Friday, September 12, 2008

Birdy's Question

"If Obama wins the selection, will she get to live in the lighthouse?"

That's what we're hoping, sweetheart.

I have columns up at wondertime here, here, and here.

And here's a picture Ben took through a piece of pink Saran Wrap. Very Seventies-Rolling-Stone-Magazine, no?

I can't believe that we were on our way to the Cape when I last wrote. And now it's school and maple leaves crunching under shoes and socks and it's wild grapes everywhere and wild grape smell and wild grape jam in everybody's yogurt. Plus, my usual fall melancholy. Sigh.

Enjoy your weekend, friends. I hope you're well.


  1. my daughter was just watching Palin and McCain on tv and said "doesn't Obama seem...nicer?"

    um. Yeah.

  2. I love that picture of Ben!!!! And I know what you mean; this summer has been way too short; however, in our family this is a good thing too because the end of the summer means daddy will be home soon.
    My ultra republican neighbor was trying to convince my 7 year-old son about McCain's greatness. My son was very freaked out about this, which is nothing to what I was. My kids know nothing about republican and democrat, and I really like it better this way.

  3. We are keenly (obsessively??) following the race from the UK, with a vague feeling that the rest of the world should be allowed to vote as well...
    My 4 year olds comment on hearing about the Whitehouse on the radio was 'why is it all white? it needs some colour!'

    I think so too :)

  4. Fall melancholy. Yes. But, mmm, wild grapes sound delicious.

  5. The lighthouse will be much brighter with Obama inside!



  6. I slept in a lighthouse once! It had very, VERY steep stairs.

    At my house, all we smell are rotting apples in the yard, dank and red.

  7. I want to follow every young child around with a tape recorder. My almost-four-year-old son Charlie was asking me about "rust" at breakfast the other day, and I was stumbling around try to explain what happens to metal. He was quiet for a few minutes, and then said, "But what if the pizza doesn't get wet?"

  8. P.S. I agree with Kate - the whole world really ought to be voting on this one. After all, it's not like other countries are unaffected by who wins!

  9. Fall is very nearly upon us, you are right. Glad to hear you are all well.

  10. Ben is such an amazing (and talented!) boy - I hope mine grow up to be as naturally wordly as he seems to be.

  11. Anonymous9:14 PM

    My almost 4 year old daughter breaks into, "Signed, sealed, delivered, I'm yours. Oh yeah, Baby." And, then screams with all her might "Barack Obama!!" I could not be more proud...even if she is mostly doing it for the reaction.


  12. Anonymous12:54 PM

    I must say, I have been hoping to hear about your thoughts during this election -- even if some readers may want to avoid politics in a blog that's mostly about being a mom. But in my opinion, being a mom IS political -- especially when moms are being twisted up in knots about what it means to be a mom these days. Sarah Palin's choices re: motherhood (and the choices she would have the rest of us make -- or NOT make...) have forced me to struggle with my ideas about how women now have the choice to work outside the home when they have babies and young children.... how some women HAVE to do so, and how some women CHOOSE to do so, and what that says (or doesn't say) about motherhood. Anyway, thanks for hinting at your political leanings -- I'd be interested in reading more...

  13. Anonymous9:20 PM

    Yes! Please, lets talk political. i love you catherine and i love your columns, but as a financially struggling mother of young children (and i'm not talking about the kind of financial struggle that helps us choose which hotel in the berkshires we're spending our family weekend vacation at....) your columns don't always resonate with me. i am craving more political commentary from smart, articulate, women momior bloggers who have large internet followings.
    come on darlin' we know you have it in you. help us talk about some real issues and how desperately this country needs obama.

  14. Anonymous9:24 PM

    Fall lifts my mood high right through New Year's, after which I get creamed by a swift orange blade and flattened under a snow dune.

  15. Oy, the melancholia. The only thing to do is watch Little House on the Prairie reruns and eat Chex Mix. A lot o' lot o' Chex Mix.
    A lot.

