Monday, October 16, 2006

Because I am grateful

And also because, ahem, in all of your fabulous responses to my blog questions, very few of you mentioned "helpful hints" as a reason you come back here and I would like to rectify that, I offer you this pearl: If you have already eaten half a bag of Frito-Lay Naturals Cheetos White Cheddar Puffs Cheese Flavored Snacks, and if you are planning on eating the remaining half a bag, get yourself a pair of scissors and snip off the top of the bag! You will end up with much less cheese dust on your knuckles and wrist. Also, you will be less tempted to, say, put the puffs away, because now there's not even enough bag to rubberband closed, and so you will do the sensible thing and eat every last puff. (Kill me.)

But, now that we're sharing advice like sugar in this neighbor-across-the-fence way, can I ask: when your lips are so chapped that it's like you're wearing another pair of lips on top of your actual lips, and rubbing any kind of balm into them is as effective as, say, spritzing Spray and Wash onto a chain-mail vest to get out the stain on your underwear beneath, what do you do? Can I loofah my lips?

What? You wanted to hear about Ben and Birdy? Oh. There's this. And yes, I took that picture, and yes, that's the yolk of a poached egg decorating her maniac face.


  1. I'm ALL ears for the chapped lip advice. Mine are horrible. If you have the fortune to see me in say January, you'll see the chapping has turned to pealing....lovely. Tea tree oil used to help....but not so much any more. Now it helps, but only in as so much as I don't want to lick my lips-yuck ; p

  2. Maybe something heavy duty like Amolin cream or something? (not sure if you guys have that over there...) And what a great look too! Wax mmm. So shiny and beeeeyoootiful!

  3. ps: that photo of Birdy is fantastic! She is such a gorgeous little cheeky monkey.

  4. Ok...shameless plug, but it's true: Mary Kay Satin Lips lip mask and balm. I'm telling you, it's MAGIC!!!!!!!

    I ship for freeeeeeeeeee!!!!!

  5. Anonymous10:00 PM

    Last year there was egg yolk on Hannah's face in every single photo I took of her and I sent them out to folks anyway because I just love her face. Sue me.

    But anyway, I think wearing another pair of lips on yours is called kissing, but I'm not sure.

    I would recommend not going for the loofah, but that's just me. Can you stick a sprig of parsley in your pie-hole? (An I'm only using the term pie-hole because you used it once long ago and it made an impression on me. Well, really it made an impression on me because I identified with standing in front of the refrigerator and stuffing my face).

    As for your most recent column, we have a chore chart that Rachel enthuses over. We'll have to make a card for emergency running.

    I am realizing that even though I did not have a lot of paralyzing fears when my children were younger, I am headed for hell, because i am deathly afraid of their teenage years. I am afraid of them driving. Afraid of them spending evenings without me. I am imagining their angst, heartbreak, and car crashes now, already, and it scares the hell of me.

    Happy, happy.

  6. Anonymous10:15 PM

    If you haven't tried it yet, my favorite "lip stuff" is the Blistix brand that comes in a little tub (the tan-colored one, not blue). Use it daily and your lips will be back to their lovely selves in no time!

  7. Anonymous10:59 PM

    It sounds strange, but when my lips are so chapped that I can't seem to fix the problem I use one of those ultral healing lotions (like Jergins ultra healing or Vasoline healing therapy). I slather it on before bed, remind my partner not to get too close and go to sleep. It isn't perfect in the morning, but it is usually healed enough that regular lip products start to work again. Sometimes it takes two nights of this treatment. Hope this helps.

  8. I just use the Burt's Bees stuff. I know, not so inventive. But I think the key is simply to be a bit obsessive about it. Make a little necklace chain around your neck and attach a tube to it. That way, you can apply every 2 minutes or so. It works, and will provide your children with amusing anecdotes for the grandkids in future years.

  9. When mine are extra bad (like after I've been sick and breathing through my mouth for a week) I like to brush them with my toothbrush before I put the lip balm on. When they're that bad, I'll quit using my beloved Burts Bees and use a little slip of Mentholatum or Vicks. Good luck with that.

  10. My daughter gets super chapped lips - as well as the skin under her lip (thumb sucking gal) - and the only thing that's worked for her (sorry if this brings back bad memories) is Lansinoh. I goop it on her at night before she goes to bed and by morning, she's nearly healed.

  11. Anonymous11:30 PM

    The dr. rec'd hydrocortisone cream (the 1% over-the-counter stuff) and it works really well! I've also used leftover Lanisoh I had laying around, but after my lips were much better and didn't need the hydrocortisone anymore. Also, I use aquaphor every single night right before I turn out the light. It doesn't get THAT cold or dry here in Northern CA (spoiled, I know), but maybe that will help.


  12. Anonymous11:34 PM

    I second the Lansinoh advice. I think I've had more comfort from it's use as a chapped-lip remedy than a nipple protector! Even cheaper is a tiny tub of pure lanolin from the pharmacy.

  13. Ditto Kristen on the Mary Kay product. Your lips will feel incredible, I swear. I don't sell it, but I use it and it is fabulous. It is like the face scrub/exfollient but only for your lips. Try it now and thank me later.

  14. Back in the band geek days we used to use vitamin E on our lips--the kind you buy in little capsules that you're supposed to swallow but instead you bite off the end and squeeze the slime onto your kisser. It must have done some good because I never once froze to my trumpet, nor did my lips crack and peel.

    I'm totally loving the Birdy pic and last week's pic of her with Ben. Your two little dahlings are so gorgous (yes, that's GOR-gus...long story).

  15. Anonymous11:53 PM

    no on the loofah, YES to an old soft toothbrush. Gently rub in circles, then apply potroleum jelly (vaseline). OR, do what I did and move to Louisiana and practically give up your chapped lips for good. It may be hotter than hell here in August, but the humidity keeps those lips nice and supple. And your patio furniture moldy, but that's another story...

  16. Anonymous11:54 PM

    oh... and drink lots of water. it's that whole hydrating from the inside out thing...

