Thursday, January 11, 2007

Pottery Barn Catalogue

I hadn't planned to mention this, but arriving here today I realize that while so many of your blogs are so stylish and beautiful, with the overstuffed armchairs of design and the cozy window seats and the sunny places to lie and read, this blog--which I have had big plans for--remains the college frat boy bachelor pad of the blog world, with the vinyl venetian blinds and the milk crates for furniture and the bare walls. I am sorry for that, and also open to your tactful, low-tech suggestions.

But what I really wanted to say today (besides please go read my wondertime column) is how much I'm just loving your comments. For example, somebody wrote over there that I might consider teaching Michael to be sensitive to the kids' sicknesses, and teach him "with patience," the way you would a child. And I found this to be an utterly radical suggestion. It's hard enough for me to be patient with the children--but with my partner, my god, it barely even occurs to me to try. I don't say that with pride, just realization and a desire to change. Thank you.

Here, you have been talking about your "clothes chairs" which so hilariously mirrors the glide rocker in my bedroom, that I laughed out loud. It's my own special laundry purgatory, where the clothes are neither dirty nor clean: jeans with a tiny bit of mud on the cuff; a running bra worn for a half-mile slog through the neighborhood; a skirt that's too exhausting to hang on the thingy with the clips. I so hear you.

Also I really just appreciate so much hearing that you worry too.

And finally, I seem to have started a rumor that I'm coming to Ottowa, and I wish it were true. I was only expressing to a Canadian blogger here my interest in ice skating down a river, so naturally we got to talking about Ottowa. But I still do often wish I had a river I could skate away on.


  1. You always crack me up! By the way, my blog is equally boring. I just can't figure out how to get all that groovy stuff in there! It's hard enough to just add pictures for my far away family/friends to see, and I am usually doing that around 2 a.m. Ugh! Sorry the kids feel crappy. Our kids are so much alike! My daughter always seems to have the same illness her big brother has, informing me that she needs medicine - NOW! Of course, when she really does need medicine, I have to practically sit on her to get it down her throat. She turns 4 in February. Any hope that she will actually GET that the medicine helps her feel better? Now she is "losing" teeth too. I figure she wants in on the tooth fairy action.
    As far as husbands and sick kids go, mine always smiles and asks me if we should "call the helicopter" when I buzz around worried because Audrey's lips look a little too pink and her eyes are glassy. He works nights and doesn't get to enjoy the late night, sick kid routine. Lucky him. I suppose his absence from all the stressful parts is a good balance for when I am exhausted from worry and need a calm and winking helper - if I can refrain from thumping him in the head with a pillow!
    Love the picture of Ben on your last column, by the way.

  2. Hey there, Cath. I tried to comment at Wondertime, but alas, it deleted my comment once again.

    So here it is:
    Josh is the same way with the kids illnesses. It is my burden to bear...just as his burden is cleaning up the vomit that the illnesses inevitably bring on. And each time my children have feverish little feet, I think of you. I remember a journal entry over at ParentCenter about Birdy being sick one night, and you focused on her hot little any time I feel my own children's feet burning against my skin, I think of you and your eloquent words.

    I'm going to try and C/P this to Wondertime and send them a little complaining, too...its good for the soul. *lol*

  3. Hi Catherine,

    I was just at Wondertime...waiting to see if anything went through. Your blog is fine...unless you really want to invest more time, we come to read not be dazzled by banners and ads.

    By the way it is "Ottawa", not that I am that picky but, as a Canadian I feel some kind of responsibility. My grandmother lives there and we love skating on the Rideau Canal. If you Google it I'm sure you will see wonderful pictures, it really is something to see.

    Going back to Wondertime to see if my comments worked.

    Love the post. Hope the kids are better. We have (gasp!) our first cast. I know, I know but really I am OK.

    PS Cute photos on my blog of said cast if you are interested...

    Take care,

  4. Oh, geez, my own blog is so plain jane, I totally relate. I couldn't even figure out how to post pictures or make a links section without help.
    This has nothing to do with your recent column or blog post (though I loved both, of course- that goes without saying,) but I just wanted to let you know, now that I am pregnant with my second child, how much I am enjoying your book! I read from it every night before bed, like my own little religious routine! And this is despite the fact that I have already read it cover to cover. It's still funny the third and fourth time around.

  5. Anonymous6:29 PM

    Still no luck commenting at WT- but I haven't e-mailed them yet....

    On another note- you will be happy to know that one of the new copies of your book I bought for my friend has gone missing, so I will have to buy ANOTHER one.

    I would also like you to know that as one of the previous commenters said, we don't come here for the decor. Hope you have a great weekend and by now everyone is healthy again.

  6. Anonymous7:34 PM

    I'm just jealous that you manage to have a blog! I wouldn't manage to keep up with one if I had it, so it's probably good that I haven't tried. I've been thinking about getting a 10 year journal ever since you wrote about it (I had never heard of such a thing), and I bought myself one for Christmas and am trying to at least keep up with that. Maybe someday I'll have a blog=).
    Like the other posters, I'm not here for the fancy anything -- just for the "I'm glad it's not just me feeling" that I get every time I read your writing! I can totally relate to everything you write about -- my girls are 4 and 2 and they leave me totally stressed out most of the time!
    Hope everyone is feeling better at your house!