  16. Fall is my favorite time of year. Think of the crisp morning air, apple cider, jumping in piles of leaves, pumpkins, apple picking, hayrides, first day of school stories, end of season sales at the Farmers Market. . I'm what you would call a fall sap so don't mind me! Just looking at the Halloween candy already in the stores puts a grin on my face.

    As for Palin and the working mother/grandmother tag, it's quite easy with a nanny, laundry, maid, driving, grooming, service and someone to write her speeches. Palin has as much experience with national level politics as I do, and that is not someone I want in charge of this country.

    I'm with you Catherine, Obama '08

  17. Hee! My three-year-old has started eating "Barack-oli Obama" with ranch yogurt dip.

  18. Anonymous2:23 PM

    It's me, "2kidslife," but I can't remember my password for Google...

    Is it considered "misery loves company" if I say that I am so relieved to hear you say that you are melancholy once again as fall arrives, Catherine? Oh my goodness, I need to have an alarm clock go off every fall to remind me "Hello, this is not new, you are always this melancholy when autumn comes!"

    And this year, holy cow, my "baby" started kindergarten..... I thought I would have some kind of cute Hallmark tear in my eye... um, no, I instead have some sort of full blown identity crisis, full of "Where have the years flown to?!" and even "Can I turn back the calendar and relive the past 5 years over again, pleeeeeeze Mr. Time?!" My second "baby" is now in preschool. My girlfriends cajole me that I need to enjoy the tiny 2 hours alone I get 3 times a week, and instead I miss my children, and resent this new era in our lives, with "real" school....

    (but I also can relate to your feelings, too, Laurie Rodak, because I also enjoy all the pumpkins and apple picking and fall leaves changing.... apparently I enjoy all those things after my sad stage is over each fall.....)

    I've missed you, Catherine, it is nice to hear from you and your familia again...

    I thought of you during all of the massive thunder while you were camping.... (again, this is that wierd stalker thing where I somehow feel I "know" you since I've been reading your journal since my first baby was born 5 years ago!)

    Thank you for continuing to write your journal entries at Wondertime, and for starting this blog when you left Babycenter. We would all perish, okay, maybe miss you is the right word to say, if you stopped your writing, girlfriend.

    Hugs to all moms out there who are in a wierd funky mood right now.

  19. Anonymous6:46 PM

    I'm in the let's-not-talk-politics camp. I get enough of it on the news, in the papers, and at work.
    I'd like to hear about the vacation on the Cape, yummy recipes, and good children's books.
    I'm with the reader who likes autumn---I find it invigorating and lovely (especially after a long hot humid summer!)

  20. I can't ever comment on the wondertime page, so here is my response to that entry. I copied this from the Dad on a Lark blog. It spoke volumes to me!
    The day left me thinking about rites of passage — how ritual incorporates the big events of our lives into a show, delivering a momentous sense of the before and after. Rites of passage take us through anticipation, to celebration and finally satisfaction. And a touch of sadness, too. To Larkin herself, the sight of those disappearing balloons brought concern about tonight (no binky!), offset by the excitement of the spectacle and (more important) the promise of ice cream. Molly and I, meanwhile, had our own ambivalence, the mixed feelings parents tend to have about progress in their children's lives. It's the feeling of something gained, but something lost as well: our daughter's babyhood, sailing off into the blue, never to return.

  21. Anonymous9:57 AM


    Just yesterday, my six-year-old son asked me, "Do McCain and Obama disagree?" Oh! My head was spinning with all the ways that these two absolutely do disagree. But my answer? Yes, they do disagree about a lot of things that are important to me, but they agree on a few things, too. As much as I tear up these days as I practically watch my son get taller, I am loving that he's asking questions that knock me for a loop. He's a different soul from your Gentle Ben, but the inquisitiveness is there just the same. These boys of ours, how they make my heart ache. (and these girls, too!! I just don't have a girl, is all.)