  17. Anonymous1:00 AM

    This is going to sound weird, but Lansinoh (yeah, the stuff that you use on your nipples when they get sore/chapped from nursing) works wonders for all sorts of chapping (including lips). My kids went through a phase I thought would never end of runny noses that they just kept wiping with their sleeve, and ended up with chapped faces. I'd put this stuff on them before bed and by the next morning they looked human. And this was with skin that was chapped so bad it was bleeding in places.

    I haven't used a loofah, but I *have* used a firm-ish toothbrush to scrub the "second lip" off with.

  18. I almost always use Blistex (in the white(?) tube, NOT the blue one) when my lips get like that. It stings a little bit, but is well worth it. After re-applying once an hour or so for just a few hours, they are usually much better and then I switch over to my beloved Burts Bees lip balm.

    My mother and grandmother both swear by petroleum jelly, but I just can't bring myself to slather that stuff on my lips!

    Good luck with whatever you try.

  19. Anonymous2:41 AM

    Dear Catherine,

    I just have to drop you a quick note. I do not write things like this to people I don't know, and I feel like a nerd, but I want you to know of your impact on me. I ran across your writings on ParentCenter during my 2nd pregnancy. As most expecting mothers, I anxiously awaited the anniversary of another week down each Sunday Night. I would go on to Parent Center and read the weekly development calendar outlining the new milestones that my baby would make on the upcoming week. As I did that religionsly, one evening I ran across an article called "Bringing up Ben" and I read each installment to catch myself up. I would print out your article and read it and reread it and come home and drive my husband crazy making him listen to the funny parts and the parts where I would stop and say "Isn't that SO true?" You were inspiring, you were fun, you were intelligent and real and I absolutly enjoyed being let in on your life. It lifed me up during a time when I was a stay at home mom and I didn't have a lot of fun in my life. I saw myself in you and you in my friends and my sisters and I really enjoyed . . . knowing you for that time. I sound like a stalker huh? Anyway, I went on tonight to do some catching up because it's been several months since I've gone on to read and I saw the word "commencement" and my heart sank a little. I always thought in the back of my mind that you were so talented that you would eventually stop posting articles, and I was sad to see it has ended. I actually don't know why or where you have gone as I read the last entry only. (I'll go back and read for closure purposes that I OBVIOUSLY need :) I want to say to you that you are really talented and I wish you and your growing little family so much happiness in life. You made a stamp in my life, and I won't forget so many of the things you said. If we were in high school and I had your yearbook, I would write 2good2bforgotten. Corny, I know, and I erased it twice, but I am leaving it and I wish you the best always. See how attached I am to you! Best Wishes, Shellee

  20. For your lips, I recommend Neosporin L.T. (lip treatment). It's the one thing I have found that actually helps heal the lips, rather than just coating them with wax!
    And also, drink more water!
    Mostly I wanted to comment to thank you for your post-before-last at Wondertime. The airplane about to crash in my life right now is all about potty training my (almost) 4-year-old son. Of course I know he will not be in diapers forever, but it sure feels that way to me now. I can't imagine feeling wistful about the last diaper, but I am keen to give it a try, if you know what I mean.
    Anyway, that is why I read blogs like yours, for that reassurance from another Mommy, a little farther down the road than me, that this too shall pass, that other kids and other Moms are out there experiencing the same things we are, that I am doing OK.
    Thank you!

  21. Anonymous4:11 AM

    Hey y'all,

    I love love love kiehl's lip balm #1 for my lips--it doesn't make them feel greasy at all and they never seem to get chapped anymore. Plus, I used to be a Blistex junkie, but I swear that it is addictive and if you don't use it constantly then your lips get even more chapped (has anyone else had that happen?).

    I so enjoyed your article about the kids passing through stages so quickly even though it seems like they will never be done with them. I was just thinking about that last night, since my 3 year old daughter seems to be glued to my side at all times when I am home--I think if she could, she would actually try to climb back into the womb! I am trying to be more patient about this, since in a few years I'm sure she not only won't want to be with me constantly, but will probably try to pretend she doesn't even have parents!

    Thanks for the great insights as usual!

  22. I recommend exfoliating with Mary Kay Satin Lips lip mask, then following with Burts Bees lip balm. You cant go wrong. Delicious peppermint all natural, it makes me drool to think of it. Im gonna go grab my tube of burts right now in fact. :)

  23. more snogging or alternatively egg yolk - birdie's lips look nice and soft

  24. Anonymous9:37 AM

    My mother always used to take a vitamin E capsule (the one with the liquid in it), puncture one end and coat our lips in the oil (it's quite thick). It worked incredible wonders - I still resort to it when my lips are in really bad shape. Good luck!

  25. I loooove Garden Botanika's lip scrub (kind of like loofahing your lips only not quite so harsh) followed by Badger's Healing Balm.
    Hope this helps!

  26. When I get really bad chapped lips, I go with olive oil. It works wonders.

  27. Hi Catherine,

    I am in agreement about any type of pure Lanolin product they do work but the key is reapply frequently at first. I also use Carmex and keep one in every coat pocket, car door pocket, bag, etc. I know they are addictive and most likely the more you use the more you need but I can't help it!

    Last a friend of mine swears by the Neutrogena Intensive Hand Cream (unscented) which she smears on.

    Birdy is too much like my Calista they look like sisters!


  28. "Catastrophizing." That is what I do. Hopefully I will get over it someday too (my kids are younger).

  29. Anonymous10:35 AM

    For the chapped lips, I also recommend the Blistex DCT stuff in the little peach colored round tub. Stay away from anything made by chap stick- it has an ingredient in it that actually dries out your lips-put there I'm sure to keep people using the stuff endlessly. Lanolin is supposed to be good for, um, chapped nipples, if I remember correctly, so perhaps lips are ok, too?

    As far as this week's Wondertime column, I also suffer from this "dysfunction" of seeing the worst case scenario (like you, I think it's receding a bit off my horizon)When my daughter recently fell off my husbands back onto the hardwood floor (which made the most awful sound) I watched her for days, too. When her tantrums got really bad one day, I asked him, "Do you think that's from the fall?"

