Friday, October 26, 2007

Linksville

New wondertime columns are here and here.

I have to admit, I regretted things about that gymnastics one. The whole poor-me-without-my-granite-counters-waah thing really rubbed me the wrong way, for instance, despite the fact that it was I myself who wrote it! There's something about gossiping about people gossiping that's extra grotesque. So, I'm sorry about that. And also my apparent lack of compassion for what must be a ridiculously hard job: the shepherding of a dozen little leotarded people safely through chaos and incomprehension and various potential catastrophes. I do understand how hard that must be, I really do.

And in that second column, the link to Caleb Potter's blog is here.

And finally: babycenter has fixed the link to all the old "Bringing Up Ben and Birdy" columns, which are here now. Because I know you really want to go back and read about the fermented yak cheese we found in Birdy's neck folds that one time.

But did you really want to make nasturtium capers? Really? Oh, you're too good to me. Just pick off some combination of unopened buds and seed pods (or one or the other--but I used both), rinse them off, soak them in very, very salty water for a day or two, changing the water which will start to smell like one of those horrible sulphury hot springs (but with capers!), and then drain them, pack them in a very clean jar, and cover them with boiling vinegar. After a week, they are salty, pickly, spicy, and delicious. Perfect for pizza!

55 comments:

  1. Don't apologize for the gymnastics column. It was true at the time and that's the best you can hope to do as a writer.

    Love what you do and have for YEARS.

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  2. Wow, your columns are wonderful! I used to subscribe to babycenter but have to confess, I never stopped by any of your writings over those 4 years...now I wish I had. I'll just have to go over your archives.
    Great that you've got a blog too. Your children are precious.

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  3. Ah, gymnastics. I was there with Pie this morning, thinking about how a gymnastics class is really a giant personality test. Pie is the timid one in our class, holding back, watching, scared of all the running and jumping around. But she watches it all like a hawk and executes the moves perfectly so long as I find a quiet corner where no one else can see or touch her. I spent much of the morning envying the mothers of the Birdy-like children, with their fearless exuberance.

    Bub has been in a boys-only dance class, which I assumed would be all about techno-pop kids' music and jumping around, and instead he's learning ballet positions. It seems to me that there should be some window of opportunity, at least at age three, for unlimited energy and exuberance before we learn to point our toes outward and keep our heels together.

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  4. I loved that column. Like everything you write I feel much less like an odd duck when I read you.

    I am so connected to how you were feeling that I have actually never (ever) signed my kids up for anything that would require someone telling them what to do with their bodies. I can't handle adding extra "classes" to life and I totally would need to find a hippie one where its all about exhuberance and the inherent rightness of everyone's creativity. Which, while they existed in my early 70's childhood, are incredibly hard to find these days.

    Okay, once, under duress I put my eldest (6) in a swimming class which my mother funded. We rarely went. It was miserable. Luckily the bay at the seashore nearby had dirt cheap, fun-loving, wade in and float a bit in the murky, crab-y, sludge classes and he sort of got the hang of swimming from those.

    Music, dance, team sports, gymnastics. Nope, not yet anyway. I guess I'm depriving them, but we're home needle felting and making ice cream. Oh well.

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  5. Maybe it is gymnastics. I felt that way while my daughter took gymnastics, more so than I usually do, I guess. Everyone was talking about how fabulous their lives were and how the new bed was only 800 so why not just get a new one? Just way out of my league and I felt like I had nothing in common with them.

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  6. Catherine, I'm not kidding, not too long ago I tried to find some of your old writing at babycenter, and I was very, VERY sad when I couldn't get to the columns. I thought the archives were gone forever and I was really heartbroken! So seriously--I'm relieved.

    And the gymnastics column hit home for me--it actually meant a lot to me because I could relate to quite a bit of it. So please don't apologize!

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  7. I agree, don't apologize for the gymnastics column. This is why we all love you, your honesty, your candor. Who among us hasn't felt that exact same way at some point? You speak to our hearts, and our hearts open up to you. Well, that's how I feel, anyway.
    And YOU? With your CAPERS?! Words fail me. except for these ones: I wish I lived close enough to tatse some of your caper-covered pizza. Oh Now I'm hungry.

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  8. Here is another vote for "Don't apologize for the gymnastics column" You make me feel so much more normal Catherine! I so often feel like the odd duck at preschool functions.
    I just found this blog of yours. I had read every entry you made on babycenter. I'm so excited to read your columns again.