  22. My son informed me the other day that we need an Obama sticker for the car. Although he is only 12, he has participated in several Marches for Women's Lives in DC (some in a stroller), and he seems to have a basic understanding of some of the key issues (global warming, war in Iraq, health care, education). It's always interesting to me how they absorb things even when you don't realize how much they're taking in. BTW, your column with the Crack-B-Kleen made me laugh so hard I scared the dog, who was sleeping next to me!

  23. Anonymous3:47 PM

    As always, I am right there with you, my friend. I LOVE LOVE LOVE fall, but I am so saddened by the passage of time that sometimes it is hard to breathe. Just this morning I was rushing to get everyone ready and out the door so that my son didn't miss his bus (1st grade) and I wasn't late for work (I still had to drop my 4 year old at Grammy's!). But as my son yelled 'Yippie!' when he saw the bus, I wanted time to stop so that I could hold him just a moment longer...look in to his huge blue eyes...tell him how proud I am to call him 'son' and how much I love him. I cried nearly the whole way to work because I didn't kiss him before he ran for the bus, but I hope he heard my voice over the noise of the bus when I yelled "I love you...have the best day yet!". I don't know why it's easier to let go of my daughter, who's four. Maybe it is because I know that I'm helping to mold her strength as a woman-to-be...but with my son, I'm not sure that I'm doing it right. Maybe I'm just sad about him starting school, but I just wish that I could put the world on pause and review all that I've taught him so far to make sure that it's enough to build on to be a good man...a strong person.

    Having said all that.....I so wish that I could also stop time and smack Palin. It scares me when I hear that since her nomination, more woman are voting for McCain. What the &*$%! My family in Germany has very strongly expressed their wish to be able to vote for Obama. C'mon Obama! If your team could beat Hillary, you can surely whoop up on McCain. (I would have been tickled pink with Hillary too!).

    Enjoy your grape-everything, my dear friend.

  24. I grew up in New England and very specifically remember the scent of wild grapes in the fall. You have evoked a very pleasant memory:)

  25. Time flies... and candy will be sure to cheer you up.

  26. Anonymous11:38 AM

    you always leave me wanting more... I would like to state that Anonymous (posted @ 12:47) with son yelling 'Yippee' made me cry too! Yes, I am a sap. Can't help it. I thought I was going to cry when we took our son to his 1st day of K, I was trying real hard to keep it in, and then he said, "Mommy, can I go play!?!" Well, that dried up any tears I might have had real quick. We went to a Carolina BBQ for Change last Saturday and on the way home my son said, 'That was really fun!' My husband & I were for Hillary but have switched to Obama. And after Palin was announced, I am not having 2nd thoughts at all! She would be scary. I am all for having a 'blessed' day. But I don't think our politicians should be saying "If we are blessed to become your pres...." That just gives me the hibbee-jeebees :-)

    Anyway, enjoy Fall! I love Fall because the weather here always brings everyone outside and lots of fun stuff to do. Every weekend you have to pick & choose because there is too much to do!!

    Always looking forward to your new posts.
    Shari in NC (a [possible state in play this time!)

  27. ....and I might be wearing my "DEVO" T-shirt that Brad Pedinoff gave me at summer camp in 1985, before he went on to become a minor rock celebrity...

    HA! HA! HA! That would have been 1983! Woo Hoo! Thanks for the mention! -Brad

  28. Anonymous9:31 PM

    Obama/Biden '08!

  29. This has been the fastest summer. My husband and I are both teachers, and boy did it just fly by. I love the fall, but where we live summer is 115 degrees so fall means we can breathe again. Homeade grape jams sounds awesome.