    And the picture?-you could bite that Birdy, she's so cute!

  30. This morning I was going to blog about how I'm turning into Howard Hughes since my son started Kindergarten, and how it's especially weird that I'm finding comfort in that.

    Your latest article about catastrophizing is SO easy to relate to. As far back as I can remember I have been imagining horrible disasters and physically flinching at them, but I don't think this is uncommon.

    I'm getting over imagining horrible things happening to my kids each day and have moved on to imagining horrible things happening to me - how will they live without me? what kind of single father will my husband make? will my inlaws try to move in?

    Catherine, if nothing else know that you are making it a LOT more comfortable for me to sink deeper into this big shlorpy vat of neurosis. I'm not sure I should thank you for that - but it kinda feels goooooood.

    I chose to tread gingerly around the topic of lice with my son when the notice of a school outbreak came home in his backpack, but you bet I tried my best to instill the fear of the parasite god in him when I got a notice about somebody in his classroom having a pinworm infestation! GOOD LORD!

    I am not one of those parents who tries so hard not to pass on those kind of fears. I think they might be valuable. And hey, don't worry about Ben. He already knows to run next door in case of death and/or fire.

  31. Anonymous11:17 AM

    I have the same lip problem every winter! I can mosturize all day long, but it doesn't get under the crusty outer layer to heal anything. So, what I do is take a nice warm washcloth, and rub gently over my lips before I take a shower. Or, like another noted, use a wet toothbrush.

  32. Anonymous11:30 AM

    Okay, I am NOT a Mary Kay representive. Not that there is anything wrong with that as they say on Seinfeld. But Mary Kay makes this 3 step lip treatment that sort of exfoliates your lips without making them bleed and leaves them pretty soft. Not cheap but it works. I also used to put Vaseline on my lips every night but leaving a jar of Vaseline by your bed leads to questions I'd rather not hear. And no, I can't keep everyone out of my bedroom. In my extended family with all our kids, it just isn't possible.

  33. Anonymous12:00 PM

    No one mentioned how incredibly *helpful* Catherine's tip was. I never thought to cut the top of the chip bag off so my hand and fingers wouldn't get so nasty!! Wow!! You've changed another life, my friend.
    P.S. Loved this week's column.

  34. Oh yeah, I came back to say thanks for the bag tip - I do this too! But not so much to keep clean hands as to prevent the entire bag splitting down the side when my husband crams his giant hands down towards the bottom. Also, if you buy big blocks of cheese like I do, it's helpful to cut the end of the plastic off as you get further down so that there isn't so much to peel back every time you want to cut some off. That's a little nugget for ya ;-)

  35. Anonymous1:21 PM

    drinnk more water, chapped lips are a sign of dehydration :)

  36. I once took some medication that basically chapped my face from chin to nose. While it didn't help actually heal, I found that the vaseline (in the little tube with the hole in the top) actually kept me pliable enough to be able to eat (cheese puffs even). I also have a chemist brother in law that mixes shea butter stuff for my ecxema afflicted sister in shae butter anything might be helpful.

  37. Anonymous1:24 PM

    Kay, you absolutely CRACK ME UP.
    Loved the disaster article..forwarded to all my mom friends (they are forced to love you because I do). I made them read it, then told them how, over the weekend, my girls rode in the "waaaaay" back of my husband's 1999 Volvo (for a long 2 mile journey) they love it cause it feels like they are riding backward.. and how I pictured any random car plowing into them and sat next to my mother in-law half turned the entire time ready to "protect" them with my arms. How would that have even been helpful? Yours is the ONLY BLOG I read.... I barely have time to read yours, but it's worth every second. I said this before, I am a different parent because of you!! Thanks...

  38. I am a burts bees freak!

  39. Anonymous2:23 PM

    Re: Chapped lips

    When your washing your face, rub your lips gently with your washcloth to remove the dead skin. (Or use a soft toothbrush, as others have mentioned.) You have to get the dead skin off so whatever you put on your lips will actually get to the healthy skin below.

    Then use a lanolin cream (like Lansinoh, as others have recommended) over your lips to moisturize (lanolin is closest to your body's natural moisture). If you want, you can follow up with a layer of aquaphor or vaseline (skin protectants) to keep the moisture next to your skin.

    DO NOT USE any lip balm or lip care product that contains fragrance, camphor, menthol, peppermint oil, or eucalyptus, since they will actually make your skin MORE irritated! (Blistex contains phenol, which can also be irritating, but is useful for clearing up cold sores.)

    I used to use lip balm all the time, and I had perpetually cracked and bloody lips. When I switched to Lansinoh, my lip problems went away.

    For more info, check out:
    (This woman's website and books have a wealth of skin care info-- including reviews of many cosmetics products and cost-saving alternatives. I highly recommend it!)

    Good luck!

  40. Anonymous3:14 PM

    Body Shop sells a product called lip scuff which helps to loofah and then moisturize the lips. When skiing had turned my lips into horrible peeling things it was the only thing I found that helped.

  41. Anonymous3:18 PM

    I am on this horrible medicine that dries out my lips, but most who take it use Aquaphor. It works very well and the hydrocortisone is also great if they are cracked. I think that Aquaphor should be about the same consistancy as the Lanisoh. I have used both for both problems. :)

    Thanks for another wonderful picture painted this week. I love reading everything you write.

  42. Anonymous3:42 PM

    Combination of tactics used by pp:

    1. Exfoliate gently. A soft toothbrush will do or purchase the lip scuff.
    2. Burts Bees by day
    3. Lasinoh by night.

  43. Anonymous3:57 PM

    Lansinoh works, but my favorite is a moisturizer by weleda called "skinfood". it's awesome! i got mine at the wholefoods in hadley, and it makes me feel all hippie-chic!

    however, it does contain peanut oil, so i only wear it at home. i have terrible visions of picking up the kid at school and causing horrific peanut allergies in some kid.

    catastrophize? me?! never.


