Friday, July 28, 2006

The Pimping Introduction

Hello! Is that you? Did you find me here? I'm so glad! If you're coming from babycenter, then please know how grateful I am for those fantastic years. Thank you.

(An unrelated aside: It's funny to be floating around out here in blogland, where I could, say, write the f word if I want to. I will save that particular thrill for a rainy day.)

So, I thought I would just mention some things about where else you might come find me, now the the gig is up over at babycenter. I will miss being there very much, as you probably know. I wrote "Bringing Up Ben and Birdy" for four years, and it is all archived here. All eighty katrillion entries of it. Holy moly.

My new column (please don't expect to be blown away by the newness, if you know what I'm saying, as there won't be any shortage of entries about impatience, Chex mix, and saggy boobs) is called Dalai Mama, and it's over at Wondertime. Please come visit me there. There may not be a comment section up yet, but there will be soon. Also, it's a little confusing, since there's the monthly column I write for the magazine, and then the weekly blog that you have to click on from the home page (wait for it to scroll past in that little scrolling box).

I've also been writing for the Oprah Magazine (more about the boobs coming soon!), and I always write a lot for FamilyFun, a magazine I love and that I'm shy to mention since it reveals the Polyanna-I-made-it-from-craft-foam-and-celery-salt side of my personality. But still.

There is the book, too. You know, that book, Waiting for Birdy, which decorum has kept me from begggggggging you to buy: but my god, please buy it. Pleeeease. Then I can bail Ben and Birdy out of prison when they're teenagers. Plus keep up my Chex mix habit.

And finally: do you need the best massage of your entire life and happen to live in Western Massachusetts? Or do you have a friend here who could use a gift certificate for a massage? Have I got the perfect, hunky, strong-but-gentle massage therapist for you! I'm not kidding you. This is a massage that will change your life, and then you can write to thank me for having been the crash-test massage dummy all these years so that you could get a great massage.

Okay, I've pimped my whole family out. Please be well. More soon.


  1. Anonymous8:02 AM

    Yippeeee! I've found you! I was crestfallen to discover that you weren't going to be writing for BabyCenter any longer. However, I was thrilled when I received my copy of Wondertime magazine and read the article you wrote. As I was reading it the style felt familiar as if it were written by someone I knew..and sure enough!

    Well, I'm sorry that you won't be at BabyCenter any longer but I'm thrilled that there will be many other places to read about your life and your Chex Mix recipe. Keep up the great work!

  2. I am so relieved to have been pointed to this blog by Moreena at Club Mom that it's almost pathetic. I've actually been mourning the loss of your column at babycenter since reading the editor's note earlier this week and wow it is such a relief to find not one but two new outlets to get my Newman fix.

  3. OK, my original comment here has been lost to the digital ether of removed posts. Which is probably a good thing, given that I was all hepped up on exclamation points.

    I'm so glad to find you here. That's about the sum of it.

  4. Anonymous10:45 AM

    Oh, hooray!! I am so delighted that you are starting a blog. Thanks to Moreena for pointing me here. I had already seen a link to the Dalai Mama site, but now there are two places to go for your writing - how wonderful.

    I already have Waiting for Birdy, but will put it on my list of gifts to give new parents . . .

  5. Catherine! I was hoping you'd start a blog--I'm just dying to see what a well placed fuck will do for your writing.;) I already mentioned the Wondertime article on my blog, which PK told me about, and now I'll add this blog (thank you Genevieve and Moreena)

  6. Catherine, I read you avidly at Babycenter and I'm thrilled to learn that I can continue to follow Ben & Birdy's exploits here too! (and the paying gigs, I'll go there too; no worries)

  7. Oh, Catherine, I'm so glad you're here! And I just have to say that after reading your pieces in books I always felt like there was hidden language lurking under some of the BabyCenter bits.

    Looking forward to all your current and future projects!

  8. Anonymous1:31 PM

    Catherine!!! I found you!!!

    Actually, I had a ton of help from Moreena over at The Wait and The Wonder on ClubMom!

    I was mourning the loss of my weekly fix, and then she did a post that sent me here! YAY!!!!

    LOVED the book! I just ordered It's A Boy! and It's A Girl! from Amazon cause you have essays in both.

    Now...please don't think I am a stalker! Just a big fan!

    So glad I will still be able to read you!

  9. Wow, it feels so weird being able to leave a comment directly on YOUR blog. I leave them at Babycenter occasionally but I always feel like they just go into cyberspace and may not get to you.

    I've always thought you should have a blog, and I'm very happy about this development because if I had to go without my Catherine Newman fixes, things would get ugly at the house.

  10. w00t! A real life bloggity-blog, for the writing of Catherine uncensored!

    When I write something beautiful.... it usually reminds me of your writing. This is a satisfying feeling, as reading your take on motherhood was the first time I had felt "normal" and "sane" since starting on this journey.

  11. Oh hooray! I was having the DTs there, all shaky and jonesin', when I found out you were leaving the BabyCenter gig. Whew! I've found the bloggy Ben and Birdy methodone alternative!

    (And yes, blogging is the absolute best place for releasing f-bombs, and referring to your girlie-bits with no-holds-barred fervor...!)

    Thanks Mamabee for the heads-up!

  12. And hey, how far are you guys from Worcester? Cause I have potential gift cert fodder for Michael in Worcester.

  13. Oh my God, you are one of us!

    Except you're not.

    But it feels like you are finally in our neighborhood. Welcome!

  14. Hi, I didn't read your column on Baby Center (where was I?) but I just found your link on POW's website and thought I'd pop over. Beautiful pic.

  15. Anonymous2:34 PM

    My week would have been a little less full of laughter if I hadn't found out you are still writing out here in cyberspace. Thrilled to see you have a blog, and loved your recent Dalai Mama column!

    Welcome to the blogging world!

  16. Anonymous9:46 PM

    Oh thank god. I still have something to look forward to! Thank you thank you thank you... You are kinda sorta my hero in a funny I-don't-really-know-you sort of way... if Catherine can write for Oprah (congrats - yahoo for you!) then maybe so can I!

    And I'm not a stalker, truly, but I will read your writing anywhere it appears.

  17. Anonymous11:13 PM

    Catherine I am so pleased to find you here. You don't have to beg. I bought your book. Twice. It seems that if you loan it to someone they don't want to give it back. If I loan it out again I will just consider it a gift and buy it all over again. By the way, if my pregnancy tummy looked like that either time I was pregnant I would not have covered it up the entire time!

  18. Oh, thank goodness. I actually wrote a tearful post on my own blog about your departure when I read that your Babycenter column was ending. (Wherein I admitted how stalker-ish that made me sound.) I mean, it was a trying, very pregnant day, and I actually cried when I read the news.

    I'm so happy to have found your blog! Write on! And a million, million thanks for your words over the years.

  19. Mondays are always a high point of my week for two reasons: playgroup and 'Ben & Birdy' on BabyCenter. I'll miss the column but I'm so glad to be able to follow your new enterprises as well. (Maybe not the parts with celery salt, though.)

  20. We are all so happy you are doing this! Now my week will be that much brighter - and even more fun!

  21. I loved your column on Babycenter and always wanted to comment, but ran into technical difficulties each time.

  22. Anonymous7:39 PM

    THANK GOD!!!! I was crying when I heard you were leaving. I've become so used to reading other people's blogs everyday, only to think, "But they're not Catherine. Why can't Catherine have a blog?" And now you do!!!!

  23. Anonymous7:49 PM

    YESS! I can add you to list of frequent blog reads as an actual BLOG now :D I almost never commented over on BabyCenter (except in recent weeks to try to let those poor sad people know about WonderTime, but mostly to no avail) but I found you there in 2004, spent many frantic late nights reading from the beginning to catch up, and I've been with you ever since. Absolutely THRILLED to find out there's a blog to go along with the wondertime and you can bet I'll be keeping up with you and your awesome family :)


  24. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!! I've read Bringing up Ben and Birdy since 2004 when I got pregnant with my daughter Amethyst, and I was absolutely depressed that you were no longer going to be on BBC. I'm so glad you're continuing on here, because I adore your honesty about pregnancy and parenthood!

    All we nuerotic moms need our weekly Catherine Newman fix!

  25. Anonymous8:12 PM

    I'm happy to see you here! You were my introduction to the oddly "peeping tom"-like world of reading other people's lives - and I was going to miss having you on my list of daily blog checks.

    I also never left a comment at BabyCenter because it seemed too public, but I don't mind here. What kind of freaky thinking is that.

    I live in Colorado but I'm tempted to MOVE for that kind of massage!

  26. Anonymous9:47 PM

    Yay! I'm so happy that you don't mind sharing your life with complete strangers. Seriously, I am very glad tho have followed you from Babycenter.

  27. Anonymous11:46 PM

    Hi Catherine, my name is Tess and I'm a fan . . .

    I'm sitting here happy happy happy - I found you! You are blogging! I'm hoping I'm not being to creepy!

    Thank you so much for your lovely words over the past few years at Baby Center, and I look forward to more of wonderful writing.

  28. Anonymous11:47 PM

    I was so glad to learn that you created this blog and will be continuing your writing with Wondertime.

    Your Ben and Birdy writings have helped me so much. I turned 21 two days before I had my first son (who is now 3.5 years old) and found your website during that period. I didn't have many other mom's to turn to, seeing that all of my friends were not married or parents. It was such a beacon for me and spoke to me. Reading your entries were like conversing with a mommy-friend. I learned and grew so much from your writing. I took so much from how you always related to be as an individual and you worked to encourage him in his dreams and desires, not, like many parents, solely what you wanted for him.

