Sunday, February 28, 2010

Breastfeeding Stories

My sister-in-law, May, recently had a baby. She was asking me about my breastfeeding experience, which I gladly recounted to her.

I was able to nurse my son for a year. However, starting nursing was trickier than I anticipated. I remember right after pushing Ari out, Dr. K. put him on my belly. My amazingly supportive doula, Cori, attempted to help me get Ari to latch on, but he was pretty out of it, and I couldn't get him to recognize my breast as a potential food source.

Eventually, with the help of a wacky Upper East Side lactation consultant, who wore scrubs and pearls, I was able to nurse my baby. For more on that story click here.

When May was asking me questions about nursing, I thought about how many mothers have nursing stories to share! I wanted to invite all you mamas out there to share your breastfeeding stories.

Post a comment below with your story about nursing. How did you start? Was it difficult to begin nursing? Did you have any help getting nursing going? Please share your experiences below!

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1 2 A?

I just want someone to tell me: What does "1,2,A" mean?

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The Sunday Dance of Joy

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Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Best Snow Shoveler I Know

Ari has taken to the winter season so much so, that he even volunteered to help shovel a random Manhattan street corner. Uncle Mike assisted in the cause. If you need help shoveling your driveway, Ari tells me that he's available for hire.

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The Word of The Day is: Owl

I now present to you, the word of the day: Owl!

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The Gratitude List

When I was a child, before going to bed, or when we were sad, my mom used to ask my brother and I to make a "gratitude list." Our task was to name 10 things we were grateful for.

Here is my gratitude list:

1. Ari
2. Kisses and hugs from Ari
3. Wilhelm
4. My family (My brother, Rosa, Frankie, Every member of my extended family)
5. My parents
6. My Cats
7. Having a place to live
8. My friends (I have the best friends ever! Thank you for everything that you do!)
9. Working with great kids
10. Mint

What are you grateful for?

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Friday, February 26, 2010

A New York City Department of Education Miracle

The Meriam Webster Dictionary defines a miracle as "An extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment." Today a miracle occurred. There was a 2nd snow day in the year 2010 for New York City public schools.

In my 13 years of public schooling in New York City, I experienced one snow day.

These kids don't know how lucky they have it. Two snow days in one New York City public school year is unheard of.

That day in 1996 will be ingrained in my memory forever. We went sledding in Riverside Park on the lids of trash cans. We were so filled with surprise and joy (because we'd never had a snow day in our entire lives) that we hardly knew what to do with ourselves.

It's sort of like never having the chance to celebrate your birthday for 16 years, and then suddenly someone throws you a surprise party.

Ari seemed to enjoy the snow day news as well!

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fighting With Text Messaging

This morning I got a text message from a friend asking me how I was. I thought about replying and then I decided against it. I think the text messaging era is out of control.

People are calling each other less and less. I can't tell you how many text messages I receive asking "how I am" because the person is too busy or lazy to pick up the phone.

I was talking to my 17 year old babysitter about this whole text messaging explosion. I asked her if she thought it was a generational thing? Are teenagers texting more than adults? She said that she spends all night texting with her friends. Her dad asked her why she doesn't bother to call her buddies, she says it's faster to text.

I suppose this texting all night is the equivalent of when I used to stay up all night talking on the phone with my high school boyfriend.

But the crazy thing is that people don't spend all night on the phone with one another anymore. This practice is antiquated.

And forget real life interactions. Seeing someone face to face? Are you kidding me? Who has time for that?

I have to admit, I have done things over text messaging that I am ashamed of. I have had actual FIGHTS over text messaging. I believe this is partly to do with the fact that I am in an inter-generational relationship. Wil is 25 and I am 30. I am of the phone generation, he is of the text generation. I had to compromise.

But I have a love hate relationship with texting. I like that it is easy to do. You can communicate a point simply, directly. However, with the advent of texting people have stopped talking to each other.