    If it's good for cow's udders, it's great for lips! I've heard others love it, I've not tried it myself but it seems like a good old-fashioned New England kind of fix.

  45. Anonymous4:37 PM

    Hey! Whoa! I guess it's been a WHILE since I checked out your blog. There were a few posts from readers, but now some extra stuff from YOU! ( I say extra b/c I read your weekly at Wondertime too) (...also subscribed to Wondertime - got my first copy yesterday & love it!) Yes, I echo those before me who plugged Burt's Bees. I used to use this German stuff called Labello, but I think B.B.'s is way better, and has menthol in it to make your lips all tingley;) I'm intrigued by the idea of lansinoh, sounds like a great idea as it is made for a much more sensitive body part and is therefor gentle AND effective.
    Is it OK to share recipes here? I'm trying to cut back on sugar and a friend who's a raw foods chef gave me a recipe for these totally amazing brownies. If it's OK, I'll provide...

  46. Anonymous4:53 PM

    Okay. I had to respond to this because I had the same lip problem! Nothing helped and I mean NOTHING! I tried aquafor, several lip remedies, olive oil, loofah (which by the way hurt like hell and made them worse), vaseline, neosporin lip treatment, antifungal cream (yes, for real) carmex, mary kay. I could go on but I'll spare you. You described it perfectly when you said it's like another set of lips on top of yours. It's more than just being chappy. It's weird because mine didn't even look chappy unless you got close. It was like some foreign something on my lips! I knew I needed to call a doctor when I actually tried my son's desitin on my lips! I mean, it cures baby's bums why not mommy's lips, right??! WRONG!!

    SO... I'll tell you.... my dermatologist called in this magic ointment. It's called.... are you ready??! FLUOCINONIDE USP 0.05% OINTMENT!!!! It's the only thing the worked. It only took a couple of days and I felt sooo much better.

  47. Anonymous5:15 PM

    Hey Catherine --

    I was reading your post about worrying over at Wondertime, and it occured to me that I should tell you thanks for giving me the encouragement to "live in the moment" with my kids. My 3-year-old has major health problems, and it's so hard not to "catastrophize" about her. Having been a reader of yours since before whe was born, I've been able to have that thought in the back of my mind for the entirety of her often difficult life. If I find myself getting overwhelmed with worry about her, I remind myself to sit on the floor and play a game with her, or sing a silly song with her, or whatever it takes to enjoy her while I can.



    PS Burt's Bees is my favorite from way back.

  48. Anonymous7:12 PM

    I cannot believe I found another bag balm afficianado!! My mom has sworn by it for everything for over 30 years. We love it, and it works for darn near everything..except when the twins decide that they want to bathe each other in it, and it doesnt really rub in, and then they are slippery on the hard wood floors, and you think that if you use dawn dish soap on their skin it will nullify the effects of the healing properties of the bag balm on them..*sigh*


  49. Vitamin E in the Webber Ointment blue and white round box. It is like petroleum jelly with vitamin E in it. You put it on your lips... It works for us.
    (I sound like a TV commercial).

  50. Vaseline. Seriously.
    Then you chew them off in a Festival of Grossness. (You really have to pronounce that "festeeVAHL" for it to work right.)

  51. Anonymous8:46 PM

    For the chapped lips, I have one that I don't see mentioned, which doesn't surprise me! :) I was at an, sort of party once and the consultant went on and on about a product called Nipple Nibblers. She swore it was fabulous for dry, chapped lips. It is like chap stick in a tin, so she actually takes the label off & sends it to school with her son. Anyway, it is wonderful (of course I got some just to make sure!) and it warms them & makes them look poutier for a bonus! Oh and it tastes amazing also...the container is huge, so it'll last a long time. That is, depending on how you use it... :)

  52. Anonymous9:17 PM

    First the help... use your toothbrush on your lips. Wet both first. It's more gentle than a loofah, but it works the same way by removing the dead skin. Afterward, apply your lip ointment of choice. You'll feel like a new woman.

    Now the thank you... thanks for the snack bag advice. I've needed an excuse for eating an entire bag of Cheetoes Twisted.

  53. Anonymous11:08 PM

    A & D ointment is the best for really hideously chapped and peeling lips (yes, the diaper ointment). My stepmom had her lips tatooed (we won't get into that) and that's what her doctor recommended to her during the period of hideous scabbing and healing.

    Oh--and you can toothbrush your lips to exfoliate them. Best of luck!

    My four year old picks and eats her lips all Winter long (blood every single day from this...and in the spirit of your Wondertime entry, I worry if it will cause cancer from all the cell turnover). In any event, the A&D works wonders for us. I also use the Lansinoh if the A&D happens to be downstairs.


  54. Anonymous12:42 AM

    Hmmm... in addition to the various creams/balms/etc. that have been suggested, you might try some homeopathic Natrum Muraticum. Get a 30x or 30c dose, and take two pellets under your tongue 3 times daily for a few days. Try not to eat or drink anything within 20 minutes of taking it, and remember that strong aromatics, particularly stuff with menthol in it, will counteract the effects of homeopathy. Nat Mur works wonders for me when my skin (including lips) gets all dried out! Good luck!

  55. Anonymous5:53 AM

    Sorry no advice on chapped in the south of Spain, it doesn´t get very cold....

    About your Wondertime article...I also do the "thinking of disaster" thing.....complete with pained face and flinching sometimes!!!! And then my husband will stare at me and say Is something WRONG? and I´ll say

    I have to admit I was glad to hear someone say they do that too.....whew...

    And I also worry about transmitting this "worry wart" gene on to my daughter.....sigh...

    Anyways, good article!

  56. Anonymous6:30 AM

    On chapped lips I the same stuff I used on sore nipples when I breastfed the children. I have no idea whether you can get it in the us or not unfortunately.

    It is a lanolin healing salve, and comes in tiny, tiny tubes...

    Ask at the drug-store?

    Hah! I found it! Check this out:;jsessionid=IKVFGKTGCXM00CUAQMMSHPQ

  57. Catherine,

    If your lips are so bad that they bleed, as mine often do during the cold winter months, you can rub a bit of antibiotic ointment on them. If you put it on right before you go to bed you will notice a difference in the morning. There's an actual lip treatment that neosporin sells.

