Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Greeting from the Super-Cheerful Mom!!!!!

Hello, friends, how has your week been?


Ours has been fantastic, even though Birdy barfed all over our hotel room (well, not all over, since the trash can I gave her did remain clean) and the Rideau Canal was actually closed to skaters. But Ottawa was delightful nonetheless: we ate beaver tails (in Canada, that does not seem like a lewd thing to say), visited the stray cats in their miniature parliament buildings on Parliament Hill, ate poutine (fries, gravy, cheese curds, don't get me started), and slid down enormous slides carved from ice and snow. Plus, in Canada, hotel staff is much more "Oh gosh, I'm sawry your daughter's sick!" than "We have to ask you to leave now, and we'll forward your bill for the drapes and carpeting."

And now we are back.

I will be posting a new recipe in the next day or so, but in the meantime, I do have a couple pieces on the news stand: in Ladies' Home Journal, for one, where the subheading of my essay is, I just noticed, "Go ahead, call me a Pollyanna. I'm one of those super-cheerful moms who always sees the silver lining -- and I'm secretly happy my kids have inherited the sunny gene." (Not only am I a Pollyanna mom, it seems, but I've also been abducted by crazy ventriloquizing aliens!!!) Also in Whole Living, where I write about my lack of a mud room for, like, the bazillionth time. And in Brain, Child, too, which I may have already mentioned.


And now a photo. You know I make blankets, right? From Salvation Army wool sweaters that I wash and dry and shrink and felt, and then cut up into squares and sew back together. Here's the one I just finished for Ben. I collected pink sweaters for months, and the blanket is so gorgeous that I can't even believe it (Go ahead, call me a Pollyanna). I am happy that it wasn't a gift for somebody outside the house!




Oh, I love blogging on my own so much! I was just daydreaming, as I pasted in the photo, that someone could write, "What's up with your gay son and his gay loving of the gay color pink?" the way they used to, those stupid jerkholes. But instead of being all silent about it, I could just write, "Go fuck yourself!" Maybe that actually is kind of super-cheerful, in its own twisted way. 


xo

82 comments:

  1. you were in Ottawa!!!!??? Awesome. Now I wish I had gone to Winterlude and chanced a glimpse of you, even though I would have been far too shy to say hi. It would have been nice. Hope my fair city treated you well.

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  2. Sweater blanket directions, please??

    And that slide looks like so much fun!

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    1. Okay, soon on the blanket. . .

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    2. I agree! I was just going to post the same thing. My girl loves blue - go figure, she's mostly likely gay fer sure - and I would love to make her a blue version of this blanket. You are one cool lady Catherine. I wish I could adequately express how much your writing means to me. Annnnyway, cool blanket. :)

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  3. Your "gay son with his gay loving of the gay color pink" is one of my favorite people in the world (even though, no, I have never met him, nor you) because I have a Ben who is so much like him. And the voices telling us that he is not okay are so loud and insistent and ever-present and EVERYWHERE, even here in our fairly left-leaning corner of New England. I can always rely on you and your Ben to remind me that he IS okay. Love your blanket, love Ben for loving it, love you for making it. And I almost hope someone does give you a hard time about it so you can curse them appropriately.

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    1. I was telling my friend Rachel about the pink blanket thing yesterday when we were sharing coffee and scones in a local bakery. She is a cyber-friend and writing colleague and we met in person for the first time yesterday, which was SO COOL. Anyway, she credits me for changing her life by introducing her to your blog. OK, maybe not changing her life, but you know what I mean. She also blogs about food and is writing a book about how we Americans really need to learn to enjoy food instead of obsessing over it in various ways, from weird diets to foodie-ism. And she brought me a jar of peppermint patties made with your recipe. Wowowowowowowowow. They were SO good. This comment really has nothing to do with anything, except I just wanted you to know that you are a good influence on all us writer-moms-food lovers-people who think boys with pink blankets are just fine thankyouverymuch. And the peppermint patties were fabulous.

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  4. Yes, I would like to know how to make the blankets as well.

    An you could probably get a whole army of people to cheerfully tell any jerkhole to fuck off. I'd be up to the task!

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  5. GORGEOUS BLANKET. And what a beautiful photo of the kids!

