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.
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A memoir is a success when it transcends the personal incidents about which it is written. So, while it's true that mothers expecting their second child will find the most to relate to in this expose of domestic life, Newman's volume is a success because it never gets mired in self-centered pity or satire. Rather, hers is an honest and tender exploration of a particularly vulnerable and lovely period in life, a work that all readers can enjoy. Adapted from Newman's online journal, "Bringing up Ben & Birdy," the book opens with the author's discovery that she's pregnant for the second time. "Run and tell your teenaged daughters!" she jokes. "It's not enough to keep some birth control stashed in the drawer of your bedside table-you actually have to use it." Along with waves of nausea and strong food aversions, Newman's pregnancy provokes worries about the ways in which the coming baby will alter her treasured relationship with her first child, a toddler named Ben. But as the unborn baby, known as Birdy, becomes more of a reality, Newman realizes that the love she feels for her first child is only expanding. The author bravely endures every mother's worst trials, from suspicious prenatal test results to angst of the more philosophical nature, but her sweet, self-deprecating humor keeps the book rolling lightly along. And once Birdy arrives, Newman ushers readers through the early milky days of babyhood, her insight casting a gentle light on both the ugly and transcendent moments. Honest, tender and funny, this book is so good that readers will look forward to reading more about this marvelously ordinary family.