    Also, there is a lip balm that Mary Kay sells, it works great. once the antibiotic ointment works its magic and your lips start looking human again, this is a great product to protect from chapping. It's called Satin Lips Lip Balm.

  58. Catherine,

    If your lips are so bad that they bleed, as mine often do during the cold winter months, you can rub a bit of antibiotic ointment on them. If you put it on right before you go to bed you will notice a difference in the morning. There's an actual lip treatment that neosporin sells.

    Also, there is a lip balm that Mary Kay sells, it works great. once the antibiotic ointment works its magic and your lips start looking human again, this is a great product to protect from chapping. It's called Satin Lips Lip Balm.

  59. Anonymous9:39 AM

    I have used Blistex Lip Medex in the little blue canister every night before bed since I was in junior high. It works great, but beware, you can NEVER stop using it or your lips will chap up worse than ever!!!! I have tried to wean myself by using other products, even tried cold turkey, nothing works better. In the winter (which is short because I live in Florida) I also use Chapstick during the day. I am a lip licker and have always had a problem with chapped lips.

  60. Anonymous10:04 AM

    I KNOW THIS IS GONNA SOUND BAD. A&D ointment works wonders. Yes, the diaper rash stuff. It doesn't taste too bad and it stays put for hours really helping your lips to heal. It works well on wierd dry/cracked patches on your hands, feet, whatever. If it can get chapped this stuff helps. It all started when my little brother started the nervous habit of chewing his knuckles. They'd get so cracked in the winter time and his little hands always hurt. So, we tried this and it's been a favorite cure-all of mine ever since.


  61. Anonymous10:45 AM

    Room for another Cheeto-related tip? A roommate of mine in college would eat a bag of Cheetos with chopsticks. No cheese goo! Sheer brilliance. Still, my husband looks at me a little oddly when I do it.

  62. chapped lips- good old A&D ointment. Works wonders for wrinkles too...not that I have any.

    I love the picture of Birdy....she is such a doll.

  63. Anonymous1:57 PM

    Why don't you try some of that thick lanolin cream that you sometimes need during breastfeeding? put it on at night before you go to bed. probably tastes pretty gross but i think it would work.

  64. I don't know from remedies for chapped lips, but I laughed and laughed at your examples of catastrophizing. That runaway truck ramp on the Pike eastbound, right? I imagine disasters every time I go by that puppy.

  65. Anonymous2:55 PM

    Bag Balm...put it on at night before is a miricle what if it's for cow udders! I have been using it since I was a kid and my lips havn't fallen off yet...I buy mine at it!

  66. De-lurking again!

    "Catastrophizing"... funny you say that about the runaway trucks... for me it is the warnings about falling rocks. I spend the whole trip with a neck ache from craning my neck-swiveling my head to look out for the falling rocks... just in case!

  67. I have been reading your stories on Parent Center since Ben was 2 and I have'nt read you for a while. I read you today and was so amazed of how Birdie has grown. Love your writing.

  68. Anonymous6:13 PM

    Hey Catherine! You forgot to leave us with your own answers to your questions about blogging. Especially if there are other good blogs out there to read. I'm always looking for new ways to avoid actual work.

  69. I second (or third or whatever it is...haven't read all the comments) the toothbrush advice. But use with caution.

    You honestly cannot use anything better for your lips (or any other part of your body) than petroleum jelly...believe me. I have decades of personal experience with bad skin (how do you get over the experience of psoriasis BEFORE the age of 5...when everyone else in the clinic was over 50?) to back me up.

    Good luck!

  70. Anonymous8:46 PM

    Use Carmex (cherry flavored doesn't burn) and the Bath and Body Works lip exfoliator.

  71. Anonymous9:41 PM

    Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream for chapped lips, hands, feet, rough knees. It's the greatest stuff ever. I've introduced it to many friends and they're all converts. Aquaphor is okay too, but the consistency is a little too greasy for me. TRUST ME! Nothing against Mary Kay, but it's easier just to pop into your nearest Duane Reade or CVS. Love your writing! I've got two girls - one 3 years and five months, the other just a year - and I've been reading your stuff since the beginning of my motherhood journey. Thanks for being a friend! I've got a nice house in Stowe if you and your family would like to use it! :)

  72. Anonymous8:23 AM

    Carmex. It has a cult-like following. Ask for it at the drugstore. Yellow tube with red top or little yellow pot. Carmex. --Cathy

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  74. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  75. Catherine (and others),

    I'm attaching a link to a blog that a friend sent me.

    The article makes an interesting point about what the author calls "oneupmumship" and it's well-made...Although I'm a bit uncomfortable with her rejection of motherhood as a job or an activity requiring remuneration.

    Still, I think that this is part of why people connect with your writing -- we recognise (and feel relieved) that no parent, even those who may claim to be, is perfect. I like the author's description of parenting as being like theatresports.


    P.S. took a couple of rounds of posting to get this right.

  76. I have very sensative skin and most lip balms actually make my chapped lips worse! Here's a tip that's worked for me. I know you breastfed your little ones, do you still have any Lansinoh nipple cream around? It works very well on dry lips (any very dry skin, actually ~ although it's rather thick when you first put it on). Also, since it's safe for baby to nurse on, it's safe to put on your lips. :-)

  77. Anonymous2:18 PM

    Chapped lips that bad? Nothing helps? You might not be drinking enough water. Whenever my lips cry out for help, I know I'm not hydrated enough. Try upping you water intake and then using something lovely. I use Bath & BodyWorks Dulce De Leche (totally screwing up the spelling) lip gloss.


  78. Anonymous2:44 PM

    I am another member of the Carmex cult. A really scary member that owns literally about 50 pots of the stuff. I am truly addicted and get insanely cranky when I sense that my carmex coating is low and there is not another pot in arm's reach. A friend turned me on to it way back in 1989 when I was a junior in high school (driving her Cabriolet convertible so that she could concentrate on being seen in her convertible). Since then, I have kept one on my night stand, one in every room of the house, one in the car, and one in every bag that I own. Insane, but boy are my lips soft!

