Wednesday, October 04, 2006


I want to pretend to complain about how I celebrated my birthday by washing a black marker with all our best clothes (true). Or about how my moles celebrated by growing another eight of an inch. Or how Birdy celebrated by jabbing her celebratory elbow into my grumpy old bosom.

But really I am having such a sweet day. A friend took me running and to a shopping spree at the Salvation Army (Hello, perfect birthday morning!). There were calls and visits; there were flowers and also a bath. Michael gave me a jar of pickled eggs, a wrapped package of locally smoked pork chops, a homemade card of my faced superimposed over a hockey player holding up the Stanley Cup (Hello, Michael's wet dream!), and an IOU for a sewing machine that he's getting for me with my parents. (Will my annual Halloween sewing fiasco now involve fewer expletives and less sewing of my body parts to the children's costumes? Maybe, maybe not. "You can be whatever you like," I've already said to Birdy. "As long as it's a snake or a cat. Which are the costumes we already have. But it's totally and completely up to you. Snake or cat.")

And Ben gave me a little box of marzipan fruits. Ben who was so gracious that only when I asked did he mention that he'd spent his own money. And that is really too much for a crybaby birthday girl like me, the kind of birthday girl who is so lucky and unworthy and happy and sad just like I always am about every single thing, that I have to boohoo into the place where my cake would be if Michael hadn't been so thoughtful as to remember that I don't even really like cake that much. Here's to another year of all of it: I lift my pickled egg to toast you.

p.s. I almost forgot! Please go read this.


  1. Anonymous7:38 PM

    Happy birthday, Catherine, and many more!

  2. Anonymous8:04 PM

    Hooray! Happy Birthday. I always knew I really liked you, and I like to try to imagine that we would be great friends... if only we actually knew each other. Now that I know you share a birthday with my sister (one of my favorite people on earth...the main reason I want my daughter to have a sister...the embodiment of some of the funniest walking contradictions ever) I feel I have an even better appreciation for you. Do you think it is the Libra in you that balances sad with happy, crafty with earthy, etc.? Whatever it is, it comes across with such beauty.

    Do you view birthdays differently now that you are a mother? I now find myself feeling such gratitude towards my parents, and imagining them in their early twenties, loving me in a way I never understood until I had children.

    Anyway, Happy, Happy Birthday.

  3. Hooray! Happy Birthday!
    (My 6 year old daughter talked me into making a halloween costume for me, too, this year. Because her Arabian Princess Belly Dancer constume, and her 10 month old brother's white jumpsuit Elvis costume, weren't enough work. I just bought fabric!)
    I think you're wonderful, and I am so glad you share this with all of us. Thank you!

  4. Anonymous8:14 PM

    Happy Birthday!

  5. Anonymous8:21 PM

    Happy Birthday!
    I'm glad you're having a good one -- Ben's present is just TOO SWEET! I think that would send me crying into my cake(or pickled eggs, in your case) as well!
    Thanks for sharing! I love reading anything you are willing to write.

    Enjoy your pickled eggs and the rest of your day.

  6. Happy birthday! Although it feels like I'm the one getting a present, when I see that there's a new Catherine Newman blog entry!

  7. Happy birthday! Many blessings to you!

  8. Anonymous9:13 PM

    Happy, happy birthday Catherine! And many more to you!

    I'm glad your day is has been so lovely.

  9. Happy Birthday Catherine! Birthdays with little ones are the best. My two get so excited....doesn't matter whose birthday it is. I love Ben's gift - what a sweetie boy.

  10. Happy Birthday!!!!

    And yeah...avoid the cake. I made the mistake of having one this year. While sneaking a piece a day later, I put the knife in to my hand and spent the morning in the ER. I obviously missed the wisdom coming with age thing. Next year I'll just get a coffee...or maybe a pickled egg....(now there's a celebratory food I'd never considered). Nah...I'll play wine tasting instead : )

  11. Wow. What a wonderful birthday. Thank you for sharing. Sorry about the marker.

  12. Many happy returns!

    My partner and I stopped part way through reading and said, "Yeah, 'cause once you've asked them to say sorry, you can't give up!" And then read find you said the same thing! Sigh.

    I'm with Birdy on this one...gotta love the cottage cheese!

  13. Anonymous10:31 PM

    Happy Happy Birthday! I'm glad it was so special for you. Enjoy your treats!

    Wondertime response:It is so hard to know when to draw the line with the little ones and when to let them "win." We experienced the "you HAVE to eat something for dinner" routine and it wears me out and saddens me to see my little guy get so upset and I wonder if this is really a battle I want to wage.

  14. Happy Birthday, Catherine! I am part of the "so glad when you have a new post" echo... Checking your blog and Wondertime has become part of my daily web surfing routine.
    I fell out of my chair laughing at the "malevolent slime" comment - that is a perfect description of what slinks around our house too! I think my son is Birdy's West Coast equivalent (we call him Dr. Jekyll about 10 times a day), and I always feel so much better when reading about her antics.
    Now I'm off to try to make a king's robe for Halloween without having a complete anxiety attack.