  7. O crap. I'm sorry about that whole rumour thing...I thought it was a witty way to preface a joke about Disney controlling the weather.

    Ah...Joni...have you heard kd lang's cover of that tune on hymns of the 49th parallel?

    And I've still had no luck posting with Wondertime. I'll try again.

  8. I kind of like your blog plain, the way it is.

  9. Well, your blog looks just like my blog, so it must be the myth is true that all frat boys look like clones of each other. Or something.

    We don't have enough furniture for a clothes chair, but oddly, we have a surplus of showers. So, I have a clothes shower.

  10. Anonymous9:41 PM

    Oh, Catherine...

    Never forget: it's about CONTENT!! And we all love your content. We LOVE what you have to say. (Besides which...say what you want about Bill Gates, but even HE started out with vinyl venetian blinds.) So---even though I completely empathize---please don't worry about that.

    And you have a laundry chair too?! I can't believe it! (But I do feel a lot better now about ours.)



  11. Anonymous11:09 PM

    I can relate to the whole decor thing. (and the clothes chair too! Way less guilt now that I know I'm not the only one!!) My own blog is plain and I have no idea how to make it look all pretty and inviting. I do have to agree with everyone else here though - we're totally hooked on the content!

  12. Clothes "chair"?

    I've got a love seat.

  13. Anonymous12:51 AM

    Well, I must admit, I did make the move to pretty blogs, but that's because in my real house I have clothes chairs, so I need my virtual rooms with no clutter to keep me sane. My blog is my room of my own. But it all comes down to the person. That's what makes a blog what it is.

    I remember sitting in my armchair listening to Joni Mitchell's, Blue, and wishing I could skate away, too, but "why?" I never thought to ask myself. She just made you long to be sad. think I fell in love with Richard "Last time I saw Richard...." too, but listening to the song now, he was kind of a jerk, don't you think?

    I had a friend in college (still a friend actually) from Holland who grew up skating on wooden skates down the river to school and back every day. Wonderful person. She lives in Indiana now. No rivers or wooden skates.

    I tried to comment on Wondertime. In fact I did, but it went "poof." Will go back eventually.

    Happy New Year, Catherine.

  14. Anonymous3:12 AM

    Just something about the way you report Birdy talking makes me wonder if you know the Charlie and Lola books by Lauren Child? If you don't, I REALLY recommend you make acquaintance - and if you do, and so does everyone else in the States, please forgive a Brit exiled to Paris...
    In our family my partner is the one who has lips that can identify a temperature about 0.3° above normal, which always makes me feel hideously guilty when I've pooh-poohed. I think I was so terrified at the responsibility when they were first born (March 2000 & May 2002) that I forced myself to chill... maybe too much? Makes for a less anxious life (at least in that department), with humungous guilt to compensate!
    Thanks for your columns and your blog - you hit the nail on the head over and over again, and so stylishly.


  15. In our house, it's the opposite- if one of the kids has a little cough, my husband wants to rush them to the emergency room. Me, I'm comfortable to let them cough for a few days before I take them in. I don't know, there must be some sort of happy medium.

    I love your column Catherine. Keep up the great work!

    (This is what I attempted to post at wondertime and got an error. Don't worry, i did let them know.)

    P.S. The barfing flu has hit my house with a vengence. i am going to LOSE it!!

  16. oh and PPS- regarding Victoria's comment- We call Eddie and Caitlyn Charlie and Lola- it's hysterical. You should watch it. Big brother taking care of little sister while being quite annoyed but loving her anyway. It's great.

    I can't help but wonder though, where are their parents??

  17. OK back again.

    We love Charlie and Lola in our house too, both the books and the show.

    As for another commenter it bothers my dearest friend to no end that there are no parents on Max & Ruby. Where are they she asks? Why are they always alone? Why do they take buses and leave the house completely alone?

    I kind of agree but I guess I just figure they are know blogging or something.

    Have a good weekend Catherine.

  18. Anonymous12:00 PM

    My husband never ever thinks the kids feel warm, even when one of them has a raging fever- but is constantly asking me to feel his forehead when he is cool as a cucumber. So. Irritating.

  19. Anonymous12:21 PM

    Oh my god! I am not the only one with a clothes chair. I drive my husband crazy with all the clothes on the glider in my daughter's room. He doesn't understand that I don't want to put worn clothes in the drawers, yet they aren't exactly dirty.

    I agree with everyone else. It's the content, not the appearanceof your blog that matters. But the appearance is great since we get all those wonderful pictures of your beautiful children.


  20. Some people create these great banners even on Blogger, and I can't figure out how. Sigh!

    I'm just rereading Waiting for Birdy, and I think it's even funnier now (about the fifth time). My husband keeps asking why I'm cracking up, and I can't tell him, because we're still in the newlywed stage and baby stuff freaks him out. One day he'll understand!

  21. Anonymous2:40 PM

    I said sitting in my armchair and I meant sitting in my dorm room.

    Now I have armchair on the brain.