  79. At least you go for the 'natural' white cheddar cheetos. I'm covered up to the elbows in day-glow orange 'cheese' dust.

    It looks like you've got plenty-o lip advice, so I'll just say I loved (as always) the wondertime piece.

    And unrelatedly (or maybe, speaking of good writing?), a little something for all of us 80's lovin' dorks ;)


  80. Anonymous11:09 PM

    This really works - while your lips are a little bit wet, like after you brush your teeth at night - gently brush them with your toothbrush. Then after they dry off put some plain ole vaseline on them for the night. Do this until the dry skin goes away.

    I read this trick in a magazine and thought it sounded really weird, but I promise it works.

  81. Anonymous12:09 PM

    Yes! You can loofah your lips... but don't actually use a loofah. Use your toothbrush when you are done brushing, that way your lips are all saturated already. Or at least as saturated as they will become in that state. Use as little or as much pressure as you like, but be sure to get them all evenly. When you are done, use a towel to rub at them little if you missed a spot. Kissable-perfection!

  82. Anonymous6:45 PM

    I'm sure you have tons of other comments, but I have to comment on really chapped lips. I was a chapstick FIEND! For years! I always had a tube of Mint Chapstick and I used it constantly. That is until my lips began burning and itching like crazy. When they started oozing (gross, I know) I went to the doctor who told me to hydrocortizone cream and nothing else! So I did. I lived through the painfulness and they got better. And I haven't touched chapstick since. I only use a little vaseline if they get really bad. The End. P.S. I love your column and have been reading since the beginning. My favorite was when you didn't strap Ben into the carseat because you were splitting a danish with Michael. You are so real and I love that. :)

  83. i use vaseline, in a tub, and lansinoh, too :) it is quite sticky but once it soaks in, it feels great

  84. Now, I wouldn't call this advice...but this is what I do.

    Step 1: gnaw on your lips all day long
    Step 2: attempt to NOT gnaw on your lips.
    Step 3: Put on Chapstick
    Step 4: gnaw chapstick off lips
    Step 5: Now that your lips are nicely "exfoliated" put chapstick on before bed, as to avoid the gnawing.

    Seriously, I put chapstick on every night before bed because it helps keep my lips from chapping, otherwise I have to go through the steps above, and I'd really rather not. ;)

  85. Anonymous12:39 PM

    I'm with the Mary Kay lady, that lip stuff is magic!

  86. I am not going to read all 99 comments. Forgive me. Clinique makes a product called all about lips that works well. I use half a pump, spread it on my lips, wait a few minutes, then rub off with a dry washcloth. Afterwards, I use Aquaphor. Yes, you can use a toothbrush to get the chap off your lips. It works well right after you shower. And, you can also rub vicks vapo rub on your lips before bed every night. Sweet dreams. Soft lips. :)

  87. Anonymous10:33 PM

    Back when i was a farmboy in Wisconsin, we used to use fresh cowshit on chapped lips. Worked like a charm. Just stick your face right in it. Or wait, was that athlete's foot? I can't remember. Hmm... Oh, that's right. Cowshit for athlete's foot, carmex for lips. Dang, I always get those messed up. Hope year 38 is totally awesome to the totally awesome boogie woman max.

  88. Anonymous10:22 AM


    Did you ever hear back from the folks at PBS about DW's comment on the gas chamber? Remember? I know it's been awhile, but I think about it from time to time. Just wondering...


  89. Anonymous10:57 AM

    Gotta say, I'm enjoying checking out the blogs of the other people responding to this blog!

  90. Anonymous2:19 PM

    Put vasoline or some such thing on your lips, then rub them gently with a face cloth soaked in warm water. It takes the scaley stuff off.

  91. Anonymous4:24 PM

    Aquaphor in a tub. Living in the Mile High City of Denver, CO, we're all too familiar with dryness. My skin gets scaly, itchy and taut from October through April and my nails are cracked virtually all year round. I put Aquaphor on every night before bed so as not to lick or chew it off. Good luck!


  92. Anonymous10:05 PM

    Catherine, I just read your journal entry at Wondertime, and, as often, I chuckled with understanding. You understand. And we understand you.

    Were your ears burning earlier tonight? When I was quoting YOU to my girlfriend on the phone, about how your psychologist friend explained to you how you "catastrophize"...... Hello, do you understand the meaning of this, that your writing touches me so MUCH that I am quoting you to my girlfriends??!!!! (smiley face) And do you know that I have been quoting you to my girlfriends since I started reading you when I was pregnant with my first child 4 years ago? I know many readers tell you this, but I'm just tellin' ya again, girlfriend! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. That one grouchy poster last month or whenever it was said something about how we all make you into some kind of saint or guru or some sort of comment.... and I felt like saying to her Lady, you got it all wrong, we don't think Catherine is perfect, that is the whole point!!!! She shows her flaws, and through that, allows us to see ourselves, our same or similar thoughts, and to accept ourselves as flawed also.

    That's all. I am thinking of you on this turning quite cold night on the East coast, hoping you are cozy at home, sipping wine, working on a deadline, knowing that "Hey, man, (woman), I am making a difference with my writing! Women respond to my revelations about myself!"

    That's all. From an admirer. (good lord, am I a groupie now??!! hee hee!)

    Hugs from me.

  93. I sighed a lot while reading your Emotional Disclosure article. I worry about being too rigid too. Saturday night there was a barn dance at my son's school, and we all went. I danced with my boy and we had so much FUN, and when we got home I wrestled him on the bed and we played for an hour or so. I couldn't remember the last time I had really just allowed the need to have an agenda go. And it was so enjoyable for me!

    I do wish I could be like that more often, but I'm the kind of person who feels like somebody in the house needs to be stressed out or else nothing will ever get done. I'd be happy to step aside and not fill this role, but my husband, while not necessarily care-free, does not care about the same important (by which I mean petty) issues I care about.