  30. Anonymous11:41 PM

    Love fall
    Love Obama
    Love you, Catherine

  31. Hi Catherine,
    I am a longtime fan of yours, I've been reading your columns since the days you wrote on Babycenter before Birdy was here.
    I absolutely love your writing and how you are able to record stories about your kids and at the same time weave in things about yourself.
    I would love to know what your writing process you think up a theme for each column and then write from there? How long do you spend writing each column? I want to make my own little blog better but I'm not sure quite where to start. Most of my entries are more "informational" than storytelling.
    I would love any advice you could give me to make my writing better!
    You can email me at syrungaray at gmail.
    Thank you and keep up the incredible work!

  32. Anonymous5:21 PM

    I am practically in tears right now. Yes, politics, very exciting. I do hope Obama enjoys her lighthouse. But, what I really want to say is that I can't believe how I never knew you were blogging over here until this. very. moment. I read every entry you ever (pardon me for sounding a littler stalker-like) posted on babycenter, a few years after the fact. I love your writing, your children, your relationships with Michael and your friends. Now I get to drink you in and learn about your family in their current state. I am too excited for words. Thank you.

  33. Anonymous12:30 AM

    Classic quote from Birdy!!!! I love it.

    My oldest was beginning to talk as if Republicans were the Anti-christ, so I've had to scale it down a little. No, not all Republicans like war, I've had to tell her. She's convinced, however, that people run for president because they want to live in the White House. She's probably right.

    I've also had to scale back on my anti-Palin obsession. I was having trouble sleeping.

    Love you, Catherine. Sorry I haven't been around much. I've had my hands pretty full.

  34. Anonymous12:31 AM

    And littlehouse, the world should SO be allowed to vote as well.

  35. Hi Catherine! It's time for me to stop stalking you and say hello!

    I'm one of those...I've read your column since it began on babycenter and have gone through two pregnancies "with you". I've never posted a comment - ever. BUT, since you've mentioned Obama, I must. I knew there would be discussion, and I'm so thrilled that nobody is fighting in these posts!

    I'm a bit obsessed with this monumental campaign, but it's all about my boys. I've been volunteering and canvassing for Barack Obama for about a month now and will continue to until Nov. 4.

    I live in Virginia, so we're getting lots of attention as a battleground state, so I'm doing my part to win this for Barack.

    I love everyone's adorable kid stories in relation to the election. My 4 year old keeps asking if Obama won yet. It does seem to be taking a long time...

    Thanks, Catherine, for bringing it up, and enjoy Fall!

  36. Anonymous10:05 PM

    Catherine thank you for sharing a little of your thoughts on the coming election. I am from Canada and think we should at least get a a partial vote - but since no go on that I'm counting on all these wonderful women (and men) south of the border to bring in the change the US and the world so desperately needs. Good luck!

  37. Anonymous12:57 AM


  38. Anonymous1:00 AM

    Go McCain / Palin '08! (yes, some of your followers actually live outside of the liberal Northeast). I have to say, I enjoyed your column much more when politics was left out of it. But, I'd love to know why there is so much hatred among most liberals toward McCain and Palin? I'm a McCain supporter, but I don't wish harm or injury upon Obama. Just curious...

  39. Amazing that 2 lines can cnstitute a 'column shift' for some... And here's the thing. Parenting IS political.
    and while I'm here, I have re-read the comments here and don't see any harm or injury being wished on to any one. I could go on to say more about which political learning tends to do more of the harm wishing...
    Ok. done...;) oh, wait...nope. Lets also not asume all Democrats live in the Northeast. I know MANY that don't.
    Done now. Really.

  40. Catherine Newman, you can NOT have all of us addicted fans of yours, and NOT post on your blog more often!! LOL!

    Hi, it's me, 2kidslife, and I am one of those fans-been-with-you-through-2-pregnancies stalker also, as I've admitted!

    And I'm the silly one who has you on my daily "Favorites" list that I click on daily to read, but I shouldn't, because, like some kind of sad jilted junior high boyfriend, there are no new blogs from my friend Catherine!