    I bought many of the books you spoke about because they seemed so inspirational to you and the quotes you extracted often brought me to tears.

    Four weeks ago I had another precious baby boy. I have spent time re-reading the introduction of Birdy to Ben to learn from that the lessons of sibling relationships you learned and extended to us.

    I just want to say thank you and I am so glad you have been there.

  29. Anonymous11:47 PM

    I was so sad reading your last post on babycenter but I'm so thankful I will get to read your writings in other spots!

  30. Anonymous2:28 AM

    I have stayed away from the Babycenter comments these past few weeks, unwilling to let myself say goodbye to your column that has meant so much to me. And as I read your last post I could barely see it for crying. But this blog has allowed me to wipe my eyes. My friend, my virtual friend that I have never met, we are the same. We share the same passion and love and misery and joy in motherhood, and you bring that alive for all of us. The words that you write for us - for me - are the words that our hearts want to speak. You have a gift for writing and it impacts the world, one mommy at a time. Thank you for being honest and real, and for allowing me to feel normal in my imperfections and to see a bit more keenly how my overwhelming love for my little people shines out into the world. We are not perfect, but we make our way as best we can, helping one another. Yours is a virtual hand that I've come to rely on.

    I imagine your blog will be less structured than your old column at Babycenter. Wonderful. I totally respect you for letting Ben's stories be his own, but please, if he ever makes another pinata that resembles private parts, post a picture!

    I love you, really I do.

  31. I must echo the sentiments of those ecstatic to find you here! This is wonderful. I am another one of those who has been reading Bringing up Ben and Birdy since the beginning of the column and it was so strange to think of it ending. I never really said anything on babycenter except one time. I dont have kids, and I am 20 years old. I just really like reading about your kids because I want to become a teacher and I have babysat for years. I am very happy to see you will still be with us. Yay! :)

  32. Catherine,

    Just to show you that marketing (what Dave Barry calls "strumpeting") DOES work: Your strumpeting in this post made me pause and think about which people I love should have a copy of Waiting for Birdy. And then I went over to Amazon and placed the order.

    Never be ashamed of strumpeting! What you are promoting is a valuable addition to the world of everyone who reads it.

    Please use this blog to point us to where your latest stuff is published, so we greedy fans don't miss a single article.

  33. Anonymous9:52 AM


    Here you are.

    You know what's totally weird? You parent in almost the polar opposite way I do and we probably hold totally different beliefs about almost everything...but...but

    I still read your column every week, and identified with all those parenting woes and happinesses. I really enjoyed it. Glad you are continuing somewhere.

    And, now, I will be able to (nicely, politely) comment (even disagree), which I never seemed to get around to registering to do at BabyCenter.

  34. Anonymous10:23 AM

    You have made me the happiest person in Manila. You have been a lifeline and a habit for me. I breathe in your stories and find perspective. Thank you for not completely dying on us. This blog is a wonderful reincarnation, and it will be a relief to hear you curse away and not have to euphamize your comebacks to dense and mean-spirited posters. :-) Your whole family rocks, I love each and everyone of you!

  35. Anonymous10:29 AM

    Thank God, I found you. I would be lost without you. I always look forward to reading you, just like I look forward to my morning shower and cup of coffee. Life just isn't the same without them. I can't wait to read about your life, uncensored.

  36. I am here from BabyCenter, and I am so so glad to have a new place to see you! -Kristen

  37. Anonymous11:51 AM

    Yay! I'm jumping up and down to know that I can still get my fix in that I used to get from babycenter. I am an addict for your writing and you always make me appreciate how valuble motherhood is. I'm so happy to have found you here and wish you the very best! You truly are a phenomenal writer and a phenomenal person.

  38. YAY! I am so thankful you have a blog. I was very sad to read that you would no longer be writing for baby center. I was thrilled to read that you will still write for Wondertime and blogspot. I enjoy your style of writing and agree with and share your style of parenting.

  39. Anonymous1:34 PM

    Oh my, I wish you had posted this link a few weeks ago, when babycenter first told us you were leaving. I have been in mourning since then, have been faithfully reading your column since the inception, checking for it every friday starting at 6 pm. This is even better!

    Hey other Catherine groupies, Wondertime is a great magazine, and they have an archive of their best writing over the last few years which is wonderful too. Looks like Oprah may get some new subscribers too, I'm still not sure about Family Fun, it might make me feel too inadequate. :)

    Thanks so much Catherine, for all of your writing. You have made me feel better about myself as a mother so many times, and I go back and reread columns that apply to my life now, and they help so much.

  40. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! Um, um... I kind feel like ... this is so dumb ... I kinda feel like having you here is like now we can hold hands and skip and chat and jump up and down and squeal and laugh - and like you are so much closer than when you were on BabyCenter. And I was feeling a little disconnected when I saw that there wasn't a comments section on Wondertime, though it's good to know they'll be fixing that. This isn't making sense - I feel so giddy! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! YAY!!

  41. Anonymous2:56 PM

    what a relief.

  42. Anonymous3:22 PM

    So happy to see that I won't have to miss you, after all! I was so sad to see that you were leaving Babycenter. What would I do every weekend with no Ben or Birdy or Catherine to make me smile or choke on my coffee? Thankfully, I don't have to find out.
    Thrilled to see that you're writing for Oprah magazine. I love that you're gaining recognition. I have bought Waiting For Birdy and will buy anything else you write. Thanks, Catherine, for adding color to my days.

  43. YAY!!! I will read the Wondertime articles, for sure. But I'm also looking forward to your posts here, complete with the F word! And I am glad to see many wonderful people who I met one way or another originally through the comments on your old BabyCenter gig. You know... you've unknowingly built a cool little community through your writing.

  44. Anonymous5:25 PM

    I've been reading your column on Baby Center for it's duration, and while I've never commented before (too much effort to register for Baby Center, I am greatly lazy at times) I must say I'm thrilled to know you are so graciuosly allowing us to continue to share in your life, and to continue to visit with your wonderful, beautiful children through the medium of cyberspace.

  45. Anonymous7:03 PM

    I just want to say that I am ecstatic that I can continue to read about you and your family. I have thoroughly enjoyed your Babycenter columns and I was so sad to read that they were coming to an end. I have admired you and Michael as free-spirited parents that I strive to be more like, but it's also a relief that you're not perfect. I have identified with so many anecdotes over the years. I still chuckle when I remember the tampons in the bath episode (when I first read it I laughed until I cried). Thank you so much for sharing your family and your wonderful writing with us!

  46. Anonymous7:59 PM

    Catherine, I have been reading(and loving and admiring) Bringing Up Ben and Birdy from the get go, so needless to say, I was so sad to hear you were leaving Babycenter. Then, a friend sent me a link to and I was so relieved to know I'd still be privy to your sense of humor and insight in your Dalai Mama column. And now this too! Your are an inspiring writer and mother and I relate to so much of what you say. Thank you so much for sharing such a huge part of your life with us. It means more than you could possibly know!

  47. Oh, count me into the group as yet another relieved soul that you'll still be writing for us. I've never posted on BabyCenter, but believe, me, I've read you every week and I've repeated your stories to my family and friends more than I'd care to admit to. And, pathetically, I've even accidently referred to you as "my friend, well, I mean, this one lady who writes on the Internet." Duh me.

    Anyway, welcome welcome welcome! Thank you for all of the years of making us regular folks feel normal. You have a tremendous gift for words and for expressing what each of us feels. Thank you.

  48. Oh, count me into the group as yet another relieved soul that you'll still be writing for us. I've never posted on BabyCenter, but believe, me, I've read you every week and I've repeated your stories to my family and friends more than I'd care to admit to. And, pathetically, I've even accidently referred to you as "my friend, well, I mean, this one lady who writes on the Internet." Duh me.

    Anyway, welcome welcome welcome! Thank you for all of the years of making us regular folks feel normal. You have a tremendous gift for words and for expressing what each of us feels. Thank you.

    Carolyn, St. Paul

  49. I'm amused to learn that I wasn't the only one who found myself literally in tears when I read that you would no longer be writing at babycenter. But in the next MINUTE or so, when I rediscovered your new sites, I was very very happy. I already have your book, but I plan on buying additional copies for friends birthdays, Christmasses, etc. I find you delightful.

  50. Catherine - I was so sad when I read that you were ending your weekly posts at Baby Center, and now we have TWO places where we can check in on Ben and Birdy. HOORAY!

    I really love your writing...your book is awesome - will be first in line to buy your next one.

    Thank you for inspiring so many of us to be better parents.

  51. Anonymous9:26 PM

    I stumbled onto your column at Babycenter the first day it published, and felt immediately drawn in. I also was newly pregnant and raising a chatty 3 year old boy, and reading it felt like a glimpse into parallel universe. Every Friday night I enjoyed checking in and seeing how your growing family so often mirrored my own. The barfing flu epidemics and 3 year old Ben's never ending questions could have been many an evening in our house! When I saw the editor's post about it all ending I felt like my best friend just announced they were moving to some remote island, never to be seen again. Thank you for not cutting us off and stranding me in suburban Barbie-mom hell without a voice of reality. I hope hope hope that we get to have many years of your writings because, in a weird entirely non-stalker kind of way, you feel like a member of the family. I can't wait to see what you write next, and you can bet I'll be on Wondertime for each weeks post!