    When I first found your column, I gave a friend the link and told her that she was going to love you! I had been laughing and identifying with everything you wrote. She wrote me and said that while she enjoyed much of what she read, she was surprised by how much you seemed to yell and how edgy you seemed to feel.

    I defended you (because really I felt like I needed to defend myself at that point) and said well, you were giving up coffee, and two kids was surely harder than one, and told my friend to just wait, she'd see - she was pregnant with her first at the time - but then I also thought, hmm, maybe I yell too much, and maybe I'm too controlling. Her son is 1 now and she never really seems to lose her cool.

    It's true, I do yell, and I am controlling. But I also dance and wrestle and play pirates and do things that I'm proud of. Thank you for what you wrote and for helping me remember the things that matter.

  94. Hi! I just read your most recent post.

    First, can I say how much I love that you read People magazine, which I buy as a treat for myself just about every time it comes out. That and a cold bottle of diet Pepsi.

    Reading the part in the story where Rachel is wearing the coat her mother made, made me think of the book signing and how you asked me if I had made my coat. At the time, I didn't think too much about it, but thinking back on it it makes perfect sense, Ms. Family Fun.

    But this all really has little to do with the gist of your post. We mothers have these running lists in our head that can exacerbate the ever angrier PMS that visits us....for like 18 days out of the month.

    "Mama Never Scolded?" Yeah, right. The way I understand it, there was a time when mom just waited until Dad came home and could get out the belt. Mom didn't have to worry about getting arrested for letting gets roam the neighborhood, about skin cancer, e-coli, child molesters. She didn't grow up watching Oprah tell us the story about the kid that drowned in a pail of water while she went inside for two minutes.

    I think we're doing okay. : )

  95. Anonymous10:39 PM

    I just put the kids to bed and smuggled my bag of Natural Cheetos into the office to catch up on your blog and aricle at Wondertime and felt for a second that you could actually see me eating that first natural white chedder cheeto. It was creepy and I actually stopped chewing. But, alas, I did continue! I've been reading your weekly column since pregnant with my now four year old. Can't say how much I enjoy it and my cheetos!! I try not to buy them as I cannot leave them alone!

    Thanks for sharing so much with us I enjoy every word!

  96. Anonymous11:29 PM

    Latest Wondertime article is wonderful as usual. Just reading what Serena says about 'comparative yelling' and I have a theory about that... I have recently had a friendship of mine go sour, and one of the things that was said was that she got sick of my constantly analysing my behaviour and 'trying to fix it' because she liked to just shrug and forget it - she's a bit of a fatalist I suspect , and she saw my inner minutae as being criticism of her because she didn't want to think about it - that is, she shouts at her kids, or does her own version of 'less ideal' stuff with them, but just doesn't want to dwell on it. I think those of us who do dwell come across as extra stressy, when maybe we are just being very honest and doing what seems important to us. And yes to the controlling stuff - I do it too, all the time, and I'm desperately looking for a 'cure' but in the meantime, I just try and apologise when I can... sigh

  97. Try Mary Kay Satin Lips Lip Mask. I bought it a few years ago from a friend for the problem you describe, and it really helped.

  98. I just read the post from anonymous above, saying that as she was reading your writing on cheetos she was eating cheetos and how it was creeeepy! Anyway- I have strange coincidences with your article all the time! Like when you described peeling sheets of sunburnt skin off your older brother's back, and I too peeled sheets of skin off my older brother's back when I was 7 or 8!! It is a very vivid memory of mine. Is this a common experience?

    So I emailed the article to my older brother, highlighted the reference, and he replied to me that at that moment he was boiling peaches!!! GOOOSE BUMPS! ("it's as if she can read my mind!!!") I swear (as do all the other stalker mama fans out there!) that we are kindered spirits Catherine. ;0)

  99. I am bit late on the post. BUT, I have noticed the theme in Lanolin based products and this make tons of sense as Lanolin is the only oil which truly penetrates the skin.

    The very, very, very best thing for chapped lips is ....

    Bag Balm

    It was originaly developed for dairy farmers to use on dry, cracked cow utters (heh, hense the name). Bag Balm has lanolin in it and it has antiseptic as well. So moisurizing and healing.

    I have used this stuff forever -- and on almost every part of my body. it is great for dry nasty hands, rough nasty feet, knees, elbows, and everyday I use it on my lips. It even helps heal cold sores quicker than carmex or blistex.

    And Bag Balm comes in a cute green can with a fancy cow on it.

    Also, the toothbrush thing is a great idea but not advisable for people who are prone to cold sores. It can cause an outbreak.

  100. Anonymous11:30 AM

    You're forgetting to dance.

  101. Anonymous4:48 PM

    I go for ChapStick - its the best, largely because its made of things you don't really like to think about. (lets just say its not good for the vegetarians among us)
    After that, I choose the Bath and Body works Methna Lip Tint - it doesn't work as well as every other lip balm doesn't, but at least it has a fantastic taste and has the benefit of coloring your lips subtly enough to not overpower the never-made-up face of mine.

  102. Anonymous8:20 PM

    I'm glad I checked out the comments! Now I know what to do with the 700 Lansinoh samples I still have from a year ago courtesy of our hospital's breastfeeding clinic. I had been using them for other cracked skin issues, but I never thought of that one.

    Cracked skin issues. What is that?!

    I always find good ol' Vaseline works well for me, too. Keep it on and on, Catherine!

  103. Anonymous8:00 AM

    Catherine- no chapped lips advice- just glad to have found your blog. You are great fun to read- if you ever get to Tuscany let me buy you lunch! P

  104. Anonymous10:04 AM

    Ditto the hydrocortisone and Aquaphor comment. The cortisone is for worst case scenarios only; you're not really supposed to put it on your face. It can really break the cycle though. And Aquaphor is a 5 dollar miracle.

  105. Oh Catherine, you touched me again. All sad (but laughing also, like always ) from reading your post at Wondertime. Is it November coming also ? The light going far away in a black hole to make our days shorter and darker. And the neverending cold and flu season until next June, or May if we are lucky. That must be it, the light and the colds, and my too frequent inability to be Ma Ingalls or my mother, calm about life.