  22. Anonymous3:27 PM

    Love your column and your blog. Worry not about the other readers, I'm here for your "words".

    The "illness thing" though? My youngest daughter fell on something in our bathroom and it was one of those abrasions that doesn't bleed right away so I told her she'd be fine and to "just rub it." Well, it gushed blood 5 mintues later and she had a huge ugly scab for weeks on her face. ARG. Now it's sort of a joke in our house... Break your leg? You'll be fine, just rub it.

  23. I got rid of the rocker/glider thingy when we moved as it was cheap and too, too uncomfortable when I would inevitably fall asleep in it while nursing. I got smart with baby #3 and moved into the spare bed with her. Ahhh! No neck pain! No back pain! Ahhh! Sleep! Anyways, I digress: since we moved FIVE MONTHS AGO I have gone from the incredibly uncomfortable clothes rocker/glider to a clothes BOX. Yes, one of our millions of unpacked boxes sits there patiently doing its newly assigned job while waiting for me to empty its contents--if I can ever get the clothes off it first, that is. Pathetic. But so, so funny that everyone else has one of these, too. Yes! We ROCK!

  24. Catherine. I think the plain tone of your blog leads to uncluttered reading of your thoughts. My husband was in a fraternity. I've been to the frat house - your blog definitely is NOT a frat house. No beer cans on the floor - no pizza boxes on the couch - no Microfridge - no Mickey's bottle caps nailed to your headboard (I hope).

    I enjoy reading about what's going on in your world. It may be so different than mine - out in podunk Nebraska. But it's funny how it's also so the same. I've got a three year old that can chat you to death (or deaf) about things like the orders of holidays and which one's next and when that one's over, what will be next? And why did the neighbors get to put up their lights before Thanksgiving and we have to wait? And so on, and so on. When I read what you write about Ben and Birdy's comments, I laugh and laugh.

    And the fears. We've all got them. And they can keep you up at night. It's nice to have somewhere to share that. I've always worked with women whose kids are my age (I'm a teacher) so it's nice to have a forum where I can say "me too". So thanks for that.

  25. Anonymous8:20 PM

    Just when I thought we could not get more alike, you reference one of my favorite Christmas songs. And, it just does not get more melancholy than "River," I think. I just identify more with you all the time. I would love if, in a future post, you would update us on your decision struggle on having a third (or not.) Maybe it is too personal a subject right now? You mentioned it awhile back, and I am really struggling with the same thing. I seem to be asking for feedback everywhere. Love your writing! - H

  26. Anonymous8:30 PM

    The thing about the college boy frat pad is that those are often the most fun places to hang out.. the people are real.. not trying to be something they are not... so I say it is perfectly fine- even fitting to find your blog just as it is. No worries there. Thanks for sharing! Linda

  27. I think the laundry chairs are a common theme in most house, rather like 'the bowls of nothing' that seem to multiply on bookcases and kitchen counters. You know the ones, with the odd buttons, some paper clips, old coupons etc that you can't quite get rid of, but that you will never ever need. (until the day after you throw the whole lot out.)

  28. Anonymous10:57 PM

    Omigod. I love that song. It's my favorite xmas song (even though it's not really a xmas kwim)...just makes you close your eyes and stop breathing for a moment, doesn't it?

    Anyway...the bitter-sweetness of this journey with the most beautiful kids ever. I have a 6 year old daughter and a 4 year old got me through their infancies! We're so lucky.......

    You're the best!

    ~ Madelyn

  29. Anonymous12:38 PM

    I use myspace to do all my blogging/picture posting/connecting with friends. If you click on the link to my page you'll see where there's a link under each of the pictures slides where you can create your own stuff. Then when you're done they just give you a code to put in your blog and your done. I'm completely dumb about stuff like that and I can do it.

    I too relate to the worry and the seemingly never worried husband. Everything worries me lately to the point that I can't even focus on the good times because I'm too worried about the inevitable bad that is coming. I hate being that way. I'm sorry you feel the same, but it's nice to know I'm not alone.

  30. Catherine,
    I had a kid in ICU and my husband SWORE he was "fine." Really couldn't see what I was all upset about...So I can relate to your wondertime post.
    Keep posting your links to wondertime here. My computer remembers "benandbi...." not the wondertime.go. blah blah blah.

  31. I feel like I did when I lived in LA and saw Steve Martin in my neighborhood in Runyan Canyon and he said "hi". I can't believe you have a blog, like the rest of us commoners. I have been an ardent fan since early "Ben and Birdy" days, and love, love, love your writing. In fact, my husband got me "Waiting for Birdy" for Christmas. I almost hurt myself from simultaneously laughing and crying.

    I too have had a b*tch of a time commenting at Wondertime. I completely related to your last post. My husband is the same way about health issues, but so was my dad, and I'm alive to tell the tale. My mom died when I was eight, and my dad was the ultimate 50's dad - raising kids was women's work. He came around, but there were all kinds of moms out there looking out for me too.

    Hope you are all well and healthy and enjoying your weekend.

  32. Anonymous5:43 AM

    oh i know the canal, never been there I'm in the UK but I keep hearing about it and reading it! I want to skate down a frozen river! although I hear its not frozen this year, weathers too mild...