  52. Anonymous9:50 PM

    I felt like a toddler being left with a new babysitter when I found out that you were leaving BabyCenter, "Don't leave meeeeeeee!" (At least I wailed it to myself and not out loud in some embarrassing manner for an adult)

    But here you are and thanks for continuing to share. Whew, that was a close one.

  53. I've read from the beginning but have never commented. I have my own little Hayley bird who will be 8 months old on Monday. My husband teases me because I talk about your family like you are all close friends. Thanks for sharing your life with me and I'm so glad you aren't disappearing completly.

  54. Anonymous10:35 PM

    OH THANK GOODNESS you've got your own blog! When I heard you were not going to write at Babycenter any longer I was crushed! Now I have TWO blogs to choose from, here & at Wondertime..I could cry. I've been reading about you michael ben & birdy since the beginning. I can't believe it was 4 years! Here's to 44 more! :)

  55. Anonymous10:37 PM

    Oh thank goodness. I am so glad that you've posted your blog in your last babycenter article. And after reading your first entry I'm so glad that I have even more places to read your writing. I guess I'm going to to have to get "O" magazine now ;) So happy to have found you!

  56. Anonymous10:58 PM

    I'm so glad you have not given up on the cyber-writing-journaling-blogging world. I laughed so hard 'til I cried with your attempt at a homemade pinata. From then on, I have been hooked.
    You have an amazing storytelling gift. Thanks for sharing it!!

  57. Anonymous4:05 AM

    Okay I hope I don't end up repeating what everyone else said, but it's three am here and I don't have time to be original!
    Okay your goodbye post at Babycenter made me cry; I cannot believe you reminded me of that poem. I am so your melancholy kindred spirit. I have to read that book again!
    Okay, laugh at me if you will, but I had to muster up my courage before reading what I knew was your goodbye post. I didn't want to go to bed all depressed. But here you are and I'm so relieved that now I can go to sleep. Although I am jealous that you get to go to the Cape and I'm stuck in Texas where the ocean is light years away...
    See...I couldn't complain about missing your writing anymore so I had to come up with something else. Seriously, I'm done now. So glad you're still around!

  58. Anonymous7:16 AM

    I have been reading your column at BabyCenter almost from the beginning, and really enjoyed it! It is funny how children are the same no matter where they come from. My children and I are Norwegian, they are 4 1/2 and 7, and though there are differences, the similarities are bigger! I am a year "ahead" of you, but still it has been fun to read your column.

    I am really pleased that I am not going to "loose you".

    I think you are a good writer, and I enjoy reading the glimpses into your and your family's life.

  59. Anonymous7:17 AM

    I have been reading your column at BabyCenter almost from the beginning, and really enjoyed it! It is funny how children are the same no matter where they come from. My children and I are Norwegian, they are 4 1/2 and 7, and though there are differences, the similarities are bigger! I am a year "ahead" of you, but still it has been fun to read your column.

    I am really pleased that I am not going to "loose you".

    I think you are a good writer, and I enjoy reading the glimpses into your and your family's life.

  60. Anonymous4:52 PM

    YAYYY!!! Not exactly an original sentiment, but the oddly bereft feeling of a good goofy girlfriend moving to Thailand or something now is gone. I found it intriguing that you found as much solace from us, your loyal readers and friends, as we did from you. Your hilarious details about life's things that are usually too embarassing to mention also made us feel as if we weren't so alone (especially at three am with a barfing two year old!) Thank you for being so brave and honest and funny. MORE MORE MORE please!

  61. Yay! So glad to find you! I loved reading about you and the family over at babycenter.

  62. Anonymous5:35 PM

    woohoo! your mug belongs on a "life is good" t-shirt. i'm supposed to be on the computer working while my hubby grocery shops...oh well! and yes, i'm so lame i made Borders save your book for me and in my usual lack-of-brain mode, I forgot to pick it up and they sent it back by the time I remembered. will happily try again.

  63. Anonymous9:07 PM

    Oh hooray! I feel so much better now. I was quite upset that I wouldn't have my Monday morning fix of B&B. Congratulations on your new ventures and thank you for sharing your wonderful gifts (talent and children) with all of us.

  64. Anonymous9:29 PM

    This is just the best news! I was dreading reading the last Babycenter column tonight and I actually got to read two new ones on Wondertime...I think I'll go whip up a batch of chex mix to celebrate!

  65. Anonymous9:35 PM

    Thank you for the years of laughter and sometimes remorse you have given me and mostly thank you for making me pause and try and look past the pain of bringing up children and focus on the little things that bring me joy. Mine are the same age as yours and I have been there (mostly) from the start but I went the third (what happened to you?) and she is now 9mths and pure joy. Thanks for the years you gave us.

  66. Anonymous9:50 PM

    Thanks so much for letting us hear from you each week and for sharing so much about your family. I just began following you on BabyCenter about six months ago and I'm thrilled to make the move with you to Wondertime and wherever else you may end up.

  67. Anonymous10:08 PM

    I can't seem to be eloquent enough to express what has been in my heart since I found out you were leaving babycenter. I am SO happy that I can still "connect" with you each week. All this sentiment from strangers must be a bit weird, because you are just a regular person like the rest of us- but that is exactly your appeal to me. I started reading when I was pregnant with my daughter in 2003....I was a mom to a 14 yr old son, soon to become a mom again after so many years. Your column made me remember the sweetness of my son at Ben's age, and more than once I cried and laughed....Once I read one, I had to go back and read every single previous one. Birdy is a few months older than my daughter, so both my husband and I referred to you as "Birdy's Mom". Every Friday, I'd make him read your column, and he grew to love it as much as I did. You made me want to be the best parent I could be and so many weeks were just plain inspiring. Thanks and Great job, Catherine.

  68. Anonymous11:48 PM

    Dearest Catherine, I was literally in tears reading your last journal entry...wondering how I was going live without seeing Ben & Birdy grow up! And then: Oh joy!!! Hopefully I'll get to "see" them for a few more years and keep being inspired by your graceful way with them.

  69. Anonymous12:22 AM

    Wow, four years over at that other place? Have I really been creepily enjoying your life stories for that long? And truth be told, not once have I replied anything until now. Ya know, now that the curtain has been pulled and it was really just you, an everyday member speaking into that loud microphone do I feel its time to pay my respects.

    I hate to use the word “fan” because the word itself brings me images of people buying such spooky things as “towels that XYZ put his face on,” and it just gives me the creeps and really it’s hard enough to just say what I am about to, without thoughts that it makes me the person who would be bidding on your next picture Ben paints on Ebay ; )

    I came across you when my son, now 5, was just a tot. I was 20 when I had him, which is a decade or better before most of my well educated, career driven, independent, beautiful friends would ever think of doing in a conservative Midwestern city. It was completely lonely. Completely lonely to be going through this trivial thing called motherhood without a friend to call on when the spitting up just really looks like it might have been the entire contents of his meal or now when he’s like to discuss the difference between girls and boys at the dinner table. You were a little light coming through the doorway that I got to peer in and see that we were all doing this. And we were going to be okay. And there is no right way. We’re all just more or less winging it and trying to get better through each time that we fail.

    Dalai Mama is so fitting and wonderful. I am struggling with the whole Zen thing myself. Sometimes I get it so right. And damn do I feel like such an ass when I get it so wrong. Is it really humanly possible to get it right all the time because really our kids have to learn to pick up on these human emotions of when someone is irritable or in thought. It would really be stripping them of their ability to read people, which is fundamental to everything we do in life interacting with one another, right? It is the fine balance of life. There is some goodness to being imperfect, right? Give us a break people, we’re trying here.

    Thank you for letting me peer in that doorway. I am sooo glad that you are still around in your melancholy of a soul glory.

  70. Anonymous3:16 AM

    I literally felt as though I had been punched in the gut when I read that you were ending Ben and Birdy on BabyCenter. I found myself gasping for breath, so shocked and so crushed that I couldn't even shed a tear. (Though tears did follow soon after.) And this week, I could hardly bring myself to read your final BC column -- so what a huge, huge weight was lifted when I discovered this blog!
    Your wonderful writing has meant so much to me. I've never posted a comment on any site, ever, but I had to tell you how much you have inspired me in my own journey through motherhood. All of this has been said by thousands of other moms before, but I have cheered with you on your good days, mourned with you on your bad, and gotten plenty damn indignant with mean posters. (And I too have bought multiple copies of the book!) You have helped me seen my own parenting with a clarity that I would not have otherwise had, and made me appreciate this fragile, blessed time even on the days when I've been ready to throw my darling children out the window. I wish you every success as you start this new venture. Count me among your gentle choristers, and know that there are many of us out there who are too shy, or too computer-challenged, to have posted on BabyCenter -- but who love and support you nonetheless.

  71. Anonymous7:48 AM

    I'm not sure how many fans you have in SOUTH AFRICA - but I just know I am your biggest! And EXTREMELY happy that I found your blog, and links to Dalai Mama, etc. And if my son could blog, I'm sure he would thank you too for helping his Mom laugh through the first 6 years of his life!

  72. Anonymous8:12 AM

    WOOHOO! I have been an avid reader on Babycenter and I am glad that I can now continue reading on!!! I just love your writing and how I can totally relate to your life! :)


  73. Anonymous8:17 AM

    You cannot imagine the almost (ok - not almost - VERY) neurotic relief that I will still be able to read you SOMEWHERE! Catherine I have followed you from the beginning. My children are now 5 and 2 and you have been the "Mama who explains it all" as you forged ahead of me in this wild ride of Motherhood. Now that I am pregnant with a third unexpected (but happy) surprise, I felt curiously abandoned when I found out you were leaving BabyCenter. I have bought everything you have ever written and now I can continue to realize that I am not the only one who has sagging boobs and loses her mind on a daily basis over these little beings that I dearly love.