  15. Anonymous10:50 PM

    Yay! A new post. Happy birthday.

    I hit 36 this year, but nothing could really match my 33rd - I was 8 months pregnant and my toddler threw up on me. Nice.

    Since then, I have learned to turn the barfing child away from me.


  16. Hey, glad you had a memorable and enjoyable birthday! Mine is tomorrow! Yet another thing we share besides a son the same age and a daughter the same age! (Wow, there are getting to be way too many exclamation points in this post)
    So anyway, enjoy the pickled eggs - I'm currently enjoying an early birthday bowl of cinnamon toast crunch cereal.

  17. Anonymous11:26 PM

    Happy birthday!!!! Absolutely relate to your latest Wondertime posting. I ended up reading most of it out loud to my husband...which is what I end up doing most weeks!!

  18. Happy Birthday! Love, love, love your latest over at Wondertime. Maybe it's okay for me to feel like my little darlings are often tooooo much of a good thing.

    You know that question we've all heard about what person you'd like to share a meal with – Jesus, Ghandi, Oprah? You'd be my person! No contest!

  19. Have a wonderful birthday!! I'm so glad to read your blogs and article on Wondertime!! So it's kinda like my birthday each week. :)


  20. Anonymous11:49 PM

    Happy Birthday! Nothing is sweeter than once your child can understand and appreciate a special moment for someone else. The humble grace of a young child's gift is a miracle in itself.

  21. Happy Birthday! Sounds like a sweet day!

  22. Anonymous11:56 PM

    Happy, Happy Birthday Catherine! Birthdays are such a blessing and yours sounds like it was wonderful.

    Your stories of Birdy in Wondertime this week remind me so much of my own daughter (2 and a half). She is very much Jeckyll and Hyde. She can go from sweetie pie to dictator in a matter of seconds. Fortunately, she is still home full time so I manage to catch a little bit of both several times each day.

    I also can relate to snipping at the cherubs when accidentally elbowed or poked for the two hundreth time. Sometimes I feel like a human jungle gym. I hate when I catch myself whining at them, your description is perfect.

    Here's to another wonderful year.


  23. Anonymous11:57 PM

    Happy Bday!!!

    It's nice to hear you had a good day...besides the marker that is. Enjoy your marzipan and pickled eggs...what a combo THAT is! LOL Here's hoping you have many many more and keep us all up to date on them!

    About waging the war of saying sorry...we're going through that too. Zach, my 3 1/2 year old, would rather sit on the couch all night than say sorry to Alex, his 2 1/2 year old brother. He'll say it if he knocks something over, he'll say it to me, he'll say it to Dan (hubby/daddy), but it's pulling teeth to get him to say it to Alex. Oh well...maybe one of these days. Ya gotta stick to it much as it sucks. I always feel like a fool too after about 10 mins of "Say you're sorry to brother.." and he's sitting there, crying like a fool saying "No..I not say it!" BTW..I laughed when I read about Birdy going to school...that's Zach's problem too! LOL He's in Head Start (we live in NY) and is up at 6:45am M-Th. Talk about a crabby kid!! He's a peach at school then he gets home and around's WHINEY TIME!! That starts the countdown for bed...since he refuses to take a nap anymore. Oh of these days he'll be big and it'll be something I can laugh about.

  24. Anonymous12:20 AM

    Happy Birthday girl!!!!! That Ben is a sweetie. I've said this a million times, but my Julian (5) is just the same, so sweet and sensitive, that he feels my days with joy. All 3 of my kids do, even the 4 and 1 year-old little hyper monsters. I subscribed to wondertime just to read our column, and let me tell you, next week we're taking your advise and we're going to a hotel for a couple of nights just to sleep and play in the pool. Ah! I better not forget the shower caps!!!!!!!
    Much love, Yamile

  25. Happy birthday! I think my birthday is now much more exciting for my son than it is for me, but seeing him so excited makes me feel a bit like a child myself.

    Have a great year, Catherine!

  26. Happy Birthday! I have four months on you. 38 aint's so bad, at least not yet.

    Pickled eggs and pork chops? See after all these years there is still a lot I don't know about you.

    Thankfully, Hannah decided she wanted to wear her big sister's old costume all on her own. Woo-hoo.

    Tell Birdy I'd pick the cat.

  27. Anonymous2:51 AM

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY dear Catherine!

    and PUHLEAZE like you need to tell me to go read your column. I read it pretty much every day until you post a new one! :-)

    Glad you felt loved today...


  28. OOOOOOOOOO Happy Happy Birthday Catherine!!! You know, I don't think you've ever written about your actual birthday and how it was spent on any of the blogs. So thanks for sharing here! I'm glad you had such a great day with your beautiful family!

  29. Anonymous6:04 AM

    Happy birthday!

    I hope that I have as much grace when I blog about mine on Sunday, but I have a feeling it will be more of the boo hoo variaty.

    Happy birthday to you.
    Happy birthday to you.
    Happy birthday dear Catherine.
    Happy birthday to you.

  30. Anonymous6:25 AM

    Happy Birthday, Catherine...sounds like you had a good day....

