Interview with Miriam Katz

Today we get to meet Miriam, contributing blogger for API Speaks and author of The Other Baby Book (due out in 2011).  Read on to learn more about her family, her travels, her book, and her baby girl Dalia.


Tell us about your family.

I have an amazing husband, Misha, who I met in college. We’ve been together for 12 years, and married for almost 8. We waited to have children until we felt we were truly ready, having traveled and grown together until we felt we were ready to give ourselves over to having children – something we knew would be extremely difficult and we believed should be unselfish.

We live in Boston with our 8 month old baby girl, Dalia. She’s been incredibly engaging since birth. We first noticed her smiling at one month old, and she’s been flashing everyone radiant smiles and sharing great interactions and laughter since then.

Miriam and Dalia

It sounds like waiting to have kids was a very conscious decision on your and Misha’s part.  How do you feel that decision has impacted the way you parent?

I think that waiting to have children has made us more conscious parents. We don’t take anything for granted, because we went into the parenting experience having emotionally prepared to have our lives completely turned upside down. Because having children was something we waited to do until we were as ready as we could be, we take full responsibility for every aspect of our roles as parents.

I think our experience of waiting made us more likely to embrace AP, because we made space in our lives to embrace parenthood as both a gift and a responsibility, and to do it as well as we could conceive possible. AP provided us a framework to get to know our child as well as we can, and to nurture her as deeply as we can.

Do you both love traveling? What has been your favorite destination so far?  What place do you most want Dalia to see when she is older?

We do both love traveling. We both have a deep connection with Israel, so it is hard to rank any other destination above it. But, given that Israel is a central part of our lives, it feels less like a foreign destination than a homecoming to us. So I’d have to say our favorite country to travel is Italy. We’ve been twice together, once soon after we started dating, and we returned for our honeymoon.  I dream of renting a villa like ones in Miami Rental Property Management and spending a winter there before Dalia starts school.

I most want Dalia to develop a strong relationship with Israel. I am raising her in Hebrew, despite it not being my first language, to connect her with a deep sense of peoplehood. We are also raising her with Russian, which her father and grandparents speak, to increase her capacity for language development and help her become a global citizen.

What led you to Attachment Parenting?

While both of our moms breastfed and were very responsive to our cries, neither of us had heard of AP until our first DiaperFreeBaby meeting. Misha had graduated from diapers early after being pottied by his grandmother, who was from the Ukraine. So when I learned that elimination communication (EC) was being performed by my contemporaries, I set out to learn everything I could about it. We attended a DiaperFreeBaby meeting when Dalia was two weeks old. There, we heard moms talking about sleeping with their babies. At the time, I’d been struggling to get Dalia to sleep using advice from The Baby Whisperer. I checked out Dr. Sears’ The Attachment Parenting Book after the meeting, and it felt right. I then checked out every other book I could find on the subject. We never looked back.

How do you deal with friends/family/strangers who don’t understand or disagree with AP practices?

We’ve been so enthusiastic about our choices that we’ve talked about our lifestyle and shared the benefits of AP practices with friends and family, and try to provide relevant information when questions arise.

It felt really important to me personally to have a supportive circle of AP families, so I joined an AP moms group and began hosting weekly playgroups for babies under the age of 1.

Through our AP moms group, I met a like-minded mom, Megan, who was embracing AP, EC and baby-led weaning, the method we’ve used to introduce Dalia to solids. We’d collectively logged hundreds of hours of research, including reading books, internet research, discussion forums, etc. to decide upon and implement the practices that felt best for our babies.

Megan and I decided that others could benefit from our cumulative research and experience, so we’re writing a book that discusses our parenting practices for babies. Megan was just filmed for an “extreme parenting” segment on CNN (about co-sleeping – ha!), and we’re hoping to draw the attention of more mainstream parents to AP-related practices.

Congratulations on your book!  Besides the book you are writing do you have any recommended reading for the API Speaks community? Any books or blogs you love?

