Thursday, January 31, 2008


That's what I'm doing. Making pizza for a wondertime food piece I'm working on. And oh it is good pizza. But oh there is flour everywhere. And also dough in my fingernails. Plus, if I don't get a yeast infection with all the spores floating around my kitchen I will drop to the tiles and kiss them.

Anyways, I am wanting to address some questions from the comments section. One about an old column--and I knew just the one you meant. The one about how you are constantly losing the very people you love most as your children grow up and change. . . And, embarrassingly, the way I tried to find it was by Googling. And all I could find was this, which I don't think is the one you meant. But then I had to stop, because I read something about Birdy's chubby white underchin and it made me cry. Oh how I miss my babies.

Have you made that caramel cake yet? What about Ann Patchett's new book, Run? Did you read it? And finally, who recommended Half Magic to me? We are reading and loving it--thank you so much.

New wondertime columns are here and here.

Take care of yourselves!



  1. Anonymous1:35 PM

    This is one of my all-time favourite posts by you! I refer back to it incessantly so I knew exactly where to find it. When I first read it, it made tears stream freely down my cheeks, much to the alarm of my husband, until I could catch my breath enough to tell him what it was that I was reading. (It still brings a lump to my throat) Oh, what can I say? I am a kindred spirit.

    If you thought you missed your babies before, wait until you read this.

  2. Sorry, the link didn’t work. It’s Week 112: Fleeting Passions, on BabyCenter

  3. Half Magic was one of my favorite books as a child. In fact, I'm ashamed to admit, I stole a copy from my classroom and kept it. I just read it to my 8 year old last summer! Isn't it wonderful to share your favorite authors with your children?

  4. OK, now I'm crying. I read both old articles and they hit home for me. Catherine, you have a gift! I can't even express myself enough here to tell you how much your writing speaks to me. And how much it means to me. You are a special person.

  5. It seems like my children grow faster than I can emotionally keep up with. I'm hanging on to my baby (16mo.) like mad, but *sigh* she's a toddler. When I see pictures of her from just a few months ago, or last summer I literally get choked up. Where did those chubby chubby thighs go? That toothless smile?

    This is why I want MORE BABIES. MORE! My husband does not agree...

  6. I still have a relative baby and I find myself half-drunk with baby longing most of the time - although there would have to be more then half-drunkeneness involved in conceiving another one because I DO NOT WANT TO BE PREGNANT AGAIN.
    I have not made the caramel cake because in theory I am on a diet. Theoretically.

  7. Anonymous4:32 PM

    I am always up for a good carmel cake recipe-uh especially since I've never made one..I looked on their website but can't find it..anyone have a link to that?

  8. Anonymous6:41 PM

    Today while I was waiting to get on a plane I saw a couple traveling with their new baby. He couldn't have been more than a couple of weeks old. He was so squishy and perfect, I just wanted to kiss that place under his chin that feels like a big warm flower. I want to smell the baby smell, but I can't imagine having another baby.

    My boys still let me kiss them. I still get to smell their hair after a sweaty day at the park, or a lilac bath.

    Right now, I think I am in the place you were in when the "you" inside your head sat on the curb and cried when you weren't pregnant, but the you on the outside was OK with it.

  9. Caramel Cake - I've now made it 3 times...torture...
    It's the first recipe that comes up if you enter 'caramel cake' into the search box. Enjoy!

  10. Oh, how you have made my day by addressing my question directly in your blog......Weeks 154 and 112 are both goodies, but the one that I was thinking of was week 151: Heads or Tails. Read with caution!
    It is luck, luck, luck!

  11. Oh my. I could read and cry for weeks.

    I often cry when reading to my almost 2 yr old, because I can hear the baby voice of my 5 yr old echoing the words, could it possibly be 3 long years ago?

    In Week 112, the "lump in the throat forever" line....
    "I think I'm just trying to figure out how to hang on and let go at the same time. And not get my heart broken." EXACTLY. sniff, sniff.