And now I present to you Old School/New School Mom's List of Inappropriate and Appropriate uses of text messaging:

I'm sure I'm guilty of everything on these lists.

Inappropriate Uses of Text Messaging
1. Fighting - Fighting over text messaging usually ends in disaster. Tone does not exist in text messaging land. So whatever you type to someone will most likely be misconstrued.
2. Advice- If you ask me for advice via text message, I am so long-winded, that I cannot possibly condense my brilliance into a text message.
3. Forwards- Please stop sending me "Send this to 10 people that you love or something terrible will happen."
4. "How are you?" Just call me.

This being said, I am an extremely inappropriate text messager, and have been known to send this very text message "I'm pregnant!"

Appropriate of Uses of Text Messaging
1. Quiet Public Institutions- When you are in a place that is noticeably silent and need to communicate an important message- a doctor's office, the library, essentially a place where if you made a call people would look at you funny.
2. Meeting Up- Example "I'm on the corner of 23rd and 3rd, where are you?" "I'm running late!"
3. When it may be too early/late to call- You're not sure if the person is awake. "Can I call you?"

What do you think? Have you or someone you know fought over text messaging? Are you a texter or a talker?

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Stumptown Crunch Baked Goods

I love getting mail. And I love eating. Those are two things I love in life. Today I got mail and then I ate! The buzzer rang this morning and I was skeptical. Who could it be? It was FedEx!

So I ran downstairs with Ari and was handed this:

Can you guess what was inside? I'll give you a hint, it rhymes with "Wookies." It was:


But not just any cookies. These were vegan ginger cookies baked by my friend and mama blogger Amanda, who runs Stumptown Crunch Bakery.

I must say these were the best ginger cookies I have ever tasted! I worked at the Union Square Farmer's market and used to eat their ginger cookies. Stumptown Crunch Bakery's ginger cookies are so much yummier!

I've already eaten four and Ari has eaten two!

For more information on these fabulous cookies, email Amanda at

Check out her blog Stumptowncrunch as well!

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Look Who Has Mistakenly Contacted Me

In the past week I've received several emails (and even text messages) that were sent to me by "accident." I've begun to find them amusing.

  • One email was an invitation to 90th birthday party with a woman sharing my last name: Fader. I've never met her.
  • Another was a text message addressed to "Komar" received on my cell phone about a potentially valuable stock trade in process!
  • Yet another was a cancellation to a meeting. "I'm sorry I have to cancel our meeting tomorrow." This was from a kindergarten teacher. Sent to the wrong Sarah. She works at my school.
  • Then there's the daily call with an "important message" for "Luis Oliverio." I keep telling this particular creditor that Mr. Oliverio does not reside here, unless he's hiding under my couch and I haven't noticed him.
  • Another was a message from a high school telling me that my son, Luis Riveria, has been absent for too many days in a row. I wasn't aware that I gave birth to a one "Luis Riveria."
  • The last was from an email from my business partner telling me that she can't wait to "catch up!"

It's been a busy week over here! I can't wait to see who else I hear from!

Have you ever been mistakenly contacted? Tell me about it!

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A 20 Minute Conversation I Didn't Understand

I just had a 20 minute conversation with Ari. I have no idea what we just talked about. He was going on and on about something, but I could only understand about 15% of what he was saying.

I grabbed bits and pieces of things here and there. He said:
"Blah ba dee blah --- baby---- blah de boop bopp--- boy ---blah wee boop--- Dada woo woo (dog).

I replied:
"Uh if I'm understanding you correctly, today you saw a boy, three babies, and you asked daddy to draw a dog and he did?"
He replied
"Dee!" (Yes).

But then he went on and on in "Ari-ese" (his own language) babbling in an indecipherable manner.

It's really difficult to understand what he's saying. Am I slow? Is there something wrong with my hearing? Is he actually talking and I'm not catching it? Is he developmentally delayed? Should he be talking already with real words? Thoughts?

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100 Word Challenge: Fun

It's time, once again, for Velvet Verbosity's 100 word challenge.

