Thursday, September 07, 2006

You are the best. Honestly.

I felt like my mom herself had logged on a couple dozen times--what with all the "She's just jealous" honey you poured all over me (after I only fished for it a teeny-tiny shameless bit). Exactly! Jealous! She only wishes she had these scowl lines! She wants a piece of these leaf-impacted and warped gutters that will never be different from how they are until I divorce Michael and move away to a country where they replace the gutters for you automatically as a bonus for just being yourself! What she wouldn't give for water pouring down the side of her house in sheets onto the trashitude of a blue vinyl tarp bungee-corded under the eaves! But you--you guys are a force of kindness to be reckoned with. Honestly.

(Plus, if you ever read the babycenter bulletin boards, then you will agree with me that the hi-effing-larious "pimento cheese" comment seemed suspiciously a lot like our dear old friend "BillyJoe5555." "Carmen" isn't your new persona, is it, BillyJoe?)

Not that I wasn't mortally offended by the suggestion that what I'm writing is "not exactly War and Peace." Really? Well maybe if a very hunky and hard-haunched guy jogs up on a horse with his white teeth and fixes the gutters for me, it will at least turn into "Anna Karenina."

Which is a funny thing to write on little Birdy's first day of preschool. Which is what I'm writing my column about right now. As we speak. Somehow it is getting written. In the meantime, there's this, over at wondertime. This blog is still the best place to respond to those columns, but they are working on a bulletin board over there.

I am sending you good vibes during these first weeks of school. Send them back my way.


  1. Anonymous9:20 PM

    Oh, what a big girl! I'm all nostalgic like I actually knew her. Still love, love, love you Catherine. Good luck to Birdy!

  2. Apparently this is the week for our babies to start school! Alena just started this week as well, and so far is loving it.
    Have fun Birdy!

  3. My daughter is starting pre-school for the first time on Monday -- such a bittersweet time!! Good luck, Birdy!

  4. My daughter asks me that all the time: "When you were the baby and I was the mama did I hold you like this?" Either there's some past lives flip-flopping around here, or that's just a normal three year old thing!

    The column is great, glad you're still writing!

  5. Anonymous10:37 PM

    Pre-school starting at our house next week. And smarty pants me thinking I'd go get the supplies after Labor Day when it's all on sale – it's just ALL GONE! Here's to our three year olds taking another little step and us letting go another little bit.

  6. **SIGH** My Kels started yesterday. Teacher nearly had to shoo me out of the room. And is there a preschool code of silence???? I asked her what she did when I picked her up and was told: "I can't tell you momma, it's far too complicated." Guess what happens in preschool stays in preschool.....

  7. Anonymous11:37 PM

    Catherine, you had me at "A love that feels like heartache"...(remember that post?). Since then I have read everything I could find of your writing. I had never heard anyone else capture the overwhelming vulnerability of adoring someone so much. And you have continued to enrich my experience with my children, the way I think about them and talk with them. I thank you. Which brings up my question...This may not be the place, but at different times I remember you posting about books that you were reading aloud to your children. We are just starting reading aloud chapter books with our son, Lucas, and I was hoping you could give me some suggestions.

  8. Anonymous12:02 AM

    I just posted in my blog about my girl's first day of preschool. It's a big event, made harder because she was so happy, and the only reason I was sad was for myself. You can read it here, if you'd like:

  9. Oh man, preschool! And here I was getting all chocked up over the fact that my 20 month old actually didn't throw her toys behind the futon today when I asked her not to, and on the first time too! They grow up so fast! I've read you since 2004, when I was pregnant with my daughter Amethyst (and reread and bought your book multiple times to send to loved ones when they got pregnant). And I must tell you: thank you for your honest and open and hysterically funny way of describing what early motherhood is, as well as letting so many of us get to be a small part of your life!

    Like I've said before, "You are Uber-Fantastique!"


  10. Hannah is starting in the "big girl" classroom this week, too. She caught a cold and we've had a few days at home, just the two of us. All my "me time" plans were cancelled, and it was "Hannah and me" time. I haven't had that in a while.

    She loves her classroom though. Here are some good vibes that Birdy is digging hers, too.

  11. Anonymous2:01 AM

    My daughter just started preschool in June even though she just turned 3 on Sunday - I wanted her to have some overlap with her brother during the summer months before he left to start kindergarten. It made it so much easier for her - though I don't know why I'm telling you this since Ben is already at school and you can't do this! For us the hardest thing wasn't drop off - she was so excited and engrossed in everything that she barely noticed as I kissed her goodbye, but pick up. For a week and a bit) when she'd see me and light up like a Christmas tree, and then her face would crumple up into a look of betrayal, and she'd cry and cry and cry with joy and relief. OH! It was both sweet beyond bearing and awful at the same time.

    Oops - my comment went on a bit...sorry, I thought I was writing "Ulysses".

  12. I hope I'm not the only mom out there who felt nothing but joy and relief after dropping my daughter off at school for the first time last week. She gave up naps at the all-too-early age of 21 months, the same time I found out I was pregnant with her brother. Now, he naps in the morning while she's at school and I have time to myself for the first time since March 2005. Since she LOVES school, too, I couldn't be happier about it!