    My daughter is 5 but I remember when she was 3.5 and started preschool, our afternoons were the same way.......and again once you have asked them to say they are sorry, there is no turning back...

    Some days I would insist...others, I´d ignore her behavior as attention getting and try not to convert it into a drama....Its hard have no clue how many times I´ve picked her up DIEING to see her and within an hour, she has me fed up....LOL!

    As for her preferring Michael..yeah my daughter went thru a phase like this too and YES, I felt bad...which was stupid of me since she had always preferred me and my husband had been putting up with it for like..... 3 years?
    But it soon disappeared.....If my husband and I have a disagreement, she tells him to be quiet cuz I am perfect!
    : ) Have her well taught , don´t I????

  31. Anonymous7:38 AM

    Happy Birthday, Catherine! I'm glad you had such a special day.

  32. Happy Birthday! What a great day! Isn't it nice when your family knows you so well? My mother has shaken her head at some of the gifts my dh has given me, but they've all been PERFECT. He's knows me better than my own mother!

    Puts me to mind of my 32nd birthday. I was 9 mths pregnant and barely functioning. My dd INSISTED that I have a cake, party, the works. My dh obliged and bought a huge cake and balloons, and I got sung to, also. We've got a great picture of me and the two kids with my huge belly (I gave birth to #3 five days later). It's one of the best birthdays of my life!

    Enjoy those pickled eggs--and that wonderful family! :-)

  33. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Sorry, had to shout it to make sure you heard it! I'm glad it was filled with so much love and joy. My husband hasn't done a cake for years...he takes me to Dairy Queen and I get ice cream for dinner...much better in my book! And don't feel bad about boohooing over Ben's birthday present, as I got misty eyed reading about it.

    And I ditto that having dinner with you remark that clik said!

  34. Happy, happy birthday, Catherine!!

  35. Happy Birthday!! I just turned 37. Another Libra, no wonder I like ya so much ;-) My birthday came with the realization that our 40's are probably going to be our best decade so far. Life just gets better, doesn't it?

    Oh, that Ben. Sending you all hugs over the www waves.

  36. As I remember it, my last birthday, my 40th, was in grave danger of coming and going uncelebrated. My husband was tired, my friends were busy, my parents didn't count. So I dragged my sorry, soft, leaky-breasted self and my five week old baby girl and my almost four-year-old daughter (who had only just recently transformed from malevolent slime to butterscotch) through the cold rain and snow to a not- so -nearby bookstore cafe for a latte and a linzertorte. Our exclusive, all-female celebration was very satisfying and on the way home, as I gave myself little mental pats on the back for taking charge of my own destiny, I ran over a cat.

  37. .·:*¨¨*:·.Happy Birthday!.·:*¨¨*:·.

  38. Happy Birthday Catherine!! Pickled eggs, marzipan fruit and a whole collection of well wishers - that sounds perfectly Catherine. You always sound more grateful than you give yourself credit for.

    Thanks for your continued gifts to us!


  39. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, Catherine!

    p.s. I love the O article this month - pure poetry!


  40. Anonymous10:52 AM

    Oops, I'm a day late, but Happy (belated) Birthday! Hope it was a great one!

    If it makes you feel any better, we're having the opposite problem with our son and daycare right now. He's been a complete terror there for the last 3-4 weeks, but doesn't act anything like that at home! He's been at this daycare for a little over a year, and never misbehaved like this before. Tomorrow is his last day there (they are not letting him come back....) so now we have to find a new daycare. Birdy might become a whiny pain when she gets home, but at least she's not a 3-year old juvenile delinquint... ;)lol

  41. Happy birthday, Catherine!

  42. Anonymous12:44 PM

    It's my birthday TOO! 35, a mystifying occurence since I was just 26 yesterday.

    But, my (normally wonderful but not real good with remembering dates) husband forgot that it's my birthday. So I was kind grumping my way through my morning, until I opened my feed aggregator thingie and saw "catherine newman" in entry! Yee-hah!

    And it made me inexplicably happy that we share a birthday. (Okay, I think yours was yesterday, but I'm pretending not to notice.)

    Thanks for cheering me up yet again, Catherine. Happy birthday.


  43. Anonymous1:44 PM

    Happy birthday, Catherine. This is the first time I've ever left you a message. I couldn't figure out how to do it over at Parent Center. I WISH I could get my kidlets to behave like good citizens when they are out and about. I feel like I have the exact reverse because I have teachers calling me or grabbing me out of church service because they are having issues. My most recent fun was having the director of the Sunday school program come and pull me out and as she scampered alongside me in the hall (I walk fast), she is spouting some sort of running commentary that sounds like.

    "How are you doing? Are you doing ok? Because I hate to be pulling you out of the service if this is one of those...last straw type of moments where you just wanted to sit in the service and be away for a while."

    I'm I look like I'm about to snap??

    I don't know why, but it made me think of you. I think it's because you can always find the bitter in the sweet and the sweet in the bitter.

