vi@gr* instead of parenting talk.

And then, after I took the door handle off my kids' room so they'd stop locking themselves in and me out, they locked themselves in and me out again this morning.

Really, this is just what I'd like the world to know: I am much more than my current situation. I am so much more than just my children's mother. I love them, and would willingly die for them, but they're not all I am.

Today's topic:

1. What do you want the world to know?

2. What book are you reading, or would you be reading if you had time and an extra hand with which to hold a book? (Me: Triathlons For Women by Sally Edwards, which is a pipe dream because I have 40 non-work child-free hours every two weeks, so no time to train.)