  13. I remember those days... My son just turned 8 and started 3rd grade, but I remember taking him to his first day of school like it was just today, and I feel proud and sad all over again.

    Much love and good wishes for you all. Good luck, Birdy!

  14. Hi from the Philippines! I've been reading Bringing Up Ben & Birdy for the last four years since my Woog was born, and although I've never posted a comment on the Bulletin Board, you'll never know how much your column has helped cheer me up during those really hectic/frustrating/sleep-deprived days. When I read your last entry, it suddently dawned on me that the reason I kept on with Baby Center and then Parent was because of YOU (and Ben and Birdy and Michael - your wonderful, wonderful family)!
    I'm glad you posted your link to this blogspot. I've just given birth to another boy, Eli, and it feels just like a new beginning. New baby. New site.
    This time, I don't want to be just another lurker.
    From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU.

  15. Anonymous7:52 AM

    My older child just started his senior year of High School!!!!! We watched the video of his first day of Kindergarden (getting on the bus, getting off the bus)and I cried! My 3 yr old is not ready for preschool yet,( I am, though, ;)but we're shooting for the Spring enrollment. Good luck to Birdy and Ben!!!

  16. Anonymous8:26 AM

    My son just started preschool this week and has his second day today. He was so excited about school that he was just about oblivious to me and my husband taking photos/video of him, poor kid. He was the one telling us to go now. And when we came back to pick him up he told us he didn't want to leave. I was not only excited and thrilled that he loved his first day, but also (shame on me) a bit jealous at the same time that there was going to be a part of his life that I didn't get to be 100% there for. As I said before. Shame on me. He is not a baby anymore, and I couldn't help but think, 'it all starts here'. Life moving too fast. :(
    Good luck to Birdy AND you!

  17. Anonymous8:27 AM

    Booooo-hoooo...Babies getting big and going to school--it's killing me, you know. And my baby isn't even starting until next year. I'm just having a "pre-breakdown" to get ready for it. Ahhh, both my boys will be in school, I'm not having any more babies, this phase of my life is completely and utterly over, what to do, what to do, what to do...
    Otherwise, everything is perfectly great. And hallelujah for Curious George on PBS, allowing me the time to write this bit of nonsense.

  18. Anonymous9:13 AM

    oh, the best of vibes to you and yours (what grade is Ben in?) and all your readers!

    i'm torn between utter elation and heartbreaking worry, my son is starting preschool next week. he's besides himself with joy, although he has related the following concerns:

    1. will they read us books?
    2. will they have water?
    3. when do i go to college?

    hear that sound? it's me laughing and crying and doing some anxiety-related heavy breathing.

  19. Ah, Birdy's classmates are in for a real treat :) Jackson started Kindergarten this week, and next week I start my first Mommy and Me type class with Frances. It goes so much faster with the second child ... probably because we're so busy, there's not time to try to squeeze into their skin and live every moment right along with them. Oh - I guess I should speak for myself ... heh heh. ("Hey look over there!" pushing topiary shears out of the frame with toe...)

  20. Gutters? Preschool? Pimiento cheese?? Holy shmoly, lady, I hope SOMEbody out there is keeping you in margaritas.

  21. First day of preschool here, too. Frankie walked off with not the slightest hesitation. She's been angling for her chance to go to school, too, ever since I dropped Anni off for her first day of kindergarten.

    So that's
    1) starting kindergarten for Anni
    2) starting preschool for Frankie
    3) starting puppy school in a few weeks for Cleo

    I'm beginning to feel like it's time for me to go get another degree, just to be in on all the educational action around here.

    So sending you good "off to preschool" vibes. I can't wait to hear about her school interactions, especially since she has a wonderfully verbal big brother like Ben.

    And, of course, silly cheese people. That's all there is to say. Silly and a teensy bit mean.

  22. Oh Catherine, you get preschool??? All WE got this week was the barfing flu, brought to us by our Kansas family that drove all the way to Ohio to infect us (oops, I mean VISIT us) for Labor Day!

    When Phoebe goes to Kindergarten next year I'll be a mess. Our babies, all grown up. What will we do?

    Good luck to Birdy. I'm sure she'll love it. Hm, this makes me think. Will they call her Birdy or will she begin her time as Abigail? Inquiring minds want to know!

  23. Anonymous11:18 AM

    Um, did you actually mean to answer the marriage question that you previously refused to answer?

    Best of luck to Ben and Birdy at school!

  24. Good luck Birdy!! There are so many fun things to do and so many great stories Mommy will have to tell us!

    By the way -- I submitted a comment on "family traditions" we have at our house to Wondertime and all of a sudden we are in the Winter issue AND they will send us $75 for the submission - honest to god it is 2 lines of text!

    My 5 year old thinks that if we are in the magazine we should get a limo -- I can only imagine what Ben and Birdy must think about being "famous"

    That was unexpected so thanks Catherine!


  25. I've wanted to say for such a loooong time now (but somehow my computer never lets me comment to babycenter) that you are hilarious. I'm so glad I found your column. I bought your book last month and have been slowly creeping through it. I'll burst out laughing while I'm reading it at home, on my breaks at work, in my car stopped in construction, or in the Public Health Nurse's office waiting for my daughter's check up. That's all until next time... Love your new column.

