Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Still Life with Link

84 comments:

  1. betwyn12:53 AM

    I can totally relate to the "wrestling with restlessness!" I often have to force myself to stay in the moment instead of running for my camera and my pen. And still I can't stop my mind from making little mnemonic notes to be hastily jotted down at the earliest opportunity. I'm so busy documenting everything that I forget to live it! Lame is me.

    I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend. The death of a loved one can teach us valuable lessons if we're able to open ourselves to them, but that doesn't mean it won't hurt! Virtual hugs all around (and I mean that in the non-creepiest way possible).

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  2. Im sorry to hear of your friend. Death always has an interesting impression, sometimes inspiring, sometimes just plain depressing. Im glad of your friends parting words, because I really want to take that and use it in my own life. We all should truly take the advice and dance. Life is too short to spend watching others dance. Lets all dance ourselves and let our little ones and our friends join in with us.

    That being said, thanks for the link to your article on Wondertime. If I didnt already obsessively check Wondertime multiple times a day, I would be happy I had gotten linked to it from here! (which I also obsessively check. Which hopefully doesnt freak you out!! LOL )

    Take care, and enjoy the apples and crunchy leaves season. (even if it is the happy/sad season)

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  3. Thanks for the pic to go with the article...classic!

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  4. I'm sorry again about your friend. Loved this week's column -- you hit on something that I think we all struggle with (at least I know I do all the time!) And I love the visual to go with it!

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  5. I read very funny things in my boys journals at school, where they chronicle things they do at home. I would love to read one day,

    "Today, after skool, I playd with my brothu, wine tAsting."

    Too cute. Love your kids.

    Again, condolences on the loss of your friend. I'm so glad that you honor her parting wish. xo to you guys and her family.

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  6. Switch that wine bottle for beer, and that's MY still life. Well, except that Eddie thinks a sippy cup is a chew toy.

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  7. kirsten9:23 AM

    I'm so sorry about your friend.

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  8. I can relate- to the wrestling... to the grieving... to staying in the moment (instead of gotta do this should be doing that)... to remembering to live.

    Thanks Catherine.

    Warmly,
    Gena

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  9. Last night I was on the phone with my dad, several hundred miles away. My kids are in what I've called a "horrible" phase where they literally run and scream through the house for no other reason than to create chaos. I long for the ability to sit on the couch and have them only want to hug and kiss me, and not need my attention by shrieking at the top of their lungs. And so I was lamenting about all of this to my dad who replied, "I know to you it's so difficult to live with day in and day out, and it would drive me nuts over time, too...but from MY perspective as someone who is old and whose children are gone, what I hear isn't chaos or horror - it's fullness and life."

    And I rolled my eyes because my kids were at that moment smearing toothpaste with glee all over the bathroom counter because no one was directly supervising them in that exact second. I thought, "no, fullness and life surely doesn't feel this way" and I had to hang up to deal with the madness.

    What's hard for me to accept is that the madness is part of the dance. I'm so clumsy in this dance, always stumbling and falling all over myself. I don't know how to feel full and how not to feel restless.

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  10. You had me going there for a second, but the question mark after "moist" gave it away (I'd recognize Ben's style anywhere!).

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  11. In addition to offering my sympathies on your friend, I wanted to mention:

    Thanks for putting up links to your columns as they come up on the other site. The other site doesn't provide a nice RSS feed like this one does, so that makes it easy for me to keep up to date. Please keep doing it :).

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  12. I love the column this week AND playing "wine tasting" is one heck of a lot better than making Grandma (this would be my Southern Baptist mother, thankyouverymuch) a "martini" while playing pretend tea party during a golden afternoon.

    Cause, um, we have martinis at my house way more often that tea. (I'm a coffee drinker, what can I say?)

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  13. Crack, crack! That is me, cracking up, looking at your still life and reading up on your young wine-tasters!

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  14. is that an original ctherine photo?