  33. Anonymous3:13 PM

    Dear Catherine,

    I just loved your reference to that beautiful Joni Mitchell song, I can just hear the solo piano now.

    I know what you mean about the lack of attention to the kids' poor sore throats - it's hard, when they say that the overfunctioning person in any one given area is supposed to withdraw so that the underfunctioning one (uh, that would be Michael, sorry) steps up to the plate - how are you suppposed to sit around and wait to see if he DOES step up - I mean, what if he doesn't, and two days have passed while you're sititng there watching and waiting, and the strep throat turns into something worse - you can't exactly do that, so sometimes it seems to me that one just has to keep on doing the lion's share of the daily maintenance when it comes to the sweet little ones. Maybe it's just one of those "too bad, that's the way it is" things? Diane

  34. grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.......i just posted a big comment at wondertime and it de;eted it!!!
    anyway, I am too lazy to retype the whole thing but I just wanted o say that i was birdy when i was a kid. i got "sick" every sunday night.

    also, my dad was somewhat like your husband and oddly enough, he was more comforting to me than my mother....i think because i was a born worrier and always thought i would surely die from whatever was ailing me. my mom was a great caretaker...but she always took care of me with worry and sadness in her eyes ( poor thing, you are burning up, oh i feel so bad for my little pumpkin...i will stay right here with you ... how about some more medicine? some soup? etc.... and while this is dad's "drink gatorade so you stay hydrated, stay put on the couch (and watch whatever dad wants to watch ((because just because you're sick doesn't mean that we will watch three's company on the main tv...and his scratchy-mustache kiss...and his lack of concern made me think.."well...I must be fine....or dad would be worried."

    weird, in know...but true, nonetheless.

  35. Catherine,
    OK OK so you won't come to Ottawa now...but maybe some day. When you do you have to skate on the canal and then eat a Beavertail (a great winter treat and not what it sounds like)

    Just wanted to say have 3 pregnant people in my life right now and they all got your book as "congratulations on getting knocked up!" You have created three more fans and they are now addicted to your blog too!

    I sound like an infomercial but your book makes a great gift!!

    See ya
    Chilly in Ottawa but always able to skate on a river!

  36. Hi Catherine, long time no see...
    I'm Lilian, the Brazilian mother of two boys who used to live where you live and who is now in Philly (went to see you at B&N) and who is a fairly unknown blogger and a huge fan of your writing...

    In spite of all that, I don't think I have commented here before. I haven't visited often enough since you moved the blog, mostly because I hadn't added you to my blogroll, something I'm doing right now.

    Anyway, I have to catch up in my reading of both here and your Wondertime column (which I will also add to my blogroll, but I'm looking forward to that. So I may add very late comments to old entries as I go. (I felt very sad that I didn't get to read that post in which you ask people how blogging changed their lives, or their parenting -- most of the commenters weren't actually bloggers and I was frustrated that I didn't get to comment on time for your article)

    My blog isn't fancy either, but I'm updating the template today and hopefully will be able to start fiddling with it and making it fancier.

    OK, so now I'll be here (and at Wondertime) all the time -- promise! :)

  37. oh, and you should add that character typing thingy offered by blogger so you won't get spam in your comment section.

  38. (it's actually called "word verification")

  39. Anonymous2:14 PM

    I think your blog site looks great. Easy to read, navigate and is not overly busy. Simple. That's the lastest style trend anyway, right? Anyway, as talented a writer as you are, the writing is the focus. That's all I need. Of course funny and cute photos now and then are a plus.
    I know how you feel about needing a break from responsibility. I swear it's a man - woman thing. I don't mean ALL mean or ALL women either, but I think it's so in many cases. With me, it's not just the onset of sickness in my kids (we've been lucky this winter and very healthy and I knock on wood as I type)... but so much more of the mundane tasks of everyday life. Things to do, to get done. I make lists, I make pleasant verbal requests, I nag. Yet so much of the time it seems, it's not going to get done unless I JUST DO IT MYSELF. It's so annoying. My Aunt told me once, to just accept that, and just DO IT YOURSELF, instead of driving yourself crazy because he's not doing it. (Whatever "it" may be). Sometimes that mindset works. I don't mean to get into the great housework debate. It's other stuff in addition to housework. Just, your tasks as a responsible adult in a household. Like, rolling up the garden hose before it's buried under several inches of snow. Last winter I asked and reminded him to do that and had my mind set that I absolutely would refuse to do it myself. Guess what? It sat curled around the lawn all winter. Getting cracked and wrecked. Guess where it is this winter? All rolled up nice and off the frozen ground. Why? Because I did it. That's the only way it would get done.
    Then more serious concerns enter my thoughts... saving for college, having fire escape ladders in our kids windows. And many times have I brought this up with the hope, he'd get right on it? I guess I better get going on these things!
    Anyway, I rant. Of course he has many wonderful qualities too. But I do also get so tired of feeling like, so much responsibility is on my shoulders when it would be so much easier to be shared.

  40. Anonymous10:17 AM

    I've always thought your blog looks nice. I'm not very well traveled in the world of blogs but I think it looks very classic, elegant.