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  6. I am far from a Polyanna but it always makes me sad to think of "jerkholes" writing stuff like that. Because as cynical as I am, it always surprises me that people would say such hurtful things, even though it happens all the time.

    ANYWAY, I love to see pics of the kids and their big smiles :) They are the perfect blend of their parents!

    And that blanket is gorgeous! I so wish I could sew.

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  7. I LOVE this blanket, and no I didn't know that you made blankets! The colors are so beautiful, lucky Ben!

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  8. Ha! Indeed. It's a gorgeous blanket, one that my own pink-loving boys would covet. And count me in as another mama who's sick of all the comments and who's on your page. That teacher? The one who says my boy needs to cut his hair? She can go fuck herself too :) Pink shirt, long hair, whatever. Unfortunately I have to keep it to myself at school, and she's not cool enough to read your blog.

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  9. Supe-Cheerful indeed! : )

    love it.

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  10. Gah! That was supposed to say, "SUPER-Cheerful indeed!"

    Stupid new keyboard.

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  11. First, Read the article in LHJ, loved it, and wondered about the sub heading :) Anyone that has read you for any amount of time would wonder.

    Second, I had to laugh out loud at the last paragraph. I enjoy you even more now that you are blogging on your own, which I didn't think was possible.

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  12. alison11:47 AM

    What ever Ben is in his own mind, he appears to be a lot like his father to me. Long haired (like the pic from your previous post)sweet tempered, mild mannered, Happy kid. I'd take that kind of peoson anyday over a beer swilling, loud mouthed jackass. IMHO

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  13. I love you and your children, and not in a creepy internet way, I swear. I also love that blanket!

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  14. Canada's awesome. You should totally come to Calgary next. The people are EVEN NICER. xo

    PS What's up with Ben and the pink blanket? Are you making him be gay or what?

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    1. "Mandatory gayness" is our motto!

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    2. Anonymous8:12 PM

      I think our mayor in Calgary is gay - and I have never seen him wear pink!

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  15. Poor Birdy! So glad the hotel treated you well. I had heard the canal was closed, so glad you still had such a great time.

    This weekend will forever be referred to in our house as the weekend of sick, all three girls sick for days. Yuck.

    That sweater is lovely and so is Ben.

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    1. I hope everyone's better now, J!

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  16. Wow - that blanket is gorgeous (and so are your kids).

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  17. Robin1:02 PM

    Ha! The gay blanket reminded me of a story I love and may have even shared as a comment before. My kids have gone to this lovely daycare/preschool right on the college campus where I work, and a friend whose kids attend told me that one of her daughter's friends had left the school. My friend mentioned it to the director of the school, who said, "That family didn't approve of our cross-dressing policy," referring to the policy that kids can put on whatever the heck they want from the dress-up supplies, and no one will mention gender roles. I was sad for that kid, who clearly liked wearing skirts more than his parents were comfortable with (at age 2!), but I loved that the director basically gave the equivalent of "go fuck yourselves" to that family's anti-cross-dressing policy.

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  18. I can't believe your kid barfed after eating beaver tail, poutine, and then sliding down slides. Seems strange. Also, blanket tutorial please! How do you keep the wool from stretching terribly while sewing? Preferred thread? Special sewing machine foot? Thanks!

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  19. We made cheddar curds a few weeks ago at work (they squeak) and I gave some to a friend who is Canadian, so that she could make herself some poutine. Good thing I'm in Georgia and not Canada right now, because I'd want some poutine.

    I would like the sweater blanket instructions. I have some sweaters I'd love to felt and put together.

    Who said pink's a bad color? Is that some carryover from a 1980's "nerd" movie or something?

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    1. Oooh. . . recipe for cheddar curds? Swap for blanket direx.

      "nerd movie"!

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  20. Darcey1:36 PM

    Gorgeous blanket and gorgeous picture of your kids. I, too, would love a blanket tutorial...

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  21. I want to bazallionth (as opposed to "second") the request for a blanket tutorial. My son recently picked out a bike helmet that has a fairy princess and a story about her and is all pink and purple. We of course bought it for him and he wears it all the time. I'm waiting for my mom to find out and buy him the blue "boy" one that he didn't want. I thought of your Ben when we bought it. Thank you for being a role model of how to just gently love your kid the way they are without imposing any arbitrary societal expectations on them.