This week's "prompt" or theme is "Fun."

Here is my 100 word submission for "Fun."

By Sarah Fader

Fun is something that happens when you aren’t thinking about it. When I’m having fun it usually occurs to me after the fact. “Wow,” I think to myself “That was fun!” Often I think about things that are not fun. Here is what I consider to be fun: going to the movies is fun, playing with my cats is fun, eating chocolate cake is fun, having a conversation with a friend and being silly is fun, tickling my son is fun. I think if we all had more fun doing things that are considered “boring” life would be more interesting.

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A Little Art and Some Conversation

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The Familiars- A Magical Children's Book

I have so many internet friends and I love them all. I recently joined Twitter, and found that "The Familiars" were following me. If you don't know about Twitter, this just means that "The Familiars" are aware of when I've written a new blog post or when I have something fantastic to report about my burgeoning writing career.

I was really intrigued by "The Familiars" profile picture.

I am a cat lover and there was this adorable tuxedo cat looking straight at me. I wrote to "The Familiars" to learn more. Then I found out the "The Familiars" is children's book! It's a fantasy based book about magical animals who help to save the day! I don't know about you, but I wanted to know more. Thankfully, Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson allowed this persistent Jewish mother and blogger to interview them about their book!

1. What is "The Familiars" about?

After three young wizard apprentices are kidnapped by the evil queen of a distant land, it is up to their familiars, their magical animal companions -- a street smart alley cat, a precocious blue jay, and a bumbling tree frog -- to save them.

The story of "The Familiars" began with a question:
“Are you familiar with what a familiar is?” Adam asked Andrew.
“No,” Andrew replied.
“A familiar is the animal companion to a wizard or witch,” Adam explained.

From that one seed of an idea, Vastia was born, a fantastical world filled with the authors’ shared love of animals and magic. What if these animals, typically relegated to the background, went on an adventure of their own? A few of the other specifics fell into place quickly. The protagonist would be an alley cat – much like the stray who had taken up residence in Adam’s backyard – black and white with a chunk missing from its ear. We were inspired by the fantasy literature, movies, and video games we grew up loving – Tolkien, Piers Anthony, D & D, the old Harryhausen films. But never before had we seen a fellowship of magical animals on a quest like this one!

2. Tell us about Andrew and Adam!

Adam Jay Epstein spent his childhood in Great Neck, New York, while Andrew Jacobson grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but the two met in a parking garage out in Los Angeles. We have been writing for film and television together ever since. This is our first book.

Adam Jay Epstein lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Jane, their two daughters, Penny and Olive, and a black-and-white alley cat who hangs out in their backyard. Andrew Jacobson lives with his soon-to-be-wife, Ashley, and their dog, Elvis, four traffic lights away.

The story of the writing of this book is much like the story of "The Familiars" itself: one of friendship and how teamwork can yield greater rewards than an adventure taken alone.

3. What audience does "The Familiars" appeal to?

We wrote this book for fantasy lovers of all ages, from middle readers and YA fans to any adult who loves animals or magic. We hope to capture the imaginations of fans of “Harry Potter,” “Lord of the Rings,” and “The Warriors.”

4. What are the messages you want to communicate to children in your book?

The theme of The Familiars is self worth – exploring the universal question of am I special? Like so many origin stories, our main hero, Aldwyn – the alley cat from Bridgetower – believes himself to be ordinary. But like Luke Skywalker, Frodo Baggins, or Harry Potter, Aldwyn discovers that there is in fact something extraordinary inside him. When Aldwyn is chosen as a familiar, he sees himself as nothing more than a talentless orphan with nothing to offer. But by the story’s end, he has confronted his own self-doubt and realized that he doesn’t have to be magical to be special.

5.Do you have any pictures to share?

Here is a picture of the alley cat - Ben - that lives in Adam's backyard. Cover coming soon!

6. When can we look for "The Familiars" in stores?

Amazon says September 7, 2010!

Thanks A&A! I can't wait to read you book!