  106. Anonymous12:08 PM

    Once your lips are better, use Bert's Bees lipstick all day. The colors are barely there and the ingredients are pure so you can reapply and lick your lips a lot and not worry about ingesting bad stuff. Also, the lipstick has peppermint oil in it. Good for those garlic days.

    When I read your comment on the roadsign "soft shoulder" I was shocked that you thought pleasant thoughts! Where is your mind? I consider you my looming danger buddy! When I see the signs I usually think "what if I *need* to run off the road here to avoid a wreck or some other disaster and since the shoulder is soft I loose control of the car and flip it or something?" You dont' have to thank me for adding another worry to your driving!

    P.S. The picture of Ben and Birdy together was precious. Sometimes I see a hint of how my son will look as an adult and you can see that in Ben's face in this photo. Cute boy!

  107. "Holly said...
    You're forgetting to dance"

    That one line alone brought tears to my eyes.

    Ignoring the danger of repeating everyone else...yes, I hate the falling rocks, the soft shoulders, the slippery road signs...I have since I was a child. We drive the Pennsylvania Turnpike a lot (and have since I was a small child) and I've witnessed a lot of horrible crashes on that road. Those signs make my already crazy mind even crazier!

  108. Anonymous11:44 AM

    I swear you are my long lost twin sister. I never really had a sister, but somehow we must be related. Your journal at Wondertime - "Disaster is a State of Mind" - describes me to a T.

    I loved your stuff at BabyCenter. Loved your book. And love reading your journal at Wondertime.

    Right now my 5 yo son alternates between Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde and I've spent the morning worrying if he's got some mental disorder or if I'm a bad parent. But the other day, when he bit his tongue, and it bled for 2 straight hours, I didn't worry so much, and I didn't haul him to the ER. I calming called the ins. co. 24 hour nurse line and put pressure on it like she said. So I think I'm getting better, or at least different, with my worrying.

    Oh, and for the lips - try Burts Bee's lip balm or Nutragena lip balm. Stay away from Blistex. Something in it is addictive. I know, I used it like crack for years. But I've moved on to Burt's Bees now. I don't need it as often. It must be like the methadone substitute they give to the heroine addicts. And no, I'm not a drug addict. I live near Baltimore and see these folks on the street each day.

  109. Anonymous12:31 PM

    Hello, I just randomly came across this and want to tell you my chapped lip routine: Hot wet washcloth, near the end of your shower, srubscrubscrub those lips (keep reheating the washcloth), then pile on the lip goo. Repeat.

    I've used Lansinoh, but I find it makes my lips whitish and funny-looking.

  110. And the lips are better?

  111. For the chapped lips here's what you do: every time you brush your teeth and you've just finished rinsing off your tooth brush, brush your lips. Not so hard to make them bleed or anything, just give em a scrub with those same circular motions you use on your teeth. It works. I like to put a little bit of lotion on them right after and once it's soaked in, top it off with some chap stick to seal it in. Trust me. You don't need to buy and products.

  112. Anonymous1:43 PM

    What a beauty that Birdy is in those leaves! Awesome picture.

  113. Anonymous3:03 PM

    Ok, I'm really late to the party, but just in case...

    Blistex in the white tube is not just good for lips, it rocks for chapped noses from colds. BUT, BUT, BUT: it stings like crazy so if it's for you, just suck it up. If it's for your child, wait until s/he is dead asleep and then very, very carefully dab it on lips and nose. Gives great relief by morning.

    And I didn't read all the posts, but hasn't anyone mentioned the other obvious advantage of cutting the chip/cheesie/bad-stuff-with-food-dye bag? IT DOESN'T RUSTLE OR RATTLE. So you don't wake up kids or spouse when you're sneaking them at night.

    Not that I'd know about that. *cough*

  114. Anonymous4:24 PM

    I went to read the 10/30/06 column and that picture of Birdy reminds me that I've always meant to tell you how beautiful your kids are. I know you KNOW that, because you're their mom, the same as I KNOW that about my two little ones. But really, they are both just so very beautiful. I absolutely love that there is a new picture each week.

  115. Anonymous8:42 PM

    Hi, Catherine. I've read you faithfully - every column from the start, your book, and now your blog and column. I'm a big fan, but I've been silent because everyone has already said all I feel - how reading your work makes me laugh out loud, feel vindicated for the crazy thoughts I've had, feel like I have a friend but we've never met. Etc.

    But reading your 10.23.06 column, "Emotional Disclosure" has finally forced me to introduce myself and pass on some advice.

    I have suffered with severe PMS for most of my adult life (I'm 46). It went away for a time after I had my child (Annamarie, 4 3/4, an angel, of course), but a couple of years ago it came back worse than ever - or at least it felt worse, perhaps because I had to deal with it and a strong-willed, independent, way-too-smart-for-my-own-good child!

    After almost a year of pure hell (my primary PMS symptom is unmitigated rage that takes ALL of my energy to control/conceal), I realized that I had to do something or I might either hurt my child or break every dish in the house. I stumbled on the answer, and it has changed my life:


    Seriously, it is transforming. After an initial 2-month series of treatments scheduled around my cycle (not easy because I am also "perimenopausal") I am PMS-free for 3 or 4 months at a time. When I feel the rage coming on, I go for a tune-up and experience relative bliss for another few months. (It has also ended chronic pain in one knee and opens my sinuses whenever they are congested!)

    Try it. You'll like it!

  116. Hi, Cold sore is an infection to mouth and it changes the look of face. But best treatment for cold sores is Generic valtrex. Within 2 and half month it will show its result. It is an antiviral drug. It slows the growth and spread of the herpes virus so that the body can fight off the infection. It have best treatment and available online at reasonable price.

  117. Great post your blog has very interesting stuff.i would like to share here i had use valtrex for cold sore and it's very effective treatment.i got result within 2 months and if you want you can try it! i hope it will help you.