    Oh, that's right, I do NOT even know you! LOL!

    Okay, stalker humor over. Only fan humor now....

    Catherine, I read your Wondertime post about Ben and Birdy getting older, and literally bawled! In recognition of my own current feelings! And about your amazing, amazing, amazing way of being able to put all that in words! You should be a writer! LOL! I literally walked over to my husband with tears flowing and said "Oh my goodness, this is why I LOVE her writing, she says EXACTLY how I am feeling!"

    We are hooked, we fans.

    Please keep on keepin' on.

    My heart. May the poor thing survive my son being in kindergarten, and my daughter being in preschool. It hurts, all this change, wayyyyy more than I imagined. And I imagined big and bad.

    Thank you, for the millionth time, for expressing what so many of us moms are feeling. (maybe I should say dads/parents too, to be polite.)

    Enjoy grapey-time-of-year. I love you! (okay, see, wayyyyy TOO stalker and jilted teenage boyfriend of me there!)

    Happy October coming up!

    And save up for Ben to be in film school!

  41. I am going to sit here, rather stisfied that the thing I noticed about this most recent post of yours, Catherine, is that the background has changed from dark to light - NOT the quite innocent political reference. My husband and I vote at completely opposite ends of the political spectrum. If we can live happily ever after, why can't everyone else?

  42. I just posted about my son's Obama fever today. And then I read him Birdy's quote, and he said "We should talk to her-- that's great marketing for female voters!" Um, did I mention he is nine????

  43. My 5 year old daughter wants to have an "OBAMA" party for her 6th birthday, she's got it all planned out.

  44. Wow, new look! I'm also a long-time fan since the babycenter days and I know now that we are the same age! My oldest is Birdy's age and my baby is, well, a baby. Kindergarten is such a change - so much growth and big kid stuff all at once.

    I want to request (again) a column on Ben's hair, whatever the issues are or have been. We need to hear about hair!

    Proud resident of the liberal Northeast: Go Obama!

  45. Anonymous1:16 AM

    Remind me not to move to the NE. No offense to Obama but I just don't see the appeal. You couldn't find a candidate more left-leaning if you tried. Does the NE really want the U.S. to become a Socialist country that badly?
    McCain/Palin '08

    P.S. I think the 'adding color to the White House' comments were in very poor taste.

  46. Not meant in poor taste in nay way. In fact I'm quite horrified that they could be read that way.
    Simply the words of a 4 year old.
    Apologies for any misunderstanding.

    gosh, I've never posted so many times on one column. Last one I promis.

  47. Anonymous7:49 PM

    "couldn't find a candidate more left-leaning if you tried"???

    Uh, how about Ralph Nader? Presidential voting has to be coalitional by definition, so we make some sacrifices... We've had 8 years of far right, and that hasn't done us a lot of good, so let's try something else.

  48. Anonymous7:37 PM

    My 5 year old asked if she could vote for George Washington....she likes John McCain because she thinks he has "two names" and Obama has only one....guess we have done a good job of keeping our
    intense feelings about this away from her!

  49. Anonymous4:50 AM

    stalker since Birdy here!!! YES, we DO KNOW HER. I had that same debate as BabyCenter died (and posted stalking messages here--keep going).

    How come I cant find the BOYFRIEND POST???!!

    Obama has to get it---I think it will happen. Hoping Palin gets to give Trig some time. Mom of a Birdy aged girl, three year old DD and an infant weeks old with Down syndrome---we did not know OR CARE TO KNOW via an amnio with the same risk of loss of life (but support others right to differ on this tough choice).

  50. My 5-year-old claims he has already voted for Obama. It's encouraging to see so many of your fans supporting him as well. And I live in Missouri, so not part of the "liberal Northeast."

    Your kids are the same ages as mine, and it has been wonderful to read your columns these past 6 years. Thank you for sharing your family with us through your writing.