    And now that I've frightened you by sounding like a stalker, I will reassure that I #1) Live several states away and #2) I promise if I ever come to Mass. I will only try to meet you during daylight hours at an appropriate place for such things. :-) Sincerely, M.B.

  74. I read your post at Babycenter with tears in my eyes. I've read you since you were newly pregnant with Birdy and I was newly pregnant with my firstborn (she's 3 months older than Birdy.)

    I was quietly saying goodbye to you and your family and then...THEN! I reached the end and realized you weren't gone at all. Just relocating :)

    I was also happy to see your column in Wondertime and have been enjoying it.

    Good luck stepping out and thanks for sharing your very real view of mothering with us all.

  75. Anonymous8:47 AM

    I didn't say goodbye on the babycenter pages because I felt like I didn't have anything new to add, but I was dreading coming to work today nonetheless, because it would be the last Monday I'd read a new installment.

    I know this is the same thing everyone has been saying, but I'm so, so happy to see your blog and know I'll still have a window into your life! (Oh, that does sound stalker-ish but I mean it in the best possible way.) Thank you, thank you--it must be weird to have so many people follow your life, but I'm so thankful you allow us to do so!

  76. Welcome back. Not that you've been gone, but sheesh, what a relief to see that you're back.

  77. Yay! Who knows if you'll find time to read all of the comments before mine, and actually still be coherent by the time you get done. But still, I am glad to see you on blogspot! It's so addicting. I didn't want to read your last babycenter post, knowing that it was the last one. I put it off until just now, and I was so happy to see that you will still be around for us who seem to think we know you!

  78. Anonymous9:45 AM

    Okay, I just posted on BabyCenter and was super sad you were leaving! But then, I started reading the other posts and realized that through my tears I didn't see that you were here now!!! I'm so excited and relieved!! I guess this isn't good-bye then. I feel so much better, and thanks for not abandoning us faithful readers! Oh, and I did try your Chex Mix recipe and loved it!


  79. Anonymous10:35 AM

    Halleluja! I was so afraid you would disappear from my life when I read the news. And CRAP now I'll never get work done!

    I hope that here in your own space you will find more friends/followers and fewer meanies. I know I'd be devastated if someone criticized my blog in the way that people attacked some of your posts.

    I have to say, lately I'm blogging some issues that I already know you have covered FAR BETTER. Your writing hits a chord in my heart. You take these oh-so-common Mom feelings and wrap them in your wit and eloquence and humor that makes my life feel like it makes a little more sense.

    The drawback to having your own blog is that now I will be 'stalking' you more often. Please keep pimping yourself (ahem, I mean using your blog to highlight where I can find your work). And I know it's a lot to ask you to pull yourself away from your fabulous children and hunky massage-giving man and PLEASE someday come to the midwest for a reading/book signing or something??
    Maybe you and some of the other mom-authors could do a tour, the Saggy Boob Monologues or something.

    And seriously, THANK YOU for the last four years. I hope great things are ahead for you.

  80. Anonymous10:50 AM

    Yay! I am so glad you are still out there in blog land. I was fearing going through withdrawal after reading you each week for four years!! I look forward to your posts!!

  81. Anonymous10:59 AM

    Shew, I'm glad you're still writing regularly somewhere! I've been reading you on Babycenter since I was pregnant with my daughter and you were waiting for Birdy. They are about the same age and I've read about your family ever since. I also live on Cape Cod and have often wondered if we'd ever run into each other while exploring the beach with our kids. Now I'm expecting my second baby and will definitely have to get your book!

  82. Anonymous11:16 AM

    I'm glad that I can now cancel my association with babycenter. I stuck around for you, but there was so much else that I didn't like about that place.
    I look forward to the profanity!

  83. Catherine--what can I say that hasn't already been said here? I have been reading you since I was pregnant with my own two-year-old (coincidentally, also named Catherine!), and I cried copious tears at the thought of enduring Mondays without your column. Thank you for continuing to make me feel just a little less weird.

  84. Anonymous11:29 AM

    Hurray! I am so happy! Thank you Catherine for still writing for us. I found you at Babycenter when I was pregnant with my first and you were pregnant with Birdy. You have helped me so many times to figure out how to get kids sleeping(crazy I know, but the crib minus one side next to the bed is genius) what to feed these little people, and to know that the things I feel are not wrong. That has been the greatest thing. You are an inspiration and I love you for it. Thanks for still granting us access to your wisdom and learning.
    With gratitude for the years past and excitement that you are still around, Abbey

  85. Yay! I'm so glad I'll be able to follow along with your life for a little longer!

  86. Anonymous12:07 PM

    I love the picture on your homepage of, I guess, Ben's feet on your belly, that is a great picture! I loved Ben and Birdy on babycenter, it was a great help to me. I have been reading since my first pregnancy, and I must tell you the last 4 years have been great and I appreciate you sharing your life with all of us. Thank you!

  87. Anonymous12:19 PM

    I usually read your babycenter entry on Friday night, but I put it off this weekend, kind of dreading it, but also hoping you would tell us of some other source.

    Now I have it bookmarked as well as Wondertime. And I am always thinking of who else I can buy your book for...

    I'm so glad you'll you are continuing to share. Thank you.

  88. Anonymous12:22 PM

    I'm so glad you directed us to your new blog. This whole blogging thing is about underground community. Anyway, I wanted to know if you ever recieved the book (Fields that Dream: A Journey to the Roots of our Food) I sent you, I think it was last October or so. I sent it to your work address (which I found on-line, I hope that is o.k.). If you didn't recieve it, I'll send you another copy. All the best to you!

  89. Anonymous12:30 PM

    YAY. That's all I can say. Just happy you are here. :)

  90. Oh thank GOD you didn't go away forever! I never commented much on the babycenter site (it always seemed ridiculously complex) but I rushed in my office every Monday morning to read your column, and it was a blast, every time.
    I can't wait to read about your family even more! (Does it feel a little like people are peeking in all your windows at home?) Anyway, thanks for letting us indulge our voyeuristic tendencies - I've already added you to my blogroll, and I'm about to go check out your other links.
    Big air kisses to you, Michael and the kids! YAY!

    PS - you might want to turn on your comment verification feature to help foil the spam-bots...

  91. PS - OMG, the picture of you and Birdy at Wondertime is so gorgeous I could cry.

  92. Anonymous2:11 PM

    Hi! I was so sad to find out that you were leaving babycenter! Almost like a great friend moving away. I have just discovered your journals on babycenter within the past six months (I have a one year old) and have loved it and couldn't help but feel like it wasn't fair that after "getting to know you" and finding someone who had the same sort of "heavy-hearted happiness" as you so wonderfully put it, that you were not going to be writing anymore. This may sound crazy-but sometimes I 'NEED' to read your journals. When I am feeling like I am the only mom who thinks so heavily about her changing daughter. The bittersweetness of having them grow up and be able to communicate with you and make you laugh-but wanting to freeze those moments so much it makes me want to cry!

    Sometimes I just want to email you and say-do you ever feel like this....???? !!!
    Well, good luck on all of your new endeavors!
    Christina M

  93. Anonymous2:18 PM

    YAY!!! I was so hoping you would start a blog. I bought and loved Waiting for Birdy (and plan to read it again soon, as I just found out this morning we're having #2.) No one writes like you do about the unbelievable anxiety that comes with being a mommy. Can't wait to hear what you'll write next!

  94. So relieved to find that one can still read you @ wondertime. The pictures are lovely.
    Ever think of making a trip to india? Do come & meet us

  95. Anonymous2:22 PM

    Yes. You have not left us for good! Finally, there is hope. :)


  96. Anonymous3:06 PM

    Oh Catherine ! You have made my week ! I am sooo happy as I have been with you every week at baby center and last week when I heard your journal was coming to an end I felt a sad feeling begining to brew almost like the feeling of finding my best friend had stoped calling and would not return my calls ! So when I read this weeks entry I was as glad as when I was broke and found that $20 in the diaper bag the other day.I will look for you in the places you have mentioned !Your the kind of Mom I wish I was! Tell Ben and Birdy they have a wondeful mom!

  97. Anonymous3:25 PM

    Thank goodness!!!! I was just heartbroken that you ended your journal at Babycenter and I wouldn't get to hear your pearls of wisdom anymore. I remember an elderly friend of the family once telling me that life is just one big goodbye, and I am so glad that I don't have to say goodbye to your family yet. I always rushed to the computer every Monday morning to read your journal and it would give me reassurance and yes, a laugh as well. Thank goodness I now have another place to read a weekly column of yours. Thank you for sharing your family with us once again.

  98. Anonymous3:30 PM

    I read all your entries at Baby Center, thanks to a recommendation from a friend. As I await the birth of my twins, your tales warmed my heart and hearty laughs too numerous to count. I can't wait until I have such tales of my own to share! Thanks for sharing your life and family with us!

  99. Anonymous3:38 PM

    Bloody Marvellous!

  100. Anonymous6:16 PM

    Yay! I'm so happy you've started a blog! Like so many others, I read you on BabyCenter, bought your book, and was pleasantly surprised to find your column in Wondertime. Looking forward to more of your writing!

  101. Anonymous6:26 PM

    My Dear, Dear Catherine. Let me join the throngs of those who say: I was bereft a week ago and now I am thrilled. Thank you for not leaving us to experience motherhood alone.

