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Remi Sloane Feuerman
In preparation for the birth of their second child, Rob and Jamie Feuerman installed a birthing tub in their home on Jersey Street. "That birthing tub is probably the best gift to womankind in the whole world," Jamie says. "It reduces the pain."
On March 19, 2000, Jamie woke up with a strong intuition that she was going to need that tub. At 10 a.m., even before the first signs of labor, she called cousin and midwife Ellen Levitt. "I told her, 'I'm going to have my baby today.' I just knew it. It's an odd feeling--I was extremely emotional, and I just felt this welling up." She then contacted Rob at work, telling him to hurry home. Sister Susan Friedman was summoned from Oakland to come pick up Eli, the couple's 31/2-year-old son (a former More Mouths feature).
"Susan came over, and I was eating a tunafish sandwich, and she's like, 'This is labor?'" Jamie relates. "I told her to just wait. One hour later, I was in the tub and moving, and my water broke."
"We'd decided we were going to stay at the house as long as possible," continues Rob. "Ellen kept saying, 'No problem, you've got many more hours.' Then, all of a sudden Ellen looked and said, 'She's got to go right away.' As Jamie is howling in agony with labor pains, Ellen's like, 'We'd better bring some towels in case we don't make it to the hospital!'"
"Rob broke every traffic violation known to man getting to UCSF," says Jamie, tongue-in-cheek. Upon arrival, Jamie was met by "about a dozen doctors and nurses," says Rob. "They put her on a gurney. It was like a TV show."
"If there are any 10 seconds of my life that I never want to see, it's me screaming like a bush woman being wheeled into the delivery room," Jamie says. "There were 20 people in the room, many of whom were men. And I said, 'I know this is your medical education, but this is my birth, and anyone who doesn't have to be here, kindly exit.' And one hour later [at 7:01 p.m.], she was born."
Remi Sloane Feuerman arrived weighing a healthy 7 pounds, 3 ounces.
Remi's unusual first name is after Rob's grandfather, Reuben Esner. "In the Jewish religion, you often pick a person and take their initial for the name," Jamie says. "And we wanted something unique." Sloane is after Rob's grandmother, Sadie Esner. At interview time, plans were under way for a welcoming ceremony, where Remi was to receive her Hebrew name.
Jamie and Rob, both 36, were high school sweethearts in Connecticut. They tied the knot in 1988 and spent time in Los Angeles before moving to Noe Valley in 1995. A lawyer by profession, Jamie is currently enjoying the status of stay-at-home mom while tackling the occasional consulting job. Rob is CEO of a software startup company.
Their daughter has brown hair and "absolutely beautiful blue eyes," says Mom. "They're the first thing people notice about her. They say, 'Look at those eyes!'"
Remi has also inherited her parents' predilection for fine dining. "Remi's a big food hound," says Jamie. "She actually shrieks if I don't give it to her fast enough. I nurse her, but she sits at the table and grunts until you feed her [solids]. Rob and I are foodies--you don't live in Northern California and not partake of the food--so we think she comes by it honestly."
Remi is currently feasting on avocados, lentils, sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, and yogurt.
When she's not yelping for a culinary treat, Remi has a sunny, "intensely social" personality, says Mom. "Whenever we walk down 24th Street, she tilts her head back and flashes smiles until her head is practically falling off." Naturally curious, she is also a risk taker. "She's a total daredevil," Jamie says. "She's going to have her share of bruises." But not to worry, Mom adds. "She's a durable piece of equipment, she's the sister of a boy."
Brother and sister share a love of music. Remi will sit mesmerized while Eli pounds away on one of the many drums in his collection. Mom says Baby got acquainted with Eli's jazz talents while still in utero. "I sat while Eli drummed," she says. "It was probably a lot quieter, but she could hear the beat. She adores music."
The Feuermans plan to create a soundproof play room downstairs, so the budding musicians can jam to their hearts' content. To reduce the noise factor, "We'll stay away from giving her a saxophone," Rob jokes. "We'll give her a violin or a flute--something in a lower key to complement Eli's drums."
For the most part, the siblings get along swimmingly, though Eli has been known to express second thoughts about the new arrival. Says Rob, "Every once in a while, Eli would say, 'Mom, when is Remi going to go back in your belly?'"
"It's when there's conflict," Jamie explains. "I'm like, 'I'm not delivering that child again, okay? She's here to stay.'"
"And I'm not helping deliver," Rob quips. Happily, though, Eli delights in taking care of his sister. "What's nice is watching Eli as a 31/2-year-old starting to develop nurturing skills," says Dad. "He'll want to feed her, because we feed her. He'll want to play with her and spend time with her and help us change her diaper. He watches us, and he's learning at a really early age how to nurture."
"Every morning when Eli comes in, he says, 'Where's Rem?'" Jamie adds. "And when the two of them see each other, it is two of the exact same smiles." And, says Mom, no one makes Remi laugh like Eli does. "Every now and then, Eli will do something where she'll start to giggle. Then the two of them will have this giggle fest, which is really sweet. As a parent, you melt at that point."
Remi also gets plenty of attention from the extended family. Rob's mother, Hariette Feuerman, makes the trek out from Boston every 10 weeks to dote on the little ones. And Remi loves visiting her Bubbe and Poppy (Jamie's parents, Joyce and Marvin Friedman) at their apple farm in Sebastopol.
Aunt Susan and her partner Nancy Dirgo also enjoy spoiling their niece. "We laugh about that because it's kind of a joke that I got the girl," says Jamie. "My sister is such a girlie girl, and I don't know what to do with a barrette. So we figure Auntie Susie will take care of all facials and manicures."
As a father of two, Rob notes that "there's constant activity. One of the things we try to do is spend time with each of the kids individually." Father and daughter get together on weekends. "She gets up before Eli now, and on Saturday and Sunday mornings I'll let Jamie sleep and take Remi up to Martha's and have a bagel and coffee with her and read the paper. She'll sit and watch all the dogs and the other little babies strolling around."
Jamie admits that having two little ones has made life more chaotic. "But at the same time, a nice part about it is that there already is a family," she says. "We have bedtime routines and dinner. After dinner, Eli will watch a classical music video, and Remi will sit or stand on our laps and watch it, too."
With her easygoing nature, "she totally fits into the fabric of our life," says Mom. With a squeal of delight, Remi seems to agree wholeheartedly.
More Mouths to Feed
wants to show off your newest family member. If you have welcomed a new baby into the house, or adopted a teenager, please send your announcement to the Noe Valley Voice, More Mouths to Feed, 1021 Sanchez St., San Francisco, CA 94114. Or e-mail us at email@example.com. We'd also appreciate a phone number, so we can arrange for the family portrait.