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  15. Barb K2:17 PM

    I am also sorry for your loss,
    Catherine. I lost a very good friend last year. She died from
    a brain annuerism at 45 yrs old. Her little boy was 8 at the time.
    A friend of mine gave me The
    Tibetan Book of Living and Dying and it helped. You probably
    do not have much time to read but if you go on Amazon you can buy it
    used for like $3.00.
    I loved your column this week over at Wondertime. My son is always asking what the Wine taste like, how is made etc. I think you are too funny! Thanks for sharing.

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  16. Oh I totally understand the whole "wrestling with restlessness"... I can't seem to do one thing at a time, and even if I'm doing something I love to do, something I've been looking forward to for ages, I'm sitting there, checking my watch, wondering when its going to be overwith.....

    The picture is fantastic. Kind of reminds me of my own kitchen table.... lol

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  17. It seems so long ago now, but I remember how much more vivid life became after my Dad died. It's like all this baggage fell right off me and the grass became suddenly so green.

    And yet, suddenly complicated, too, and heavy.

    Catherine, just so you know, the name of the song is Italian Restaurant, not "Brenda and Eddie.". : ) I'm only telling you this because long ago when people still bought records and sometimes an eight-track tape, I was a huge Billy Joel fan. And Italian Restaurant was my very favorite...and of course, The Stranger is THE best Billy Joel album.

    Tell Michael we have a Ukele, too, but I haven't learned to play anything on it yet, and certainly not "Brenda and Eddie." (I'm sure he will be very glad to know this fascinating piece of information)

    How cool is it that Ava and family got to make the trek to Quebec with you this year? Wonderfully cool.

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  18. Your house sounds so much like mine. All summer long I tried to study for the bar exam while my husband and the kids played guitar, drums, kazoo and harmonica while dancing in their underpants in the same room. I have the same exerpierience now that the exam is over, only now I am trying to get some writing done so people will quit asking me "when is that book going to be finished." I love the underpants band and I also like to stay in the room while it is happening. Those are some of my favorite moments to replay in that slow motion movie in my mind.

    It's nice to see that Michael hasn't been kidnapped after all!

    I, like the rest of your friends here, am so sorry to hear about your loss.

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  19. The family that clumps together ... well, is probably a little crazy but I bet pretty happy and full of life.

    I sometimes imagine somebody watching my little family on the Marauder's Map: "What the hell is wrong with this thing? (shaking it up and down to dislodge the stuck-together little footprints that represent us) It always shows them in a tiny clump of four no matter where they are. It's like they're all tied together."

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  20. I've never lost someone close to me, so I don't know what you are going through...although I can imagine and therefore dread it happening in my life. Hugs are being sent across the miles to you. :)

    I love the picture and the whole column. I think we all feel that way at times. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is stand still and just be in the moment, and when these kids are all grown up, all we will have are the moments we were in with them.

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  21. Anonymous1:27 PM

    a business, a messy house, 2 little boys, a dog, and a Sundance catalogs make me chronically restless. oh, and the husband...but he does help me stop. mainly because i see him sitting and having finally learned over 12 years not too nag him about it, i sit and join them. sure things don't get done, but in the end, they do. time IS precious. i have a mother who documents every second on 3 different cameras and she drives me nuts.

    an aside...so what is it about the metal sippies that's so vogue? is it like a crocs thing that I'm not getting? if it's a health bandwagon, then I'll get on but i'm just not sure???

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  22. Omg, you totally made my day Catherine! Thank you so much!

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  23. Sending my deepest sympathy for the loss of your friend.

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  24. What a treat! So here's a post just for you :)

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  25. First time blogging here. I don't know what I'm doing. OK here is my blogcomment(???):(Actually, I sent it to my own blog. How desperate does that sound?) But here it is now:
    I just laughed so much at the photo. My version would be bio apples and organic bread or homemade tofu dessert and canned (yes, you read me correctly) tomatoes in front, with the most "commercial chemical bad for your health" eatable thing behind. (I eat the latter, in secret, feeling good and guilty, while I watch ER or What not to wear or Six feet Under which makes me feel like my intellectual life is alive again, when the children are asleep, OF COURSE). Anyway, that picture made my day.
    I read, at Wondertime, where I happily found you after the classical breakdown at ParentCenter, that you went to... Quebec? My heart missed a beat (ridiculous, I know. Crazy, maybe). I wondered with febrilite if it was Quebec city or Quebec Province? Montreal? I hoped that you were served in French and that you felt that we were very special here and that people were nice to you. Completely gaga. Oh my.
    I am the one from Montreal, the one who likes "La petite maison dans la prairie" the folle woman who is currently nursing her 3 years old son as she writes this...

