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

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  1,820 ratings  ·  256 reviews
To fifty thousand readers, Catherine Newman is the beloved author of Bringing Up Ben & Birdy, a weekly column on 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 ...more
Paperback, 261 pages
Published March 29th 2005 by Penguin Books (first published March 1st 2005)
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Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,820 ratings  ·  256 reviews

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Aug 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: new/expecting mums and pops and the people who wonder why they've lost their minds
I like a book that makes my husband laugh. This is one of those books that we kept in the bathroom for a little light reading while doing the do. My husband said one night, "That book in the bathroom is really good. It makes me wish I had to keep shitting just so I can read it." The truth is, I feel the same way. That book makes me wish I had to keep shitting.

(Not bad was the fact that I picked this book up for $1 at a remainders sale. I feel bad for the author, but at least I went back and
Feb 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Have you ever fallen in love with a book? So in love that you just couldn't stop reading it. Or, if you had to stop, you'd be thinking about it and rushing to get things done so you could get back to it? That was me with Catherine Newman's Waiting for Birdy last weekend. (In fact, my husband was getting annoyed that I was talking more about Catherine's son, Ben, than our own son!)

Taken from Catherine's Babycentre blog, it's the story of gorgeous 3-year-old Ben and Catherine's mixed feelings
This is my favorite of the many parenting memoirs that I've read in the last five years (since Iris was born). While Newman's story is about having a second child (Birdy), and I am not having more than one, she captures the experiences of mothering a newborn and a preschooler with perfect humor and horror. Ben is around age three in the book. I remember wondering if this was really what Iris would be like when she was three, and OH, WAS SHE EVER. This is Matthew's and my favorite part, both ...more
Jun 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Catherine Newman is the kind of person you want living next door. Funny, irreverent, with a heart as big as the mattress on her family bed. She also is a great writer, with the ability to notice the little things and comment on them in a way that gives them the importance they deserve. Wry, witty, and self-deprecating, Newman tracks her journey to the birth of her second child in "Waiting for Birdy." Nothing -- from the tangerine-sized hemorrhoids to the "barfy flu" to her sometimes absentminded ...more
Mar 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: mothers, expecting mothers
Every so often a book comes along that I love so much and can't put down but watch the page numbers turn with sadness because I don't want it to end. I absolutely and truly loved every page of this book. I teared up at points because Newman captured so eloquently the extreme joy and anxiety of mothering, and at other points I was laughing so hard that I could not breath. I have been calling my best friend to read her excerpts of the book because it is hysterical -- in a reality check, oh my god, ...more
Sep 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I've loved Catherine Newman's blog, now called the "Dalai Mama" on Wondertime, since it was "Bringing up Ben & Birdy" on ParentCenter. She is smart, funny and incredibly honest about the joys and hassles of raising young kids. I regularly find myself laughing out loud at the computer screen when reading a blog entry. This book grew out of the blog, and it's every bit as good.
May 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
So tender! So funny. I've followed Catherine Newman's "Ben & Birdy" blog for years now, and have meant to read this book for so long! Finally got around to it, and was not disappointed. I bet this memoir is often compared to Anne Lamott's "Operating Instructions" -- and I bet Catherine Newman anticipated these comparisons in advance (she even quotes "Operating Instructions" in the beginning of the book). I would say the two shouldn't be compared, but rather enjoyed one after the other. ...more
i heard about this book because the author writes the etiquette column in "real simple". yes, i still read "real simple". & i really like the etiquette column. obviously a memoir about awaiting the birth of a second child while raising a toddler is something that is right up my alley, given my all-consuming obsession with parenting memoirs. can you believe my library didn't have this? i don't know why! it was great! i had to get it as an ebook. not that i regret it at all; i really enjoyed ...more
Molly Westerman
Waiting for Birdy is really very funny, and an easy and fast read.

My current situation overlaps quite a bit with that of the author during the period covered in the book (I'm a parenting/birth blogger currently pregnant with my second child, parenting a very verbal little boy, doing many of the same unconventional parenting things, married to someone I like a lot, etc.)--and yet I don't identify with her at all. She's just so worried. Her dark thoughts make my dark thoughts look like bunnies
Michelle Cynthia
Apr 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read her memoirs out of order, and this one is from the time in her life when she was expecting and adjusting to her second baby. Newman, in both books, captures motherhood's mix of emotions with such eloquence--fear, joy, exhaustion, indescribable love, etc. Her anecdotes and inner thoughts are also laugh out loud funny at times. Other parts brought tears to my eyes because they were so true and emotional.

I have to share one of my favorite parts that puts in to words these overwhelming
Jun 29, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommended to Brian by: Elissa
Shelves: grbpp
(3.0) Started off poor, redeemed herself a bit toward the end

She overdid the analogies a bit, but some were fun. My most memorable one I liked was about having dinner party with toddlers in attendance: by the end of dinner the gnarled mass of unfinished conversations is like an armful of electrical wires you're trying to figure out how to reconnect.