  44. Happy Birthday, Catherine - that Ben is profoundly sweet, as usual. Makes my heart ache.

    Funny that this week's entry is about Birdy falling apart. I just wrote a post detailing my son's meltdowns and my resulting madness. In fact, I talked about you and Birdy in that post, doubting that you ever lost a sense of control and peace with Birdy's challenges:

    (Of course, after reading that, you might question whether or not I'm a fit parent...but I still found your mentioning Birdy's difficulties this week interesting in light of this.)

  45. Anonymous3:38 PM

    I must find out...where did you get (or how did you make) your snake costume? My son is bound and determined to be a cobra this year and his Uncle Gary is willing to make anything (a hood and expanding headpiece is in the works), but I can't really visualize how the body will work. Faux snakeskin leggings and turtleneck? Frederick's of Hollywood? Any suggestions?

    On a related note, I too have informed my 3 year old daughter, with the requisite high excitement in my voice, that "wouldn't it be wonderful to be a puppy [because we already have it] this year?" Luckily, she bought my act. I'm not sure she'll go for the tarantula [see above, very particular son and accomodating tailor Uncle Gary] which will be her lot in 2 years' time...

    Glad to see a new blog and Happy Birthday!!

  46. I just had a birthday too so HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! Also: I think my present might have beaten yours. My neighbor got me firemen strippers! Every girls dream come true, eh? lol. 21 is a good year so far, I hope your 38 goes well too. Take care!

  47. Anonymous7:06 PM

    Happy birthday. I can't believe you've already moved onto the food-as-presents birthdays. My father in law gets honey and pepper and all kinds of nuts for his birthdays, but he's 58. Getting food for birthdays seems like a signal that you are done with with having people fuss over you with gifts that either collect dust in your house or are cherished and used for years until they are broken or all used up. How does one get to the place of just-food-for-birthdays so early in their life? Maybe you have collected enough birthday presents for a person the equivilant of 58. That would be a very full and rich life indeed. I hope that is the case.

  48. Well happy birthday, sugar! It sounds lovely, and I'm glad it was.
    (And one would hope, as the perfect end to the perfect birthday, that the eggs didn't hog all the pickling action?)

  49. Anonymous11:27 PM

    Happy Birthday, Catherine! Thank you for sharing your special day!

    I got a sewing machine for my birthday this year too. My advice for making Halloween costumes is to make them big. My older son wanted to be a penguin when he was 2, and he wore the costume again when he was 4. My younger son wore it when he was 3, so we got a lot of use out of it.

    Like many other people have said, I read your column on the Wondertime site every week, and check here probably every day to see if you've posted something new. My kids are close to the same age as yours, so it's funny how often you write about something that we've been dealing with also.

    Thank you so much for posting this link at ParentCenter, so even those of us who never posted anything could follow you here. And please be sure to let us know when your next book is out!

  50. .:*~~*:~Happy Birthday~:*~~*:.

    A new sewing machine is a wonderful present! I'm hoping to recycle a halloween costume, too. When Cait was 2, I had an orange shirt and was *just* going into the fabric store to get orange stretchy material to make pants and a tail for a tiger... then the yellow faux fur attacked me, and I ended up spending a week making a fur lion costume. I burned all the fingers on my left hand hot-gluing the ribbons on the hood for the mane. Lauren is 3 (we couldn't find it last year) and it fit her a month ago... we'll see!

  51. Anonymous8:25 AM

    Happy Birthday Catherine! I was desperately in need of a new dose of your wit, insights and shrewdness. I wonder if our mothers had so much angst over raising us? Anyway, cheers! And many more...

  52. Anonymous9:52 AM

    Happy Birthday Catherine! Looking forward to your next book!

    Mary Beth

  53. Happy Birthday Catherine!
    I have just started my own blog...after being inspired by your posts for so many years it is time to do the same for my family.

    Preserving this fleeting and endless history is the least I can do.


  54. Anonymous1:31 PM

    Happy birthday!! I am so happy for you that you have such sweet partner and kids to celebrate it with you! What a lucky girl you are!!!

    I have been following your writings and think you are a great mother and great writer! So your kids are very very lucky too to have you as their mom; and we are very very very lucky to have your writings to brignten up our days!!!

    Sorry I missed your book signing last April. would you write another book and have another signing in the Westcoast so I can meet you finally?!

    your loyal reader and fellow mother of two

  55. Happy Birthday! October is where it's all it, birthday-wise. It all sounds deliciously perfect. Pickled egg, marzipan, and all.

  56. Anonymous5:20 PM

    Happy Birthday Catherine. You are a lovely person who has given so much to so many people through your writing. Thank you - I wish you a lovely day.

  57. Anonymous5:57 PM

    Happy Birthday Libra Sister! To know a Libra is to love a Libra.



  58. Happy Birthday! Another Libra with all that wonderful emotional pedulum swinging--we ain't "the scales" for nothing!! I personallly find it hard to keep in balance! Ha! My birthday is the 5th and I almost laughed out loud when I read that your perfect birthday morning included a Thrift Store visit. That was exactly what my perfect Birthday afternoon included. We must be on the same wavelength. The funniest part is that I came home from the store with all stuff for the kids--go figure!