    I am sorry for your loss, and your writing will remind me to try and be more zen about the noise, the movement, the twirling (?) of family life. Thank you. Sorry, again, for my English.

    Francine (Are we supposed to sign? I am not sure if I am breaking any rule here)

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  26. Sorry to hear about your friend. No matter the circumstance, it is never easy....

    I loved the wine tasting story (and thanks for the picture). I can so-o-o relate. Ours was with coffee, when our son who was barely speaking sentences, he managed to say "mmmmmm, good coffee" while playing with teacups at daycare. His teacher loved that, we were horrified at this commentary about our habits.

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  27. I am actually in Michigan, (south of Detroit) but I speak/write like I am from other places sometimes. I feel like it makes me more exotic. At least...thats what I pretend in my head. LOL! Thanks for the visit. You inspire me.

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  28. Catherine,
    I warn you. Be careful with that restlessness thing. I felt that after a project at work stopped and my second baby hit the 3 year-old mark. Next thing I knew I was pregnant.
    Clean your closet. Take up needlepoint. Get a part-time job at the pet store.

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  29. Yesterday I realllly wanted a coffee, but I didn't have my wallet. I thought I was out of luck when I found $3 in my jeans ocket--woo-hoo! So I got a nice large Dunkins coffee. Later a friend presented me with a surprise ice coffee when we met up at a farm. We looked at pumpkins and selected delicious apples with the kids. It was not until I downloaded my pictures and saw my daughter next to the *Macoun Apple* sign that the penny dropped (as I rembered you had once written about them)and I laughed out loud. For some reason, it made me think that your weekly entry on Wondertime and your blog is like having a perfect coffee and THEN getting
    a lovely ice coffee you weren't even expecting for free : )

    It was a tough afternoon around here (even with the extra coffee---couldn't possilbly be because of the coffee right???) and your writings about restlessness and patience just kept running through my mind and helped me remain sane. So as always...THANK YOU

    Any one up for playing wine tasting tonight? Bedtime is a hair pulling experience tonight........

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  30. I bought three peaches a few days ago and when they ripen ... come to think of it, will it even work with "Walmart" peaches? It's all northwest Arkansas has to offer. I'll give it a try anyway.

    I love how you describe the wrestling with restlessness. It really resonates with me. Arrrr. (Sorry all the r sounds there reminded me of International Talk Like a Pirate Day and it's already way over with.)

    Also, can you just go ahead and post a big mama list of everything you've ever published? :) Because, for instance, I usually don't read Oprah magazine, but I've heard rumor of the "piece" you did on eggplant, was it? Artichokes? See I don't even know what to Google! Whatever it was though, it sounds like something I'd love to read. And now since I've come right out and asked you for The Complete Works of Catherine, you could post it without it sounding like you're just trying to pimp yourself out. :) Anyway, you're totally famous, at least with several hundred of us moms out here, which is wonderful, and I'm certain that I'm not the only person who wants to read more. :)

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  31. I cannot believe I am doing this. Commenting here, I mean. Just yesterday I blogged for the first time and YOU were the sole and totality of the reason. Your words are the truth of my life. And I LOVED the picture this week. To see that you have the same sippy cups with the chewed upon spouts all over your house as I do....wow. I felt as if I could approach you as a mother and not an icon. Because, to me, your long-time reader and fan, you are...what I aspire to be.

    So sorry for the loss of your friend. I can only hope that the outpouring of love from these comments somehow lightens your burden. I cannot stop writing. Shut up, self.

