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My Reading Baby

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On Another Potty Note

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I Went for a Run Today, and It

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Oh, You

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Happy Sprinkle Day to Sam

Sam’s birthday, his “actual birthday with all the stuff”. His party was a minor comedy of errors: it was supposed to be a construction party, to honor all the work we’re doing on the patio with an outdoor dirt pile and a special sand pile. It rained. Oh, how it rained. But I refused to jettison, because the hourly forecast suggestede that it would STOP raining. I hid all the treats outside, and then the rain came down. The rice […]

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Why I Hope No One Gives Me Any Wishes

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No 50,000 Words for Me!

I won’t be posting a NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) finisher medal here. In the end, I wrote more like 8,000 words, although I did manage a fair amount of work this past month–just not on the novel. I sent article queries, I polished and sent out an essay, I traveled…well, excuses. Good ones, but excuses. But this is no month for querying or sending out essays, and so this is it, the final draft push. It can be short, […]

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The End! The Beginning! The End!

Check out this link for Amazon and this one for B & N to see a preview of Reading to Babies, Toddlers and Twos. I feel great and Susan does too–now on to promoting it, selling it and enjoying it! Guess I’ll need to put up an official link here, too. We’re even planning a blog book tour–I’ll be emailing people to see if they want to participate in a week or two. Plus: One first draft novel, finished, less […]

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Booster Seats and the New Odyssey

We just bought the customary third child minivan, for two reasons: primarily because in our SUV, in order to reach the third row, either a) you fold down one of the front seats, thus leaving no room for two car seats or b) the child in the third row has to climb over the middle row or c) you have to open the back hatch. Even taking into account how much fun all that would be, then picture one of […]

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What Moms Eat

Yesterday we ate lunch in the grocery store cafe. My planned lunch: an avocado roll and some sliced pineapple. The lunch I ended up eating: 1/2 box of chocolate-flavored graham crackers shaped like bunnies in the car on the way home. Wyatt had to be nursed, Lily had to sit in my lap and unroll the avocado from the rice and squish it and I had to be constantly vigilant so that my over-stimulated spawn didn’t run the other eaters […]

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More Fish Tales (Spoiler alert: the fish dies. Again.)

Remember Kissy, ?-February 13, 2007 She (well, whatever) was Lily’s special fish, the only one she had picked out and, with encouragement from Sam, named. When she died (again, whatever), we went the honesty death route. She died, I told Lily. Why? She was sick–very very sick, fish sick. Why? I don’t know. Where is she? She couldn’t swim anymore, and she couldn’t breathe, and she died. Why? I don’t know, but she’s gone. The next day, Lily said sadly […]

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We’re having a party Saturday

We’re having a party Saturday Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ

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Country living with raspberries

Country living with raspberries Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ

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Now I am Dangerously Cheesy

Now I am Dangerously Cheesy Originally uploaded by kjda. Comic created with Comic Life from plasq – http://plasq.com

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The cross country ski “polar bears”

The cross country ski "polar bears" Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ Dell’Antonia (Please attribute any drastic spelling and punctuation errors to my poor thumb-typing and creative autocorrect.)

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A Spring Song (By Sam)

Spring is here Spring is here The ice is off the river The snow is kind of deep The mud is on the driveway And also on the land And that is spring in New England Spring is different here

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Not at Starbucks, But Not Lost, Either

Not at Starbucks, But Not Lost, Either Originally uploaded by kjda. Where in the world is KJ? The Mad Hatter Cafe, Durham, NC. Rob very carefully showed me how to get here last night, but…let’s just sat its A good thing the iPhone has a little button you can push to figure out where you are, or I would be in Georgia by now.

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Perfect haircuts

Perfect haircuts Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ Dell’Antonia (Please attribute any drastic spelling and punctuation errors to my poor thumb-typing and creative autocorrect.)

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Wyatt found a Sharpie.

Wyatt found a Sharpie. Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ Dell’Antonia (Please attribute any drastic spelling and punctuation errors to my poor thumb-typing and creative autocorrect.)

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Good Morning New Hampshire

Good Morning New Hampshire Originally uploaded by kjda. At our house. KJ Dell’Antonia

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Lest you think we did not use the batman mask…

Lest you think we did not use the batman mask… Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ Dell’Antonia

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Why It’s Easier to Just MAKE the Tea

There has been some recent discussion in the Beyond Nuclear household about how our children do not do enough for themselves. When Sam asked for a hot drink after dinner tonight (because it’s April in New Hampshire), it seemed like the perfect opportunity. He is a responsible child, and permitted to use, on occasion, sharp knives. I will show you how to make yourself some tea, I said. I put the tea kettle on to boil and showed him where […]

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A Solid Guess on Travel Dates