  41. Anonymous11:57 AM

    I don't even have a blog and as I've said before, yours is the ONLY one I read.. unless you count Wondertime!! I will post over there though. I just had to comment on "teaching" Michael w/ patience. It is so funny how things that are so darn simple are the hardest to figure out sometimes! I can say this because I have only just begun to treat my husband with the same courtesy and respect I would treat a guest as the beautiful quote says on my fridge... you know what? It really works. (oh, I have my moments of course). It has taken us 10 years of marriage to figure out that treating each other well just like we treat our children, was the best thing we could do...

  42. The dynamic in our house is like yours, but reversed and with a twist. My husband is the one to worry. “Was that a sneeze/cough? Does the baby have a fever? Look at her throat; doesn’t that look like strep to you?” He worries over it all, not quite to the point of catastrophic thinking, but certainly considering the worst possible outcomes. (And thereby preparing himself to deal with or handle whatever might be coming.) Me, I’m more the Polyanna type. Everything’s fine. It’s all groovy. I determinedly see everything in the best possible light until forced to acknowledge the “monster” blowing stinky, hot breath in my face. Most of the time my way works great. It’s usually just a cold or other minor illness. Unfortunately it’s occasionally been something worth fearing. There’s where the twist comes in. We switch rolls. I swing into full fledged panic while he gets done what needs to be done with calm strength.

    Oh, and to “anonymous” (who is contemplating another child), here is something to consider. A wise friend told it to me, and it tipped the balance when we were making the same decision. If you talk to people (especially in their late 40’s and older), you can find many who wish they’d had another child. But I’ve yet to meet ANYONE who said, “We just shouldn’t have had that last kid…”

  43. Good job adding word verification! You're on your way to having the blog you always dreamed of ;-)

    I was going to say, about the clothes thing, of course I do the same. I finally got wise to my ways though and added two things to our bedroom.

    1. A hamper with no lid. This is right next to the bathroom ensuite door and can be reached from anywhere in the room. Very handy!

    2. A row of hooks in the closet. Anything that I will wear again goes on these hooks. They'd work on the back of a door too if there wasn't room on the closet wall. I've even seen a magazine photo of somebody's room where they put the hooks right on the bedroom wall. I use this all the time and it's usually full of my jeans. I don't like to wear the same ones every day but I probably wear each pair 4 or 5 times before I wash them.

    That said, we also have a footstool in there that currently is stacked with sheets and towels. I do all my folding on the bed so things that need to be put away someplace else often collect dust for a couple of weeks there first.

  44. Hi Catherine. Wow, I have been reading the BabyCenter Violet's Blog for the past few months and I always saw the Ben & Birdy link but never clicked on it... I clicked on it over the weekend and proceeded to read every single entry... and then moved on to WonderTime and this blog. I just finished! My poor DD (13 months) has been playing next to be all day looking up at me when I busted up laughing!

    Anyway, I just wanted to saw you are an AMAZING writer and I will be looking for more stories that you have written online and will be heading over to Amazon to buy your book as well.

    Thank you so much! This blog has been added to my Google Reader (to bad Wondertime doesn't have RSS yet! Boo!).

  45. Anonymous9:17 AM

    You know how the Pottery Barn Catalog makes everyone feel bad because their own house is covered in toys and dust? You don't need your blog to be THAT blog (how does she have time to write and make her blog format hot pink?!), just keep writing and you'll make me happy! Sorry about not posting over at wondertime, I need to find a few spare moments to sign up over there. Thank you Catherine!

  46. I like your blog the way it is. I have two suggestions that will seem to give lie to that statement, but the statement remains true because I will still love the blog the way it is even if you don't make the changes.

    1) Remove or change the "Edit-me" links on the right. (They say "edit me" to cue you to put your own words there instead.) If you don't want to put in links, you can just delete the words. You'll find it under Template in your Dashboard: scroll down through all the gibberish until you see the words "Edit-me" and then delete them.

    2) Delete comment spam. Under "Edit posts," if you go to a particular post you can click on the little trash can icon next to a comment, and that gets rid of the annoying advertisement for medications or whatever.

    I love your column and your book and your blog. All = awesome.

  47. Catherine - OMG, my blog is totally lame, no one even looks at it except for me, so don't feel bad.

    Sorry I am still unable to post at Wondertime, so hope you don't mind if I respond here.

    My 2 1/2 year old loves to help himself to the front of my shirt and say (a little sleazily I might add!) "Let me see your ay-ples, I know you like it..." I've been trying to show him public vs. private as well, but it wasn't until I read your column that I realized I should probably elaborate on the definitions of the two, instead of assuming he knows what I mean. As usual, you rock.

  48. I can't seem to post on Wondertime, and I can't see where to notify them of this, either, except for a number I could call. And I can't imagine I could ever find the time to wait on line for that, too!

    What I wanted to say is, your dermatology thing cracked me up - I relate to it so much. Although I've only been to a dermatologist once, who checked my bazillion moles to make sure they weren't cancerous, I think we have similar skin problems. Maybe it's the skin type, I don't know. But reading your description makes me laugh at my own skin stuff, which is why you are such a great writer. You have this way of putting a spin on life that makes people laugh one second, and get all watery-eyed the next.