    The baby has just rolled under the bed and is stuck. He knows how to shut me up!!

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  32. Catherine, I often read your journals and think - wow, she really is writing about MY life... Today I actually had to read your post out loud to my husband about the wine tasting and that is just what he said (while cracking up!) I couldnt read the rest out loud, though, I was too choked up... I wrestle so much, too, and have spent alot of time lately working on my laptop on the couch, just so I can spend more time with my girls (age 3 and 4). Thank you for passing along the "dance" lesson - I am so sorry for the loss of your friend, but I bet she would be so pleased to know how many people she has touched through you...

    Kiera

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  33. Loved the tag line at the end. That Ravenswood is one of our favorite cheap wines too.

    Keep dancing.

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  34. Anonymous11:11 PM

    I discovered your Babycenter column about a month ago after happening upon an article you wrote in Wondertime. I copied an excerpt from that article and stuck it on the fridge, to remind me to be enjoy this amazing time with my baby Lily, rather than checking activities off a mental to-do list. I read your Babycenter column compulsively, speeding through the years in a month. Imagine my sadness to discover that it ended in August. But...here you are. I am so pleased. Okay, now I sound like a stalker. I'm not, I just find your writing laugh-out-loud funny, brutally honest and frequently poignant. Thank you.

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  35. LOL I think we need to start a "no I'm not a stalker, I just love your writing" support group ro something!

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  36. Congrats on the Oprah article! Loved it!

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  37. Catherine: I'm a long-time fan from babycenter, and I just finally logged on to your new blog. I just posted a new blog of my own last night (www.zonefamily.blogspot.com) and now, reading your blog, I was struck by the similar feelings that we expressed: the balancing of stingy grief with warm gratitude. My thoughts are with you as you mourn the passing of your friend.

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  38. I love it - "The Catherine Newman Addicts Support Group". I'm another one that checks the blog (and WonderTime!) every time I sit down at the computer. The blog adds another dimension - I've been linking to the commenter's blogs too. And then their Links and so on.

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  39. Which Oprah article? !!!

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  40. I really enjoyed the 10/25 article at Wondertime. I hope I can get where you are. Right now I am still in the "oh God, he just started kindergarten, what if the other kids don't like him, why isn't he playing with them, why can't I relate to the other moms" phase. They all seem like "real" parents, and I still feel like I am 17 and faking it most of the time.

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  41. Anonymous9:17 PM

    I know! I want to read the Oprah article, too!

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  42. Anonymous9:18 PM

    Uh, last comment from me, Denise. (so much less anonymous that way hahaha!)

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  43. Oh I LOVE LOVE LOVE your new column today. Ditto on the concerns about having a different type of son - ditto on the parking lot exhaustion - ditto on the doubting and the trying harder. Thanks again for making me feel like maybe I'm not abnormal! Thank god for you :)

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  44. Catherine - I'm jumping for joy (despite my own head cold - poor Birdy) that I can find you in 3 places in just one week! I love the dali mama column - it has a real fresh feeling to it. I've been an O fan for years and that you've been writing for them too just renews my enthusiasm for that super-smart mag. And I also enjoy (man, I'm running out of positive, joy-related verbs here) the unedited, relaxed vibe of the blog.

    Like everyone else, I'm really sorry about your friend's too early end. The kind of afterlife I believe in is right here on earth - the kind that lives and breathes in everyone who knew and was changed in any teeny tiny way by that person. They live on in us. I hope, for your friend's awesome teenager's sake, she lives on in you.

    If you need a laugh this week, try this, or this. He's a big fan of yours, too!

