Saturday, December 02, 2006

My Bodyguards

I feel about you all the way I felt about my high school boyfriend, who used to lean over menacingly on the subway, all 90 pounds of him, and say to various bystanders, "You lookin' at my woman?Are you? Are you, dawg?" (And these various poor men would back quietly away, instead of answering, "Um, no--I actually wasn't.") Which is to say: I am in love with you. "They thought you looked FAT? They did, did they? We'll kill them. Actually, they're dead. We killed them already." But, lovies, I was kidding. The publishers thought I looked great pregnant. They just thought the book would sell better with that other cover, and they were probably right.

But I'm so glad to know you're ready out there, with the riot gear. We will likely need it one of these days.


  1. Anonymous1:59 PM

    You're right. Think of how we all feel about our kids and how we rear up when someone hurts their feelings. That's how we feel for you, too! No one better hurt your feelings or we'll have to knock them back down to size! I'll also join the choir and tell you that you look beautiful in that picture! Even if they didn't say you were fat, you look great! I can't wait to buy the book for myself because it looks like no one is buying it for me! Thanks for all you do for us out here!

  2. Anonymous2:19 PM

    I loved your book, by the way. I'm waiting for friends to need it and will buy them copies, too. Wish I'd had it a 2 years ago when I was pregnant with my 2nd. Still enjoyed it now (and my boys are 4-1/2 and 18 months.)

  3. Catherine, how did you know I went out and bought a riot shield? Dangit my cover is blown. LOL. OH well! :) We got your back though, glad ya know it! :)

  4. Yeah we got your back! I was going to print some tshirts to go with those riot shields... How about "I'm tired, my toddler just flushed my purse down the toilet, my 6 year old needs to make a paper mache model of the Nativity by tomorrow and the gutters need cleaning. BRING IT ON!"

  5. Anonymous6:08 PM

    It may be a little personal, but I would LOVE to know if your tummy was air brushed, too.

    I looked at the picture and then looked down at mine that STILL looks like I lost a fight with a tiger and thought, "maybe I should have used coco butter."

    It is such a beautiful picture.

  6. Anonymous9:06 PM

    You called us lovies! (sheepish grin)

    No way, looking at that photo, did I ever think they thought you looked fat.

    but I know where the riot gear is and am ready to use it. Actually, when I was a kid I was a tough little one that used to get in fights defending people. I lived in a pretty tough neighborhood.

    Maybe one day I'll write about it.

  7. Anonymous9:58 PM

    Man, if they had used my pregnant belly on the cover of a book- it would have completely frightened women away from the whole idea of having a baby, haha....

  8. I just wanted to say that I finished re-reading Waiting for Birdy literally five minutes ago and then I decided to log on and see if you'd posted recently.
    Both times that I've read it I laugh out loud frequently, at which point my husband always says, " it out loud!" Then I read it aloud and we both laugh again. Thanks for writing such a sweet, funny, poignant account of this time in your life.
    By the way - it's a little late to mention this but I cried my way through your last BabyCenter post...until I found out you were doing the Wondertime journal. The tears dried right up! Is it freaky to admit that? I promise I'm not totally psycho (or, well, psycho at all).

  9. I knew you were kidding...but isn't it nice to know we all have your back? Or belly as the case may be!

    As the defender of our sometimes, fragile, frantic, and exhausted Mommy selves it is the least we can do in return.

    Have a wonderful week.

  10. With all the weirdness in the world today when we find someone we can relate to so well, we gotta stick together! I'll dig out my riot gear, too. Just tell me when and where I'll need it, and I will be there! (I may have a grumpy 8-year-old in tow, but he can whine them to death!)

  11. Anonymous11:55 AM

    I never really quite got the cover they actually used for the book. It seemed to lack warmth. I'd much rather have bought the book with your picture on it Catherine - even though I am wildly jealous of how your pregnant belly looked :). I had twins the second time around - 16+ pounds of twins. Four years later I still look like I'm wearing flesh-colored corduroy from my neck to my thighs!