  102. Ok, you're probably thinking, "Oh Lord, what have I done? Now even more of the crazies are going to be commenting every freakin' time I write!" But I have to admit with all the other honest people- I cried when I found out your journal was ending, and I cried again when I read your last entry. And I'm very excited now to have links to all the other cool moms in blog land who love you as much as I do! And p.s., I'll get your book, I swear!

  103. Anonymous8:41 PM

    I don't really post much on your babycenter journal, but I have been a faithful reader from the beginning and am so glad to see I will still be able to hear the tales of Ben and Birdy. Please write here often. I feel like I know you and your children. Thank you for all the laughs and inspiration through the years.

  104. Anonymous9:23 PM


    I'm so happy to find you here. My sister introduced me to your column over 3 years ago, when she was pregnant with her first child--I was the older, wiser, quasi-veteran mom, and didn't have time to read it (oh, nevermind, I had kids who were 6, 4.5 & 2.5...I just didn't have time to read!).

    I finally got hooked about 6 months ago--what a blessing your writing has been. You've made me laugh out loud and cry--well, not out loud; I try not to scare the kids.

    You remind me to live in the moment. Thank you for that reminder.

  105. So glad to have found you here and at Wondertime! Loved the BabyCenter postings - I was pregnant with my 2nd right along with you!

    Best of luck!

    ~The insane woman who brought her 2 yr old along to the book signing at the Moravian Book Shop last summer in a sling.~

  106. Oh my God, Amy. I just read the comment about the "well placed fuck."

    Catherine, you are under so much pressure now to use the f-word and place it well. Why is this making me laugh.

    See, I'd place it all wrong, that's why I never use it. People would stare at me and be like " was in the wrong place."

  107. Anonymous12:32 AM

    Catherine -

    I can't tell you how thriled I am to have found you. It may seem ridiculous, but I cried (still am crying actually after reading your last BC entry) when I thought you were gone - like some dear, sweet friend who said she was moving to a place with no email, phones or mail service.

    I don't typically leav comments on blogs, but I just had to tell you what a blessing you are - I have bought your book and now give it as gifts to my friends who are expecting. Thanking for putting down in words what I have been feeling in my heart since I became a mother to my dear, sweet Nicholas in April 2005

  108. Anonymous1:18 AM


    I'm so glad you're still doing what you do so well. I was sad a little over a week ago when I read the editor's comment at that you would be moving on to fresher fields. It was sort of a cross between - "Oh no, my pal is moving to Albania and won't have access to email, telephone or post", and "They've cancelled my favorite show??? But I'll never know what happened!"

    Uh...does that make me sound like a stalker with no life?

  109. Hi Catherine,
    Hurray for blogs - now we'll always know where to find you. I've enjoyed your BC column and other writing (esp. O mag) for a few years now. I bought the book (devoured it in two days) and heard you read at your Park Slope reading. Remember me? ;)

    In the spirit of your post I thought I'd give you a link to some pieces on by a writer I think you'll enjoy (who also happens to be my husband):
    He also read a version of the He-Man piece for NPR at:

    I hope those are active links - I'm writing this from Italy and can't understand the Italian blogger interface (everyone is 'ha detto'-ing and 'senza titolo'-ing and I feel a bit lost).

    Anyway, be sure to drop him an email if you like his stuff - he, like you, checks his reader mail about 5 times an hour.

  110. Anonymous8:37 AM

    Back from the holidays to babycenter and read "The family goes back to the Cape for their annual vacation, and Catherine says goodbye to her ParentCenter readers"... WHAT???? IMPOSSIBLE!!!! How can I live without the weekly bit of YOUR life!! (and the comparison we obsiously make with our own! oh... so similar) But ALAS! you are blogging! Great great great! Best of luck!
    (and... by the way Family FUN is AWESOME. Here we only have the website, but its so fenomenal it's hard to put in words!)

  111. Anonymous10:17 AM

    Tears rolled down her cheeks. She threw herself on the floor. "Noooooo!" she howled. "It's noooot faaaaair! She needs to come baaaack!"

    "Oh, Mom," said my 3-year-old daugher, looking at me lying there, "Maybe she'll write another book. Let me get you a cookie."

    Needless to say, we're so glad you have a post-Baby Center incarnation! We arrived shortly after Birdy and have followed you through to your high school reunion (about 2 weeks after mine), lobbing your columns at friends and enjoying our link to the US from overseas, where we currently live.

    I've never commented on a column, but if you had a dime for every time I've nodded my head and chuckled while reading your postings, you could probably pay all of Michael's massage school tuition. I remember seeing that you read all of your comments, so I hope you'll catch this one and know how you've been a real treat for me and (I suspect) many other women who really, really meant to post and tell you so...right after they figured out how a pacifier melted onto the dishwasher coil, tracked down a 10-point harness for a stroller that would allow a child forming a human plank to be inserted from the top, and started attending Pilates regularly. THANK YOU.

  112. Anonymous10:31 AM

    Yay! I found you!

    I spent this week grieving the end of your column. Seriously. I felt like I did when my friend from baby classes moved back to New Zealand when our daughters were two. And now it's all okay because in fact you've only moved just down the street!

    So pleased I can still catch up on how you and the family are doing...


  113. WOW! I, too, was heartbroken to think of my weeks going by without my weekly "fix". Glad to know you're still around!!

  114. Anonymous1:03 PM

    well I am glad to know that I am not alone in my weekly fixes and how I was very unhappy when I found out that you were leaving babycenter. I will visit here often and still have to buy your book - but I will, I promise!!!

  115. Anonymous2:02 PM

    I'm so thrilled you have a blog and another online column! I'm looking forward to reading more about you and your family!

  116. Anonymous2:02 PM

    Oh thank g-d I've found you again!!I was really worried and sad there for a bit...I mean what else was I going to read and laugh with at 3 in the morning?

    So yeah, glad to see you!

  117. Anonymous2:54 PM

    Catherine, i am so excited to find you here! I actually cried when i read your goodbye message on ParentCenter...not the first time you have made me cry...or laugh until i cried! Thank you for putting all the truth and humor out here. Sadly, you will never know how much your writing has meant to me! And, yes, i have and love your book!!!!

  118. Wow, Catherine, you live in blogland. The world feels like a strangely shifting place. I'm happy that we're not losing your wit and Chex Mix.

  119. Anonymous6:26 PM

    I think you are incredible, and as much as we might have helped you, you have helped us too. I feel like I know Ben and Birdy and my 3 and 6 year olds follow the same kind of paths yours do. If you ever get to Maine I will be sure to go to any reading you do!

  120. Oh my god. Add me to the legions who are so glad that you are still blogging. I also was pregnant with you and have felt like a part of the (amazing) family since the beginning. Thank you so much for sharing yourself with us! I look forward to many more years.

  121. Anonymous7:25 PM

    I was so devastated to read the words "Catherine says a bittersweet goodbye..." I look so forward to your journal on BabyCenter every week - ridiculously so. I share it with my playgroup every week b/c you always make me laugh or cry, and often both. Your stories of motherhood just resonate with me - you capture the emotions perfectly. And your sense of humor is amazing - cracks me up all the time.

    I am so glad that I can still find you! Just keep it coming, in any format, please. You are one talented cookie. (Who knew cookies could be talented? And yet, there ya are ...)

  122. Anonymous7:36 PM

    Hi, I to feel as if I know your family. I absolutely related to a past entry about 15 lbs gained after prolonged breast feeding. Loved the easy weight gain, and size 4 clothing. I am now in the size 8 world, after the almost 2 years since nurse-nurse. You have given your children a wonderful writen scrapbook of their lives. I hope to start a blog myself. I have never heard of Wondertime mag.

    Christy in Texas

  123. Anonymous7:57 PM

    So glad to find you Catherine! My baby center bulletin came in the morning email and I have put it off all day savoring the fact that you are there. Hoping if i waited long enough the govenor would send a reprieve. Sort of if I didn't open it then it wasn't over. Lo and behold! What a relief! I swear if you hooked this place up to paypal, we'd pay for our Ben and Birdy and the Newman family fix like the dedicated junkies we are!
    Thank you so much for allowing us to continue to laugh and cry with you.
    Mom to a 2 1/2 and almost 4 year old

  124. Anonymous8:03 PM

    Woohoo, I am so pleased! I didn't know what I was going to do without my Catherine Newman fix (as necessary as my morning java, you know) Your final column for Babycenter was beautiful, BTW. And my gosh, am I going to have to start buying O magazine now? Yay for you!

    So I got you bookmarked now on the Mac mini. Looking forward to hearing your continuing adventures...

  125. Anonymous8:14 PM

    Yay!!! I was so sad to see the last column today but so happy to see your "find me" link! I've been reading from the start and will enjoy reading more. I have read your column in Oprah and will be checking out Wondertime. I have your blog saved in my favorites and will be checking it religiously!

  126. Anonymous8:26 PM

    HOORAY! what an immense relief to track you down, it's truly pathetic how devastated I felt to not have your wit and wisdom and warm comforting neuroses ;-) on a weekly basis. I'm sorry for babycenter but happy for those of us who need our catherine fix. Thank you!!!!!!

  127. Anonymous8:26 PM

    I just wanted to let you know that I read every single BabyCenter entry and enjoyed them immensely. I never left a comment but I feel you and your family in my heart. Thanks for doing this blog.