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  9. But...

    I really loved the gymnastics column. It spoke to me. I understood it. I didn't feel that it was whiny at all...but then since it is speaking to me and bonding with me, I wouldn't think it was whiny anymore than I would thing that me, myself, was whiny.

    Anyway.

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  10. What I need are the exact measurements of your Chex mix recipe (or any close approximation thereof). I've tried to make it, but somehow it always ends up soggy and gross. What am I doing wrong?!

    I discovered you by trolling through Babycenter, and so I think it's great that they're making your columns accessible again.

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  11. Let me just say, Galileo is one of the best songs ever!

    I love your columns (have read them for years)- you seem like a kindred spirit. Like other posters have said, I feel like you and your family are close friends. I usually read your columns at work and have to try hard not to cry or spit out my Diet Coke when laughing. Thanks for sharing your world with us.

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  12. Fermented Yak cheese! Oh that is a good one. I always think of that column when my daughter has anything seeming mildly yeast going on. We had to blow-dry her diaper area too!!
    I ahve actually been re-reading Waiting for BIrdy and got this great pic the other day of my little one leafing through it, so cute. Clearly she has great literary taste.

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  13. Personally, I loved the gymnastics column! I thought it was wonderful... in fact, what stood out to me the most is how you just want your children to be whoever it is they are, instead of being fit into the same-size-fits-all mold. And I think that's Uber-Fantastique. I think it's wonderful that you love your children so much for who they are.

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  14. Ditto what The Flying Mum said! That's my stunning comment for the day.

    And thank you for the caper instructions!

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  16. Hey - a friend of mine has her kids in competitive gymnastics and they're in it ELEVEN HOURS A WEEK. Can you imagine?
    I hate hanging around with the other moms at extra-curricular stuff - I feel like a big odd thumb.

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  17. Glad those archives are there if I need them. Seriously, it is like an old journal that brings back all kinds of warm memories.

    I am behind at Wondertime, four weeks I think! Yikes. I will catch up and then have something really thoughtful and witty to say!

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  18. My daughter begged and begged to be in dance this year. She REALLY wanted to be a pretty ballerina. At the first parent's meeting, I was the lame one asking how exactly to manage the hair, which they require to be in a bun. She's in kindergarten, does it really matter? I definitely felt like the odd one out in my faded jeans and birkenstocks around all the pretty dance mommies.

    Ok, so I hate pink and I was a total tomboy... but my girly girl loves dance. They do some position work and rhythm stuff, but then they also leap to catch falling stars and do strange versions of Itsy Bitsy Spider. So long as she's having fun, we'll keep doing it.

    Thankfully I have the "no gymnastics ever" card up my sleeve. I used to work with an exercise scientist (he helped invent the baseballs with the various core types so that young players couldn't get hurt as easily) and he advised me long ago to avoid gymnastics. He said it was the sport that caused the most youth injuries. I wouldn't worry about a preschool YMCA class or something, but anything approaching competitive level would be too scary. I say this not to freak you out, but to use your mommy gut if the pressure starts to build in her class, and find something else. WE only get one perfectly formed ACL, after all.

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  19. Don't feel bad about the gymnastics column. I feel the same way much of the time.
    Thanks for the links at Babycenter. Their new site has been making me really ANGRY! I wish they wouldn't have changed it. Anyway, I love going back and reading your old columns. Love your columns, love your posts, love your book. I'll read ya where ever I can find ya. :)

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  20. I love all of Catherine's work, and I can relate to the heavy-heartedness of watching your child in a discipline - one one hand, you want to foster creativity, but on the other, you need to foster certain life skills (like waiting in line for your turn, or listening to your instructor). In order to write creatively, for example, you need to be able to actually write, which takes discipline and learning, and is not always fun.

    My response to this column and the commentary arising from it, is that we are ALL - from so-called "hippie moms" to those moms carrying Louis Vuitton diaper bags, and every mom in between - in this parenting thing together. We all need to be accepting of others, regardless of social status, income, or the wearing or not wearing of expensive jeans. From reading Catherine's columns, I have always felt a kinship with the other readers, a real feeling of community, but I now wonder if anyone else reading this blog would speak to me at a gathering if I was wearing my Seven jeans.

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  21. Our little lady is the same age as birdy and started gymnastics in August. She calls it "Girrrnastics", so now we all do. It's going to be a sad day when she says Gymnastics I'm sure!