    Thanks for being "here" for us. :)

  49. Anonymous4:05 PM

    Hi Catherine, I tried to comment at Wondertime, but I think my comment got deleted. Anyway, your column made me laugh -- I remember when my son outgrew Dr. Sears' Baby Book (which I hated when I was pregnant because it seemed so smug and self-satisfied but, once my son was born, loved for all the detailed information on things like, say, snot). And I never found another book that offered such seemingly comprehensive information on all the small stuff of toddlerhood. You know, like what you should do when your child likes to fondle your breasts. Somehow, google's not much help!

  50. I'm not sure if it's in any way better that my son has a thing for feet rather than breasts...

  51. Hey, what happened to your column in this month's Wondertime? I missed it!

  52. I love Wondertime's magazine and site, but I HATE THAT COMMENT PROBLEM!! Why oh why does it give me an error when I try to post? sigh. I missed your column in Wondertime too - thanks for always reminding us about "being there."
    and love to Birdy for making all of us with "breast-obsessed" young ones feel better that it's not just us.. I'm nursing a 7 mo old, so I figured my 4 yr old just sees them all the time and thinks they're "public" domain..

  53. Anonymous3:40 PM

    Hi Catherine! I was wishing I was you on Tuesday when my daughter sledded -whoosh- right by me, her brother and the row of bushes that were supposed to keep her from going into the road. She managed to hit the only tree, which we are now calling miracle tree, between herself and the road. She had on a bicycle helmet so she was ok. The sled hit the road and a car. I spent the rest of the day wondering why God gave me the insanely huge responsibility of raising two children, and why don't I ever seem to think these things through before they happen? I have read your writing for years and am convinced you would not have let this happen. I wish I was like you.
    and to the person who was thinking about a third, I was too, but I decided I have my hands full with one! And someone said they never met someone who admitted they wish they hadn't had a third, but I have actually met no less than three very honest mothers recently who told me they wish they had realized that two was enough. It's so hard to find honesty out there, isn't it? We want it to look and seem so perfect, but sometimes it's just so darn hard.

  54. Ha- maybe it's a dermatologist thing. I had a weird skin tag checked out that quadrupled in size during my pregnancy, and the next thing I know there's a needle in my back. I screamed "what are you doing??" and she looks at me like I should know and says "giving you a shot of novacane (sp) so the biopsy doesn't hurt." I scream "BIOPSY!!!! WHAT BIOPSY?!?!?" and she looked at me like I had 14 eyeballs, and went about her business. I'm never going back there.

  55. Anonymous2:39 AM

    Ah...Joni Mitchell. Yes indeedy!
    I choose a blog primarily for its content. The design can sometimes be a distraction from the fact that a person cannot write, so your talents are right out there for us to see. And they are numerous. I've blogrolled you.

  56. Anonymous8:41 AM

    I also feel compelled to comment. We have the barfing flu at my house right now which is of course accompanied with a fever and diarrhea. My 6 year old had it. Now, my 2 year old has it despite all of the handwashing, handsanitizing, lysol spraying, and antibacterial wiping I did. It didn't prevent it from spreading!!! My husband is also so clueless. When my 6 year old woke up and barfed all over our bed, he was like, "I really don't think she's sick." In his defense, she had gone to two birthday parties over the weekend. He thought she was just tired like when in college you would pull an all nighter and the whole day you would feel nauseous for lack of sleep or stress. Unfortunately, I'm the one getting barfed on and doing the laundry and cleaning up the puke and I'm 24 weeks pregnant with #4! Geez! What was I thinking getting pregnant again! Just kidding! I love my babies, but I have to say this will be the last time for us. With 3 darling daughters and our first son on the way, we're done! I also have to admit that I'm a little freaked out at having a boy. Are they that different from little girls??

  57. BOYS RULE! Mine, today, told me he wanted to vacuum his room, and he did! He's only 5! I did have to stay in the room with him, but he did all the work, once I showed him how.

  58. Anonymous3:27 PM

    Hi Catherine,
    I just discovered your Wondertime column yesterday and after reading every column back to August 06, I am searching for more! (I did have to get up and walk away from my desk a few times, because I should really not be lauging that hard at work). I will have to look for your book, and read your other column on babycenter's website. I have enjoyed getting to know your family, in a chronologically backwards way and am not surprised to see you have such a huge and loyal following! I wonder, where have I been all this time!? I think of the hundreds of emails i have deleted (before even reading) from babycenterthat that could have directed me straight to your column, but bored me instead with baby milestones. If I had only known. Anyway, I will definitely be reading Wondertime and looking for you.

  59. Anonymous3:21 PM

    Oh Catherine- you really hit a nerve with your WT column (1/22) this week. I feel like I am continuously trying to exorcise this impatience from my own self. I keep forgetting the phrase " we hold their hearts in our hands" and snapping at my daughter, making her ask me for an apology. We have adopted your phrase "speaking sharply", so she'll plead, "But you spoke sharply to me and you need to say your sorry!" Meanwhile, she spent the last 20 minutes screaming about how we didn't read the book we forgot to read at bedtime the night before. I think I want a turn in that giant cradle you wrote about once- the one at the historic Shaker home where adults rocked eachother......It's hard, this parenting thing. Thanks for making me feel better. Perhaps we are just destined to keep trying?