Some other good "oh it's so true" moments about SIDS (we're scared to death of it and really can't do anything other than putting them to sleep on
Jul 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The most accurate perspective on being a mother to an infant that I have ever read. Very funny and sweet in moments, I could relate completely to some of what she said, especially about being neurotic. I had a few favorite parts and it made me want to slow down and try to enjoy Hadley even more. I also need to lose some of my fear and be willing to introduce her to life. It is so well written that at times it was exhausting for me to read because it didn't feel like an escape but the description ...more
Dec 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
My wife read this while she was pregnant and she was constantly laughing, and the thing is, it is both about having a baby and raising a little kid. And now we have a little kid. So I decided to read it too.
It made me laugh too. I have a lot of the same neurotic tendencies that Catherine Newman has. It made me feel better to know that there are other people out there that guiltily google horrible diseases every time their kid sneezes. Newman says she got slightly less neurotic with the second
Dec 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
The author writes about her worries and joys of having two children. I like to read perspectives that don't make me feel guilty/unfit to be a mother. She admits faults in her day to day dealings with her kids but then shows us her inner voice promising herself she will be better... which I can relate to. Anyway a nice motherhood memoir or what have you that isn't so outlandish and crazy for the sake of entertainment, but not too mushy gushy either. And come on, Birdy? How adorable is that?
Jun 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is the perfect book for anyone who has ever had even the slightest interest in having and raising children. Newman's sense of humor is perfect, quick, and truly borders on genius. If you don't laugh out loud at least ten times, someone should give you your money back. This is the real thing, the way life falls and rises, and the absolute promise that children are endlessly (and unknowingly) the wisest of creatures.
Everyone should read this book!
This is a funny book about parenting. It is so real, so well-described, so outrageously spot-on! You might be jealous of her amazing perspective and ability to put it all in words, but mostly you'll just be inspired to find new, more hilarious perspective on your own life. Or maybe not. But you'll definitely laugh until you cry. A lot!
Apr 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mom-reads
I loved this. I laughed so much, it was cathartic. I think I slept better after reading and laughing. Her style is full of unexpected adjectives, quick turns for the worst and slow upswings for the better. and so honest and sharing. I tried to get Joe to read it, but he didn't like it. Is it really for moms only? I don't know. But I'd recommend to anyone.
Jan 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction-yes
I laughed and cried and told Michael that he needed to read this book to get more insight into my psyche. :) He enjoyed it, too, and laughed a lot himself (I'm gonna guess no crying...). It's a great book for mothers or to-be-mothers, though I also relate to her personality as a woman. Wonderful, wonderful. Love how she captures the everyday.
Jan 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015
Meh. This book is overly long and she thinks her kids are way too special. Every child is special. This should have been a personal diary that she kept just for her son to read. She's obsessed and it's kind of annoying. And it made me feel like a bad mom because I don't remember every single second of my kids' lives. Pass.
Erin Rody
Nov 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Laughed aloud more times than I could count. At 8 1/2 months preggo, this book was just what the doctor ordered. Loved every page.
Nov 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Hilarious writing. Great descriptions of preschoolers, pregnancy, OBs and newborns.
Kate Baer
Mar 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best parenting books I've ever read. Laughed until I cried.

The exact book I want to write. Jealous.
Oct 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This book was sooooo good. My husband and I both said we need to buy it. It's totally worth a re-read. But my friend Tricia's review is the best--go check it out.
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Catherine Newman, famous for her marvelous work as a columnist on, extends that column into a book that every parent should read. This is no sugar-coated, rosy-eyeglassed view of parenting; it is absolutely real. The love, the frustration, the worry (oh, the worry!) ... it's all there. Posts to Catherine's BabyCenter column all say essentially this: "Catherine, thank you so much for writing about my life! I know that I am 'normal' thanks to you! Have you been peeking in my ...more
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
I hadn't intended to read this book - a friend who is moving gave it to me thrown into a bag of children's clothes. I'm so glad I read it. It captured life with young children so well - the over the top joys and the deep exhaustion, the excruciating love one moment and waning patience the next. Having only one child, I loved how it was about being pregnant with and having a second, and how her 3 year old was discovering the world - sometimes with keep sorrow over new understandings of the world, ...more
Tawney Markham
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. This was my second time reading it, because I find myself remembering parts of it months later, but mostly, remembering the feeling it gave me.
It's funny though; I can read many types of books by many types of people, but I can't always stomach memoirs by people I wouldn't want to be friends with in real life, and yet, while I don't think I would want to know the author in real life (we disagree on several key points, but mainly, she sounds exhaustingly high maintenance,
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Even though I think I would probably dislike this woman if I met her in real life (the anxiety! the seeming lack of anything going on other than her children!) her memoir is just beautiful. She is so irresistibly smitten by her children. I wish there had been a fuller picture of her relationship, because it's hard to believe her husband was so consistently superhuman, but since this is based on her blog, I can imagine she agreed to leave their personal foibles out of it. Overall, a really lovely ...more
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
A fun read as I expect my 3rd baby. Parenting is weird and hard but also magical and really fun.

“One of the hardest things about parenting is that you just never know what the outcome will be. It’s a total leap of faith. Even with decisions you feel fairly confident about (say, what to make for lunch), you just can’t be sure of the consequences they’ll have for this person you’re raising. Will you like the adult this kid—your kid—becomes?”
Lisa Eirene
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing

I absolutely LOVED this book. It was laugh out loud funny. I was cracking up the entire time I read the book and I could also relate to everything. It felt like she was writing my story. It was a great book about becoming a mother, being pregnant and the crazy time postpartum is.

I just couldn't put the book down and I didn't want it to end.

Megan Lindley
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It’s not a perfect book, but the way she writes about so many aspects of pregnancy and raising young children really resonated with me. I love reading things where I think “yes, that’s just the way I would describe that if I’d thought of it!” I definitely laughed out loud several times. I look forward to rereading this when my kids are older and I want to fondly (?!?) remember this early stage...
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“One of the hardest things about parenting is that you just never know what the outcome will be. It’s a total leap of faith. Even with decisions you feel fairly confident about (say, what to make for lunch), you just can’t be sure of the consequences they’ll have for this person you’re raising. Will you like the adult this kid—your kid—becomes?” 1 likes
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