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Going Uphill

The fortuitous convergence of a Sunday afternoon babysitter, a playdate for Sam and what’s probably (hopefully) the last big snow of the season encouraged Rob and I to head out on our “skate-skis” yesterday. Skate-skiing is nordic skiing with slightly different boots and bindings that allow you to skate instead of slide. One of my friends said it’s like running instead of walking, and that’s pretty close. It’s definitely more work than the old-fangled cross-country skis. It was only the […]

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Her own sense of style

Her own sense of style Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ

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Wyatt joins the party

Wyatt joins the party Originally uploaded by kjda.

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Lily on the lift

Lily on the lift Originally uploaded by kjda. Lily rode the j bar all by herself All day ( and didn’t want to stop!) KJ Dell’Antonia (Please attribute any drastic spelling and punctuation errors to my poor thumb-typing and creative autocorrect.)

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Little girls and ice cream

Little girls and ice cream 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 at the princess party

Wyatt at the princess party 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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The cake

The cake Originally uploaded by kjda. Hasn’t collapsed…yet KJ Dell’Antonia (Please attribute any drastic spelling and punctuation errors to my poor thumb-typing and creative autocorrect.)

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I Know I’m Going to Regret This

I just hope this isn’t one of things that seem like a good idea at the time, I said to the woman at the spa as I settled on to the table. She didn’t really get me, so I explained. My face doesn’t like facials. It turns red. Oh, you won’t turn red. she said. She got the box–this is a facial involving stuff that comes in a box–and started reading from it. You might turn white. Or yellow, but […]

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Snow!

Bet that got your attention! Not really snow, but flakes, this morning, and some sticking to the trees at the top of the mountain. The kids went outside, wearing light jackets, but insisting on hats and mittens–and danced around excitedly–never mind that the snow was about 1/10 of the rain that was falling. It’s Krypto’s first snow, Sam said. Krypto was just happy to be out with them. Sam played soccer for an hour today, in pretty cold weather, running […]

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Grace in action

Grace in action Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ Dell’Antonia

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The MacBook Air Arrives: In Real Time!

It’s really late. I should not open my new MacBook Air. I have opened the outer ox. Now I am taking out the inner handled box. It is small, but rather heavy. There better be something else in here, like a book. Which seems unlikely. Am I having remorse already? There is a book. A smallish one, but it accounts for some of the weight. And two mysterious power cords. Perhaps I should read the book. But this is a […]

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Today’s project

Today’s project Originally uploaded by kjda Haircuts. A charity auction. Cheering up, and pretending I didn’t read the rumor that all China adoption action has ceased until…September. I do hear Fujian is lovely in September…but why anyone would think the flu would be gone by then, I can’t imagine. Also in the "overreacting" category–my brother-in-law’s wife refusing to fly to my sister-in-law’s wedding next weekend. She has a three-month- old…but if you won’t travel because of THIS flu, then you […]

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One Mocha, bittersweet.

Post coming Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia I am mourning spring today. It’s June 5, so technically, I’m a little early, but this is the last Friday of the regular school year and after today, in effect, everything changes. Little changes, building up to the big one. Last week, when we were in Seattle, I acquired a reuseable Starbuck’s iced coffee cup. I’ve been looking for one. I’m an iced addict—coffee, latte, mocha—and obviously there are lots of cups […]

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Things Get Much Better

Today, we got an upgrade. No more tiny room. No more holey sheets. No more stained wallpaper. I could go on, but I won’t. We’re movin’ on up, and now we have a sitting room, a fridge, a balcony and all the amenities. We also have a date of release: Saturday, at 5:30 am. Why 5:30? Not gonna ask. Just gonna be there. So we’re bouncing along. At dinner, they had eggplant with pork–my favorite Chinese dish. And as we […]

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What happens next?

I’m not entirely sure, but I can get us as far as Rory. We leave. We eat breakfast. We swim, we shower, we try to be a little mellow. At 2 there will be a cake for Sam’s birthday (Monday, really) and at 3 there will be kite-flying at the Temple of Heaven Park for same. I think there will be acrobats that night–we’re making up for lost time. Sunday: Great Wall. Airplane. Monday: Rory. There remains plenty that could […]

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On the way to a better afternoon

On the way to a better afternoon Originally uploaded by kjda She played outside for a while–some fun, some howling and fighting over bats and swings–and now, a nap. This seems to be a usual nap time for her, so we’ll hope it bodes well. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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Tonight, I am the Cool Mom

Sam and I are just back from a preview of G Force (and, for the record, your kids will love it and so will you). We took the whole afternoon together, had dinner, got there just as it was starting–only to find them turning away a line of a hundred-plus people. But I am “press” and we got in–and it turned out Sam never doubted that we would!

