Waiting for Birdy: A Year of Frantic Tedium, Neurotic Angst, and the Wild Magic of Growing a Family

Overview

To fifty thousand readers, Catherine Newman is the beloved author of “Bringing Up Ben & Birdy,” a weekly column on babycenter.com. Now in the delightfully candid, outlandishly funny Waiting for Birdy, Newman charts the year she anticipated the birth of her second child while also coping with the realities of raising a toddler. As she navigates life with her existentially curious and heartbreakingly sweet three-year-old, and her doozy of a pregnancy, she lends her irresistibly unique voice to the secret ...

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Waiting for Birdy: A Year of Frantic Tedium, Neurotic Angst, and the Wild Magic of Growing a Family

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Overview

To fifty thousand readers, Catherine Newman is the beloved author of “Bringing Up Ben & Birdy,” a weekly column on babycenter.com. Now in the delightfully candid, outlandishly funny Waiting for Birdy, Newman charts the year she anticipated the birth of her second child while also coping with the realities of raising a toddler. As she navigates life with her existentially curious and heartbreakingly sweet three-year-old, and her doozy of a pregnancy, she lends her irresistibly unique voice to the secret thoughts and fears of parents everywhere. Filled with quirky warmth and razor-sharp wit, Waiting for Birdy captures the universal wonder, terror, humor, and tenderness of raising a family.

On the web: http://www.babycenter.com,  http://www.parentcenter.com

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
With agreeable emotional disorder, Web columnist Newman ("Bringing Up Ben and Birdy" on babycentre.com) describes the everyday terror of stewarding young children. In the world of the new parent, all seems unknowable, every sign loaded with meaning and impossible to decipher. Newman already has a cherished son, Ben, when one of those acts of fate-forgetting to use the diaphragm-brings another offspring into her future. She is as ready as any mother who expects every twinge in her child to be a sign of cystic fibrosis. But she realizes that her anxieties are part of the process and, imagining herself on an ocean, says, "I sleep in a little rowboat. In a thunderstorm, during a war, with cannons going off all night long. And also sharks." Like most parents, she happily thinks her son Ben is a marvel ("When did I do a good job at the typewriter?" he asks her at two years of age, and, later, when motherhood a deux looms, "Why are those tears drip-dripping from your eyes?"). But then Birdy comes and the world goes atumble. Ben no longer gets all he deserves, and Birdy doesn't show any measure of appreciation for everything her parents are doing for her. What sustains the reader is the steady humor displayed in Newman's benignly wacko voice, crisp and always ready to deflate: "Ben averages an epiphany a minute . . . 'Hey Mama! Water comes out of a hose!' or 'Daddy is a person!' . . . Which isn't to say that Ben's learning process isn't fascinating . . . [but] just that it can be fascinating in this kind of dull way." Newman produces parenthood real and up-close, even remembering the smell of "Gorgonzola crossed with pond water" nestled in the folds of a baby's neck. Laughing through the fears ofmotherhood, even when the fearer is driving and the laughs are in the back seat.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143034773
  • Publisher: Viking Penguin
  • Publication date: 3/28/2005
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 436,225
  • Product dimensions: 5.14 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Catherine Newman is the author of the column “Bringing Up Ben & Birdy” on babycenter.com. A contributing editor of Family Fun Magazine, her work has been published in numerous anthologies.