    I read a book called "Mitten Strings for God," where Katrina Kenison wrote "And even as I marvel at the latest incarnation, I grieve for yesterday's child, already a memory. To love them is always to let them go, bit by bit, day after day."

    I am not good at this letting go, I can already tell. Middle school might be ugly...

  12. Anonymous2:23 AM

    If we're doing favorite ben&birdy articles then this is mine, the one that I have saved on my computer and the one that I send to everyone I know:

    And if we're talking pizza, I've been obsessed with perfecting this dough recipe and now actually have a tub of Calputa 00 Pizza flour sitting on the top shelf of my fridge:

    Pizza night has never been the same :)

  13. Anonymous9:11 AM

    hi catherine...i haven't been able to get enough of yor quirky family lately...i had been with internet service for over a year and just found you guys again! I was going through the blogs from the beginning and i must say that the valentine one from last year has all of my coworkers looking at me like i need a straight was soooo funny i couldnt contain myself!!! thanks for the laugh i really needed that

  14. Anonymous9:58 AM

    I remember that post as well. It is one of my favorites. You capture the bittersweetness of life so well. What a gift you have.


  15. I recently linked to THIS post because it perfectly described how I felt during my first trimester. (I actually googled "catherine newman white trash yoohoo" to find it, and it came right up!!)

    Thank you Catherine--re-reading your words made me feel a whole lot better about eating a hot fudge sundae for dinner while my kids looked on. :)

    Thanks again!

  16. Anonymous2:24 PM

    It's good that I read your post and these comments today as it's helpful to be reminded that someday I'll miss these baby days. After taking care of a sick, cranky little one who isn't sleeping at night, it's hard to imagine missing this age. I know I will, but right now it's hard to imagine.

    And I'm looking forward to the pizza recipes. I make the same boring pizza every Friday. I need to change it up.

  17. I don't think I dare start rereading now, not today it embarrassing to say that I had started printing them and keeping them in a binder. It always looked official enough if someone popped by my office.

  18. Half Magic! So, so excellent. And better still, there are more books in which they have more adventures, and one in which their children do. Which is the only thing to save one from a story that ends.

  19. Anonymous3:27 AM

    Those Edward Eager books are great!! My favorites are Seven Day Magic, Half Magic and the Time Garden. Also, Danny Dunn, Madeleine L'Engel, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's magic, so many great children's books. And I am also a fan of the Avatar movies - now that my son is 8 I have let him watch a few.

    How do you use the comment system!!!

  20. Catherine, my mail was delivered to my neighbour's by mistake, and this morning (Saturday) he brought it over to my house. It contained this month's O Magazine! Ever since your mentioning the piece you wrote for it, I have been semi-anxiously checking my mailbox for it. I immediately read your article, which was, of course, lovely. But I have to say WHAT DO YOU MEAN, TURKEY WATTLE NECK??? You look absolutely beautiful and it is a stunning picture of the two of you. Gorgeous.

  21. Oh! The chubby white underchin. One of many reasons I went for number three. She's turning two this week, but still has it. I don't know how I'm going to cope when it dissolves into her big kid face.

  22. I also want to say that I say NO turkey waddle neck! You look beautiful in that picture! You souldn't be so hard on yourself.

  23. Oh, and I wanted to mention one of my favourite Ben and Birdy columns - O Canada - because it featured my hometown of Calgary. Back then I never read the comments section, but later on it occurred to me to do so. I was so put off by the mean homophobe comments from that piece that I actually never again read any comments on Babycenter!

  24. Anonymous11:10 PM

    So is it weird to tell you that when I stumbled across the picture of you guys in O, my first surprised thought was something like, "What are my friends Catherine and Michael doing in this magazine?!" Before realizing sheepishly that I don't, you know, actually KNOW you guys. Oh dear.

    Run: I loved it. Not as much as Bel Canto, which is perfect. But I thought Run was elegant and complicated and lovely.

    I can't bring myself to go back to your old posts being talked about here, since today I packed away the 0-3 month clothes, probably never to be worn again (at least not by any baby of ours). But that's their job right? To grow up? Silly to be nostalgic about babyhood with a baby right here on my lap, but I can't help it.