  59. Happy Birthday! Another Libra with all that wonderful emotional pedulum swinging--we ain't "the scales" for nothing!! I personallly find it hard to keep in balance! Ha! My birthday is the 5th and I almost laughed out loud when I read that your perfect birthday morning included a Thrift Store visit. That was exactly what my perfect Birthday afternoon included. We must be on the same wavelength. The funniest part is that I came home from the store with all stuff for the kids--go figure!

  60. I know, everyone else already beat me to it, but I just wanted to say Happy Birthday, Catherine. I hope you have many more of them.

    Thank you for sharing so much of your self and your life with us. :-)

  61. Happy Birthday! Wow, a present that Ben bought with his own money. That IS a tear-jerker. Sounds like it was fun. Especially the Salvation Army shopping spree!

  62. Anonymous4:03 AM

    Happy birthday from a new fan!So glad you are going to have a new column. I read your babycenter column a few times and tonight had just figured out where the index was and added it to my "daily fix" of favorite websites, then was reading old columns I had missed when I finally read the latest one and realized you were leaving!
    Anyhow, just want you to know I love your writing, you make me laugh out loud (not my strong suit) and not feel alone in sometimes being a wacky melancholy mama. I love your descriptions of your kids because they are detailed and loving but not "beautified" and you are honest about your fears. I could go on & on but to sum up: you help me have a perspective that helps me enjoy my 2 1/2 y.o. son! Thanks.

  63. Anonymous12:09 PM

    Happy Birthday, Catherine!

    I know just how you feel about your Birthday. Every year I get hyped up for mine and then it's a total let down and I'm sad and usually end up crying over something or other.

    So, I'm glad that you had a good day and hope that you have a wonderful year!

  64. Happy Birthday, Catherine! Your perfect birthday morning sounds exactly like something I would like to do. Didn't know that you run! Another connection point for me. (I say this as if I run with any regularity. Seems that as soon as I get into a routine, I get pregnant. Hmmm.)

    I have to tell you, it's a relief to hear someone else struggling with the "I'm sorry," dilemma. I still don't know what to do about that. Last night though, I felt a breakthrough when I explained to Mercer that he HAD to apologize to Jeb (our 11-year-old Labrador) for inadvertently hitting him with a book that was intentionally thrown in frustration with me. Mercer did the totally insincere, quick, "sorry" routine without even looking at the dog and when I explained to him that he had to get down on the floor and tell Jeb he was sorry and mean it because it REALLY wasn't right to hit Jeb with a book when Jeb had just been an innocent bystander, he actually did it with true remorse in his voice and tenderness in his touch. I almost wept, except that I was still so irritated. Now I'm weeping. Ah, pregnancy.

    Love to you and yours,


  65. Anonymous12:49 PM

    Hi (again) Catherine-
    Okay, so I just read your column on the other website and it struck such a chord with me. I am constantly calling my 5 1/2 year old daughter "Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde". She truly is. I'm almost afraid to take her for an evaluation because they might tell me she's bi-polar or something.

    Sasha just started Kindergarten this year and it's been tantrums morning and night, with the occasional good morning or good night thrown in. She's a perfect child at school. Her teacher LOVES her and she LOVES her teacher! But at home, she's a monster! A different child, completely.

    It's good to know that I'm not completely alone... but I still think that she's beyond what most other children are with their meltdowns. I don't hear about the extremes that my child seems to experience nearly so much. She's always been a very intense child and her emotional outbursts are trying to even the most patient of souls. I think even Mother Theresa would have been tempted to scream at Sasha, jump up and down and bang her head against a concrete wall in attempts to get Sasha to listen and to stop screaming & crying.

    Anyway- I just wanted to say thank you, again, for sharing your stories with us. It makes me feel just a little bit more sane....

  66. Anonymous3:26 PM

    Thanks for the candid Wonder Time article. (I've followed your journals for 3+ yrs now.) Those 7 Habits get me worried sometimes. My oldest is only 3 yrs, and already I've obsessed about her recent chewing on her shirt, sucking her fingers, mumbling her words when she can talk like a mini-adult, and picking her nose only to wipe the boogies off in random places (the wall!). Otherwise she is a lovely and well-adjusted child. It just helped to see that list of Ben's eccentricities and realize that ALL kids are a little bit compulsive.

  67. dude, 74 happy birthdays must make you feel grand. thanks, as always, for sharing. and bonne fete.

    you ARE at the top of my favorites bar on my browser. you inspired me to start my own blog, of which i have one pathetic, uninspired entry. i should just write, "um...what she said >>link to catherine newman"

    best to you.

  68. I really laughed at Ben smelling his fingers. Jackson has this habit of licking his fingertips. He says they feel dry, so he coats them with a layer of glossy saliva ... it's so gross.