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  22. Jennifer2:26 PM

    Gorgeous blanket and gorgeous kids!
    Also, the icy slide looks amazing.

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  23. Yes, yes, blanket instructions. I'm particularly interested in what you do at the seams. And, I think (to really up the Pollyanna factor) you should set your response to said jerkheads to song. Something upbeat and peppy. I love that Ben loves pink, and that I (a female) hate pink. Hurrah to all of us for liking just what we like!

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  24. Well, your children are so beautiful they just make me smile...

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  25. Do you have directions for such a blanket? Love!

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  26. MaOdiLeo -Francine3:59 PM

    Wow, the blanket. I want to do one, too. Here, the winter was dedicated to knitting nofingers gloves (six pairs!) while listening to Odile's violin practice, which I loved both together a lot. Now that spring is coming, I look forward to crochet or knit plarn, plastic yarn made of cut used plastic bags. There are quite a lot of not so ugly design for grocery or beach bags made out of plarn on the Internet. I now look at the empty plastic bags in a different way... I like so much the idea of recycling, reusing (trying for no-using also). Today, I undid a kleenex box to see what it inspired me (nothing at the moment). Anyway, thanks a lot for the blanket photo -the extras are not bad either. (And yesterday, my partner announced on the phone that he had done the Catherine Newman cake. Thanks for everything.)

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    1. I love the undoing of the Kleenex box! That's how I figured out how to make my own clasp envelopes. You know. With an envelope. Not a Kleenex box.

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  27. Okay, I'll share a story. When my son was in first grade he went to school (groovy progressive school) wearing purple nail polish. I happened to be in the classroom assisting when a boy sat down next to him and said "Hey J---, why are you wearing nail polish like a girl?" My son responded totally calmly, "Oh, I'm not wearing nail polish like a girl, I'm wearing nail polish like a punk rocker." It was at that moment that I realized my son is cooler and more self-composed than I ever was, and that he'd be really truly okay. (I also wondered who had mentioned punk rock, and its associated costume, to him, as I was fairly sure that we had not.)

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    1. Anonymous8:11 PM

      Both my kids wore pink and purple nail polish to school this year! Grade 3 and grade 5. I am glad they have the confidence to be themselves!

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    2. Angela4:03 AM

      Brilliant!!! My son is determinedly growing his (blond, wavy) hair "to look like a pirate"...

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  28. Wow, I'm glad that blanket was for Ben too, and not someone else. It's PERFECT. In fact, I like pink MORE when I think of Ben loving pink. (We have four girls. We also have Pink Overload, at times.)

    Anyway, so sorry Birdy had to be sick on vacation. Poor bug!

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  29. I think it's the super cheerful way you'd say "Go fuck yourself!" that I love the most. : )

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    1. When life gives you bigots, make. . . bigot-ade!

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    2. Angela4:05 AM

      Aha! Thanks! I am going to think this to myself a LOT in the future, though possibly never say it out loud ;)

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  30. Nellie5:23 PM

    Amen to just letting kids be WHO THEY ARE! Seeing Ben wearing pink always makes me smile. My older son (8 yrs) loves pink and purple, too...and NASCAR. :) He and his younger brother and sister are all very secure in what they like/who they are - they make me very proud. :)

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  31. I honestly LOVE you!

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  32. you are so awesome. thank you for the things you write and the way you write them. i've now read two books by Leah Hager Cohen thank you very much. Heat Lightning was the second one, worth it.

    i get so very tired of the complainers, they sap me. but look, i just did it too, i complained. they are ever so contagious and i have to be so careful. i can relate to the pollyanna, i usually believe in it, in the possibility of it, in the YES more than the no. now if i could just get a huge slice of cake like polyanna carted around in the haley mills movie. man,that looked good.

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  33. Hey, sweethearts, I am not responding to every awesome comment here, but am loving them all all the same. I will do the blanket at some point, with directions and everything. xo

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  34. elsimom9:03 PM

    My son barfed in a hotel room a few weeks ago. He was terribly, terribly embarrassed. (He's 7). We assured him that hotels get this ALL the TIME! "Look - they had the febreze and the box of gloves and the roll of paper towels and the garbage bags all ready to go - they are PREPARED for this!" Then we spent a little while longer telling all of my husband's and my embarrassing barfing stories - and those of other people we knew, and laughing. And you know what?! He felt all better. Apparently we are the Pollyannas of barf!