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Marjorie The Cat Inspires Me

I'd like to introduce you all to someone. His name is Marjorie.

Yes, I did say his name is Marjorie. Marjorie is a male cat and he is fabulous. But he is not my cat. He resides in a pet food and supply shop called Beastly Bite in Brooklyn, NY. The funny thing about Marjorie is that he hangs out at Beastly Bite, but his original home is actually next door at the Community Bookstore.

Marjorie sneaks out from the bookstore each day to visit Beastly Bite. According to the Bookstore folks, Marjorie is very mean to people when he is at the bookstore. According to Emma (who works at Beastly Bite) Marjorie is very nice and affectionate when he is at the the pet supply shop.

Clearly, this cat suffers from mood swings and is heavily influenced by his environment. Then it occurred to me: Marjorie the cat is just-like-me!

I admire his tenacity. I love the fact that he can just up and leave his original residence to go store hopping. Seeing Marjorie and what a character he was reminded me of my own two cats, Simon and Egreck.

I realized that all the time I've been spending with my son has resulted in me being a neglectful cat owner. I am often yelling at my cats to:

"Get out of the bed!" When I find them sleeping in Ari's bed.
"Get out of the bathroom!" When Egreck threatens to poop in the tub.
"Get back in the house!" When Simon runs out the apartment door and down the stairs to the lobby.

It occurred to me that perhaps the reason Simon is trying so hard to escape is that I've been neglecting him!

So, I listened to my cat mom guilt and bought Simon and Egreck some balls to chase.

Thank you Marjorie the cat, for inspiring me to be a better cat mama.

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On Open Adoption: Harriet From "See Theo Run" Speaks

The other day, I came across Harriet's blog, See Theo Run. Harriet, her husband and their baby Theo live in Vancouver B.C. Canada. They are parents in an open adoption. They adopted Theo at birth. They maintain a strong relationship with Theo's birth family. Harriet writes about the adoption process and her journey to motherhood and beyond on her blog, See Theo Run.

I know virtually nothing about adoption, so I asked if Harriet might shed some light on the adoption process for me, and her personal journey to motherhood. Here's what she had to say:

1. What made you decide to adopt a baby?

We could not have a baby by birth confirmed by visits to a fertility clinic, and once we were sure of this, we immediately agreed that adoption was for us. We did not pursue IVF. It's a wonderful option for many but it did not feel right for us. We went with our gut and knew that adoption was our way. We are a mixed race couple living in a multicultural neighborhood and felt we could parent and support a child of almost any [cultural background]. It's worth noting that I had worked for a non-profit adoption organization in the past so I was well-versed in the process, and had always maintained an interest in adopting.

2. What steps did you take to adopt Theo?

The biggest and most important step was the decision to adopt with full commitment and faith in the journey. We contacted several adoption agencies (there are only six in BC and two in the Vancouver area). I was interested in adopting through the Ministry for Children and Families but my husband was not keen on that route. It was really important that we both be comfortable for our decision so we approached several agencies. We went with our gut on which agency to use. After meeting face-to-face with a social worker who we immediately took too - we loved the way she listened to us- we signed up with the agency. At this point, we were interested in intercountry adoption mistakenly believing we would never be successful locally. In local adoption, a birth mother or birth parents select you from hundreds of other profiles. Before any of that was to occur, we had a series of visits from a social worker to assess our fitness to adopt (the home study), which took about 6 months to be written up and signed off. We then registered to adopt from the tiny African kingdom of Lesotho, which didn't pan out. At this stage, we threw our profiles into the local adoption pool and immediately got a phone call saying a birth mother and her dad wanted to meet us. I have written about this extensively on my blog: the shock, the fear, the sheer awkwardness of the initial visit and the surreal nature of the second visit with the birth dad and birth grandmother and later visits with the birth parents including dinner and a movie. Two months after our initial visit, Theo was born and placed in our arms at the hospital with a room full of birth relatives, nurses and a social worker. The passing over of Theo to us was the most emotional and strange event of my life.