    Have you seen that indy movie, Thumbsucker? It's pretty great, complete with a very zen dentist. Check it out if you haven't seen it. :)

  69. Anonymous3:48 PM

    I have often wondered how my life would be different if instead of my son insisting on doing a booty shake each and every time he sits on the toilet he was actually compelled to . . .hmmm . . .put his socks away, or hang up his book bag. I guess I am asking too much.
    Great article this week. What struck me the most was that beautiful picture of Ben and Birdy at the top. As a person who has watched Ben grow in the last four years from a chubby cheeked little toddler - that has to be one of the most beautiful pictures I have ever seen of him.

  70. Anonymous5:54 PM

    Catherine, just read the new post on Wondertime, and as usual, you put it so sweetly (about Ben not sucking his thumb), I wanted to cry. Cry for what that bit of babyhood that has passed, I know I miss each one that passes too!!! Happy belated b-day by the way!!

  71. Anonymous6:33 PM

    A big happy birthday too you!
    I've only just 'discovered' you here as I stopped reading your BC/PC journal while we moved house (I hate moving!!!). So I've just caught up to the last instalment... and boo hoo you're gone! Am a bit embarrassed to admit to feeling sad - like one of my own friends had just taken a new job in Uzbekistan. Jeez, am I starting to sound like your very own "biggest fan" stalker chic, or what! Don't worry I'm on the other side of the globe ;-).
    Arrghh! got to rescue the dog from the 2yo wielding a can of fly spray, screamming "no shoooooeeees noooo"! Blog on.

  72. grumpy bosom??? anyone who thinks of things so funny deserves all the pickled eggs they desire!!

  73. Anonymous9:32 PM

    Happy birthday, Catherine!

    I'm a long-time reader of your BabyCenter columns and although I've been reading both your blog and the Wondertime column, I hadn't yet written in to say how very, very glad I am that you're still writing. :-)


  74. Becky, I'm with you on the extreme emotions...I've sort of written about it on my blog. Really, you aren't alone, and I'm nodding my head while reading your post. My MIL, who thinks my children are saints, has commented on the fact that she could make a sane person lose her mind. Good luck, and if you find any solutions, please share!

    I loved this weeks column. Love that dentist. I was chuckling out loud through out the whole article. Thanks!

  75. Anonymous9:45 PM

    Your writing:my tonic at the end of the day, my chuckle and, more often, my tears at the end of my wit. Having 3 boys (5 1/2, 2 1/2, 2 1/2) I feel that your experiences with Ben and Birdy often ring so true to my life. I had such a lousy day at work today (yes, I work full time, too) and your column did wonders to keep it all in perspective. I see my own kids in yours and my own fears echoed by your words. It brings such comfort that we (read:neurotics) are not alone in the world! That when I still obsessively check on my boys before I go to sleep and that it's SO hard that I can't cover the twins with their blankets that they've kicked off because the REALLY loud zipper on their crib tents (they're climbers and SO not ready for a bed, yet) will wake them for sure.
    I was in Babies R Us the other day and, looking through all of the infant wear, realized that I could barely remember the infant stage for the twins and that I felt suddenly cheated. The blur in its place is, I know, from no sleep for almost 2 years, but I felt so sad, like I missed out somehow. And the mourning for nursing that you can't even bring yourself to write about is shared more than you know. Thank you for what you do. I've been reading you for years and will continue to do so as long as you're willing to keep sharing your life with us. Keep up the good work!

  76. Anonymous9:57 PM

    What a wonderful Wondertime article. It is true how we go through rocky times and always think it's the worst and will never get better...and then it does and we wonder where it all went. Also, the Oprah article made me giggle.


  77. Anonymous10:53 PM

    Cathernie - Your children are so strikingly beautiful! And the article that goes along with the picture...I am 25 and I didn't stop sucking my thumb until...Well I'll never admit when I actually stopped but anyway - GOOD FOR BEN! And I totally understand about the phases. My daughter has started with the sleeves now since we got long sleeved shirts for the colder months. But they must be down all the time. She even wriggles when we are washing hands becasue she hates when I push them up. And she this thing about me rubbing her back and then her belly and then her back again right after I lay her in bed to sleep at night...It is sweet but odd. I am not an avid journal keeper but I am trying just so she (OK, me too!) can look back one day on these times that have gone so quickly. You have an amazing way with words and I thank you for sharing this gift with us.

  78. What beautiful babies you have, although that Ben is looking so grown up! I don't know how you do it - your columns are always EXACTLY what I'm thinking about/pondering/chewing on that day. We just saw friends with a just-2 yr old last night, and it was such a flashback to the 2 yr old days, watching the tantrums because he doesn't have the words to get his point across. We complain that our almost-4 yr old is difficult, with sassy mouth and tantrums, but it's nothing like that 2 yr old "new embarrassment" of the beginning of tantrums.
    So thank you for putting so beautifully into words what I'm always feeling about my kids.
    Your columns make my Mondays so much brighter!

  79. happy birthday to you (a little belated but nonetheless sincere) - and greetings from the mad muthas of merrie england!

  80. Happy Birthday!

    And nothing goes with a pickled egg quite like a cold beer. Drink up.

  81. Happy Belate birthday!

    And thank you for replying to my post. I appreciate your perspective and I think you may have helped several women feel much better about themselves this morning. :)

  82. I just read the column about Ben's thumb-sucking. That kid never ceases to amaze me. He's so simultaneously wise and innocent - how is that possible? I love that kid.