  26. Have fun Birdy!! Can't wait to hear about her adventures!

    On another note -- I had submitted a comment to Wondertime about the "family traditions" we have in our house. We are going to be in the Winter issue AND they pay $75 for the submission. It is honest to god 2 lines.

    My 5 year old is so excited because she thinks if we are in the magazine then we should get a limo!! I can only imagine what Ben and Birdy must think about being "famous".

    Thanks for being at Wondertime Catherine!! We're going out to dinner on Wondertime.


  27. Hey! My husband and I like to play the game "Hmm-I-Wonder-What's-Wrong-With-Our-House" too! Do you think the tarp thing works? We're seriously considering getting a wife, and maybe another husband, too, just so that they can Do something around here. Wouldn't that be nice? :-)

    Good luck to Birdy in preschool!

  28. dude!! did you just finally admit that you and michael are joined in holy wedlock?! i always thought that was funny, the way people were so up in your business about.

    okay, i was curious too.

  29. I'm not sending good vibes, but my vibes are absolutely miserable right now! My son just started Kindergarten and it feels like any minute his two year old sister will be graduating from high school, and what then, I ask you?! What then?! Sigh.
    So I don't send positive vibes, I send you anxious vibes filled with remorse over the fact there is not yet a machine that can stop again in its tracks (though I'm not sure if I want it more for the kids or for myself), and if you don't like it feel free to deflect me entirely. In the meantime I will happily and selfishly swallow up all the goodness you are managing to send out into the world, and maybe in some reluctant way I will see you as an example of pride to follow in the footsteps of. But don't hold your breath.

  30. Anonymous12:54 PM

    I loved your last column (like I love all your columns)about Birdy and discipline. The wonder and pure joy of finding someone who writes your life for you is that you no longer feel alone. Because our kids are the same ages and sexes (Julian is 6.5 and Carolina or "Beenie" is 3.5), your observations are more often than not straight out of my morning, my weekend , my life with them. Take your recent Windertime column (and thank heaven you're still around writing..),I was just talking to a friend about the difference between Julian, who snapped to by number 2 when I would say, "I'm going to count to 3!", whereas Beenie just stares me down and continues to do what she was doing, but when given "some time" collapses wailing and flailing in profound remorse... Girls? Second children? Who knows. But thank you for giving such eloquent (and hilarious) voice to the myriad thoughts and observations I have about my own life.
    By the way, Beenie strated preschool last week, and it was a walk in the park. The great thing about second kids, based on my limited observation (I'm an only), is that they any situation fully expecting to be loved and adored, and that amazing confidence pays off. I'm sure Birdy will be in heaven!

  31. Anonymous1:10 PM


    I'm so glad to see that you are still writing, and I've read all of your Wondertime journal entries and even ordered the magazine. I hope you get points for that. Birdy at preschool - wow - it's shocking how time flies with little ones (the years fly by but sometimes the hours seem to take forever - how can that be?) I feel like I know your family personally, and I'm truly sorry for all of you over the loss of your dear young friend. Take care and thanks for continuing to let us share in your life and experience.

  32. Anonymous1:58 PM

    Hi Catherine,
    Just finished reading Waiting for Birdy and I think I laughed AND cried on every damn page. My husband kept looking over at me with eyes completely rolled like I was crazy. I won't go into how much I like to read everything you write (can you say restraining order?) but this was just what I needed. I mean everything you said was like I had met my emotional twin. On the outside I am this little 28 year old blonde that seems all bubbly-but inside I am a constant swirl of "I just know the worst is coming." I mean if you have ever said to your husband something in the way of "if I die of something unexplainable please call CSI and tell them about the mold on the shower curtain!" (jokingly of course, maybe) So needless to say I have been worrying about mine and my daughter's mortality since the day I conceived!! A cold obviously has to be the bird flu! Anyway, thanks for being honest and real.

    Good luck with preschool Birdy!

  33. Anonymous2:12 PM

    This is the first time I've posted anything, although I have been reading you on babycenter for a couple of years. I was so glad to have found you on Wondertime and this blog. (I think I just found out what a "blog" is a few months ago). I want you to know that YOU have changed the way I parent. REALLY. I have forwarded your recent articles to all my mom friends and I just simply adore your writing (and you, but don't want to be another stalker, he he). I am "there" so much more for my two beutiful daughters (oldest just turned 6 yesterday and my "birdy" as their personalities seem so similar will be 3 in a couple of months). As a full time social worker w/ a hubby returning to school, life is hectic at times and we have finally learned after 10 short years of marriage the beauty of good communnication. My "baby" is so in love w/ her older sis that it was all we could to do pry her away from the school bus, watching big sis go to 1st grade.. (of course, she went w/ us as we followed the bus only a mile from our subdivision to take pictures and gawk at all of the first dayers). Now I am babbling. I just really needed you to know that I have quotes on my fridge (again, not a stalker) from your column and you have simply changed they way I parent by helping me be more mindful. I have seen the effects in the girls and it is simply amazing. THANK YOU. YOU ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  34. Anonymous2:35 PM

    My twin boys started pre-school about 3 weeks ago. at first we has a few tears, but now it's "See ya later Mom." They grow up sooooooo fast. I'm keeping you in my heart Catherine. Hard to believe your baby is in school!