My favorite child-rearing book thus far is Connection Parenting by Pam Leo. I’m also reading Playful Parenting, which I love so far. I love reading the API Speaks blog because it incorporates viewpoints from parents with children of different ages, and facing different challenges. I’m enjoying reading your interview series so far, so I was excited to be a part of it. I also enjoy reading posts that are highlighted through KellyMom and Mothering Magazine on Facebook.

Have you ever had an affirming moment in your AP journey?

The first night we began co-sleeping was a huge a-ha moment for us. Dalia had trouble sleeping alone from the beginning, and I’d thought that just came with the territory. Once we began co-sleeping, everyone’s sleep improved dramatically. Dalia stopped crying at night, and thanks to baby wearing, her cries during the day tapered off as well. After getting over my fear of rolling onto Dalia, I began sleeping very well. Now I wake several times a night to quickly initiate a feeding, then fall quickly asleep. It is an entirely different world from the hours spent each night trying to calm Dalia before putting her to sleep in her bassinet or crib, then feeling like my heart was being ripped out as she started crying when she realized we were no longer together. Since I’ve begun letting my gut drive my parenting decisions, it hasn’t steered me wrong yet.

What does 2011 hold for your family?

We are looking forward to releasing our book, The Other Baby Book in 2011. Dalia will turn one year old this year. At this stage in life and motherhood, I am taking each day as it comes, and am grateful for every moment we get to spend together as a family. I know that life with Dalia will continue to open my eyes to the wonders of life, growth, and love.

Thank you to Miriam for her insight!  Check out her website, leave a comment,  and keep your eyes peeled for her book!

Interview Series: Amber Strocel

Today we are excited to introduce another API Speaks blogger to you.  Amber is a mother of two and hails from Vancouver!  Read on to learn about her tips for successful relationships (she and her husband have been together for 20 years!), her big venture to help people live intentionally, and how she balances it all.

Tell us about your family.

I am married to my husband of almost 10 years, Jon. We met in high school – we will celebrate 20 years together this May. Which is a long time, considering that we’re still in our mid-30s. We have two children – Hannah will turn 6 in February, and Jacob is 2 1/2. We live in suburban Vancouver, BC. Right now, Jon is working for a local television station, and I’m working from home.

Amber and family

I am amazed that you and Jon have been together for 20 years!  What has been important in maintaining that relationship?  You have obviously gone through a lot of seasons of life together already!  I am so intrigued by the ways that an AP parenting style translates to marriage.  How do you and Jon balance parenting?

I think the most important thing in maintaining a relationship is flexibility and openness to change. Jon and I are very different people now than we were in 1991 when we started dating as teenagers. We have accepted that change and growth is part of being together, and we embrace it.
Continue reading “Interview Series: Amber Strocel”

Interview Series: Kelly Bartlett

Today I have a real treat for you: an interview with API Speaks contributing blogger Kelly Bartlett!  Kelly is the first of our bloggers who are opening up and answering questions.  I’ve been reading API Speaks for a long time now and am so excited to get to know all the contributors better.  Read on to find out more about Kelly, her journey to AP through a “high needs” baby, and more about her gorgeous family of 4.

Tell us about your family.

I grew up in Chicago and my husband, John, is from Whitefish, Montana.  We met at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, and now we love living in beautiful Portland, Oregon.  I was a high school biology teacher before our 2 kids were born and I stopped working to stay home with them full-time ever since.  Our son JJ is 4 1/2 and our daughter Elia is 6, and they are complete opposites!  The phases we went through with one we didn’t go through with the other, and vice versa.  Between the two of them we are learning first-hand just how different kids can be.

Kelly and Family

With you from Illinois and your husband from Montana, how did you end up in Portland?  I hear that it is a very pro-AP city, do you find that to be true?

We moved out here several years ago for John’s job, and this city has been a great fit for us in many ways…the most recent being our parenting journey.  There are lots of AP families here, which is so nice.  Just going out in public it’s not uncommon to see several breastfeeding and baby-wearing moms & dads, so it’s easy to meet like-minded parents, even when we’re not at an API meeting!  Although I wouldn’t say the majority of Portland parents practice AP, I think it’s more common here than in other places I’ve lived.
Continue reading “Interview Series: Kelly Bartlett”