  60. That chinese menu thing is like if we adults found a real Monet painting sitting in grandma's attic. Great art and its all mine! I think they can't even believe they are allowed to have it. Mommy let me have this amazing painting to keep! And LOOK! It ROLLS up! I've been through two dramas in the last month that involved that menu calender and someone's kids.

    I wish I knew how to keep the impatience resolution too. Maybe zen mediation practice, be the impatience, let it wash over you, let it go. I'll let you know if it works.

    Sorry for still commenting here, Wondertime makes you register in order to comment and honestly I don't really want to register.

  61. Anonymous5:01 PM

    "If my children spoke to each other this way, I would be outraged. If you spoke to my children this way, I would kill you."

    Oh, Catherine. You got me right there. I have thought this very same thing so many times. I have snapped at my 6-yr old for talking to my 3-yr old in the same sharp way I talk to *him* sometimes.

    "Your brother is not a DOG, ok? We don't talk to people in this family like they are dogs."
    (unspoken: "This rule does not apply to ME.")

    I think Anne Lamott wrote about this phenomenon of speaking to your children in ways that you would NEVER speak to other people. (Maybe in "Traveling Mercies"?) It hurt then to read about it, and it hurts now. (sigh) It's so hard to be patient and loving ALL THE TIME.

  62. Wondertime comment page keeps dumping my comments and giving me that microsoft "oh, we don't know where your page is..." page.
    So here is my comment, which I saved to wordpad before trying to send it (multiple times...)
    You had a post over at that "other" site about this same kind of thing, this self condemnation. Don't get me wrong, we all fall prey to it sometimes, but I'll tell you now what I told you before: congratulate yourself for seeing your behavior for what it was, and (here's the big part) APOLOGIZING TO BEN FOR IT. You are showing him that when we make a mistake, we need to acknowledge it and, if appropriate, apologize. He will learn so much more from watching you, how you handle your own mistakes. Break that word down to its 2 components, 'mis' - 'take'. Like a movie set - didn't get it right on take 1? You have another chance - you have a whole life time of 'takes'.

  63. Anonymous10:22 PM

    I had such a good comment for the wondertime article about patience. Basically you hit the nail on the head. I've been letting my dissapointment about this very same thing gnaw at me since I got all upset that Ryder (3) got parmesan cheese on the couch. How dare he lose one shred of cheese from the huge greasy bowl of popcorn that I made and was eating one inch from my face so as not to make a mess? And the thing is, he just looks up at me with the most bewildered look. Like: You asked me to share the popcorn. We're sharing the popcorn, but for some reason (that my three-year-old brain could never understand) I'm not eating the popcorn correctly and your voice can now be heard by dogs. Perfect. So glad we could relax together on the couch, momma. The poor baby was even being made to watch the foodnetwork and was trying as hard as he could to be interested in it. Bless his heart and shame on me.

  64. Anonymous10:24 PM

    I had such a good comment, but it got dumped. ( I forgot that part). My recreation isn't as good, but good enough.

  65. OK Wondertime does not want to co-operate so here is my comment for "Resolute"

    You nailed it perfectly. You always do. This is not a new topic for us as your loyal readers.

    I promise at the end of the day your love and warmth shine more brightly than anything else. I have said things that I cannot believe came out of my mouth, the cold, mocking, contempt filled comments roll out before I can stop them. It makes me feel a bit better knowing one of the best mother's I know has the same problem.

    We will make mistakes and be sorry and wake up and do it again. It does not diminish our love for our children. It makes us human.

    Try and have a good week, not all the days are so hard.

  66. I just read your Wondertime column for today and tried to post a comment there, but it won't let me. I am posting it here for you instead.

    "Oh Catherine, you are not a horrible mother... You are human. I too sometimes treat my son, the most important person on the planet to me, this way and then I feel like some kind of hideous monster afterward. The important thing is that you apologized and that you really want to do better. You are a great Mom, and you are not alone in your quest to do better. Nor are you alone in occasionally failing."

  67. Whaaa! I know, I know!! You know what I do? I shout at my kids so that my husband will hear that I'm having a hard time and then come rescue me. How pathetic is that? sigh...

  68. Anonymous11:36 PM

    Ouch. I'm also lying awake (at the other side of the Valley)... My 3 1/2 yr old apologized the other day for having sticky fingers. I wanted to weep (and I am not a cryer). I wished I could rewind the last 2 years (I did fine with them as babies) and undo my nasty words, tones of voice and looks of disdain and disgust. The only consolation I take came from a friend who told me how he copes with his "bad parenting" -- he says he thinks kids need to see that grown-ups are human and fallible, and that that they can learn from our mistake-making (and apologizing).
    He also thinks that as "responsible parents" we need to prepare kids to deal with a world where people ARE sometimes snappy and grumpy and where not everyone cares about chinese calendars. I'm not sure I agree on that last bit. Is our job to PROTECT our kids FROM the big bad world or to PREPARE them FOR it?? Although I seem to be doing it, it was not my intention to "toughen up" my boys. Shouldn't we parents be a shelter from the storm??