Here’s what I think: I think we’ll head out around 6/11. Here’s the tentative schedule I’ve planned for us: Day 1: leave Day 2: Arrive Beijing Days 3-4: Sightsee in Beijing. Lily tries to throw Wyatt off Great Wall. International incident narrowly averted. Day 5: Fly to Fuzhou City Days 6-9 Get used to Rory, one way or another. Day 10 Fly to Guangzhou Days 11-13 Various appointments Day 14 Fly home. I may have the whole date line mixed […]

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Pre ring bearing

Pre ring bearing Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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Best Pool in Beijing

We’re here, at the Grand Hyatt in Beijing. The pool, I’m told, looks “just like Ariel’s castle” and was a huge hit. We only managed a few hours of sleep on the plane, and tried to do a little too much when we got here (even though it wasn’t much at all). We thought a swim would tire them out, and it did–so much so that they all fell asleep at dinner, which we tried to do right around the […]

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Our Breakfast Looks Better than Rob’s

Our Breakfast Looks Better than Rob’s Originally uploaded by kjda This morning features a group of about 10 people exercising together. E, R, San, Se they count. I don’t think they would like it if we joined them. One Chinese American joined in, but briefly. These are the famed morning exercises, done at schools, factories, businesses, and they all know the routine, but they applaud their leader anyway. It’s hot today, hot hot hot. When one of the kids runs […]

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We are one sleepy family–what a day. Rory came to the hotel with three women she’d never met before today, and no one from her foster home. When we came in she was wailing–in English–I want to go home! I knelt down and started whispering in her ear–I knew her foster mother had told her that this was ok, that she could go with us and we would take good care of her, and she let me pick her up, […]

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Warming up–to our babysitter!

We’re discovering a pattern, and it’s a good one. Once something happens once–she meets someone, we go somewhere, someone leaves the house and comes back–and nothing dramatic happens, then it’s ok. It’s worthy of interest, and possibly comment. One thing that’s important is that I notice what’s happening. Mama, come see. Come see Heather. Come see Eli’s daddy. Once I’ve seen—Yes, it’s Heather! Hi Heather! Big deal greeting…. Then we can all go on, somewhat hesitantly. Today is the third […]

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The Mother You Get (and also, a little background)

When I think about it, all of my kids have had a totally different mother. They all had certain traits in common–overwhelmed, low on patience, mildly irritable–but in terms of permissiveness, we–the four mothers I have been–have run the gamut. When I was Sam’s mother, and only Sam’s mother, I made all of his baby food. I can tell you precisely when he had his first lollipop (Easter 2002–thanks mom!). Salty snacks were limited, and fell into the faux-good-for-you category. […]

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Everyone enjoys themselves in their own way

Everyone enjoys themselves in their own way Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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The Candy Addict Sleeps

The Candy Addict Sleeps Originally uploaded by kjda Everyone chose something at the Chatham Candy Manor for the ride home. Rory’s choice–a long twisty lollipop. Which she did not lick–she ate. Bite, crunch. Three minutes into the ride, we turned around to find this. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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This Rory I Like

She’s getting used to us. I have judged her harshly these past weeks, this girl. I have a personal problem, which is that I invariably believe that whatever is happening right now must and will continue to happen exactly like this, world without end, forever and ever, etc. This applies with kids–Lily will always be unreasonable about the blue plate, therefore I should go buy all blue plates and just end this issue now (so last month)–and in other ways–I […]

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Nietzsche and Adoption

I don’t know about you, but I worry about my pampered bio kids sometimes. I moved and changed schools multiple times as a kid. I hated it; it was awful. My mom worked and, much as she did for me, there wasn’t anybody to bring me my lunch if I forgot it. As I got older, I had more responsibilities, and a few more baddish things to live through, etc. So I had my (small compared to, say, Jeannette Walls) […]

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Meeting the Guo Jis

We met up with the Guo Jis today. Much, much bonding. Among those adults crazed enough to adopt themselves into biggish although not huge families–or possibly those women crazy enough to come up with it, and those men crazy enough to marry said women. But no, let us admit that we are all crazy, and that that craziness seems to spread into other attitudes–about life, mountain biking and its importance, many although not all general child-rearing practices and, I suspect, […]

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The Art (Thanks, Sculpey!)