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  45. What you wrote reminded me of this. I know it's one of those over-quoted things but I still like it:
    "I remember one morning when I discovered a cocoon in the back of a tree just as a butterfly was making a hole in its case and preparing to come out. I waited awhile, but it was too long appearing and I was impatient. I bent over it and breathed on it to warm it. I warmed it as quickly as I could and the miracle began to happen before my eyes, faster than life. The case opened; the butterfly started slowly crawling out, and I shall never forget my horror when I saw how its wings were folded back and crumpled; the wretched butterfly tried with its whole trembling body to unfold them. Bending over it, I tried to help it with my breath, in vain. It needed to be hatched out patiently and the unfolding of the wings should be a gradual process in the sun. Now it was too late. My breath had forced the butterfly to appear all crumpled, before its time. It struggled desperately and, a few seconds later, died in the palm of my hand.
    That little body is, I do believe, the greatest weight I have on my conscience. For I realize today that it is a mortal sin to violate the great laws of nature. We should not hurry, we should not be impatient, but we should confidently obey the eternal rhythm."

    by Kazantzakis from Zorba the Greek

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  46. I just read your new post. It's beautiful. Not to sound sappy, but it made me want to cry. I know exactly what you mean about worrying about your kids happiness to the point where you make them unhappy. I worry about doing this! I'm so happy Ben and Birdy are doing so well at school this year!

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  47. Thanks for this week. I too have a Ben who is shy and seems happier out of the fray so to speak. He prefers dogs to people (except the people he has at home) and I worry and worry that he will be lonely. This gives me hope that it won't be so and also a little permission to try to just let him 'be'

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  48. Anonymous12:26 PM

    Your Still Life with Link photo reminded me of a genius card I received from a friend in London.

    Picture an illustration of a full wine glass with the accompanying words:
    "Great lies to tell small kids: Wine makes mummy clever"

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  49. Last year my son Bryce started "real school" at the same time that Ben did. I worried about him finding his place among his peers, my quirky, sensitive kid. Like you I learned there was no need to worry - and this year the drop off at school the first day was so easy that I almost felt guilty for not feeling more worry. It's just that he's so comfortable, so himself, despite all of my concern over his playground choices.

    I loved what you said about Ben's confidence allowing him to preserve himself and conserve his social energy. I see Bryce acting in similar ways. His younger brother Quinn is like Birdy (and just a few days younger than her, I think)- and I'm much less worried about his transitions than I was about Bryce's.

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  50. Okay out of sheer willpower, I Googled Oprah Magazine and quickly located your recipes (duh me, how simple was that) and yay! You're a chef too! I'm going to try the tofu one for sure because I love ginger and rice vinegar and sesame oil. I can almost smell it. But I need to do the peaches thing first. (They're still hard as a rock like a week later. Shame on Walmart.)

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  51. Catherine - Thank you! I just read your post over at Wonder Time, and feel comforted by your words.

    My darling boy started "big school" this month, and he is so like Ben...just playing quietly on the sidelines. He tells me how at recess he walked around the playground looking around. (by himself) He doesn't seem upset, but I ache for him, thinking he is lonely, and not making any little friends.

    He is a quiet, gentle sweetie, and I hate to think that he may be sad there. Like Ben, he tells us that everything is great, so I think I will take your advice.

    Worry less, and just let him be his own quiet self.

    Thanks Catherine - I really needed to hear from someone who has been there (and survived).

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  52. Anonymous9:04 PM

    Ever since reading your book, I have faithfully read all your new and old work in all places (that I can find anyway). I just wanted to say thank you, for sharing your life in amazing essays. I wish I could ask you questions - like what you would do in the every day situations that flummox me. Most of the time, you will answer or already have answered something very similar. Anyway, thanks. I am not a blogger or big time internet person, but your work is the one thing I faithfully look for.

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  53. Rachel8:49 PM

    I don't think I can add anything interesting or inspring to the conversation here about death except that I'm sorry. And, that I've read two seriously great books recently which have been about death, directly or indirectly. The first book is The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. The second is Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson. They're both really beautful in different ways.

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  54. Rachel8:49 PM

    I don't think I can add anything interesting or inspring to the conversation here about death except that I'm sorry. And, that I've read two seriously great books recently which have been about death, directly or indirectly. The first book is The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. The second is Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson. They're both really beautful in different ways.

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  55. I have admired you and your writing for over two years now and have just "opened" my own blog so that I can regularly take part in this very cool community of women (we are all women, right? I have yet to see a man post to "Bringing up Ben & Birdy" or Wondertime or this blog...) Anywho, I want to come in and play!