  128. Anonymous8:33 PM

    I have been with you since the first entry on Babycenter. (my son Christopher is about the same age as Ben). And there were many times that I laughed, cried, nodded my head and sympathized with you. I will miss you on BC but am glad that I can still touch base to hear about Ben and Birdy. I loved your last column. I too tend to be a meloncoly mom and at times seeing my boys playing can move me to tears, shortly after their whining, bickering, following my every move has moved me to tears. :)

  129. Anonymous8:36 PM

    Catherine -- yay!! I am excited to see you have a new blog! I found out thru ParentHacks. I've been reading you at Babycenter since the very beginning and I proudly own your great book. It was just getting tough to remember to go find your latest post. Adding your blog to my Bloglines feeds is much better! Looking forward to hearing more about Ben and Birdy in your funny, real voice.

  130. Anonymous8:44 PM

    I have been a faithful reader at BabyCenter over the last four years, however this is my first comment to you. I, too, have 2 children (ages 7 and almost 3), but both boys. I have looked forward to the ParentCenter email each week just to read your newest entry, and cannot count how many times I have laughed out loud or have had tears well up in my eyes as I related to your experiences or felt your pain--or said wow, she's kind of strange :-) You have a way of putting the experience of motherhood into words like few others I have read. You tell it like it is, sagging breasts and all. I look forward to reading more, as I feel I know you and your beautiful children and want to know what happens next. Thanks for livening up my day at work once a week. You have a gift--keep it up!

  131. clicking on this link from babycenter gave me a rush not unlike sinking my teeth into an extra large hershey bar. you are pure deliciousness and i'm glad i can check in with you (although i have already noticed your O gig). hope you don't mind that i've bookmarked you under "scrap/art blogs" because that's what i read the most.

  132. Anonymous9:17 PM

    Catherine: thanks. I've enjoyed your column for the past four years. Identifying (and not sometimes) and looking forward every week. I'm also an Amherst alum (Babycenter is a creation of an Amherst alum as well) & thus familiar w/western MA. good luck w/your blog.
    a NYC fan, working mom of 3.

  133. Anonymous9:17 PM

    OH CATHERINE!!! I'm SO glad you aren't GONE, just moved from Babycentre. I still have tears streaming down my face, as I thought for a second your thoughts and stories were over. I find your stories explain exactly how I'm feeling about so many things.... and my kids are 3 years apart, just like yours. And when I too get melancholy (every time I pack away too small clothes, or Aidan says a word the RIGHT way instead of his own cute, twisted, baby version), I can read your thoughts and see how in three years there will be great things too. I never want to wish a day away of watching these beautiful creatures grow.
    Anyhow, nuff about me. Congrats to you on all your success, with success comes growth and change. I *DID* buy your book too, so maybe it's my own darned fault things are changing :)
    I look forward to reading this page too, and seeing all the great things you do.
    All the best, your faithful reader for the past 4 years, Allison (Kitchener, ON) and though you don't know it, you are a friend to me in many ways!

  134. Anonymous9:18 PM

    Oh, Catherine! I am so glad to be able to continue reading your words and find comfort in our shared neuroses! I used to e-mail your Babycenter entries to my husband at work and we could laugh together at the similarities between our kids and yours. We are on a first-name basis with you here in our home though we've never met you. But we feel we know you.

  135. Anonymous9:20 PM

    Oh my heavens, thank goodness I've found you...I almost wasn't going to read your last BabyCenter piece yet, because I knew if I read it, then I would have to believe that it WAS the last. It's good to know all the places to find you, as you have saved my sanity more than once. Looking forward to many more glimpses into your life...

  136. Anonymous9:33 PM

    When I was pregnant for my now 2.5 year old angel I was visiting BabyCenter weekly for my this-is-whats-happening-to-your-body-this-week excerpt and always found your column exceptionally entertaining. There are not too many writers with the knack of hitting home every time in one way or another, but you always do. Well, here I am a very proud mother of two babies. My son just turned 1 year old. So needless to say (for anyone who ever ventured into having their children only 1.5 years apart) I have been far too busy to keep up on a regular basis.

    You've made me laugh, you've made me think, you've helped me keep things in perspective.

    Thank you for reaching out and helping to make Motherhood everything I ever dreamed it would be.

  137. Anonymous9:44 PM

    Thank goodness I found you here. When I started reading your last BabyCenter article I found it completely unacceptable that your kind, funny words were leaving me. But, no, you are here and it looks like you are doing well, as you completely deserve. I love your words. You are a great mother and you inspire me to be better. I have a 5, 2 and 7 month old and try to keep on laughing.

  138. Anonymous9:52 PM

    Yeah Catherine! So happy to get to continue reading your works! I've been an O subscriber since the beginning as well, so will read you there as well! Yeah! Much love to you! Stay Gold! Mary

  139. oh thank god.........what a relief! I felt totally abandoned there for a bit with the thought of having to navigate this whole motherhood thing without you! Glad to have found you here and at Wondertime!

  140. Anonymous10:28 PM

    I love it. Thank you for leading me to your blog.I discovered you when I first signed up for baby center before my first baby was born 4 years ago. I was hooked and has read every entry ever since. Never commented since you were ahead of me in this mommy thing, but now, two babies later, we're pretty equal. I have loved the openness and the way you view mommyhood (and loss of me-ness and my beautiful body.) But I'll take it, all the saggyness for this bond that we share even though we'll never meet- this being mothers.

  141. Anonymous10:31 PM

    YEEHAW!! I'm SOOO relieved and happy that you're here! When I read you weren't going to write for BabyCenter anymore..I cried like a fool! LOL Then in your last post, you gave all of us not one but TWO places to find you. All I can say is thanks for being there for not just me, but for all of us. I've been reading "Ben and Birdy" since you started it and it's something I've looked forward to every week for the last four years. I'm so glad I haven't "lost" you. You've become like a friend to me..that other mom that I can laugh, cry and commeserate with. There are days when my boys drive me insane, then I read your column and know I'm not the only one out there that has days like that (the daydreaming about beer makes me laugh every time too!). Keep up the awesome work and tell Michael the next time you go on tour..he needs to go with you so he can give massages after the book signings! LOL THERE'S an idea!! I live about 6 hours away from you (in upstate NY)...think that's too far to drive for a massage?? LOL Take care and I'll be looking forward to hearing more about you and your family. :)

    P.S. I can't wait to see what the first swear word will be either! My money is on "shit"! ;D

  142. Anonymous10:35 PM

    Could you also write for Brain Child? I just got a subscription from them.

    (just in case you don't want to run your own life, here I am...happy to help!)

    With love and Squalor,
    janet, mom of Marco and Leo (who has been bucking the bedtime thing for three days and forced me to smoke a cigarette tonight.)

  143. Anonymous10:37 PM

    I could never bring myself to post on babycenter with all of those articulate mommies-but I'm so glad to know that I'll still be able to enjoy you and your family through your writing that I had to let you know. Thanks Catherine!

  144. Thank you Catherine, for continuing to share your wonderful family with us. My children are just behind your in age and seem to go through a phase just after I read about one of your children doing the same thing. It's been wonderful to feel less alone in my parenting journey.

  145. Anonymous11:13 PM

    everyone has already posted so eloquently the thoughts and feelings that are racing through me upon finding out we're NOT losing "Bringing up Ben & Birdy", that it's only relocating (and after I'd Goggled "Catherine Newman" hoping to find a blog!!) the only thing left to say is "Hello again Dear Catherine, so thrilled you're not gone!"

    love, yet another mom who has been with you from the start, follows you in all the mentioned places--even the not free!, and is so relieved to still have you in our lives!

  146. Here you are! Like everyone, I was so sad when I found out that you were not doing Babycenter anymore. I have followed you from the beginning, our kids have grown up together... you just don't know me! WOW are we relieved to see you are still out here, would have gone through Benandbirdy depravation... but you are here, and now we can stalk ( I mean follow:) you here. Thank you for all your wonderful words of encouragement! Can't wait to read where your journey takes us!

  147. Anonymous11:21 PM

    Whew! I was afraid I was going to have to wait for your next book to enjoy the continuing adventures of Ben and Birdy, all told in your lovely writing voice. Hurray, it's off to Wondertime!

  148. Anonymous11:21 PM

    I just wanted to say... although I never commented, I started reading you when you first started at BabyCenter (I was newly pregnant with my daughter at the time.) It's always been so wonderful to read well-written and thoughtful entries on parenting, from someone who is going through the same stage I am. Thanks for four wonderful years and I'll be reading your new offerings as well...

    - Darice

  149. Oh thank God! I've been reading your babycenter blog foreva' and I was so sad to hear you were going away... especially because you mentioned a little pull towards having a 3rd child, and I was like "now I'll never know if she does it!" :)

    Tell the folks at Wondertime to set up a way to subscribe to your blog, ok? Because I loved getting the link from bc every week.

    - Kari

  150. Anonymous11:24 PM

    I went from desolation to bliss just now. First I read your goodbye article with a heavy heart thinking I would never get Ben and Birdy again, then I realized you have a new column and hope blossomed and then I went to Wondertime and I got 3 EXTRA columns! And they were SOOO good! I've been going a bit crazy potty training my daughter (also 3). She takes so long that I want to take up biting my nails just to have something to do. And in the public bathroom she always wants to crawl on the completely disgusting floor. For some reason it's such an interesting place for her. Why??

    I am really glad I can continue to look forward to hearing from you and your wonderful family. I have the same mix of joy/love mixed with frustration/exasperation.