    Maybe you could talk the publishers into a special edition with the picture cover and sell autographed copies to all of us devoted fans - I can just see Ben and Birdy's colege savings accounts growing by leaps and bounds *lol*.

  12. Anonymous6:20 PM


    You are the best--and your column about Ben and his friends having a falling out (or he/she hurting his gentle soul) made me want to cry. I too, dread and fear that day (and I know it's coming soon). Please do keep up your reflections as we all follow the parental journey with you. (and, you know, we can talk sense into meanie kids too...not just superficial publishers :-)


  13. Anonymous6:59 PM

    Okay, I have to admit I was wondering the same thing as a previous poster... was your stomach air brushed or are you one of the fortunate ones?

    Love your writing, love your book. I think that's a great picture. I wish I had done more pregnant belly pictures.

  14. well of course we would, mainly because you're so Uber-Fantastique! You've let us look into a window of your life, and put it all out there in a wonderfully honest and down right comical way that we can all relate to... And its nice to have that.

  15. Anonymous2:14 PM

    Your book is one of the best I've read in what I think of as the "parenting" genre. I laughed, I cried, I was totally with you and totallly relieved that I was, in fact, not alone either. I have the old cover - the stork - but I like the belly shot. And the tattoo. Makes you look like way more of a badass than I thought.

  16. Anonymous2:47 PM

    I agree w/the other posters. You're belly looks great and that would have been a wonderful picture for the book cover. I never read your full book (read the postings online at Guess I know what to ask for Christmas this year. Thanks for sharing all your great family stories w/the rest of us mommies.

    Amy, mom to Evan & Aidan

  17. Anonymous3:22 PM

    I think your publishers got it wrong. I think the book cover with you on the front is much nicer than the green one with the stork. I have that one, and I'd definitely rather get to look at your beautiful pregnant self every time I re-read it!

    I also wanted to say a big THANK YOU! for writing the way you do, straight to our hearts. I know it's your job, but that doesn't mean that I appreciate it any less.

    So, thanks!

  18. Anonymous4:44 PM

    Hi Catherine,
    Yes, you definitely look gorgeous in that picture. But in all honesty, I think the publishers had it right, because as a customer who didn't know the content and was browsing throught the bookshelves I would have taken it as one of the pregnancy-advice books. And while those can be great, yours is about so much more.
    I have laughed and cried with you for almost three years now - thank you for your humor, insight, craziness, honesty and above all, for letting us "see" your wonderful kids so clearly as if they were standing right in front of us. You have a great gift.
    I've been waiting to get pregnant with my second one so I could treat myself to your book. But as things are, it's not looking too good. So maybe you want to send me one out of pity? What the heck, I'll go and read it and cry some more for not having that precious experience myself. Yes, self-pity, you betcha!
    Thanks again. Take care.

  19. Anonymous8:31 PM

    From a designer's perspective, I agree the first one is eyecatching, with the bright color and simple typography. But, I wish I had more photos like the beautiful original concept cover. What a cute in-the-moment shot!

  20. "as satisfying as a bowl of dust from the way bottom of the Cheerios box."

    Oooh I hate that dust. That dust is the worst especially when you pour the last of the cereal and suddenly all the dust falls down all over the cereal and you are stuck eating dusty cereal or no cereal at all.

    I'm with Birdie, I love asking hypothetical questions, I married my husband because he was the first person I ever met who answered them all seriously.

  21. Anonymous10:44 PM

    My friend recently published a book and suggested that, if I buy it, get it at Amazon and buy a best seller at the same time so hers comes up when it lists "people who bought this book also bought. . . " Thought I'd pass that on :)

    You really are a lovely writer. Do you write/publish elsewhere?

  22. Anonymous3:44 PM

    I would imagine if Birdy pulled all the leaves from the trees it would start to snow-wildly, madly, until she said sorry. And then Birdy and the tree would sit down and have hot cocoa together and talk about M & M cookies and sweet friends with pearly teeth.

    But I could be wrong. The tree could bite her and sit on top of the slide forever.