  25. Anonymous8:56 AM

    "...that I won't be able to comfort them simply by rocking them in my lap."
    Why you got to do me like that, Catherine? I was so happy to get the kids out the door this morning, and now I need to find them, hold them, kiss them and smell their stinky hair.
    My little one (4 yrs) wanted me to go to the store without him the other day, and when I explained that it wasn't safe to leave him at home alone, he said, "Oh, but I could just kiss my own self if I got hurt. See?" And then he proceeded to kiss imaginary boo-boos all over his arms and legs. "I don't need you here. See? I can do it myself."
    (sniff, sniff...)

  26. Hello, Can someone please post the link to the O magazine articles that Catherine writes, or do you need to subscribe to the magazine itself, i cant seem to find them online, Please and THank you.

  27. Melissa, I think you need to buy the magazine. I had no luck on the net, either. I will tell you, it's worth buying the magazine.

  28. Anonymous1:01 PM

    Just checked in after so long, and I needed to tell you two things after reading your most recent post: first, Half Magic rocks, as does everything else by Eager. We also just finished Half Magic and are on to Seven Day Magic. You should definitely read them Five Children and It by E. Nesbit (and all her other books as well). I'm so happy my kids (well my almost 8 year old boy with his sister in tow) are at the age that I can start reading them all the magical books of my childhood. Second, my 4 year old daughter Carolina (Beenie) turns 5 tomorrow. She is beside herself with exceitement and I am a weepy mess thinking about the fact that my baby is gone. When I started crying last night about it, she asked why and I told her, and she gave me the strongest, longest hug and stroked my cheek and told me, "When I'm all grown up, I will still be with you always." And that's the wonderful part about her growing up and seeing what a lovely person she is developing into. But I sure sympathize with the sadness of losing their babyhood.

  29. Catherine I adore you! I have wanted to write you for so long and don't know why I haven't...oh yes I do - I have 15 month old twins!I first read "Waiting for Birdy" during the final trimester of my pregnancy. Afterwards I read you obsessively on Baby Center and am working on catching up on Wondertime. Anyway - I want you to know that you have made me a BETTER PARENT and for that I will be eternally grateful. Thank you. Your humour and willingness to show your own mistakes (although I must say you are too hard on yourself), has made me more forgiving of myself. Reading how fast these years go by through your children has really helped me to slow down and enjoy mine while they are still babies (or toddlers now I must admit). Thank you. I really am so grateful and sorry it took so long to tell you this. I hope you have the chance to read this message and know how important you are to not just me obviously, but I feel like you must be one of my girlfriends. Thanks.

  30. I just read the new (2/4) Wondertime column, and I had to write to say that I've been thinking of your family and your (understandable) aversion to barfing flu since our whole family (we live in the same town as you) came down with it sequentially a couple weeks ago. Now it's over and the 5-yr-old is on to the regular (real) flu, apparently--I'll keep my fingers crossed you don't get that one.

    You captured the relative ease of this age so well. Unless you're my husband, who has such a bad gag reflex that he invariably has to pause while laundering the barfy sheets to retch himself. This is why he gets the sheets, while I get the barf-covered kid. Division of labor: priceless.

  31. Anonymous9:50 PM

    You have tapped into such baby/kid nostalgia! My older child just turned 5 - one of the reasons I've always loved reading you is that Birdy and he seemed so similar in their fierce loveyness. I now have a 10 month old girl, and knowing that she is my last (oh but if I could breed kids that SLEEP I might make more!!) makes every milestone so bittersweet because that time before she rolled, sat, crawled, stood, cruised will never come again. As for me, the spot that kills me is the squishy part on the back of her neck. I just press press press and revel in that baby deliciousness. Thank you, Catherine, for speaking to our hearts!

  32. Ann Patchett came to my town on her RUN tour ... oh my. She spoke so eloquently about friendship and about grief; plus she was side-splittingly funny. Yeah, I'm a fan ... anyway, I did read RUN - loved it - she spins such a lovely yarn. It wasn't quite as compelling as Bel Canto, but it was beautiful in its own way. I loved reading it during a very snowy time here in the upper midwest.