  83. OMG, I love the new article. I feel the same way (as everyone does, I'm sure). The bit with the dentist is brilliant. Your kids are so beautiful in that picture, I can hardly stand it.

  84. Anonymous1:38 PM

    I love the plane and turbulance metaphor. I love it becasue it reminds me of the entry from your babycenter days about the new parents bobbing about in the ocean, not sure if they'd ever make it to shore. It still makes me teary to read that paragraph - I've sent it to every mom I know.

  85. Anonymous4:16 PM

    Congratulations on another year.
    I've always enjoyed reading your work. I've been a reader since week one at baby center. My boys are very close in age to Ben and Birdy. This is the first time I've written you a comment. I had to after seeing the photo posted this week at Wondertime. Ben and Birdy in what looks like a hammock. They look so suddenly grown. Especially Ben. I got all nostalgic and I have to admit, I'm really proud of your big kid too. Is that too silly?

    Your a lucky girl. Happy birthday.

    Also, thanks for bringing me to Wondertime. I LOVE them! The magazine is fabulous and the website rocks too!

  86. Anonymous6:33 PM

    I have just found your blog, and am enjoying it. I read Ben and Birdy until the final post, but never really gave thought to the literary sacrifice that went along with it (you know, following all those darned rules). I enjoy your blog very much because it feels so free (I bet you could never use the term "wet dream" at babycenter). I have allowed my moments in motherhood to slip past me undocumented, so I am glad that you write all yours down, so that I can enjoy the memories they evoke.

  87. so, okay. I am still laughing about the dentist and Birdy... gotta go to the bathroom before the accident!

    Okay. I am back. You slayed me on that one over at Wondertime! Thank you.

    Now on to turning 38-- Okay I just turned 38. Whenever I read your column at the old place, I was always wondering how close the ages of our kids were. It was just weird! My son is 6.5 years, My other son is 3.5 years-- it is really uncanny how exact Gena and Catherine are... it is like an alternate universe. Well, except for the fact that my second child is a boy and your second child is a girl.... I guess that is a BIG difference.

    You are sometimes just the funniest! Thanks!
    Oh- and Happy Birthday!

  88. Anonymous10:59 PM


    About Birdy and the impossible apologies. We had the same problem with our older boy until we made an "I'm sorry" card on an index card. Whenever he needed to apologize and wouldn't we would have him hand over the "sorry card" to whomever was owed the apology. It worked like a charm.

    Good luck and happy birthday!


  89. Anonymous11:02 PM

    Happy birthday, Catherine.

    About Birdy and apologizing...
    We had the same problem with our older boy until we made a "sorry card." We stick it to the fridge and whenever he needs to apologize and won't we can help him to give the card to whomever the apology is owed. It worked great for us.

    Good luck

  90. Anonymous10:59 AM

    Um, who is that teenage boy in the picture with Birdy on Wondertime? I have been reading your columns since the beginning on babycenter, and I am just a little heartbroken at how grown-up Ben suddenly looks. My god, what a big kid. They're both beautiful. I guess we'll still hopefully be reading these when his voice changes and he starts driving, and Ava has her first real boyfriend, and I'll have to go cry somewhere. Oh, and happy birthday to you, too :) JoAnn

  91. Anonymous11:06 AM

    Oh man, Catherine. Just saw Ben's picture on your new Dalai Mama entry. His haircut makes him look so grown-up! Or maybe it's just that his face is losing that babyish roundness. Either way, it's making me sad... I heart your gorgeous kids.

  92. Anonymous1:15 PM

    Happy Birthday! Also, in regards to the Wondertime link...Ben is getting so grown-up. Congrats on the bittersweet end of thumb-sucking! My son stopped cold turkey when he had a cold last year and it kept him from breathing properly when he slept...not having the thumb also kept him from sleeping well for a week (aargh), but after that week he was over the thumb! I wanted to point out just how eerily Ben now looks like Jack White of the White Stripes. Compare this photo (look below "history")with the one of him in the Wondertime 10-9-06 blog. Strange, eh? Maybe you've got a rockstar there. :)

  93. Anonymous5:57 PM

    First-Happy Belated Birthday
    I just read the thumbsucking post on Wondertime. As a regular reader since 2003 what I found most striking was what a big boy Ben has become. His face looks so mature -- I can almost picture him as a teenager (and a handsome one at that).
    Then it made me a bit sad. My son is 6 months younger than Birdy and someday in the not-too-distant future his cute preschooler face will be replaced with his grown-up face and my baby will really be gone.

  94. Yes, definitely happy birthday.

    And thanks for the gift of "The Seven Habits". That was old-school Catherine, girl! Had me laughing so hard I couldn't open my eyes to read the end!!!! Even just thinking about it five minutes later and I'm convulsing in my chair!!

    I've got a passionate little Bird here too, and man did I need that laugh today. And some Excedrin too come to think of it.