  35. Anonymous3:05 PM

    My daughter had to go into Day care when she was 7 weeks old, so the whole drop her off for pre school was not a big thing for me.. she was at the same place, just a new class. But when she hit Kindergarten, you could have torn my heart out with the amount of pride, joy and sadness. This year 1st grade didn't cause quite so much heartache, just a little wish that she was still the little girl I could hold. Now she doesnt' even wait for my kiss goodbye before she jumps up the stairs to the school bus and I have to drive off to work.

    I have said this before but I almost feel like Ben and Emily have grown up together, and I do know the only reason I kept BC was to read your column.

    Best to Birdy! Have fun sweet girl.

  36. We have a pre-kindergarten in our school district, for 4-year-olds. So I guess my baby girl is going to have to wait until next year. She wants to go back to "school" so badly. When we had her in daycare we used to call it "school" so that she'd get used to the word. She's so bored just hanging out at home with daddy and her baby brother. She misses the social interaction. Unfortunately, we can't afford to send her to daycare anymore.

  37. After just a couple entries and a meanie comment, I thought you had lost your blogginess. Not that I wait for your every printed word....but I guess I do. (And I mean that in a loving-not-so-scary-I'm-not-a-stalker way of course.)

  38. Anonymous4:30 PM

    Last week, our neighbor paid our 7-year-old Luca fifty cents to help him spread manure all over his front yard. As mercenary as Luca usually is, he later declared that it was so much fun he would have done it for free. This week's blog made me think of this anew. Just wait ten years or so, Catherine. Then you can send Ben up on the roof to dig compost out of the gutters and install gutter guards. If you also pay him five bucks, he'll think you're some kind of goddess Mom of Plenty.

    We haven't done the preschool thing yet. Is preschool where they teach kids things like how to make it through a school day without poking your neighbor with a magic marker, or that when your teacher's lips are moving and she's looking straight at you that may be a sign that she's saying something you should listen to? We had to give up homeschooling when Luca entered first grade, and one year later we're still experiencing the joys of having a child who is completely and sublimely oblivious to "school culture."

    p.s. I wasn't BillyJoe at BC. I was Querida13, and I only posted once. I think the pimento cheese was probably my best material. I'll be much more staid and boring from now on.

  39. Catherine,
    Hooray for the first week of school. I should let you know (school starts a little earlier here in Texas) that I am currently recovering from the cold I mysteriously get the SECOND week of school every single year. The kiddos don't get it - I gave them very strong immune systems, apparently. But they carry it home, as consistently as their new little backpacks and sweet little homework assignments. The cold is mild, though, and quick. And I love the cute little "homework" they send in 1st grade. We have such delightful, delicious children, we women in this community. Hooray Us!

  40. Buckets full of good vibes to Birdy and especially you - I think stuff like this is much harder on parents, worrywise. After I dropped my son off for his first day of Kindergarten (this was 2 years ago) I couldn't stop crying - I went to work and had to be sent home. Total Basketcase. He was fine of course.

    Just a thought on the gutters. Why is their maintenance Michael's responsibility? Is this something you all worked out when you first bought your home or is it just because he has the Y chromosome? What would happen if you took a look at them yourself and either figured out how to fix them or called in an expert or two to get an estimate? Would you lose some sort of spoken or unspoken war? Or would you get something you want - functioning gutters. Just a friendly idea from someone who is just guessing what the situation is because I think I've been there.


  41. Anonymous10:21 PM

    I am so happy to see all of the woman-to-woman support that your writing brings. I have been kvetching in my blog for the last couple of days about how inadequate the teacher and other moms at my son's school make me feel. It warms my heart to see that women don't have to make one another feel this way. Catherine you really bring out the best in us.

  42. Anonymous11:23 PM

    My 3 yr old daughter also started preschool this week, so I can't wait to read your new journal entry about Birdy's 1st day. Just about every time I read one of your entries, I swear you were in my head. My husband has learned that when he sees me laughing/crying at my computer, that I am reading one of your entries. We had baby #2 a few months ago and I made sure to read your book before delivery. I also re-read it afterwards and it really helped me keep my sanity. I don't know what I would do without you!

  43. Anonymous8:18 AM

    Just had to send best wishes to the little Birdykins for her first days of preschool. And how is Ben doing in 1st grade?

  44. Preschool! Man, I remember taking my first one in that first day....he could have cared less that we were even there. Tore right into it like it was what he had been waiting for the whole time! I think my husband I were just so dumbfounded and sad. All alone, standing there, wanting our little boy to acknowledge us just a teensy bit! My 3 year old will probably start this spring, and she will love it too, I am sure - but that soft tearing of my heartstrings will still be so happy AND sad when I walk out of that room to leave her there - starting her new adventure.
    Good Luck and have fun, Birdy!!!
    Catherine - thanks again for sharing with us. Gets me through!!!