The Art (Thanks, Sculpey!) Originally uploaded by kjda Wait until you see our “Halloween Tree.” what, you don’t have one? KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar…

I came in from clearing out the garden for winter a few days ago and found Rory–who’d been outside a few minutes before–sobbing at the top of the stairs. Wailing. I ran up–I thought she was hurt–and she took one look at me and ran away, shouting no! No! Well, that’s never happened before. So I followed her. No! No! I don’t want you! This is dreadful. Did she come in and feel like she couldn’t find us? Did something […]

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How to Become a Patient Flyer

How to Become a Patient Flyer Originally uploaded by kjda Once you’ve flown halfway around the world and back with three or four kids, a little matter of a 2 plus hour delay is nothing when you’re sans spawn. Lalala, we said at each successive delay. Magazines were read. Burgers were eaten. And eventually, a functional plane was located, we flew, and here we are. Watching the other traveler get all bent out of shape was just gravy. KJ Dell’Antonia […]

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What I Thought Kids Were Like

What I Thought Kids Were Like Originally uploaded by kjda Before I had them. This may be one of the reasons I struggled so long with actually having them. It also took a really long time to get them to this point–lots of initial direction in getting the new puzzle together, I mean. Rory, in particular, still prefers to have you hand her two pieces that go together. But she is to the point where I can give her a […]

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Deep Breaths and Holiday Concerts

Me, solo usually translates to me, shrieking, but tonight Rob missed Sam’s holiday concert–which means me and Lily, Rory and Wyatt all bundled into our chairs for an hour and a half, collectively wondering “why they sing one more song? Why?” and “When is it time to go home?” as we watch K-8 each step up for their time on stage. Some of us just wonder it a little more audibly than others. That, plus pizza, would usually be a […]

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One Sparkly Day

One Sparkly Day Originally uploaded by kjda

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Sorry, Kid, This Time It’s Indisputable

Circs, tonight, allowed/required me to take Rory and Sam to dinner, then to Sam’s hockey practice. Rory had a chicken and cheese quesadilla, which she has had before and liked, and continued to like until she saw that with my soup, I had been given chips. I offered her the chips, not thinking much of it, but now she would not eat the quesadilla. We didn’t have much time, and I didn’t really care, but it’s important to note for […]

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Bye Bye Nintendo, Day 2

Actually the title’s an exaggeration. I decried no Nintendo except on weekends (in an amount and at times to be determined by me) and asked my babysitter to impose something similar when they’re with her (often at her house, with her kids) and she went with maybe when they’re there in the evenings. So far, so good–we’ve had more outdoor play, more make-believe and more card-playing and puzzles already. It’s a relief to me just not to have to constantly […]

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Powerpuff Girls

Powerpuff Girls Originally uploaded by kjda Bubbles and Blossom. Buttercup won’t play… Which, if you know anything at all about the Powerpuff Girls, is totally typical. You should have heard Lily–oops, Blossom–“but we need someone with beautiful black hair like Buttercup!” “No! I don’ wanna!” I think she would have done it if Lily hadn’t demanded that she dress up. She’d already spent ten reluctant minutes as a fairy. Rory likes to be comfy. I have been cleaning out closets, […]

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Modern Fun

Modern Fun Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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Yellers Anonymous

Hi, My name is KJ, and I’m addicted to yelling. It’s been 10 days since I last yelled at any of my children. I should probably remind you that I spent 8 of those 10 days traveling with only Rob and Sam, which scarcely occasioned any yelling. In fact that’s really what prompted this. I went 8 days without yelling. 8 days. And while obviously traveling through Stockholm and Amsterdam was very very good, living without yelling was also very […]

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One Year.

Yep, it’s been a year. Actually, as of this writing (I suspect it may take a while to finish and post this) it’s been one year and 3 days. And I have not written the traditional anniversary web post. I believe, based on what I’ve read and seen, that it should be addressed to Rory, should include a lovely list of all the ways she’s grown and changed in the past year and all the ways she’s made our lives […]

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Problem for Creative Students: Save Your School

Newsweek just published a report by Po Bronson and Ashley Merriman on the “Creativity Crisis.” For the first time since creativity testing was developed, scores in the U.S. are dropping. No one knows why (although television and video games are given the inevitable mention), and why isn’t the authors’ focus: instead, they set out to figure out what schools and parents could do to nurture creativity in kids. It’s a persuasive piece, and from my position as a privileged parent […]

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How to Argue, Fight, Bicker and Nag

Ok, so no one really needs a how-to manual on any of those activities. But the WSJ’s Bonds columnist, Elizabeth Bernstein, says that fighting can actually be good for your relationship. If you do it right. Couples who argue well are happier. Couples who roll their eyes, criticize each other’s opinions or regularly stalk out of the room in fury? Well, they’re more likely to split, before or after they get married. On the other hand, couples who don’t argue […]

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What we did today

What we did today Originally uploaded by kjda See below… KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone — KJ Dell’Antonia www.kjdellantonia.com

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Resources

I've got Ten Mantras for Happier Parents (based on the research for my book, How to Be a Happier Parent). They've worked for me—want to try them?

Hi, I’m KJ. Can I send you something?