  33. Anonymous2:08 PM

    Hi Catherine,
    Your kids are SO lucky, 'cause as much as they love hearing about themselves as babies, they will love even more being able to read all of your columns when they're grown up. Oh, they might be a bit embarrassed about the poop and barf stories, but your rhapsodies of love for them and the funniness of it all will be such a precious gift to them late. Maybe even especially the ways you question yourself as a parent (although I agree with the other commenters that you're way too hard on yourself). Your honesty with yourself is rare and beautiful, and I swear has also made me a better parent. I always have extra reserves of patience and clarity with my 3-year-old son after reading your writing. He should send you a thank-you note! (as should I)

  34. Reading these comments leaves me almost nothing to add - I am also a Catherine addict, and she has made me laugh and cry my way to becomming a better parent. That said this week Suzanne your note above resonated - I am already strangly, sneekily wanting another baby (my 2 boys are 3 yrs and 5 months)however am finding parenting hard this time around. My lovely round juicy smiling baby has reflux and crys and crys in the evenings, doesn't sleep and won't be put down even for a few minutes throughout the day. Post natal depression is a bitch, but the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter and bigger now, and Catherines words help remind me of the wonder, the perfectness of my children and laugh at my own imperfections. So thanks. I'm gonna go kiss my babies now :)

    Do any of you Newmanites remember the title of the parenting anthologies / essay collections that Catherine has contributed too? I seem to remember one was about raising boys.??

  35. Littlehouse, I don't know it this is what you meant, but I think that collection Catherine wrote for is called "It's a Boy!" and she also did one for "It's a Girl!" They were both great articles even if that isn't what you were thinking of. I'm sorry you're having a hard time with a reflux baby. I had a hard time with my second, too. She also wouldn't be put down for more that 1 second at a time and it was SO HARD!!! I cried and cried. Then, I resigned myself to holding her and trying to enjoy the holding. I tried to tell myself that there will be a time when I will miss holding a baby. I will someday miss her needing me so much. It helped a little. Maybe someone could give you a break. Even if it's just once a week, you could at least look forward to that break and it could pull you through a hard day. Soon, as you know, she'll start doing a lot more fun things. She will begin to roll and sit by herself and it'll get better. Hope this helps.

  36. Catherine, I tried to leave a message at, but it booted me out. Oh well, just wanted to tell you that I thought it ws really funny how you make fun of Caillou. That show is painful! The way he whines and gives the kids new things to be afraid of. YUK!! Well, that's it. Just wanted to say thanks for the laugh. The way you mimic the narrator is dead on. Funny.

  37. Oops. My appologies to it did go through.

  38. Thanks Mommameggie - that was helpful on several fronts!

  39. Anonymous9:07 AM

    Caillou: The World's Most Annoying Family

    I feel your pain. Could Caillou get any whinier? It makes watching the thousandth episode of Thomas the Tank Engine seem like a lot of fun in comparison!

  40. Anonymous11:50 AM

    And I'll just add that the musical numbers with real kids that are between the Caillou episodes are just as detestable! Somehow cheesier than most other songs on kids' shows.

  41. Anonymous8:45 PM

    hi...I'm glad to have found your blog! I loved your article in the O magazine - thought it was one of the best written I've read on the subject...

  42. Anonymous9:47 PM

    I bought O magazine specifically to read your piece about Michael. I think it was very neat, Catherine. (I always feel corny using that word, but sometimes it just fits.) I especially liked how you talked about it being a mistake to try and change, wittle away, at the ways your spouse is different than you. You should be proud of yourself, it was a love letter, Michael was right.

    I cannot tell you how much it helps me to hear you, and other moms posting comments, say how much you miss your babies. My son turned 5 this week, and my daughter is 3, and my heart is mourning the end of babyhood in our home, in our lives, in my arms. Thank you, again, for sharing your inner most thoughts and emotions.

    I tell all my girlfriends that are moms to read your stuff, honey.