  45. My BubTar started PreK three weeks is amazing! And makes me feel so old! *lol* I went to a classroom orientation meeting this week and I felt even older, but younger at the same time because I am by far the youngest mom in the PreK program. BubTar is loving it, though. He's already learned so much! He didn't even look back at me on his first day, just walked right into the school with the helper. Sigh.

  46. Anonymous12:23 PM

    I realized you can make paragraphs! Yippee.

    Book recommendation for kids but definitely moms, my favorite as a child--The Little Princess, same author as the Secret Garden which is also great. More for girls but perfect for anyone with an imaginative stoic sensitive child like the brilliant Ben.

    I know Catherine was reading little house on the prairie or something like that. I read Nancy Drew a lot as a child but read one recently and would not go there under eight--the books seem repetitive and weird to me now and all the 70s stereotyping and male/female roles.

    My mom had Frank Oz Wizard of Oz books as a child. I read everyone one. They are on Ebay. I have not seen them recently but they were wonderful.

    I have also seen books with more words and lots of pictures. The Barnes & Noble lady helped. OH and I got a book titled the Fairy Dust Egg and something by chance (okay begging by 3.5 year old) at Target and she LOVED it and treasured the seven or so pictures in it tons.

    She could follow well enough and was not scared by the scary parts. It is a cute fairy book searching for her talent and saving all the fairies when the leader bird Mother Dove is injured by a hurricane. Tinkerbell and Peter Pan and Capitan Hook are all in it! There will be more to that series.

  47. Anonymous12:48 PM

    Ugh! I feel your happy/sadness. My boy started kindergarten this week. Which, I was completely fine with until he lost his first tooth the day before. My heart sunk into my belly and then shattered into million pieces. I'm not sure if he being my only child makes it worse, or not. But, enough about that, he's doing great! I hope all is well for you and the gang. Congrats to Birdy on her big day! Thanks for letting us know where else to find your column(s), I was already going into withdrawals. ;)

  48. Anonymous4:58 PM

    Alex started this past week also - he loves it so far, and I hope Birdy also had fun on her first day! My daughter Karalyn also started kindergarten, so it was a big week of "firsts" for all of us. Watching her go off on the bus for the first time wasn't as traumatic as I expected, although I was so proud of her heading off to "big kid school!"

    So glad to have found you here, Catherine!

  49. Catherine--I think Birdy was born within a few days of my Laszlo (3/2) and what a coincidence, he started preschool this week too! I hope Birdy did ok. Laszlo has been doing great.

    Oh, and when I read your book, I learned that you were going through a CF scare at the exact same time as my husband and I were going through one with Laszlo--when he was 2 weeks ago! Such amazing coincidences...

    Have a good week. Love you.

  50. Anonymous11:05 PM

    Birdy starting preschool reminds me of my favorite Catherine post. You wrote about being at Ben's school with all the other parents and making a comment about looking around for the ACTUAL parents and everyone subtley moving a few steps back. I remember wishing I had been there, because I get that ... I get that from the bottom of my heart. When I read it I thought, yeah, and then I kept reading and couldn't believe that everyone doesn't feel that way. Anyway I never would have moved away.

    And good luck to Birdy!! My oldest is 2 1/2 so I have a year or so yet. It puts a lump in my throat to even think of it.

    Off to click at Wondertime.

    I can't begin to remember my blog name and password?? Whoops.


  51. It's hard to believe that our little ones are starting Preschool already! Ali is going to be starting soon, and I'm a wreck! I'm sending a lot of good vibes Birdy's way. I know she'll love it!

  52. Anonymous6:46 AM

    My clingy three year old last year was in a co op two day a week preschool program where you work one day and leave them the next day. I left her alone probably a total five times the whole year. She would be fine left alone but never WANTED me to not be there. She did not cry but the sad expressions and other mannerisms told me the truth.

    At the end of the second day of summer camp at her brand new preschool this summer, she asked me, "Mom, why did you stay (the whole time)?". The query is most likely more due to the prep that I had told her I was leaving but then did not but STIIL, it is a sign that I was sure not needed there!

    Our full time class starts on Monday. I am optimistic and convinced that my baby will be fine alone on the second day. This child that will need no adjustment period is the same child that takes at least six months to adjust to every new class and teacher at her part time daycare. What a difference the environment and teacher has on them!! The preschool is way more child centered and nuturing than her daycare.

    The differences are so striking that her new teacher at daycare two days is so unacceptable that I am most likely going to have to take her out of the facility if I can't get her teacher switched. The result will be working even less than the 10 to 12 hours I manage to do now!!??

    All of this independence has got me to appreciate rather than tolerate the more trying times like the dragged on forever bed time routine. She will not want me to be part of things like that soon enough so I better appreciate these moments as I can.

    I never have been or thought I was the weepy nostaligic type since although I love the past, I also love plotting the future and more fun. But it is different with kids, the fact that you cant go back is really hitting home now. The journals and blogs I MAINLY lurk in, Ben Birdy and Violet at BC and a few other random ones occassionally also help remind me of this.

    I also may try to possibly have this blog site be an exception and actually try to regularly join in the fun myself, time will tell if I keep posting. I would also consider wondertime blogging/journaling--to give Catherine (Oprah of the web for mommies) the credit. Get those boards up.