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  22. I love your writing. You just nail it every time. You put words to these vague universal feelings we experience.

    And don't apologize for the jimnasticks article. It was good.

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  23. Catherine,
    I don't read the comments on any of your blogs usually (mostly because I can't stand if people are mean to you!)But I had to this time because I LOVED the gymnastics column. It made me feel not so alone - I live in an affluent town, I work while my partner stays home. So I'm the "Working" mom - and I feel so out of place at school events, the bus stop. It's nice to know that I'm not alone...

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  24. I understand why you feel regrets about the gymnastic column. But I wanted to thank you for it anyway. I'm not sure how to say this the right way, so I'm going to blurp it out and I hope this is a reassuring comment and not awful. Sometimes I feel like I can't get with the program, too. Like I don't mesh at all. And my DD is such a little butterfly. I worry that my neurotic shyness will rub off on her cheery friendly self. And I feel so desperately out of place around the other moms I've met around here who have kids I can tell my daughter wants to know better. So when I see that *the* Catherine Newman, who has taught me so much about parenting, and trying to stay in the moment with your kids, and forgiving yourself, nay accepting yourself... anyway, when I see that you too can go into a room full of kids and mommas and feel that square-peg round hole feeling and spend the time agonizing over whether or not you're doing right by your child... It makes me feel not so alone. So, thank you for letting us in on the good days, the bad ones, the ones you're proud of and the ones you'd like a redo on. And I want to just give you a pat on the back, and let you know I certainly didn't think less of you for the column, I really enjoyed it as I always do. It's hard to always put yourself in everyone else's shoes (like the disaffected sounding teachers), sometimes you just have to wear yours. But it doesn't mean you can't keep trying, and it sounds very much like you are. You do a great job. (sorry for the book-in-a-comment)

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  25. The fact that you worry about your lack of compassion for the people in charge of kids really shows your understanding, and compassion. It's so easy to just love your own kids. I just came back from a birthday party with 15 exuberant 4-yr-olds on sugar highs, and another mother and I wondered aloud at how teachers do it. Granted some do it better than others.

    And being that I live overseas, I'm the "foreigner" almost all of the time. This can be a blessing in that it's an "excuse" for my diversity, allowing me to get away with things that locals might noramlly judge in a negative light.

    Both my boys had blue, purple and red painted toes all summer, and Thomas, my oldest, chose the pink fluffy slippers from the catalog. Why should girls have all the fun dressing up?
    And about the jeans: don't get me wrong, I'll gladly wear a designer pair. I just want to get them at a yard sale!

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  26. Honestly, I loved the gymnastics column. I think what you have to say is going to resonate with a lot of people- that feeling like all the moms around you are so... suburban? country club? and that you don't want to conform to that. I've felt that very same way, at gymnastics too!

    And I DO expect people who work with children to have some joy about it, some appreciation for childhood- after all, there are MANY hard jobs in this world.

    Also, don't ever go to a Caringbridge site. You will get suck in and it will feed each and every one of your fears. And you will not sleep.

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  27. girlinaboyhouse said...

    "We all need to be accepting of others, regardless of social status, income, or the wearing or not wearing of expensive jeans. From reading Catherine's columns, I have always felt a kinship with the other readers, a real feeling of community, but I now wonder if anyone else reading this blog would speak to me at a gathering if I was wearing my Seven jeans."

    I am *so* working on that. Because here's the thing. I have spent time as an adult educator working with very, very poor mothers and, though I am blessed to not be in their economic shoes, have found an amazing amount of common ground. We really bonded not just as teacher-students but as *women* trying make good lives. Ah, but now the tables turn as my daughter (looooooong story) has begun attending a ridiculously expensive private school, and I find myself mentally judging the "rich" moms, mentally cutting myself off from them, deciding with no evidence that we really can't have anything in common. Hello, how dumb is that? If it works one way, it works the other, right? Not judging people for having less than me means that I also need to not judge people for having much more than me, right? Yes, that's obvious, but I am too dense and fallible. And I'm working on it, working on it, working on it.....

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  28. I can NEVER post at wondertime but wanted to say what I say every single time I read a post from you....THANK YOU! I loved both columns...especially the dinner questions one. I, too, treat the inevitable grief in my life as a hypothetical. Why is that?
    PLEASE write another book asap!