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    1. Whenever my children get sick they have the pleasure of listening to mom tell her MANY barfing stories from the 9 months of "morning" sickness I had with each of them...they love hearing all the different places I had to pull over, or run outside of, to throw up :)

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    2. Anonymous4:27 PM

      When I form a punk band, I am so calling it "The Pollyannas of Barf".

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    3. elsimom9:39 PM

      DeltaJuliet - maybe we could start a whole Barf Blog.

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    4. elismom--- Between the two of us, it sounds like we have enough stories to keep a blog going for quite some time ;)

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  35. My son is three years old and his favorite color is bright pink. He has two older sisters that don't particularly care for it, so he generally gets his way when it comes to colored cups or towels and things. He also got Polly Pockets for his birthday, from Grandma, which I thought was quite progressive of her. In boy style, he uses them to rip the arms and legs off (but at least he's doing it to his own toys instead of stealing from the sisters). He also loves cars and mud and his baby doll and rabbits and trains. The world is not limited for him. This is the freedom that all of our children should have, to find their loves and passions and the things that make them happy, and then exist within that moment, without the world shouting at them about what they should like or have to like just because they happen to have a certain set of hardware in their underwear. I expect my girls and my boy to choose whatever they want - for clothes, for a career, for a partner. Viva la difference!

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  36. Froilyn- Philippines10:02 PM

    Beautiful blanket, beautiful kids!

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  37. AnythingforBenBirdy10:44 PM

    To save others time - find Catherine in the lhj by searching for "pollyanna".

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  38. So....was birdy wearing her leiderhosen (sp?) & strap on in this picture? i can't tell, because of the gay blanket and all. :D I LOVE this blog...my carson & your birdy are the same age, and I have been reading you since babycenter. My husband and I love how your kids are so varied in their interests, and we dig your recipes, too. But it was the "daikon that dwarfed the whale dildo"that slayed us both, lol.

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  39. Catherine, the smiles on their faces made even cranky me smile too. Beautiful, lovely children and I can't wait to read how you made the blanket. You know, so I can make it in a year or ten ;)

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  40. So I was halfway through the LHJ article and thinking it was way cooler and better written than most of the stuff they publish when I suddenly realized I was reading YOU! And I thought...ah. Of course. Now it all makes sense.

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  41. I have to apologize, Catherine. Many years ago, I casually mentioned in a comment that your son seems to wear a lot of pink, in case you hadn't noticed, because I had just come to the conclusion. My lightbulb tends to flicker for a long time before it finally comes on. Love you all!

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    1. Anonymous5:57 PM

      People mention to me things like, whoa, your daughter sure likes a lot of boy clothes, huh? They are JUST NOTICING. But if you look at it more closely, they aren't just noticing, they are passing along what may or may not be an undigested judgement about what is or is not socially acceptable behaviour in children.

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  42. Such a joyful picture! Love this post and all the wonderful stories others have shared. Whole thing makes me smile!

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  43. Anonymous8:59 AM

    We are from Toronto, and just had a fabulous weekend in Ottawa too - I wish we saw you there! Just FYI anyone from outside Ottawa will give you the side eye when you talk of eating beaver tails....it's a very local thing! Your pink blanket is gorgeous and so is your beautiful son who looks so much like Michael. Xo Lee

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  44. Love the blanket. That middle square is Magenta Vagina, no? Or maybe Vulva Rose.

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    1. Ha! Great comment :)

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    2. Honest to buddha - just loved this comment. :) Almost as much as I loved the post.

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  45. Anonymous12:44 PM

    How strange to me that people would waste energy worrying, much less taking the time to comment, over what someone else's child wears, or what colors s/he likes when they could be...I dunno...volunteering in a hospital, or working to end child exploitation, help the urban poor/homeless, orphans in third world countries...
    Sheesh. These people have too much time on their hands!
    :-)
    Anonymous, AKA Jenny, who is too lazy to register...