    Do we really have to subscribe to get on the email list??!!! I am sure I will but I would like to subscribe now without ordering.

  53. Oh god, all this talk about our babies growing up and becoming independent ... I have to tell you about this dream I JUST woke up from! My daughter, Frances, is 18 months old but I think if she could drive herself to preschool already she would. She is SO different from my very attached son. In this dream I was holding Frances on my lap and bouncing her. I leaned over and blew a little raspberry on the side of her neck, but instead of giggling like she always does she leaned away and gave me a funny look, and grimaced a little. After a few stunned seconds from me she said, "Well ... THAT was an awkward silence ..." and then with a big oookaaaay kind of glance at me she walked away. WHAAAAA!!!! I don't WANT my babies to grow up and move away some day. I thought I was OK with all of this time passing thing but part of me really is NOT! :'-(

  54. Anonymous12:46 PM

    Dang it, Carmen. I wanted to get credit for the pimiento cheese.


  55. Catherine, the washcloth ending to the post about Birdy was just precious.

    You know, I have a hard time reading the text at the wondertime website. That grey against the white is hard to read. I'm not sure why, but I'm going to mention it to them, just because I rarely have a problem reading blogs, so I'm sure others do, too.

  56. Yo you, I tagged you for a meme. I double dog dare ya.

  57. Anonymous7:48 PM

    I love that Birdy talks about when she was your Mommy and you were a little girl- my daughter does this, too, although she puts it in the future... that she will grow up to be the Mommy and I'll turn into her little girl. For me it's a recognition of all things I do for her... she tells me that when she is the Mommy she will give me a bath, and play games with me, and read me stories, and tuck me in, and drive me to my friend's house to play...

  58. Oh good luck little Birdy! I hope you have lots and lots of fun.

    Catherine, I love your new column at Wondertime, and I love seeing all those new photos, they are gorgeous!

  59. Anonymous9:58 PM

    Good luck Birdy (and Catherine and Michael)! My oldest just started K--she is happy, and so are we--but I have no way of knowing how we'll feel when the little one starts in 2 years. I love the new column, the new beautiful pictures, and now I have a new image to add to describe my parenting moments, along with putting on the oxygen mask--the first-child topiary! Hope it goes well for you and all the others here this week.

  60. Anonymous2:31 AM

    There is something a little humbling about being Comment #72. Kinda makes me not want to comment at all, oh prideful me.
    I just wanted to say that I'm really enjoying your column at Wondertime. I like it far better there than at Babycenter because I do not feel like I am being assaulted by ads. My mom and I have always read your journal and call each other to talk about it. We love it. Love the book, too.
    Also, I also wanted to tell you that I was invited to write a journal over at Babycenter. It's an unpaid community journal, but I'm still a little proud of it because I feel like I'm following in the footsteps of one of my favorite writers (or at least loitering around her old stomping grounds).
    Thank you for everything.

  61. I just moved to Germany (first time out of the States) and had my second child over here. I read your book while in the hospital bonding with my new little boy and all of the German nurses thought I was crazy laughing out loud. Thank you for the gift of your writing! It has been so refreshing during this challenging time in my life - in a new country where I'm trying to learn the language but don't know anyone and I've got Irish twins (the day after my second son Ian was born my first baby Jack turned one years old). I've started reading your archives over at Parentcenter and look forward to every entry at Wondertime.


    the Gypsy

  62. Anonymous10:18 AM

    I feel your pain. My oldest daughter just started kindergarten. We started the first day of school all huddled in bed together, laughing and giggling. Then Brenna says to me (so earnestly that I thought I might die), "Mommy, you can't cry when I get on the bus."
    While I wish I could say that I was planning to be strong, I fully expected to weep like a baby as the bus pulled away. So I just replied, "Oh. I can't, huh?"
    "Nope. Daddy, you can't cry either."
    And since my daughter hasn't mastered the detection of sarcasm yet, my husband felt free to respond with, "I'll try my best."
    I told my little girl that she should sit near the front so the bus driver could help her; to which my husband began grousing that she could sit where ever she wanted. He had always liked the back of the bus and his baby can sit there too. I pointed out that the big kids sit in the back, to which he replied "Pffft." (And yes, he is still alive.... barely.)
    But when the bus came and took my baby away to her first day of school, we waved and didn't cry. And my husband leaned over and whispered in my ear, "Boy, those *are* big kids in the back."

  63. Aren't beginnings bitter sweet? Preschool was a big event in our lives last year. Now my DS is the 'old man' in the preschool classroom. Teachers rave at how he can resolve kids arguments over the same toy by telling them there is another one they could use. Next year - kindergarden will surely do me in. Catherine, you are my hero! I wonder, did you have a wonderful parenting relationships with your folks? I don't remember you writing a lot about them. My parents are quickly aging and I think a lot about them in relation to my parenting. I wonder what yours were like?

  64. Re: your latest wondertime post:
    My mother used to can peaches. I know exactly what you are talking about -- boiling the water, dropping the peaches in, how the skin slips off. It is one of the most fabulous and sensual experiences and eating the peaches after they've been skinned that way -- they taste as perfect as they look. I remember those afternoons eating peaches vividly every time I see a basket of peaches in season. I have never encountered a description of how evocative and memorable that process is, until now. Thank you.