    You should be very proud of yourself. Kudos to you!

  43. Anonymous4:37 PM

    I have quoted (okay, now that I see it again, I paraphrased) that article so many times, to myself and to others. If I could cross-stitch, I'd make myself a pillow to hug when they are gone (or teenagers):

    "[W]ith kids, it feels like every person you fall in love with is bound to disappear [...] and then you fall in love with the next person. And that person disappears too and is replaced by someone new...."

    I'm only editing for the size of the pillow, promise, I love all the words!

  44. I made the caramel cake! It was da bomb, although I think I could have just eaten the caramel glaze with a spoon and been happy.

    I was looking through photos of my oldest with my husband- pics from when he was 2, he's 5 now- and I said, "I MISS him." His response was kinda, "He's still here," but he's not. He's not. It's impossibly sad.

  45. This comment has been removed by the author.

  46. I'm sorry all of you are so sad about your kids getting older. Personally, I have felt the feeling that my daughter is like a "new kid" every so often because as she matures, she seems to morph into a newish kid. But, each newish kid is so wonderfully awesome and I enjoy it so much, that I don't really mourn the baby so much. She is so great, that I just try to appreciate the goodness of her and just remember and reminice with her a lot about her cute babyish things. I hope you can all do the same. It's no fun to mourn because you might just miss the great stuff going on now. Food for thought.

    Sorry about the deleted one above, but I noticed that it had some typos in it. By the way, I think it's been about 2 seconds since I told you that you rock, Catherine. Didn't want to waste an opportunity:-)

  47. Anonymous1:07 PM

    I love your suggestions, and feel you should leave little trails of suggestions smattered throughout your writing. We, the shameless Catherine Newman fans will follow your lead and eat Caramel Cake and read Half Magic with happy smiles.

    I do have a suggestion for you - Has Birdy read Toys Go Out yet? My son is a few months younger than she, and is absoutely thrilled with the book.

  48. Hey Catherine, what can I say after all the compliemetns people have written before me? You just summarize all my emotions.
    My littler boy turned three today, and even though he is still such a high maintainance kid, it breaks my heart to see how fast he's growing...The pathetic thing is that when I was looking at his baby pictures with him, I saw one with his two older siblings, when they met him as a newborn, and that picture almost killed me. Uninvited, the tears started to run down my face...How could they have possibly been so tiny! And they're gone now, and I have these big boy and girl in their place. And yes, they're exciting fun kids, but the babies, ah! the babies are scrumptious!!!!!
    Talking about books, have you read Twilight by Stephenie Meyer? I'm addicted to that story. It's marketed for young adults, but all the ladies (my age and much, much older) in my book club are hooked too. I even found it in Spanish so my sister could read it in Argentina and talk about it with me. It's awesome!
    On the other hand, what was the name of that book the mother wants to still rock to sleep the married son? I know you mentioned it in one of the BabyCenter columns...
    Well, I'll go. I know; this is a testament!

  49. Yamille, that book is called, "Love you Forever". The one with the song in it. "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my baby you'll be." I love that book, too and it has been a favorite of ours since I was a kid. Hope that helps.

  50. Thanks for your reply Meg!!!!

  51. Anonymous3:03 PM

    Catherine - just read Absurdistan. Perfect - redefines multitasking. My baby just turned 6 - oy! He still says great things like "Gimme all the lovin' you got" when I go into hug him goodnight. I saw a baby in an elevator and nearly cried today.

  52. Catherine, I just read you Natural Selection article in Wondertime magazine. I liked it. You made me think.

    I just wanted to comment on that picture at the end with you and Ben and Birdy! You look SO beautiful! And the matching shirts for the kids? It's a great picture, I only wish it were bigger. Thanks for the info. I searched the titles looking for one that looked like you may have written it. It took a couple tries and then I found yours. I was excited, as I only get that magazine for your articles. Great one and can't wait for the next one.

  53. googling 'misheard lyrics' and '[misread lyrics' right now

  54. Catherine,

    Do you have an RSS feed somewhere that I can't see? I'd love to bookmark.