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    1. Anonymous2:01 PM

      Meaning, the jerks who would give you a hard time about the pink...

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  46. Amazing blanket! Ben and Birdy have such beautiful smiles - each different, but both so blissful. Lucky them, lucky you!

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  47. Beautiful picture and very funny about the barfing all over the hotel room. Catherine, I actually ALWAYS think of you and the piece you wrote on boys loving pink when my son wears his pink and red pajamas top (from his older sister). Well, not ALWAYS, but you know what I mean. I also direct people to your article whenever I hear this topic being discussed. Maybe post excerpts of your article here?

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  48. Anonymous3:41 PM

    Gorgeous blanket Catherine, as always you are inspiring and I couldn't live without your writing... and totally fuck those jerkheads!!!! ~Missy

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  49. Anonymous6:10 PM

    Love the insult of "jerkholes" as I have encountered them many times. One memorable time was because my daughter wore spiderman socks. Geesh.

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  50. Tina G10:09 PM

    I, too always think of Ben when I see/hear about boys who love pink and all the drama that it attracts. My own son- now grown- does wear pink on occasion, and although he is straight (I think) I wouldn't even blink if he were gay. As long as he isn't Republican. ;^)

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    1. Anonymous10:27 PM

      I agree, as long as he isn't Republican! Hehe

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  51. Anonymous10:19 PM

    What?! You were in Canada and didn't make your way to Winnipeg? Our river rink is open (and longer than the Rideau;)
    Love your blog.
    Jennifer

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  52. Anonymous11:21 PM

    I've been reading your stuff since Ben was a baby and I want you to know that even when you couldn't say what you wanted, anytime I saw one of those smarmy comments, I always thought they could go fuck themselves. You have a beautiful family.
    Jennifer

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  53. I love the blanket and what a beautiful photo! Your kids look gorgeous! Ben always looks great, but I can't believe how grown up and beautiful Birdy is. Amazing family you have.

    I've read your blog for years and always smile at Ben forging his own path - from his appreciation of the color pink to nail parties to whatever hairstyle he prefers. I love it. Because he is so truly himself and I respect who he is as a person. (And you too for not trying to change him.) It helps me, too, because when my son puts on his sister's bracelets and walks around in my shoes and asks to join our nail parties, it helps to know that I'm not breaking him by letting him enjoy himself and not make a big deal out of it.

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  54. Oh and surely you've read and formed an opinion on Nerdy Apple Blossom's post of about a year or so ago?

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  55. Anonymous5:49 PM

    My 4-year old daughter and I went to a party and the mama host asked my daughter if she wanted a PWIN-CESS DWESS?? DWESS UP TIME! Holy shit. They're four YEARS old, honey, not four days. ANYWHO.

    My daughter asked if she had any pirate hats or spiderman stuff and the woman practically reared back, which if we were living in rural USA, I would still hate but also, whatever, we're moving to the city someday... but we live in L.A. TRANNIES MAKE YOUR FUCKING FAT-FREE FROTHY COFFEE, YOU IDIOT, WHY ARE FREAKING OUT OVER AN INNOCENT LITTLE BULL-DYKE LESBIAN IN TRAINING?

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  56. Anonymous11:04 PM

    A few weeks ago, I commented on a friend's FB page about Taylor Swift and her song "Mean." I said something about how I liked having a young female like her for my daughters to look up to. Another person (whom I do not know) replied to me - basically said that I was a bad parent because I allowed my children to look up to "someone who tacitly endorses gays." It made me so mad I was sick. I couldn't respond, because this was all on my friend's FB page. I am so sorry for you having to endure this for all these years. I have read your posts ever since Babycenter, but I rarely read the comments. I had no idea people were being so rude. Parenting is so hard, and people taking jabs at your children is like a knife to the gut. I love that you share your family with us. I feel like we are your intrusive neighbors constantly inviting ourselves over for dinner =) Thank you and feel free to cuss!

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  57. I love that Ben loves pink and long hair and polk-a-dot shirts, and who could forget those purple yoga pants?! I can honstly say that I envy the free spirit you are raising. I actually question whether I'm stifling my son's creativity because he DOESN'T want to wear purple yoga pants! Love you and your adorable family.

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