Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Annual Pinata Episode

Okay, so there it is. Are you disappointed that it's so G-rated? I know. I'm sorry. Don't worry--plenty of the attending parents still tease me, year after year, about the boobyata. This year's model was--how shall I put this?--kind of soft. The kids had to bash the heck out it before any treats could be lured damply from its recesses. And even though I'd put the treats in bags to mitigate all that inevitable Lord-of-the-Fliesing after them? All the bags had broken open. On account of the damp bashing. Oy.

New wondertime columns are here and here.

When I called my parents last night, my dad had just been reading my latest column and he said lovingly, "You know, you really are kind of a downer." And that's true. I really am. Which is weird, because I swear I'm nearly pathologically cheerful in my actual daily life. Go figure.

Thank you again for all your honest weighing in on that gymnastics column. I appreciate your saying that you've felt that way and your saying that you've been the exhausted teacher and your saying that you worry you'd be judged in your fancy jeans. Which you so wouldn't be--I promise you that.

xo Catherine


  1. Anonymous1:53 PM

    Its nice to see/here that they at least got to do the soggy bashing of the pinata. I took my son to his cousin's party not long ago and there was a train pinata with little strings to walk up and pull and low and behold one would gently open a trap door - just enough for like three candys to fall out. Even the children lost interest.

  2. Anonymous1:53 PM

    Hmmm...yes it is a bit G-rated. There's always next year though...perhaps a banana pinata? Just a thought.

    So I guess this means Ben is 7! Perhaps his big gift was a bit risque?? Or pink at least.... : )


  3. I don't think you're a downer at all, but maybe that's because I completely love your inner voice that you are so willing to share with us! I do the same kind of awfulizing, as I call it, but it's somehow all based in a suffocating kind of gratitude -- I think you know what I mean! And kudos on the pinata.

  4. Catherine- I don't think you're a downer. You write about things that are so relevant...

    Long before I had children of my own I was so wrapped up in this journal kept by a couple who had 2 boys with Krabbe Disease. I read it nearly every day, and when they posted that one of the boys had died, I felt as it I'd lost something. It was horrendous.

    I feel like these are the things I should keep in the back of my mind, you know, when the kids are driving me bonkers. Sometimes I do.

    Driving me crazy or no, I am truly blessed to have wonderful, happy and (loud/obnoxious) kids.

    P.S. Love the Pinata. Looking for one that is XXX bext year though....

  5. I rarely comment, but I am one of your huge fans--and I love following the pinata saga year after year, as we are homemade pinata folks, too.

    And you aren't a downer. You manage to perfectly express the joyful sadness that is parenting and, well, life.

  6. Well this is a combination fan letter/plea for help and I don't know how else to reach you, so I'll post it here on your blog for the whole wide world to see...

    I'm in the process of doing two things that you've already done, and have done well I think, and I'm wondering if you have any advice for me. The two things are this: I write a weekly blog post for a parenting site and though I love it, and everone at the site has been terrific, I mean TERRIFIC, I sometimes feel these deadlines pounding down on me like the bell tolling, here comes another Thursay, and another post...So I was feeling very sorry for myself and then I came across you and I learned that you've had your own bell tolling for SEVEN YEARS. So I am equally humbled and inspired, and I want to say thank you, and how do you do it???

    Also also, in about three months I have a memoir being released from NAL/PENGUIN. Like yours, it's a very personal account of my life with my children, one who has Down syndrome. And here's the thing: I've been working on this book for more than two years and I didn't once, ever, really consider that real people would actually be reading it. How is it that I could be so completely in denial? Anyway, I was. And now the bubble is bursting and I'm having all these little panic attacks, that manifest themselves in odd ways, like me crying over unimportant and random things I see on television, or there being not enough chips to go with the salsa throwing me into an existential dilemma. Seeing as how you've walked these roads before me, any advice for a fellow traveler?

    I'm at or http:/, and anything you could give me, any crumb, really, it would be so appreciated.

    (And no, I don't think "downer." Never. I awlays think, Wow. Wow in the very best sense of the word. You inspire me, and I thank you.)

  7. I know I take all your columns as a minute glimpse into your soul. Not so much as an all around feeling of who you are. So you're grumpy one moment, insecure another, and hopelessly in love the next. It's ok! I'm just happy to share a little part of you! I got my wondertime newsletter and was so excited to see your Thanksgiving recipes!!! The Yamuffins look awesome!! Can't wait to try!

  8. Yes, I can totally see how it could have been a pigyata.

  9. Is it wrong of me to hope that Ben wants a pinata on his birthday for years and years to come?

    Our church always has a Christmas tree pinata for the Sunday School kids on the Sunday before Christmas, which seems kind of...odd to me. At least it's not a baby Jesus pinata.

  10. We did a pinata this year too. And I thought it would be fun to put chocolate money in it because, hey, who doesn't like money? That is also chocolate? Except I forgot to figure in the excessive bashing, which not only crumbled the chocolate, but freed it from its shiny, fake money casing.

    Guess what? Kids don't like to eat broken bits of emancipated chocolate off of the pine needled covered driveway. Who knew?

    PS I don't think you're a downer.

  11. Oh I still can see your face in that boobyata fiasco picture...

    Please please the Halloween Costume run down. I look forward to it each year.

  12. Melancholy is the blessing and curse of creative people. Sigh. It about drives me crazy every day, but on the other hand, it sure is a deep well to draw from for my country songs.