  151. Anonymous11:46 PM

    I am so happy you are continuing to write and share your wonderful lives with us! I have been an avid reader of your Babycenter column for the past couple of years and as a single mom of a 6 year old, I can't tell you enough how much I appreciated everything you have shared. I have gotten tears in my eyes after reading some of your columns because it is just so wonderful to "hear" someone speak of the love and joy they feel for their children!! And you also helped me stop being so hard on myself sometimes!!! And to remember to just ENJOY my son! So thank you! And I look forward to reading more!

  152. Anonymous11:48 PM

    Hurray! Two new places to read your fantastic work! And yes, I bought the book (and lent it to a friend and may need to buy another for another friend, etc...). Keep on keepin' on!!

  153. Yay!!! I'm SOOO happy you're doing this - I actually added a comment to your goodbye comments saying that I hoped I could find your blog - and here I am. Subscribed too. Keep up the GREAT work! Oh - and great picture too!

  154. Anonymous12:17 AM

    Well, that was a lot of wasted tears! I was so sad that you were leaving BabyCenter, but here you are! (and on Wondertime, which I just subscribed to). Add me to the list of Catherine fans so incredibly relieved to find you still writing every week!


  155. Welcome to blogland. I was so disappointed to hear that you are leaving Parentcenter as your column is the main reason I stay subscribed to the newsletters. Good luck with the new gig.

  156. Anonymous12:21 AM

    Hey! I was so sad b/c I knew how much i'd miss my Tuesday night readings about your family and SO glad that you're still around! My 5 year old shares so many similarities with your Ben, I always love reading about him, and you've helped me so much to appreciate his most beautiful but sometimes equally mistifying qualities. You're a real gem, Catherine!

  157. YAY! I have kept up with your blog since my little one was 1 year and she just went to kindergarten this year. My son is about to turn 3 and we are starting to outgrow babycenter. I don't find myself logging on to search every single symptom that my children experience (though I do have to say I did pull it up at 2 am the night before kindergarten when my daughter was puking. Just wondering if some article on that site would say it was ok to still send her to school!)
    I'm so happy to follow you to new places as I was wondering how I was going to get my 'fix'. I've already read your book twice! Thanks for still being so easily available.

  158. Anonymous12:45 AM

    Hooray! My Will is 2 months younger than Birdy and I have read your Babycenter journal for years now. You are so honest and present in your writings, Catherine, and I am delighted (into tears, I'm such a sook) to know that I won't be losing your presence in my life.

    Just as you say that knowing we were watching you has made you a better Mom; getting to know Babycenter-you and see through into your life has made me a better mother too. (Aren't we all so similar after all - I wish I'd known that as an angsty teen.)

    Thank you for the gift of you.

  159. Anonymous12:58 AM

    Thanks for 4 years of great writing. My kids are similar ages to yours, and every time you were going through something so were we - except all the barfing, we missed out on that. You inspired me to write a journal for each of my kids - a page a week so they have something to read about when they're older. I'm glad I can keep up with you and the family at Wondertime.

  160. Anonymous1:10 AM

    hooray! my kids are just a little younger than yours and for four years, you have inspired me to "parent (more) mindfully". thank you! looking forward to more of your fabulous words!

  161. I have been a big fan of yours since your very first column on BabyCenter, and I have faithfully read every one, often feeling as though I were the one who had written the words. I have wanted to post over there so many times to offer my support and agreement with so much that you have shared. I was so sad two weeks ago when I found out you were no longer going to be contributing to BabyCenter that I literally cried. I felt like I was losing not only a good friend but someone who shared many of my not-always-great thoughts and emotions. I'm glad to find you here.

    Thank you for sharing so much with us.

  162. Anonymous1:44 AM

    Catherine - your articles were my rays of sunshine through raising both of my children! I am soooo happy I can continue on sharing with your family's special moments here! Thanks for the fabulous words!

  163. Anonymous2:00 AM

    can i be the 1 millionth person to write that i am now crying tears of joy instead of loss knowing that you continue to make yourself and your family accesible to all of us. i have been a reader for 4 years and am so looking forward to keeping up with ben and birdy. this sounds a bit stalkerish, but really, you know what i mean!
    thank you!

  164. Anonymous2:26 AM

    Let me just say one thing: it makes me feel a bit like a paparazzo to be reading your personal blog, even if by your own invitation on your BabyCenter last entry. Anyhoo, like all others, I'm glad to find your writings here and in other places I didn't know about before... I have a 2 1/2 year old myself, and he is my Ben. Dominic. We are potty-training and going through that poop-withholding phase. So it's so familiar and calming to read your experiences with the same happenings, in a close-by past. I'm looking forward to reading more of you, Catherine. BTW, I love your blogger picture, with your tattoo and pregnant belly. So me.

  165. Anonymous2:56 AM

    Thank goodness you're still here. I have silently read for the last four years and flipped when parent center notice of your departure came. Can't wait to read un-whitewashed comments from a like minded mom.... and will willingly sign up for massage if I am ever in the area!

  166. Anonymous3:04 AM

    Know that you also have a fan from the other side of the world, who is glad you are continuing your stories - stories that tell me maybe my own crazy family is normal too.... I've been reading the babycenter column for years, since my own kids were born (ages just-turned-6 and almost-4). All the best for your new endeavours! Anita

  167. Anonymous3:12 AM

    Catherine, I'm SO glad you are continuing! I really enjoy your wonderfully descriptive writing -- how you capture all the mixed feelings of mothering that should be known and not hidden. Thank you for sharing your children's budding lives with us. I've nodded my head and laughed so much from their antics and endearing comments ("Aquarinos"! "Tobbler"!)


  168. Anonymous3:47 AM

    Dear C,
    I wait for you every week at Parent Center. You are so intelligent and witty. I love reading you.
    Will read you here as well.
    Thank you for your insights and honesty.
    Dawn from Israel

  169. Anonymous4:12 AM

    Thank god I can get my Catherine fix! Now I still have an excuse to stay up way too late after the kids go to bed perusing your touching, hilarious, and completely relate-able writings. And we even have the same last name.
    You have truly inspired me in many small ways to strive for better parenting. And it is the small things that often count the most. THanks for putting it all out there. You are like the cool-mom girlfriend I have never had!

  170. Anonymous4:14 AM

    Whoops, hit enter too soon...

  171. Anonymous7:09 AM

    Yes... yes... YES!!!! Thank goodness you will continue to share with us! I've been one of those with you from the beginning and I was So sad last week reading the news that your BabyCenter was not continuing that I gasped out loud.. I am just so RELIEVED that we'll be able to keep up & hear about your wonderful kids.. you make us better parents too Catherine... you help ME stay in the present (sometimes) and remind me that I'm not the only nut wanting to keep these moments for eternity.

    Oh joy!! THANK YOU!!!!!

  172. Anonymous9:22 AM

    Oh Catherine, I'm soooo happy to that you're not completely dropping out of my cyber-life! I've enjoyed your articles in Wondertime and Family Fun, but really would have been lost without the glimses of you and your family, who I've come to feel I know so well from your column at BabyCenter. Thank you for gererously sharing so much of yourself all these years, your experiences have helped me in innumerable ways. And... I've bought several copies of your book, everybody I've shared it with loves it!

  173. Anonymous9:23 AM

    Woo-hoo! I am thrilled to find out that I can continue to read your writing! I've read your column at Baby Center since the beginning. There were times that some of the Baby Center articles would make we want to discontinue their delivery to my inbox, but the thought of not being able to read your columns kept me subscribed. I loved reading your thoughts - especially the ones that were a little on the "unusual" side - you know, the ones that we probably all feel as mothers, but would never admit to feeling. You have really bared your soul the last few years and I thank you for it.

  174. Anonymous9:28 AM

    I loved your column on BabyCenter and loved Waiting for Birdy. I am pregnant with my second girl, due in October and just reread Birdy and loved it even more the second time around and laughed out loud just as hard. Especially at some of the hospital experiences. I am in Western Mass as well and had similar experiences with perhaps that very same hospital!
    Anyway, so happy you're here! Thank you for making me laugh!

  175. Anonymous9:30 AM

    I was glad to see a spot where I could still read your comments. I feel that your Ben and my Emily have grown up together.. and I have laughed and cried through all your years. Emily will be 7 in a few short months.. and I am very very proud of her.. but there are moments when I wish she was my small bundle that I could pick up and hold without.. the "Momma stop!, I don't want kisses"

  176. Anonymous9:35 AM

    I'm so happy that you are still writing! I've been reading the babycenter journal since the first one... laughing and crying along, and i was sad to read that you were not going to be doing it anymore. Although I've never met you (though I think I once saw you at Thorne's Market in Northampton.... I resisted the urge to run up to you like some crazed groupy... "Are you Catherine Newman?!? I LOVE your work!") reading your column is like chatting with an old friend who shares so many of my own parenting quirks (abject fear of stomach viruses and depression over weaning, among them!) It's reassuring to hear from another Mom experiencing similar parenting issues who has a similar parenting philosophy. I can't wait to follow your further adventures in parenting. You are an inspiration to all of us who are not-perfect parents, just trying our best to love and support our babies on their journey through childhood. Thank you, Catherine!

  177. Anonymous9:43 AM

    I am SO happy to find that you are continuing to write somewhere "out there". I have looked forward to your journal every week for what seems like forever - or just since the beginning! I even told my husband how sad I was that you were leaving babycenter, and that's a big deal! Thank YOU for making us all realize that we are not alone in our neurotic-ness. I look forward to keeping in touch with your family!

