Thursday, October 3, 2019

(Not) Alone: The Story Slam

I am proud of the growth I experienced while working on this Story Slam with ELI Talks. It is gratifying to feel I have a greater understanding of my own story. 

People tell me that the hardest part of hearing my story of loss is when they hear that I was alone.
But I'm NOT alone. Just ask the people who've offered me lasagna. 😉

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

ELI Talks Presents: Ann Lapin and WANTED

September 15 at the Riverdale Y
Wandering Jews: Sharing Your Journey

The Riverdale YM-YWHA, through the support of the Riverdale Jewish Community Partnership (RJCP), is partnering with ELI Talks for an evening of storytelling.

Seven of the most thought provoking, heartwarming, tragic and bold journeys will inspire our evening of community. ONE OF THEM: MINE!

Cocktail hour 6:30
Story Slam 7:15
Reception immediately following the Story Slam

Buy your tickets NOW!

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Happy Mother's Day! Are we there yet?

I'd never even heard a podcast before Donna and Adinah asked me to be on theirs. And I don't always love the sound of my own voice. (A cute boy in college called me "Minnie" for a reason...) But I was flattered to have been asked, not to mention see where this is going. Take a listen and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Wake Training

I do not want my babies to sleep through the night.  I have always been afraid of sleeping babies. I feel a sense of relief when my babies awaken.  That’s part of why I breastfed my own children (Breastfed babies are sometimes more wakeful when close to their moms.) and sleep near all my babies at night.  
I also try not to expect more of my children than I expect of myself.  I don’t always sleep through the night. I sometimes awaken thirsty or uncomfortable. Then I walk with my two feet to get a drink, or massage my calf because it has a cramp…but my baby can’t do that.  I would imagine the dark can be scary when you’re the only one awake. I know I’m afraid of the dark. I think I am less likely to be able to “sleep train” a baby than to “wake train” him. I can’t teach him how to sleep; I can teach him how to be awake. As in, “your pacifier is here, put it in your mouth.” “Your sippy cup is here, take a drink.” “Your blanket is here, cover yourself up.” DH and I don’t expect our children to sleep through the night, alone, until they know what to do with themselves when they are awake. DD1 hated the crib. Our solution was having her sleep on the floor in her room so she could walk into ours and lay down next to our bed.  (We had a rule about not waking us.) When DD2 started climbing out of her crib, we embraced it. Rather than lowering the crib, we lowered the side so she could get out…and onto the floor in our room easily. DS only started taking a pacifier at 5 months, so we had to wait until he got used to it and figured out how to find it and put it in his mouth at night. (Multiple pacifiers do help.)
This all boils down to: I sleep close to my baby so it is easy for me to hear his cues, so hopefully it does not escalate to crying and so I do not have to frantically run to him.  (Our oldest and youngest actually did not cry when they needed to nurse at night.) If a baby is not cueing to eat, I make sure his pacifier is in his mouth and try to get a sense of if he might be too cold. We also introduced DS to a blankey so he might be less reliant (physically) on a human to sleep.
At six months, I also felt that although they might have started solid food, they were not getting enough of it to sustain them through the night.  I actually thought DD2 was afraid she was being weaned when we started solids, so nursed more. The same child also did not take a pacifier or suck her thumb. That was no one’s fault but she still needed comfort, so I chose to nurse her when she needed help.  (I often differentiate between breastfeeding for nourishment and nursing for comfort.)
All that said, I found with each child that at a certain time, I get tired.  With our own children, my husband then took over. With our girls, he slept in their room with them; with our son, I left.  It gave me a sense of if they really needed to breastfeed at night, or if they just needed help going back to sleep. My husband called me if he was unable to help them.  When DS turned one year old, I nursed him before I went to sleep (when he’d been asleep for a couple of hours, already), then left the room. He would sometimes wake to have his pacifier put in his mouth, ask for some water, or just needed his back patted or to be snuggled with. He was a light sleeper and/so if someone slept close by, they could help him in the middle of the night without much waking on ANYBODY’S part.


Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Song of Hannah

My parents named me “Hannah” without considering, perhaps, the ramifications:
That I might one day see myself in the biblical narrative
And cry as I chant the story of my namesake.
Again. Even as I remember the year my son impossibly ran into the sanctuary the moment I reached the verse, "For this child I prayed."

But, when Sarit was called to the Torah yesterday and gave the gabbait her name I was virtually slapped across the face. "...bat Velvel Yaakov v'Hannah Ephrat" she whispered.
Not to make a point but simply because that's her name.
The same child who stood in our Orthodox shul as the first woman to blow shofar in its sanctuary, her sister the first to celebrate becoming bat mitzvah on Simhat Torah.

My parents named me "Hannah" considering, perhaps, the ramifications:
That I might one day raise daughters who would emulate my biblical namesake
And feel empowered as they connect to God.

So I will chant those ancient words.
And maybe this year I will focus on counting my blessings.
And maybe this year I will succeed in fighting back tears.