3. When Theo gets older, how will you address the adoption issue?

We are in an open adoption, and Theo does not look like us so he will figure out pretty quickly that he wasn't born to us. But that is not really the point. At this stage (7 months), we are introducing words, names and phrases to him so they register. We have regular visits with his birth family but he does not really understand who they are so we say things directly to him such as: "We're going to visit your birth mom today." "You are so cute; you look just like your birth dad: Kyle," or "You got your wild hair from your birth grandpa," or "I think you're going to be chatty like your birth grandma!" In terms of the story of his birth and adoption, we will piece it together for him as we go. We have hundreds of photos from the hospital and I have blogged about our feelings on that day. I do not think the penny will really drop for him until he's between 6 and 9 when the really hard questions will come. Our hope is that by nurturing an ongoing relationship with his extended birth family and supporting this with explanations and stories about adoption that his situation will simply be normal for him by the time he starts to seriously question his identity.

4. What advice would you offer to a couple or a person who wants to adopt a child?

You need to be 100% committed to adoption and it should be your number one choice for creating a family. This needs to be true in your heart and not just another option or last resort. You should tell everyone you know that you cannot have children by birth and that you are embarking on an adoption journey. If adoption is a secret for you, you might want to examine why that is. Tell family and friends that you do not know how long it will take but you are committed to this path and appreciate their support. You will be amazed at how many people get excited for you. You will also receive naive, hurtful or invasive comments. It's best to face those now rather than later. We also had family say "but you're still trying right?" when we had been told unequivocally that we could not have children. It can take family time to come round - they are still attached to replicating their gene pool. On the plus side, my father-in-law, who said those very words, is baby Theo's biggest fan and spends the most time with him outside of my husband and me.

One last thing, adoption can take a long time, be highly emotional, but with patience, perseverance and faith in the process, you will be successful.

To read more about Harriet's adventures in motherhood visit her blog See Theo Run.

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Thank You Veteran Moms

I've always been the sort of person that looks up to functional people, people that have their act together. I guess this is because I constantly feel discombobulated and like I'm just sliding by in life.

Despite the fact that I am, in fact, 30 years old, most of the time I feel like I'm an adolescent. I need guidance constantly. I need someone to tell me what to do.

Enter, the veteran moms.

The veteran moms, who I've encountered, have been through those tough times. It doesn't matter how many children they have. They always seem to have a solution to a child-based problem. And when I am having a tough time, when I am ready to throw myself out a window from sheer frustration, they always seem to know what to do.

I just want to take a moment and thank all the veteran moms out there who have guided me on my motherhood journey thus far. You know who you are. Feel free to post a "you're welcome" comment if you are a member of this group.

Are you a young (and possibly discombobulated) mom? Do you take advice from veteran moms too?

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Internet Emotions or Lack Thereof

What I'm about to write may sound hypocritical. It makes me sad that we, as people, express our ourselves and our emotions primarily through the internet and text messaging.

Now I know what you're thinking, "You're a blogger!" Yes, I am. And I love blogging! But I also relish in expressing myself in "real life."

I love to express myself, verbally. I could talk about how I feel constantly. I could talk about how you feel all the time. I love talking about feelings. What can I say? I'm a feeler.

But, honestly, I would rather talk about feelings in person, not on the internet or via text message. Unfortunately, this is where the world is at emotionally. As individuals, many people are timid to express themselves in person and hide behind technology to express "real" emotions.

My boyfriend is the complete opposite of me. He does not express himself "in person." He feels more comfortable expressing himself through writing, whether it's in a letter, an email or a text message. I, on the other hand, would rather sit down for a cup of coffee and talk.

But it's not just Wilhelm, I see many people engaged in technological emotional expression. And I have a thought about this:

Let's make a change. Let's express ourselves face to face. See how much realer you feel. You don't have to send an emotionally charged email to get it out. You can meet a friend for lunch and talk it over!

Let's be real.

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