  95. Anonymous10:41 PM

    The last Wondertime post is another masterpiece. I feel exactly the same away about being consumed with a phase and then three days later wonder what it was that I was so obsessed about. Usually I then notice two weeks after that Dash's 4 week cough is finally gone and Ryder hasn't smacked me in the gut (as only sweet, sweet two-year-olds can do) to get my attention.

    And, oh, that picture of the babes. Ben is amazing. Birdy still has a bit of baby, but Ben is all his very "ownself". They're gorgeous.


  96. Anonymous10:58 PM

    Happy birthday!! I just adore all your posts here...few and far between as they may be and I check over at wondertime for the new entries. thanks for sharing such great stories.

  97. Anonymous11:22 AM

    I just read your latest Wondertime column and I have to tell you how much good it has done me today. I have felt like crying most of the morning -- partly due to hormones, since in addition to caring for my two-year old, I have a 5-week old, fussy baby boy. But it's mostly my two-year old. Her screaming fits sound suspiciously like Birdy's and this morning she pushed me absolutely, completely, utterly to the edge. I started crying and whacking her diaper on the ground, sobbing to her "I just want to change your diaper! Is that so much to ask?" Writing that now, I can laugh just a tiny bit (but only a little), as I imagine myself looking in the window at the shrieking mother and her stunned two-year old ("Wow! Mommies cry too!") and the sight we must have made. I know you've been there too, so I just wanted to say thanks for helping me see the larger picture here. All too soon, this will all be a memory.


  98. Anonymous4:15 PM

    Happy Birthday! I think you're probably one of the best writers around. And you have the most beautiful kids! (don't tell my kids I said that). Ben is so gorgeous in the new picture in the hammock that I just have to stare at him (I swear I'm not a dangerous stalker type). Hope the whole week is awesome!

  99. Anonymous5:46 PM

    I just finished reading the latest Wondertime post. As usual your writing makes me want to laugh and cry do you do it? You always manage to express perfectly how it feels to be a mom...complete joy and sadness at exactly the same time.

    Thanks for another brilliant post and for another new picture of your kids. If Birdy wasn't sitting right beside Ben I don't think I would have recognized him. He looks so grown up and so handsome.

  100. Anonymous11:20 PM

    Oh, that Ben! This week's Wondertime is lump-in-my-throat great. And I completely get that sense of being unable to see that what is happening right now (the not sleeping or the biting or the sitting on the potty for 18 hours a day without ever actually managing to go pee in it) is actually A Phase and not The Way Things Will Be From Now On.

    Thank you, Catherine. I cherish your perspective and your storytelling, your ability to make me laugh and cry with the same sentence. Keep it up! And happy birthday!

  101. Anonymous1:07 AM

    Many happy returns, Catherine. Sounds like you had a good day.

    As someone who blogs about my family life also, I was wondering how you feel about opening up your life and the lives of your children to strangers. You share so much with us, and photos too (not here, but at Wondertime and previously at BC), and I'm wondering if it ever freaks you out - like "who is reading my blog"? I ask because it occassionally freaks me out (like tonight) and makes me wonder if I should shut down my blog, pull everything off the internet, and just go back to living an anonymous life. I really don't want to freak you out too - but I am just wondering if this ever gets to you, and how you deal with it?

  102. Anonymous11:30 AM

    loved your 'other' column this week, the bits about the cue cards made me laugh as I've considered the same thing myself with various health professional as my son takes their word as gospel!

  103. Anonymous12:28 AM

    Happy (Belated) Birthday. (Geesh-I'm comment #112) I read your wondertime column like it's a piece of chocolate mousse cake- slowly, savoring every paragraph. I just leave my computer screen on your page and corral my husband and say "Read it." (while my eyes are misty from laughter or tears) We (your readers) get so much validation from your words- this is so corny to say, but you really ARE the Dalai Mama! What a perfect title.

  104. Anonymous9:29 PM


    I have been reading your column on BabyCenter forevah AND I bought and loved your book. I was sad to see you leave there (becuase I miss your writing!) but I can see that you needed to move on.

    Your are such an inspiration to me as a parent, you're so real. Your encounters are so true-to-life I would read your column and go "Yeah! That happened to me! She totally gets it."

    Anyway I never did figure out how to comment on BabyCenter (and you were the only reason I visited there at all - they're so anti AP!) but I wanted to leave you a note to tell you how much your writing has meant to me. Thank you so much.


    I have been reading your column on BabyCenter forevah AND I bought and loved your book. I was sad to see you leave there (becuase I miss your writing!) but I can see that you needed to move on.

    Your are such an inspiration to me as a parent, you're so real. Your encounters are so true-to-life I would read your column and go "Yeah! That happened to me! She totally gets it."

    Anyway I never did figure out how to comment on BabyCenter (and you were the only reason I visited there at all - they're so anti AP!) but I wanted to leave you a note to tell you how much your writing has meant to me. Thank you so much.

    I also have a blog and you were one of my inspirations for starting it.

  106. Anonymous12:37 PM


    I'm trying to get an on-line copy of your wonderful article that appeared in the October issue of Oprah. Do you have one?

    Thank you.