    I thought of you when we saw a huge, fully inflated hot-air balloon sitting in someone's yard on the way to the Y this morning. They were doing the thing where they shoot the fire up into it. You should have heard Sydney's gasp! Anyway, the pinata is SO cute!

  13. OMG, the boobyata. I almost spit out my wine when I read that.
    That was my all time favorite I think.
    I don't think you're a downer. You inspire me, crack me up and make me feel normal all at the same time.
    Sure you may be go into those sad places.. the ones that most people don't like to talk about. But that isn't the whole you, you give us glimpses of all your sides. It's ok to go there sometimes, it's actually healthy I think.. or maybe I'm just telling myself that.

  14. Anonymous8:43 AM

    Oh Catherine, such wonderful posts! Honestly, I felt you were writing about MY life.

    not a downer at all . . .

  15. You are never a downer I promise. You write the truth, the stuff we all think about anyway.

    I am behind at Wondertime again, but can't wait to read the latest posts.

  16. My kids want a pinata for EVERY SINGLE SPECIAL OCCASION. Christmas! Birthdays! Easter!

    You're not a downer. My writing voice is quite chirpy, which is funny because I am JUST like Easter in real life.

  17. Anonymous8:53 PM

    Not being too crafty (okay, not crafty at all except in my head), I purchased a pinata for the youngest daughter's fourth birthday.
    I really thought I had bought the pull on the string kind, but no. I got the need-to-beat-the-snot-out-of-it kind. Nothing like having the family watch mommy use the end of a t-ball bat to stab the candy out of the smiling sunshine pinata. A hoe would have been quicker.

    I will be rethinking this entire activity next birthday.

    Glad to have someone to share pinata stories with. Thanks.


    P.S. That "heart" pinata you made was pretty great, though.

  18. I think I share the same problem. I am a very cheerful person, and usually very optimistic, but I have a weird dark side. The, "something bad could happen any second", side of my personality. I don't fear bad things happening, just bad things happening to my kids.

  19. i love it, just love it.

    i was once at a party that the mom forgot to fill it with candy. now THAT is a downer.

  20. Anonymous1:54 PM

    "Birdy is serious suddenly, stopping to listen to the swell of the piano. "Oh, Mom," she says, "doesn't it just make you want to cry?"

    Oh, Catherine. It really does...
    I don't even know you, but your longing soulfulness comes through so clearly.

    I'm familiar with what you've written on issues of faith and religion--enough to know that our beliefs are pretty different. But, in spite of that, I think our souls are similar.

    I was reading CS Lewis' The Problem of Pain, and he was talking about "echoes of joy":

    (here's some sloppy quoting:)

    “There have been times when I think we do not desire heaven. But more often I find myself wondering whether, in our heart of hearts, we have ever desired anything else."

    In this life, we encounter or brush up against heaven—“in a landscape, or the smell of fresh-cut wood, or the clap-clap of water against a boat’s side.”

    "All the things that have ever deeply possessed your soul have been but hints of it—tantalizing glimpses, promises never quite fulfilled, echoes that died away right before they caught your ear.

    "But if it ever did become manifest—if there ever came an echo that did not die, but swelled into the sound itself—you would know it. Beyond all possibility of doubt, you would say, “Here at last is the thing I was made for.”

    My own belief is strong, yet doubting...yet strong. And these echoes are forever almost catching my ear.

    I don't know what to say beyond that except that I think this would make for a good twilight kind of talk between friends (or kindred spirits), staring out over a lake or something, and just wondering about things...

  21. Christine, that has got to be one of the **best laughs** I've had all week :)

    Oh.....I mean..... I'm not laughing at all.... I'm empathizing because it could have been me instead ... ahem ;)

  22. I had to go back and read the pinata post and laughed out loud all over again. I just love your type of humor. It reminds me of an excellent british comedy. Thanks for the laugh and the update.

  23. Anonymous5:25 PM

    Catherine, you are a fabulous piƱatartist! Have you posted your piƱata recipe somewhere?

  24. This will make you laugh on your grim days:

  25. Ah, happy birthday to your little Scorp. Go Scorps!!

  26. Oh, and the downer thing? That's called "melancholia", my friend, and it enjoys a long and honored history. Back in the day, we'd have our own Humour! That's nothing to sneeze at! (Pun totally entended.)

    Embrace the Melancholia!!!

  27. Anonymous2:26 PM

    We are lazy buy-the-pinata people. We got the cutest number "5" this year. Hard to fill, as I had to keep sliding the candy back and forth to get it to the bottom. And, unfortunately, the shape of it caused tiny little amounts to come trickling out for the longest time. It had to be completely smashed apart!!

    Also, just read your latest column "In retrospect, it's sadly comical, the fantasy that you'll be stuck holding your baby forever." Sweetest column ever!

  28. You are so creative! I have tried many things, but I confess we always buy our pinatas. I'm not sure any of us have quite recovered from the first time though--the sight of 15 three year olds trying to beat Dora the Explorer to get candies from her head... it's just Not Right.

    If you are a downer then so am I. You say everything that goes through my own head that I used to be embarrassed to think, let alone say.

  29. An argyle hot-air balloon! Who else could have thought of such a thing?

  30. Personally, I think that hot-air balloon pinyata could totally be a uterus. All it needs are a couple of little fallopian tubes, and bingo! Right in line with your continuing theme of female anatomyatas!

    :) It's all in how you look at it.