    I have always resisted writing in because I haven't had anything new to add... I often catch myself nodding emphatically at the monitor. But hey, I realized, that doesn't stop us from having conversations with people, right?

    So, for the record:
    I love your writing and wait anxiously for each new installment,

    I think you rock as a mom and - as you say - a citizen (I love how you describe Ben as a "good citizen"!)

    And I am psyched to be here!

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  56. It is so awesome that you recognize things like the need to worry less. I think that's why we have made you into the "Gandhi" of motherhood. You put into words exactly what troubles us most about our own parenting, exactly what inspires us about our own children.

    I have continual arguments with myself about my parenting, in the context of worrying too much. Being too anxious to label certain behavior as chronic or problematic. On one hand, I say, I shouldn't worry so much. On the other, I argue, what if Hitler's mother had worried a little more, hmmmm? Except maybe the problem was that Hitler's mom worried too much. Oh dear.

    Anyway, thank you again for another great article. I'm anxiously watching for the next installment!

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  57. Hey, I was just wondering something. You're a writer and probably spend a lot of time in your own head. My mom is a writer and she's a total nutcase. I'm a computer person and this happens to me - do you ever get moments where you just lose your ability to have a conversation with another human being outside your immediate family? Like somebody says something totally normal to you and all you can do is stare at them? Sometimes I wish I had a keyboard in my purse so I could type out all my responses to people.

    normal person: "Enjoying this nice weather?"

    me: " ... check your email."

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  58. Does anyone find the blogging thing sortof unsatisfying? Like, it kinda feels like talking to air.

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  59. Erin K.12:30 PM

    This is a completely off topic comment, but I have a CD recomendation for you, given Ben's penchant for Raffi and your's for female singer songwriters: Elizabeth Mitchell's "You Are My Litle Bird" It's beautiful, it's about birds - maybe you already have it...my oldest is 2 1/2 so I'm just dipping my toe into this whole children's music thing. I actually picked this because there's a cover of one of my favorite Gillian Welch songs.

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  60. You are simply the most gifted writer I've ever encountered. Every single word you write is perfect. I'm the one on amazon who was begging you to write more books. I will continue to beg... I love your Wondertime articles. And seriously, I am such a Catherine addict, I subscribed to both your magazines just to get a little more YOU!

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  61. I was just stopping by to see if Ben could serve me up some wine. ;) Unless he's got anything with a bit more kick...in which case, I'll take some of that.

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  62. I just love this article I really agree with the whole chilling approach to parenting, a bit like if you build it they will come :) hope ben and birdy enjoy their year at school. And Catherine I just love your writing

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  63. busymomx38:44 PM

    Hey Catherine,

    I know you've heard this before but could you try to gently suggest to the WonderTime editors that gray on gray is not the best possible typeface to attract a reading audience, parents of young children, which is highly likely to be bleary-eyed with exhaustion???? Especially us poor forty-something (it pains me to even type that!!!) mammas of multiple young children. Love your writing but even with my recently-acquired reading glasses, I'm finding it very rough going to read that gray typeface.

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  64. Okay, now that last post was one that mirrors my experience pretty completely.

    I do feel a big pit in my stomach, though, when occasionally Hannah sobs from exhaustion and fatique after a day at school.

    I ask Hannah who she plays with and she very contently says "nobody" and I don't worry cause I know she is content. But then I talk to other mothers who say their children are talking about playing with her. And you know? I think both stories are right to some extent, if that makes sense.

    With Rachel it was different. When she had trouble finding someone to play with, or if she was rejected, it hurt her. It was a bigger deal. I agonized and showered her teacher with phone calls, overworking it.

    Hannah occasionally gets hurt, but having been through it before it is less traumatic and more funny, as she tells me things like "Ryan doesn't love me" or "Richard says I not a nice girl" and I try to imagine all the possible scenarios. And then I look ahead and imagine her all settled in three months time.