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  29. jaa4101211:09 PM

    I loved the gymnastics column, Catherine. I really did. Not only was it resonant for me of feeling like I never quite fit in with the other waiting-room moms, but also the sense of wanting my daughter to find that exuberant love of herself and what she's capable of within the confines of a discipline. It's hard sometimes, isn't it?

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  30. oh Bringing up Ben and Birdy! I should go back and read them. I did get side tracked at the end there but I did love that column. I've been reading everything of yours I can get my hands on since I was pregnant with my daughter. So that was what? 7 years now. wow.

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  31. Caleb's friends and indeed his life make me want to move to Wellfleet to let my son know such community

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  32. additionally, I too am afraid but keep smiling.

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  33. OK, I just read the gymnastics column. It's your prerogative to feel guilty about it, of course, but honestly? If it's not your scene, it's not your scene, and I think you're wise to recognize that.

    We tried gymnastics for the same reason, and quit for similar reasons - I could see the older girls strutting around, and could imagine the eating disorders and obsessions with shape, size, looks and skills, and I just couldn't sign my daughters up to be around that environment. Plus, once they were hooked, how would I ever extricate them when it got to be that bad?

    Same thing with ballet - the girls wanted to do it, but when I brought in my bedraggled children with unbrushed hair, unmathcing outfits that they chose themselves, and didn't care whether they practiced or not, or made the right moves or not, I could tell we were in the wrong place.

    We're lucky that our school has plenty of like-minded people, as does our neighborhood, so the girls do their own gymnastics at home, put on their own ballet recitals using a hodge-podge of old recital outfits from older friends, and we're all happy.

    Thanks for sharing, as always!

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  34. OK, now I read the second column - do you read Blackbird's blog? If not, you should - www.blackbird17.blogspot.com

    She and her family were also in Wellfleet when the accident happened, so I learned about Caleb Potter then. Like you, she has stayed absorbed by his story - she has three older sons - and provides her readers with periodic updates. She's pretty awesome.

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  35. I am a huge fan, so I say this with love, but please do cut those gymnastics teachers a little break. I have taught drama off and on for years to little kids and it is HARD. I am also a classroom teacher, which is tough but I swear that teaching extracurriculars is harder. No one does it from sheer love of pre-k gymnastics..they do it because they are young and need money. So unless these teachers are truly mean and bad (in which case, yank your child fro class and report them) please try and be extra patient and nice. They are soooooo pooped. :)

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  36. ""And I DO expect people who work with children to have some joy about it, some appreciation for childhood- after all, there are MANY hard jobs in this world. ""

    Wow. Please promise me you will never, ever say that to a teacher. The assumptions and preconceptions that statement implies make me very, very sad. Getting to know your child's teachers, showing warmth and respect to them, and teaching your child to do likewise will make all the difference. Pardon me while I go lie down and do some Lamaze breathing till I feel better. (hoo! hee! hoo! hee!)

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  37. Can we please move on??? Catherine was not wrong in what she said. If she felt out of place, that's not saying anything bad about those ladies. Also, if they WERE talking about others and being judgemental about some kid with long hair, then they should be called on it. She was only relaying facts. Not gossiping about gossiping.

    To Nockanini: Please Please Please get over yourself! We all know that people who teach kids take on a hard job, but those are OUR kids out there and there are things we expect! The teachers should be kind and patient and let the kids express themselves. If you're gonna except a job in childcare in any capacity, you need to be good with kids. They need to go the extra mile and make the kids and parents feel comfortable. Fake/forced smiles don't cut it. The thing that clinched it for me was that the lady told Birdy, "not kindly" to get back in line. That is what I take issue with! So, we can, as parents, expect the common decency that our kids deserve!

    Catherine, please don't appologize! You speak truth and I so hope you feel us out here that feel what you say! I live in a small town and I actually stand out for actually wearing jeans and doing my hair. I am a faily young mom and don't really fit in the 30/40's moms. But, we make small talk and they are very nice. We all had the love of our kids in common and love to take turns watching the kids.
    I say, if Birdy is having fun, then bring a book or just have Michael keep bringing her. Sorry this is so long, but you did nothing wrong Catherine!

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  38. I've thought a lot about the gymnastics column since I read it. It really touched a raw nerve for me and clearly for other readers too. That weird feeling of alienation is just so awful- I mean here you are, expecting to be reasonably comfortable with other parents whose children are also doing gernastics or whatever it is that they do, but then poof, self-consciousness sets in, and you can't connect. And whoa- to think they might have been speaking about Ben or some other sweet kid. That's horrifying.