On the web: http://www.babycenter.com, http://www.parentcenter.com

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 7 of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2008

    A Funny, True-to-Life Book

    If you¿re ten pages in to Waiting for Birdy: A Year of Frantic Tedium, Neurotic Angst, and the Wild Magic of Growing a Family and you have not laughed out loud, then just go ahead and put the book away. You probably haven¿t creased it too much, and you can probably successfully re-gift it. But chances are you will be chuckling, snickering and even snorting in delight all the way through Catherine Newman¿s hysterically honest-to-the-bone memoir of her pregnancy with her second child. Newman relates the magical, green-tinged, anxious year before her second child¿s birth, as she shares her wildly contradictory feelings of motherhood '¿a disorienting blur of love and crushing anxiety¿' and the guilt familiar to most parents that she surely is ruining her firstborn¿s life by having another baby. Newman¿s stream of consciousness writing style has a comfortable, easy effect on the reader. It¿s like talking to your lovingly kooky best-friend-since-childhood over tea and chocolate chip cookies 'or, more likely, margaritas and, well, more margaritas'. Newman is refreshingly real about the mixed bag of motherhood, warts, runny noses, sleepless nights and all. She writes, ¿I didn¿t understand that having a baby would feel like falling in love, but like falling in love on a bad acid trip. With an alarm clock ¿ a pooping alarm clock.¿ Newman¿s humor appeals to any parent who has woken with a start in the middle of the night, engaged in an internal struggle over whether it¿s necessary to check if the baby is breathing, decided she¿s crazy and should go back to sleep, and then gotten up anyway to just take one quick peek at the baby. But Newman takes checking on the baby to a whole new level as her unbridled paranoia about aneurisms, Coxsackie viruses, and the barfing flu runs rampant in a strangely self-satisfying way that makes one murmur, ¿At least I¿m not that crazy.¿ Yes, Newman is a worrier of the first order. She worries about leaving her son to go to the movies with her husband, she worries about her pregnancy, she worries about lackluster libidos and toxoplasmosis and fleshy arms and deadly pathogens. In other words, she is a completely typical mother. After all too many picture perfect images of mothers ¿ from Mrs. Brady to anyone ever photographed for the magazine ¿Fit Pregnancy¿ ¿ Newman¿s confessions are authentic, honest and reassuring. Throughout the seasons of her pregnancy, Newman holds up the mirror and shows us Everymother...and we just have to laugh. Quill says: Buy two copies because the person sitting next to you will want to know what¿s so funny!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2008

    Fabulous book about being a mom!

    This book was so funny and right on target about the daily trials and tribulations of being a mother. I laughed every time I picked it up to read a new chapter.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2006

    A treasure

    In my opinion, Catherine Newman captures the experience of being a parent better than any other writer. This book is a treasure and I've read and re-read it dozens of times. Each time I pick it up I find a relevent anecdote for my own parenting experience and it always makes me laugh, cry, or feel like someone else out there feels as I do. The way she captures her children's personalities is perfect, and they are going to grow up one day realizing what a gift it is to have such a writer for a mother - What lucky kids! I HOPE Ms. Newman is writing another book - I'll be the first in line to buy it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2005

    If you like her article, you'll like the book!

    Written in the same style and with the same sense of humor as her article appearing on babycenter.org, this book is a fun read for new moms. Catherine Newman manages to take all the thoughts that scream through your head and make them lighter, sweeter, and funny. As you read, you find yourself taking a deep breath and letting all the tension built up over a day go. A happy find for a mother!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2005

    What a find!

    Catherine Newman has captured the thoughts and feelings of every mother in this hilarious and poignant new book. I'm giving a copy to all of my friends! I sacrificed precious sleep to read this book.....it was difficult to put down! So very enjoyable- I only wish there was a sequel!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2005

    Beautiful and hilarious

    Newman has a rare gift: She knows how to mix up all the neurotic, joyful, exhausting, hopeful, thankful, painful, blissed-out bits that make up motherhood and pour out something more than a memoir--something funny and touching and a little bit zen. Well worth reading, whatever your child-bearing status.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2005

    Hilarious and heartbreaking

    Catherine Newman's big heart, sharp wit, and breathtakingly good writing take what could have been a standard 'momoir' and elevate it to -- dare I say it? -- literature. A wonderful read for every mother who's ever secretly wondered what the heck she got herself into. Be prepared to laugh, often, and keep the Kleenex handy.

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 7 of 8 Customer Reviews

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