    I don't know if there is a path TO happiness. I think happiness is more like a blanket that wraps around you to shield you from the wind and rain, if you know what I mean. It's always there, but sometimes it feels very thin, or you forget to put it in on, even when it's near you on the bed. Or it feels uncomfortable. It's not a pot at the end of the rainbow, but a buffer for your journey.

    Yada, yada.

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  65. But I so completely identify with every emotion you described there.

    How do you do that? Get in our heads?

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  66. Anonymous1:09 PM

    Just checked out your page at wondertime.
    I love it- only problem is that I find it very hard to read- the print is too light against the white background!

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  67. OMG, thank you. None of my children really get the "summer break" since I work year round. But the activities and such that come with older children do begin again, and the schedule becomes hectic and then we have the tired from school being "good citizens" all day meltdowns. I'm glad it's not just mine!

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  68. Oh my goodness - I know you are probably exhaused with all your mail - blog related and article related - coming into one mailbox. But I can't help myself. Reading about that Birdy and having felt that same thing "you are not the child I have been missing all day" - and the heartbreak of her wanting her dad. Oh, you are so gifted Catherine. Thanks for sharing. Sweet onion-y, cottage cheese Birdy.

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  69. Hooo, was that ever a great one, Catherine! I loved that. Kindergarten and being almost 5 has brought some changes around here too and I was wondering about myself, if it's normal to sometimes need to think back to when your child was so little. When they were a more simple person, and maybe a little easier to love? I want to be totally in love with who my children are in the now but when one of them is making a nasty face and yelling at me, or the other one is trying to take a frustrated bite out of my forearm, sometimes remembering the way I loved them when they were less independent is what I need to get me through the moment.

    Thanks for putting it all so perfectly.

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  70. Anyone else going through "Catherine Unplugged" withdrawal"? lol

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  71. Re: "Catherine Unplugged"... yes, I also feel like I have an ever-increasing need for the journal updates - jonesing for a "Newman fix"! But to tell you the truth, I felt that way when she was at BabyCenter too.

    I thought the latest entry was so lovely. Catherine did such a nice job of capturing how our babies are such a funny mix of tyrant and lovebug - with a wacko sense of humor to boot. The last line - Cottage Cheese - slayed me!

    Looking forward to the next installment!

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  72. Hi Catherine --

    I have loved your column for so long, and I think MY almost 3yo could do the wine tasting routine, too. He starting ordering his own "sushi" months ago...

    Anyway, about Birdy and "I'm sorry" in the Witching Hour: I have a lot of issue with having preschoolers saying "I'm sorry". I think it is both hard to do (emotionally loaded) and also, I have a problem with having kids say a few words and everything is magically forgiven. Is there away around it? Could she give you a "feel better hug" and then you could move on without the power struggle? Also, I try to apologize when I hurt or upset my husband or my son, to model it, so he knows that everyone makes mistakes, but that what's important is to try to make it better. Also, could you reframe what's going on, so it's not an accusation like 'you hurt me' (if it was an accident), like, "ouch! You jabbed me by accident. Let's find a better way to snuggle up!" because then you both know you've been hurt, but there's less of a power stuggle.

    Good luck. We are also navigating these same murky waters!!!

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  73. To those of you having trouble reading the text at Wondertime, use Firefox instead of Internet Explorer. You can hold down Ctrl and press + or - to increase or decrease the font size of any website. Handy if you're, say, nursing and trying to catch up on your favorite blog. Not that I ever do anything while nursing except focus on my dear sweet baby (wink, wink).

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  74. Vicki1:29 PM

    So again I am catching up on reading you .. and again I wonder how we can be unrelated??? I only have Emily so I don't have a Birdy to prove to me that I have learned any lessons, but then there are you.. and your readers who make it known that If I am crazy I am not alone.

    I watch my girl growing up so fast.. and wow, she is on her own, going from wanting to play with the trucks and cars to the dolls that all of my friends have foisted on her. (up til now taking up space in the very bottom of whatever container we have her toys in this week) and I think of you and Ben's pink shirt. I hope she is not bending to peer presure and really just wants to play with the pretty dolls instead of the trucks. But I shouldn't worry.. she'd still rather play tag and chase with the boys in class then dolls with the girls. I just don't want to fence her into to what the world thinks is her role.

    and Please Ben can I have some RED wine???