  23. Having not a good memory, I wondered the other night what it was, exactly, I had liked so much about "Waiting for Birdy". Then I opened it and laughed over the five first pages I read, then cried over the last paragraph of them. In ten minutes. Et voilĂ . I have got a new teaching job since yesterday and I will gladly pity you and buy another copy for my step-daughter who has a three months old new little Simon. (She's only four years younger than me, where is the world going, tell me. But more important on the philosophical matter: does that make me a stepgrandmother?)

  24. I meant step-daughter in law in the previous message. "Bru par alliance" in French if that makes any more sense.

  25. I don't know how you do it. You are always RIGHT THERE with what I'm feeling or dealing with that day. Maybe it's because Birdy and my son are cut from the same cloth. Today I thought I would poke my eyes out or collapse into a wrinkled pile of answer-less Mommy if I had to answer one more hypothetical question about "what would we do if suddenly some household object turned into a poopy?" I had to call for a "question break," but of course it didn't work...
    I'm always so relieved to read your columns and laugh at Birdy's antics and feel so much better about myself as a mom..

  26. Anonymous8:30 AM

    this the first time i'm commenting here and i'm sorry it's a whiny comment but... why can't i see the new wondertime column? it sounds like everyone else can :( help! catherine, obviously, i love your writing if this is what i'm choosing to complain about....

  27. **Apologies to all for writing off-topic here, but I couldn't find an easy way to post/write another way. Mea culpa!!!**

    Dear Catherine,

    O, the emotional rollercoaster I ride! This late, rainy afternoon, in a wee, twee village in England, I took the time, almost four months post-move, to sit down and indulge myself. I was going to have an all-out Ben and Birdy-fest. You see, at short notice this summer my family was given the chance to move, from the D.C. area, to the UK; we could give our children "the experience" (our grown-up selves, too, could have some "experience") but in order to accomplish our goal, we needed to get packed up and moved FAST.

    Looong story short(ish) I just now read your last three installments on ParentCenter, weeping, with my son and daughter circling and patting, and my son saying (a bit callously, I thought) "WAIT go DOWN, to the picture of the green book, that's OUR book, that's the lady we MET! Why did she leave you? I don't understand. Ben's favorite color is pink, too, really?" I had to explain, as eloquently as I was able, that your words have been such a source of joy, affirmation, comfort, inspiration, etc., etc., etc. for lo these many years.

    Our two children are a few months behind Ben and Birdy in age, and, as most of your fans and followers feel, inspire in their adoring parents many of the same wonders and concerns and questions and, occasionally, a frustration or two (though hardly worth mention, of course.) Many weeks, when my partner and I had hardly managed much beyond simply keeping the home functional, our special time together would be me reading your column, laughing and crying and leaking milk to him, and our art of conversation would be restored until the next "crisis."

    So then ya' ditched me. (insert winky-smiley-face here)

    And now, on the upswing emotionally, I have availed myself of the link to your blog, and found all the good stuff here, and discovered that you write for wondertime (which I had asked my best friend to bring when she comes to visit, not even KNOWING that you were there.) And I just had, finally, to write you (I've been nervous, in the presence of Greatness, to commit finger to keyboard) and tell you how bloody much (British Influence!) I'm feeling relieved that you are still willing to share your gift(s) with us and how much the partner and I LOVE you and your family (in a perfectly reasonable, non-stalkerish way, please don't be creeped out - I have an awful image of your P.A. rolling her/his eyes, here) and say a huge, overdue THANKS, and how I really don't have anymore time for writing to you now, because I actually have some reading to do! YAY!!

    Lots of Uncreepy (Parenthetic) Love,

  28. Anonymous4:09 PM

    I'm Kortny,
    from Thailand,
    and I'm 14 y.o

    Hi, Girl and Boy
    I've studied English sinse this Winter .
    It's Really difficult
    I would like like to meet boys and girls and practisice My English with them.


  29. Anonymous1:22 AM

    Hi, Catherine--

    Though I've never posted before, I thought I'd take the opportunity to tell you how much my partner and I both love your writing. We speak of you so often and so highly in our house that our friends ask how we know you...and then we have to admit (blushing)that we, um, actually don't. (Such is our respect for your august personage that we always--ALWAYS--call you by your full name. :))

    Anyway...thank you for all you are and all you do. We're glad you're here.