    And yet, one of the things that I appreciate about your writing is your generosity. You are right- it can't be easy to teach a class of 15 4 year olds. Still- cut yourself some slack. Perhaps on another day, you may have connected with one of the other parents in the room. But on this day the stars were misaligned and it was not to be. I certainly know how that feels. And I won't go into anything about menstrual cycles and moods here.

    When I went to hear you read from your book a few years ago, I was really struck by how different the women in the room appeared, at least outwardly. So, it seems that you really do connect with a variety of different folks. As do we all, probably, at least some of the time.

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  39. Funny how honesty, of the bloggy kind, even the kind you later regret, often produces the best kind of post
    Never, ever, apologize for this kind of perfection:
    "Maybe I just want a little more space in the world for everyone — for the girls here to move however they like in their strong bodies, for the women here to interact however they like, from all of their intelligence and humor, kindness and eccentricity and even weariness."

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  40. Oh, I really AM glad the Ben & Birdy stuff is back. I've wanted to reread for a while- especially now that my second child is 5 weeks old and I need to be reminded, time and again, that I am not by far the only person to have done this. I remember particularly the column in which you bought the pregnancy test, and your "greedy little heart" was left crying on the curb. Such a powerful image.

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  41. Anonymous2:37 PM

    Not to beat a dead horse, but . . . the gymnastics column was really good.

    The Monday it was posted on Wondertime, I had gone to the gym at lunch time to ice skate -- which I normally do. I started figure skating as an adult, and one of the wonderful things about the rink where I skate is that there is a community of adult skaters who give each other a lot of encouragement. (And believe me, we need it. The older and heavier you are the scarier it is to throw yourself in the air with blades on your feet.) At any rate, it's normally a high point in my day to go and skate and commiserate over falls and deformed feet with my grown-up friends. But last Monday, none of the regular skaters were at the rink. It was just me and three college-age girls, who mostly stood in the middle of the ice and whispered and giggled and occasionally tossed off a double axel like it was nothing. I can't tell you how terrible I felt during that ice session -- it was like being the nerdy kid in high school again, but *old*. Really old. I felt miserably isolated at my wonderful, friendly rink. And, to top it off, I felt guilty and stupid for feeling that way.

    So, at any rate, it was very comforting to come home that evening and read your post about Birdy's gymnastics class. We've all been there; you're able to write about it beautiful immediacy and humor. So, I'll add my voice to the chorus:

    Please don't apologize. :-)

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  42. Anonymous3:02 PM

    We frequently refer to our daughter as Miss Testy McTesterson, from Testville, who's interested in learning a few things about your limits. I'm sure that Testy and Bossy McBossypants would make fine, fierce friends. And you and I can just get all tangled up with 'em. Enmeshed, yeah, I'm definitely right there with you.

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  43. Don't feel bad about the gymnastics column. It's hard not to have those kinds of feelings when the mothers make comments that conflict so directly with your own lifestyle (I'm thinking of the headband). Sometimes I feel the same when I go to these kind of things (we have gymnastics too, but my son HATED it)-- I start to think that I don't like anyone at all. And then I feel guilty about it. I'll try to stop feeling guilty for having human reactions if you do, too. Okay?

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  44. Anonymous4:05 PM

    I agree with meg, Nokanoni. If you can't figure out a way to be enthusiastic and kind to kids, get another career or don't do the extracurriculars that seem to tax you beyond the point where you can be kind. Seriously. Consider it. Kids can be crushed so easily by a snappy, tired, self-pitying teacher. If the love's not there, kids know, and it hurts. Didn't we all have a teacher who always hated us or was always crabby, and one who always loved all the kids, including us? That may be a stark example, since mostly it's a matter of degrees, but what a difference it makes to feel cherished in the classroom! I won't accept anything less for my kids. When they're older (teenagers) and can understand a little better that the teacher is just a crab and it has nothing to do with their own behavior, it may not be as important, but for little ones, it is absolutely central to their well-being.

    Now, everybody get up and glunge!

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  45. I also loved the column. My 3yo son is going to gymnastics right now and I also feel like the odd mom out. Some days I wear my Birks, somedays I look a little more hip... Could it be that no matter who we are, or what we're wearing, we sometimes feel the feeling of being the odd one? Maybe some of us are sitting next to each other and don't even know it...