  178. Anonymous9:44 AM

    Catherine - Thank god you are still going to be out here for me. I have been with you from the start at Babycenter (have the book too). I have a 6 year old boy and a three year old girl and I feel like you are my soul sister on the other side of MA. Like your last post at babycenter said, you have helped me be a better mom...and help me feel less guilty when I have a not so great mom moment. Keep writing and I'll keep reading and laughing!!!

  179. Anonymous9:56 AM

    Oh Catherine! I can't begin to express how my heart lifted to see this link at the end of your Babycenter column. Like others leaving comments here (I am relieved to note) I was so depressed to read two weeks ago that you were finishing up your column. It was like losing a friend in the worst way possible - particularly since you don't know me from a grain of (celery) salt but I have vicariously lived your life through your columns for the last four years.

    Just so you know - I am an ex-pat living in land where I don't speak the language very well, and both my children were born here. At times I felt incredibly isolated. You were the first person I even read about that shared their bed with their kids (I'd get nightly calls from panicked grandparents that we were going to roll over and squash ours with my first-born when I mistakenly let slip that we hadn't in fact even got around to purchasing anything vaguely crib-like and the alternative was the top drawer of our bedside table) - it was so liberating to me to know I wasn't so alone in the world...

    And just so you know, not only did I buy your book as soon as it came out, but I've given about ten copies to friends and family as well. I even bought Bitch In The House simply because I discovered you had a chapter in it. (Loving an author is not creepily stalkerish is it?)

    Anyway - this is probably too long to even make it through the blogger filters (particularly since it contains the word bitch - filters aren't famous for their contextual ability), but I hope that you see it at least.

    From the bottom of my heart, thank you for sharing your life in such a beautiful way.

  180. Anonymous10:44 AM

    Yes - I knew you couldn't leave us for very long!
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    BTW - Great photo!

  181. Anonymous10:56 AM

    My kids are 5 & 2, and I've been reading you since I was pregnant with the first one, but I wasn't much for commenting on the boards. You've helped *me* be a better parent, by helping me realize I was not alone in mommy-slip-ups and anxieties and by making it ok to indulge my gooey sentimental side too. I was teary when I heard you were leaving BabyCenter, and now I'm freakishly glad to be able to keep reading you here and the new column. It feels a tiny bit stalkerish and uncomfortable - a tiny bit like I've slowly, quietly become a Catherine Junkie over the years. But thank you - can't wait to read more.

  182. Anonymous11:45 AM

    I'm so glad to know you have a blog! I had already found you at wondertime, and because of you I ordered a subscription to the magazine! I am in the middle of reading Waiting for Birdy. I laughed so hard that I cried last night, reading about your numb legs after the c-section, and falling on the nurse. I read it to my husband and he was laughing as hard as I was!
    It's good to know you are here too. I just love hearing your stories.

  183. Anonymous12:01 PM


    I have so few friends with children and even fewer female friends. Your column was one of the few I could read to inspire some sanity in my life. My son is 6 months younger than Birdy and watching her grow up just ahead of my son was comforting. I was very sad think that you'd actually gone away.
    Of course, now I sound crazy and stalker-ish, but I'm not. It was just nice to know that someone else like me was out there.

    PS I bought the book, read it in a day, and gave it to a friend to read and never got it back. I suppose I'll have to buy another copy. :)

  184. Anonymous1:16 PM

    Oh, thank god!!! I join the others here in relief from the despair I was feeling that you were disappearing from our collective lives, Catherine. I too felt the pit in my stomach the past two weeks as I read the the editor's note that you were leaving and sat wondering how I would fill the void! (Well, for as long as I could sit here at work without making people wonder in any case... it was more of a figurative "sitting"... but I digress)

    After 3 1/2 years (having joined you by chance during my second pregnancy - and relating so much to every word you have written that I could never bring myself to leave...) of laughing and crying along with you, I hope you know that not only do you have loads of support following you, but that you have provided it as well! Thank you for validating our simple joys, outlandish expectations, sincere concerns, ridiculous worries, inane neuroses and unbelievable absurdities.

    In a nutshell, just wanted to let you know how relieved I am that it will continue and am very much looking forward to continuing the journey - requisite f-bombs and all! Congratulations and best wishes on all of the new endeavors - no doubt the best is yet to come.

  185. Thanks for sharing this link with your Ben & Birdy devotees - I admit, it was the first link in my Babycenter mail that I clicked on. Your writing is always so honest and palpable with emotion. Well, since I've used up my large word quota for the day, I'll just say thanks - and looking forward to the future entries!

  186. Anonymous1:35 PM

    "Wonder Time" and "O: The Oprah Magazine" are two of my absolute favorites. Congratulations!

  187. Anonymous1:38 PM

    Ditto to everyone's comments and keywords (crestfallen, mourning, relief, hooray!) - so glad to know that you're still around for the weekly fix.

  188. Anonymous1:57 PM

    I am so happy that you will still be writing. I have looked forward to reading your journal every week for years. I couldn't go cold turkey! There's just something about you and your family and the way you write that can make even the worst day turn out not so bad. You can always cheer me up. So anyway, so glad to see you here and at wondertime. Take care!

  189. Anonymous2:02 PM

    While I shed tears at the news of your departure from BabyCenter, and additional tears at the beautifully composed final entry, I immediately dried my eyes when I found this excellent nook you've found for yourself, and even started beaming as I read about all the new exciting projects you are involved in. I add my sincerest best wishes to the loud and lovely chorus that traipses around behind you wherever you go, Catherine (those Greek plays were onto something)--welcome and bon voyage! I continue to be a devoted reader, and a proud member of the (from my humble, limited perspective) starry-eyed, pied and dappled community of believers who gather around the light eminating from your language, zapped out in whatever form or forum, print or web, article or blog...

  190. Anonymous2:04 PM

    Thank god! I haven't logged onto Babycenter in 3 weeks. I went there today looking for a laugh, to know that other moms feel like I do, etc and saw the one titled "Commencement" and my heart sank. I have read your column for almost 4 years and have always admired you for putting you and your's out there. I've laughed so many times and, like today, cried. What can you do? Anyway. Looking forward to what's next! Lori

  191. Catherine!!!!
    This is the first time I've ever sent a comment though I've been reading your stuff from the get-go. You've helped me in more ways than I can express. There have been times when I'm standing over the crib or bed of my sick kid wishing that I had married a pediatrician....and I think of you and the various throw ups and sicknesses you too have gone through with your kids. Or our shared issue with impatience, neurosis and anxiety. Anyway....I'm glad I still can read your stuff. You have inspired me to pick up my writing too, if only on just my little blog....

  192. Anonymous2:19 PM

    Woohoo! Thank you, Catherine, from the very bottom of my heart. I'll sure miss you over at Babycenter - maybe now I'll start reading the other stuff over there...
    For every, wait, yes every entry that you wrote, I secretly wanted to post a comment. But I was afraid that might be a little too stalker-y as I mostly would have just gushed. Now that I know you read all the posts, I wish I had commented. I'm the mom who was a "reluctant mother" (did I put that in my last post? I think I did...) anyway, your honesty was the tonic I needed many times to keep me going. I'd read your column, look around, and think "...yea, ok, I can do this. Other people have their bad times too, I'm not a freak..." You also inspired me to check out a few books at the library that I would otherwise have not known of. Thanks, glad to have found you, and I'm REALLY looking forward to reading you at wondertime.
    R. Suhre

  193. Yeah! Gotcha! SOOOOO glad you have a blog too! Thank you for letting us all know where you are now! You have made me laugh, cry, feel sorry for myself and giggle since day one. I feel like you are one of my many friends that I pretty much only "see" via e-mail these days.
    Good luck on all your new adventures - I will read any little bit that I can! I wish I was such a good mom too.
    Take care!

  194. Anonymous2:48 PM

    Phew! I couldn't bear the thought of not seeing you weekly! I've never commented on you column before, but have read it religiously since my first was born (I have a 4 yr old and a 2 yr old). And now, please, please, you must write about your thoughts of having three...we're going through the same decision process and I would love, love, love to hear more about what you're thinking.

    Just so you know, I buy your book for all my newly preggers friends (particularly those expecting #2...we'll get ben and birdy set for life along the way!)


  195. Anonymous2:48 PM

    I tried writing a comment on Babycenter when they announced your column was ending, but I think there were so many comments, it crashed! I never post bulletin board comments (I'm comp-savvy, just more of a lurker), but I cannot overstate what a help your writing has been to me and my spouse - when I was pregnant and a new mother, I would forward your columns to him and tag it with something like, "SEE?! I told you I'm not crazy!" Almost all of the mom books and sites out there are perky in the kind of way that your own mothering starts to feel like a failure. Your columns normalized the jumble of emotions I feel every day, while I work and parent my 2.5 year old, Olivia Joy. So many times I read something you wrote and said out loud to no one, "I totally get that." I'm so relieved that I can still benefit from your thoughts, although I won't be able to access the family massage services, since I live in Louisiana! Keep up the important work - we are listening. Kirsten

  196. Anonymous2:53 PM

    I feel a little like I'm stalking you... following you around from one place to another, but I can't stop reading in the middle of the story when I know there's a happily ever after out there somewhere. Thanks for bringing us along with you!

  197. Yay! More you! And Ben and Birdy! I loved your column at babycenter and am glad you're still writing. :)

  198. I am so glad to find your blog here via a link from babycenter. Your journal has become part of my weekly life, and I'm not sure how easy it is to read your other publications here in the UK. Looking forward to reading more.

  199. I've never commented before, but I feel so unexplicably happy every time I read your column, so I'm glad you're here, still, somewhere! Keep up the honesty (as much as you want to share)... it's what makes me feel like I know you :-D