    --Jen (and Audra.)

  30. Catherine,

    Just in case you don't check back at my blog, let me apologise profusely here for my inadequacies as a blogger and say that I had no idea that there were comments waiting to be moderated, and your post prompted me to go back and arrange everything. 'Tis all arranged, and all comments (yours and others) are now posted!

    So, let's catch up: Ottawa is an excellent place to visit in the winter and if your interest is in skating on the Canal (which is so cool -- many fond memories) Winterlude is a great time to be up there. And I'm not just saying that 'cause I'm likely to be there, too.

    The one catch is that while mid-February in Ottawa was once guaranteed to be -40 with wind-chill, it's a bit more of a toss-up these days. Which may, to some, seem like a good thing, except when it comes to ice...

    Oh, and you will be able to introduce yourself and your family to perhaps the most deadly and delicious alimentary confection known to humankind: the Beavertail. If there's one thing Canadians know, it's how to make tasty fried dough.


  31. Anonymous12:00 AM

    I wonder if Catherine is making a really excellent Gingerbread house right now......;^)

    Really, I love the Wondertime columns, at some point every crazy Monday afternoon, I realize "OMG, It's MONDAY!!!! Time to check over at WONDERTIME for Catherine's newest entry!!!" But I check in here almost every day, too, just in case.

    You realize you can never stop writing?

    Please post back before the holidays!

  32. Anonymous8:32 AM

    The bank said consumer credit rose �1.85bn in the month, up from �1.64bn in February.
    Many economists had been expecting consumer credit to rise by �1.7bn in March.

  33. Anonymous10:33 PM

    Wow - spammers can even leave comments on blogs???? That is so wrong . . .

    Anyway, I wanted to say that I loved the most recent Wondertime post. My daughter is nearly three, and she came home from preschool this week and said, "Lindsay and Charlie said, 'You can't play with us.'" My heart nearly broke. I expect this to happen in junior high, but preschool? Anyway, I completely identify with your desire to protect your gentle, sweet Ben.

    Also, I am trying not to panic that there has not been a new Wondertime post in nearly two weeks. I'm hoping that means you are off with your family on some vacation that comes with fruity umbrella drinks. You deserve it.

  34. I just read your most recent Wondertime post. Good god! I'm glad that you're calm about it, and I'm glad that Ben is feeling okay.

    And, as a near-epidemiologist (damn thesis!) I have to say that I'm sure your brother is just glad that you don't think that he's a skin specialist...

    ...I guess that joke doesn't work as well when the tick thing is *somewhat* skin-related, but you get the drift.

    That Michael is smooth...Who would have ever imagined that as a booty call? I'm going to have to use that sometime.

  35. Anonymous5:31 PM

    Hi. Here I am again breezing in with an awkward comment in response to the latest wonderime installment. Really, Catherine, you must update HERE more often so I can comment on your wondertime posts without looking like an obsessed fan who is just a little out of the loop. You know, responding to the same blog post repeatedly with remarks that don't quite relate to what you've said. The kind of stalker that's not really threatening, but rather missing the beat. You pat her head, rather than call the police.

    I wanted to respond to your lyme disease post and say I am so glad you caught it early. My sister's daughter had lyme disease when she was two and it was misdiagnosed. I'm glad you all caught it early. Ben will be fine.

  36. Anonymous7:39 PM

    I'm so glad you found that tick early. But, honestly, how could you have ever found it even if you were searching every inch of him! It was hidden. So, I'm glad you got it out early and started the treatment. He'll be fine from all I know. I have also been worried about ticks as I live in CT. Really makes you worry. Well, me anyway. This warmer weather is so weird. So, thanks for the timely reminder. As far as Michael using "tick check" sexually, I think it's so funny! Keep up the good work with writing and know we love you and are praying for Ben! Have you surprised yourself with how well you handled it? With you, when it counts, you always come through. You are always putting yourself down and saying how neurotic you are, but when the bad thing actually happens, you handle everything with dignity and grace. Best wishes to your whole family!