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  46. Thank you for introducing us to Caleb Potter and his mom.

    It took me a couple of days, but I've read from the start, and I'm just blown away by the strength they both have.

    I'm so happy that I caught up just as he is going home, and I continue to check in to read of his progress.

    Scares the bejesus out of me to even think of something like that happening to my family.

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  47. Anonymous10:39 PM

    Oh don't apologize for that gymnastics column. I feel that way almost time I bring my kids to their Y classes.
    My daughter took a little art class when she was 3 and 4 and while she loved the class I hated the art work as I could tell the teacher helped way too much. I would rather have had my kid come home with HER real work, that may have looked nothing like a pilgrim than have drawer full of art work too teacher assisted.
    I am, apparently, in the minority as the other parents wanted something to bring home that showed their money was well spent. Scribbling they can do at home I guess.
    I completely related to you in that article so please don't regret a thing!
    We love you and your writing so much.vtgman

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  48. Anonymous4:36 PM

    Thank you for introducing us to Caleb Potter and his family. A few years ago, I lost a boyfriend to a head injury. As I healed, I realized that my pain was nothing like his mother's - I knew I would love again, but her son was gone forever. I'm in awe of Caleb's Mom and I pray I could have an ounce of her strength, humor and spunk if something happened to one of my kids.

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  49. Anonymous8:41 PM

    I always read and never comment, but your gymnastics experience spoke to me. It's something different with all of us, isn't it? I haven't felt like part of the cool mommy clique since my daughter started ballet & tap this year. I thought it was because I'm a not-so-reformed tomboy and I just don't get the girly-girl thing my daughter loves. Then I thought it was because most of the other mommies are SAHMs who are able to talk about all the daytime TV they watch while there kids are at school. Then I (of course) finally realized that it's just me and my own insecurities. We're all doing the best we can, I think. Carry on, mommies!

    BTW, while ballet/tap isn't my cup of tea, but 4YO is loving every minute of it. I wouldn't dream of taking her out just because it's not my passion. I'm sure there's a learning lession here for me, too.

    Amy

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  50. Since everyone is asking you to write a new book, I thought I'd pitch my idea to you: it's a cook book about how to use your farm share produce in everyday recipes that your family will love! It's called "The Road to Empanadas."
    So there you go, your next book.

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  51. So this is the not-accusing post, though it starts off that way...I read WAITING FOR BIRDY and that brought me to your website and as a new blogger I thought, My god, couldn't she try a little harder, what with the no-graphics and the store-bought layout...until I began reading. My heavens, posting such true, beautiful writin every week for SIX YEARS, truly, you are my hero. And I cringe a little, knowing how I should know better than to judge a book by it's cover.

    So I think what I mean to say is thank you, for the inspiration, and for teaching an (oldish) dog a new trick.

    Keep up the good, good work.

    Jennifer Graf Groneberg

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  52. The Flying Mum had a great idea! A cookbook with little Ben and Birdy excerpts...I know I would buy into that idea!

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  53. I am a totally technology competent human being, but both Wondertime and Family are telling me I don't exist -- but then send me emails telling me I do! Sigh. So I know you need the comments there, not here..... but anyway....

    Thanks for the melancholy cloumn. Sometimes I think my blinders-on-sunniness is even worse. It hit me so hard - physically hard - one day that my husband's terminally ill grandfather was really going to die that I could hardly breathe. And then I thought, is this really a revelation? Aren't we all? Why I am I so swept off my feet by the thought? And the answer is that I never, ever, want to look at or acknowledge death in any way. Thanks for talking about it.

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  54. Anonymous9:04 PM

    "Oh, Mom," she says, "doesn't it just make you want to cry?"

    Yes, it makes me cry! My little godson (5) recently went from saying "mom mom" to "mommy" and it was very sad for awhile, but we're trying to adjust! It was just so sweet that he had his own special name for his mama and now he wants to sound like the other kids. sigh.

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  55. Catherine! Once again you totally said what I was thinking! About not quite relating to the other mothers? About wondering what the hell you are doing there in the first place? So it's a downer -- but it's so truly the way it is sometimes. Motherhood IS the hardest job in the world. The most rewarding, without a doubt, but the hardest too. Hang in there, the comfort zone can't be too far away, we'll find it again...

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