  65. Anonymous5:19 PM

    Yay, Birdy!! You speak so in depth about these little ones that I feel as though they are my family. I, too, remember when you wrote about Camping on the Cape back at babycenter and were unaware of Birdy's sweet little self growing inside of you. It just doesn't seem all that long ago...

  66. Anonymous9:44 PM

    OK, you mentioned divorcing Michael. ROFL. So you are married. I guess?! It never occurred to me to wonder until you made some comment (at some point) about it cracking you up that people hysterically ask if you are or aren't. At that point, I decided that you must not be. After all, I also think I remember you mentioning at another time that you're pagan and "we're" not as wrapped around marriage as some people (my hubby and I tied the knot solely to get him on my dental insurance when his crown fell off). I guess my point is that I wonder about your marital status simply because you want us to. :oD

    Seriously, guys are the highlight of my week.

  67. Anonymous10:33 PM

    I love this week's Wondertime piece, but I have to embark on a total tangent and say that your description of applying eyeliner to your inner eyelid made me laugh out loud! I had a girlfriend who taught me to soften the eyeliner a bit by putting the tip of the pencil directly on the bare lightbulb hanging from my closet ceiling before smearing it on. Dear God. So glad we made it through that phase, right? Anyway, I had completely forgotten about that tragic era in my early experimentations with cosmetics. Thank you for the reminder. And for the wonderful image of red-gold peachy orbs. Delish.

  68. Anonymous8:38 AM

    You kill me, Catherine. You just kill me. Where are you, anyway? Because I'm here, feeling those same things and people are looking at me like I'm nuts. If I had you here for backup, maybe I wouldn't seem so strange.
    This melancholy joy--this need for the children and the exact same need for the children to leave me alone. I ache from it. I wear myself out with it.
    I need solitude--I need time with peaches (which, girl, I totally GET. You'd be amazed at the peaches I've peeled. Like taking the shirts off of tiny, sweaty babies.) But I also need my little boa constrictors near me, squeezing the ever-loving life out of me.
    I've been so melancholy since school started. And when I tell other mothers, they say, "Oh, I get it. Because [insert attempt at empathy here]?" And I say, Nope! That's not it. It's something else. And I can't explain it. --But, apparently some lady named Catherine Newman knows what I'm feeling, and I've never so much as even laid eyes on her.
    It just kills me.

  69. Anonymous10:47 AM

    Okay, hopping on the bandwagon here!

    My six-year old started grade one last week.
    My four year old starts junior kindergarten on Friday. (I am a Major Groupie from Canada)

    I feel all your pain/joy. Rhetorical question: Does it ever get any easier? I am happy sad. ”I am stuck in my foolish blues. Is every autumn of my life going to feel like the end of an era?”

    Good luck to you and Birdy.

    Hugs and kisses (through tears and smiles),

  70. Anonymous11:52 AM

    Last night Rachel, my Birdy-aged daughter, sleeping with me because of the 'bad booboo on my face' (almost a week past, the last of the scabs from the tumble down the porch stairs is barely hanging onto her cheekbone)looked at me seriously from about 8 inches away from me, both our heads on the same pillow, and gently smoothed the hair back from my face and pressed a kiss on my forehead. "I love you. Now go to sleep", she said.

  71. Anonymous12:16 PM

    I'm enjoying the blog and the column, but how about some bigger and darker type in the column? Maybe 3 kids have done a number on my eyes, but I'm squinting to read it :-)

  72. Anonymous11:10 PM

    Another great column at Wondertime, Catherine. No doubt peach envy will ensue come Valentine's Day. In response to your parenthetical comment about playing pick-up in the bar with one's husband -- there's a story by Milan Kundera called The Hitchhiking Game (included in a book called Laughable Loves) that has always given me pause when I think about taking on new personas with my loved ones -- I recommend it!

  73. Anonymous2:12 AM

    Love you love you love son is not even 10 months old and I am sitting here crying about the day he goes to school....thanks for not making me feel pathetic about that and I have such a craving for peaches now!

  74. Anonymous9:39 AM

    That's it they are all jealous cause for some reason they can't get how important it is to know I am not the only one that questions myself sometimes hey if you don't like it don't read it personally I feel you are wonderful. My 4 year old Ethan just started pre scholl last week he was so excited me a little excited a lot sad he is my last baby which he is no longer my daugther Delaney is 9 and just started forth grade around here almost to middle school so scary. Anyway so happy your still writing where we can find you. Thank you

  75. I hear you - we had kindergarten for our big boy one week, and pre-school for our little girl the next week. Lots of tears (Mommy's) and wishes that summer would go on forever.

    Just bought my first issue of Wonder Time, and like it so far - have been checking out your column there every week.

    Thanks for keeping us updated - I love that you have a blog!

  76. Anonymous10:01 PM

    Just read your column at Wondertime. The back to school melancholy hits me hard too. That feeling that something's over and the excitement of something new beginning. Another lovely column but you're wrong about peeling peaches. It sucks.

  77. Anonymous11:08 PM

    Hey! Look at you! Look at this! So great.
    See you tomorrow.