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  75. Amazing how this latest Wondertime article perfectly described the issues that are happening in my own home. We get such rave reviews from the teacher and after school care-giver about my wonderful, talented daughter. Then just five minutes later, I'm screaming at her because she's being mean to her brother and sister, spoke rudely to me, didn't put her shoes/coat/back-pack away, etc., etc., etc. Where did the perfect child go? Someone asked me the other day about what she likes to do, and I was at a loss to answer. Er, do you mean at home or around others? 'Cause she's a completely different child in each scenario. Thanks for reminding me that the witching hour happens to us all. It really is a big transition from good citizen all day to hanging out at home. *sigh*

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  76. Oooh, Becky, that's so COOL!! Look how big! Look how tiny!

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  77. See now I've caught up on an even newer post of yours on Wondertime. The first weeks of school were a big transition on all of us here. Like you, I missed them and yet got the worst of them when they got home. It makes you want to tell some school official that it's not really fair, to take them for the best time of day and drain them completely. Did I miss the vote on that one?

    But is it getting better for you? Are they settling in? Are you settling in to your quiet mornings? Is Birdy no longer cold-ridden? Cause I think we're getting there. Hannah no longer is crying for her sister or Dad as soon as I start the car for home. She has managed to get two colds in a month, but, hey, I think #2 said good-bye yesterday. We're all poised and ready for #3.

    But I find myself dreaming of next summer. I miss getting the best of them. I do like getting the best of me, though. It's nice to feel slightly more in control of my life again.

    They really must get that discussion board rolling over there at WT. Or you must post again soon.

    I think three comments per post must be the limit. Any more and confetti goes off and they give me the dork award.

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  78. Oh shoot, that might have been my fourth post. It was.

    Hmmmm. No confetti.

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  79. Catherine,
    You probably know ParentCenter is posting a "Best of Bringing Up Ben and Birdy" each week. This week's was funny, and it had a part in it that I think of EVERY time I have to get my girls to do ANYTHING in a hurry. Here it is:
    ... me speaking sharply to Ben because he's dancing around like a normal child instead of grim-facedly donning his pajamas like the joyless citizen I seem to expect him to be...
    It's so true and funny.
    I missed work for two days, and when I came back, discovered you've posted TWO new columns at Wondertime. So now I need to go read those. Work? What?!
    Keryn

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  80. Why is Wondertime having such a hard time with your articles? It seems like they've been making little mistakes all along. Like this morning, the link for the post "
    10.09.06 : Habits of Highly, Um, Successful Kids" which I am guessing is not supposed to be up until the 9th, is just a broken link. Just thought you should know.

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  81. Anonymous11:02 PM

    Hey Catherine,
    Thank you thank you thank you for being the only one in my life to keep reminding me that whatever "this" is, This too shall pass. I think of that every time my 3 year old son does something that grates on my nerves (chews his lower lip until it is chafed pink like a circus clown smile halfway down his chin, bangs his elbow on the table 200 times during any given meal, etc.)--they are excruciating while happening, and over and out of our lives so quickly I have trouble remembering what the irritating tic was.
    Thank you thank you thank you from both of us.
    Sorry, this is more about wondertime than your blog but there's nowhere to leave it there. (ahem)

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  82. I've been reading your work since 02 and could never find quite the right words to say, I SO hear that!, so I never said anything at all. (Great strategy, right?) But after seeing this teaser image, I can be silent no more.

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/1003/sarasos/PP1.jpg

    I came home one night after class to this still life. When I asked my husband exactly what had happened here, he shrugged and said, "It was the only thing I could find that was big enough to hold the whole bottle of breastmilk."

    The irony was not lost on me.

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  83. www.onlineuniverasalwork.com

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  84. I was looking for son gift online. I came across your post but I can't seem to open the link you gave...

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