    PS Sorry I didn't use Wondertime - I was too long-winded for the little space...

  69. Gulp. Thank you, Catherine for the reminder to us all. It's obvious from all the comments that impatience and "speaking sharply" is something we all struggle with over and over. But it still hurts--how can I be so mean to this magical creature, and how can he be so funny and smart and creative and SO IRRITATING all at the same time.
    And when will I learn to save my Wondertime comments in Word before they are gobbled up into the great beyond of IE errors?? My first post is always so much better..sigh.
    But ditto on the kudos for apologizing - they need to know we are human, everyone screws up, and it's important to apologize lovingly, admit your faults, and pledge to do better. I agree, though, that I never seem to be getting less impatient...

  70. Anonymous12:21 PM

    Just last night I kept barking at Rachel for not treating her sister kindly until finally she asked, "How come everything I do is wrong?"

    Later she said, "But, I don't know what I'm doing is wrong."

    I just stared at her and nodded, my heart halfway to the floor.

    And at night I kiss her and tell her how I'm sorry I wasn't more patient and that I wasn't feeling well that day and she smiles thoughtfully, but I know sometimes "I'm sorry" isn't enough, not for me.

    This year, Catherine, we can do it. Patience in 2007!

    I think I did get an eggshell out of a goop of eggwhite once.

    I need to write to wondertime. I actually have a subscription to their magazine now--because of you--but I don't want to sign off all my personal information and link it to my pseudonym, if you know what I mean. So I can only comment there with my real name, or not at all. It's frustrating.

  71. Anonymous12:45 PM

    Catherine, you are so very much in my head and heart--and it seems, my home. I too am covered in egg on a daily basis! Everyday I pray for patience with my children and vow to do better, and everyday I fall short, a little or a lot. It's a constant struggle, and something I try to be very conscious of. But sometimes, at about 7pm when you're just done for the day, and the kids won't cooperate and are still full of energy (afterall, they're carefree kids, not anxious, over-taxed adults!)--it's really f-ing hard! And like you, I ALWAYS feel terribly afterward, so I acknowledge, apologize and tell them how much I love them and promise myself I will try to do better. What else can we do?

  72. Anonymous2:01 PM

    You never cease to amaze me with your heartrending writings that so mirror my own struggles with this great responsibility of being a mommy. Thank you so much for your continued articles at Wondertime and your posts here. I’ve read them all! (And laughed, cried, and nodded my head along with every single one of them…) Take care!!!!

  73. Now I can't post at WonderTime anymore. I could a few times, and now I can't. I finally got a reply to my email to them, and they said that my member name couldn't be the same as my email address--that that was personal information and so comments by an email address couldn't be posted. They suggested that if I had used my email address as my member name, that I re-register. I did so (grinding my teeth at the annoyance of having to do so), and discovered that THEY ASSIGN THE MEMBER NAME. AND THAT IT SAYS RIGHT ON THE REGISTRATION FORM "Your email address will be your member name." *very very bad language*

  74. Anonymous2:14 PM

    I have tried 8000 times to comment over at your column, and every attempt ends in dismal failure. (Shakes fist at computer.)


    But I'm going there, and reading. And wishing you well.

  75. Here is something I just found at Wondertime: If I just try to comment, I get that error page and it loses my comment. But if I click on comments (like so I can read what everyone else posted), and then scroll down THERE and post in THAT comment box, it SOMETIMES works.

    Wondertime is really pissing me off. I'm ONLY going there because it's the place to read the Catherine Newman column, which I MUST READ IN ORDER TO LIVE.

  76. Anonymous2:46 PM

    Just had to mention - I was reading my Self magazine and there was a short article about looking at your pores in the mirror, rather than getting something done (procrasting was the real topic). I wasn't expecting to see the name Catherine Newman as the author... You are in my "Mama" magazine - not my pre-mama magazine. Was it really you? You talk about your pores more than many writers so I figured it must be you!

  77. Anonymous2:48 PM

    In reference to my previous post.
    I need spell check... procrasting? Ugh!!!!

  78. RE: Wondertime piece "Resolute" (still cannot post a comment!!!)

    Oh, Catherine. It's okay...but I know for you it's not. I would feel the exact same way. And I remember being that kid. And I remember being embarassed of my little brother when he was that kid. And I remember being that slightly annoyed adult who didn't have kids yet. We all have to practice our empathy every single day and just hope that more and more of it becomes second nature. We're all in it together and we're here for you. Thank you for sharing. How you manage to isolate and relate these moments to us continues to astound me.



  79. P.S. to Texas Mama

    Thanks for the reference to the Parents Tao Te Ching. I just got that for my husband and I for Christmas. I'm going to look it up tonight!


  80. Anonymous10:47 AM

    I like that you say you were pissed at your husband. I'd be pissed too.

  81. Laundry Purgatory! That's what the pile in the corner of my bedroom! My husband will be so happy to know that it has a name.