  78. Anonymous2:02 AM

    Okay, do you still read every comment? Because 96 is a lot, but I just had to write and say that your column this week was beautiful. I mean, I'm never disappointed, but this one was just lovely. And by the way, the pics of you and your kids over there are fabulous. That's all.


  79. Anonymous8:41 AM

    Hi Catherine,
    Keep up the good work, your writting is very much appreciated!

  80. Anonymous11:32 AM


  81. Aww, I just read the Happy Sad season (my link wasn't working earlier in the week). I totally feel that way, even though it's really not cool here yet. (Unless 95 is cool, and then I guess I shouldn't be complaining.)
    Anyway, I'm really feeling it this year. My baby is turning 1 on Sunday! How is that even possible? How is it even possible that I'm a mommy? I'm still barely holding it together like I was in college. One of these days the Imposter Police will show up and point me out and tell everyone what a fraud I really am, and the game will be up.

  82. Anonymous7:24 PM

    okay, there are hidden articles too!!! I just found a new catherine story Vacation from a vacation story under life with little ones at wondertime!! It is great as usual and the link is on the home page but:

    Please let us know if you have any other articles up at wondertime and I also get Family Fun too so any article in there too, so I can read it first. I will get to it eventually otherwise.

    My friend and I plan to meet in Capitola next summer or soon. Please also share any good camping spot recommendations between LA and Sacramento.

  83. Anonymous8:40 PM

    from anyababa "You kill me, Catherine. You just kill me."

    I feel the same and am a new poster myself rather than only a lurker which makes me feel like I am trying to be a "friend" even more than I was before without posting!! I feel like a stalker with the thoughts I have about wanting to meet this wonderful loving family. I AM a stalker wanna be too.

    I would be interested to know how it changes things when people see you like this, mini fame in your town Catherine I guess, maybe? Are the new photographers a nuisance or are they great and not in the way when they are there. It seems like they capture life so I cant help but think they are following you a lot (which I doutbt they ARE) but I think, maybe they do on some days like you are on a mini reality show!

    For me however, the nostalgia is brand new. I have not considered myself as such in the past but I am changing and learning so much about myself through these kids.

    I am only now realizing you can't go back or hold on to ALL of the connections and relationships you make, time is too precious.

    You hear it all the time, they are only young once. treasure the moments. they grow up before your eyes. But it is not only kids, it is life. Look at old pictures, we change, A LOT and sometimes quickly.

    I am realizing I have the naive/false hope that I can remain and be friends with everyone I bond with. I think I can take a whole lifetime of experience with me as a resource every time I change. I do but you cant keep in touch with every decent friend/good connection you have ever had since birth, there just is not time. You cant remember everything.

    Last year someone cried at the end of the Its a Wonderful Life song in our three year old, co op moms are in the class half the time two day program. The teacher teared up too and blamed her for starting it. I love both of these women to death but it took until today for me to realize that I am an optimist and NAIVELY assume that we will all remain friends and keep some connection and see each other so I dont need to be sad.

    But my emails to the group and tons of failed group togethers, tells me that is a pipe dream in this day and age. You cant do it, you have to choose the best ones that suit you (and/or your child) and work on those relationships HARD.

    In reality, I know there are people that I get along with better but I think I will still have some connection and see the others or at least hear updates. I might but odds are I will not see them and I wont see them like I did that whole year.

    I am so glad that Catherine is still here. Someone at BabyCenter compared her leaving to a neighbor moving and I was like, yeah, a neighbor DYING cause you can never talk to them again. But like I said before, the CHANCE of losing Catherine has made me re-double my efforts at staying connected and strengthening those connections but also to be more efficient about it and CHOOSY with who I spend the time doing it.

    The connections have to be more personal to last. We all need to go for coffee if we live in the same state. Lets do it!! Make it real. Catherine, if you blog we can unite via email or something and try to eventually get you to be our guest for tea or something (after we kick out the mean and loony people, of which I may be one of!!).

  84. Anonymous3:35 PM

    First day for my 3-year old this week, too. After the first 10 minutes in the classroom she turned to me -post earlier (clearly fake) tearful farewell - and said, "Mommy, you can go now."

    They're growing up!

  85. Anonymous11:23 PM

    Love your writing...Good luck Birdy and parents. Good luck Ben!
    P.S the scene you painted of Michael and the kids playing instruments to the Patty Griffin song....made me emotional! So sweet and yet a bit heavy hearted. I loved it.

  86. Anonymous11:43 PM

    Pre-school started at our house last week (am a little late getting in on this entry). So far, my C. is the only child NOT standing at the little baby gate craning his neck for a first glimpse of me at pickup time. No, no, he's running in the other direction wailing, "Oh, no, it's Mommy! No, I don't want to go hoooommme!" I guess I should be offended, but I'm left thinking, "I've raised a pretty secure kid who can fully embrace preschool and not ever want to leave it."
    We, too, have our first cold of the preschool year - paseed along quite swiftly to our 5-month-old who, bless his heart, needs that most awful of tools, the nasal aspirator, to relieve his suffering. Rev up the Vitamin C!
    Hope Birdy's having a blast...