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I No Like You!

Rory told me she “no like you” for the first time today. It was totally ok, because at that moment, I didn’t like her much, either. She’d thrown a massive, all out temper tantrum at the swimming pool–the kind people date from–remember that time the naked kid screamed in the grass for 20 minutes? Oh, yeah, that was the day they had adult swim… Ah, adult swim. I mocked it at first–who wants to haul their kids out of the […]

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Just Like Baywatch

The pool here is a gradual entry pool, and when Rory decided to swim without her life jacket today I thought I’d better keep a close eye on her–as in, no magazine, real watching. It’s so easy to start swimming where you can touch and end up where you can’t. And she did, about three minutes after she got in. I was pretty far away, and I saw her some up a couple of times, looking a little desperate, and […]

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First, there was ice cream.

First, there was ice cream. Originally uploaded by kjda And now–a moonlit playground. How are things going? Brilliantly, actually. Who wouldn’t want to be part of a family like this? (that’s not even sarcasm, I add, mindful of the day I wrote something like "I love reading trip trap trip trap in this version of the Billy Goats Gruff" and and my editor said whoa, that’s a little too snarky even for you and I said oh, no, actually I […]

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On Double X Today

Is giving to art and cultural charites moral when 24,000 kids die every day from easily preventable, poverty-related causes like diarrhea and pneumonia? Discuss. But on DoubleX, please, not here!

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Updates and the Tattle Brigade

Inspired by Guo Ji Mama, who updated her blog header the day her last daughter came home, I have FINALLY updated mine. Call it what you will. Maybe I wasn’t ready. Maybe I’d just forgotten how to use Cyberduck to upload the file to my theme, or more importantly to resize the picture. Maybe I’m just lazy, and the kind of hostess who leaves the giant bottle of nature’s miracle (used to remove the scent of doggie “accidents”) on the […]

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Personal Failings, We’ve Got a Few

The BPS invited a bunch of psychologists to name things they didn’t understand about themselves, and while some of them took it as an opportunity to muse about consciousness and neurons, a bunch kept it real, and said, in essence–if I KNOW why people make certain mistakes, and I even studied it–why do I keep making the same mistakes? We’ve all got tropes we keep repeating even when we know what we do, why we do it and why we […]

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What, Exactly, is Complaining?

Two DoubleX friends are embarking on a month-long attempt to quit their kvetching that they have dubbed the Whiners’ Guide to Not Complaining. In it, they agree that although their wry, sarcastic style has led them to great personal and professional success, they could perhaps consider altering it just a tad–just a smidgen, perhaps–in an attempt not so much to alter their own black-humored, cynical personas but just to be more mindful of what’s hipster veneer and what’s becoming more […]

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Biscuit books, and I’m Sick of the Happy Happy

The book I posted was Biscuit’s Halloween. Many of the Biscuit books include the Asian cousin, or whatever she is. Don’t forget I warned you that they’re also inane…harmless, and with nice big flaps, but you won’t WANT to read them. Without going into too much detail, because I’m tired, I just want to say that I get a little tired of what sometimes feels like everyone else’s happy happy adoption blogs. It’s not that anything in particular has happened […]

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I Want Rory to Go Back to China! I Hate Rory!

Oh, pick your jaw up off the floor–that’s not me talking, it’s Wyatt. Wyatt, out of the blue, today in the car. (Well, not quite out of the blue–Heather’s house was out Rory’s window, and not his, and that was pretty much unforgivable).  I DON’T WANT RORY TO COME HERE FROM CHINA! Did we pull the car over and have a special moment? Nope.  Me: Well, Rory belongs to us now. She will always live with us. Rory: But Wyatt, […]

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Backsliding and Resolutions

We just did a DoubleX round-up for the Washington Post on New Year’s resolutions (can’t link, it won’t be pub’d until the Sunday after Christmas), and I realized there’s something I forgot to say. I tend to make resolutions and changes twice a year: September, and New Year’s. (I make organizational and career resolutions, usually, which are both things I enjoy, so I really like making resolutions. I look forward to these moments that spur change. Anyway, this morning, as […]

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The Failure of the Living Classroom

Caitlin Flanagan just published a provocative piece in the Atlantic about why the “garden curriculum” created by Alice Waters and running rampant in California is a bad idea. I agreed with her (here on DoubleX)–not because I think there’s anything wrong with a garden in a school, or because I think the school gardens represent a particular affront to immigrants and migrant workers (her token inflammatory hook–man, she’s good at that–I’ve yet to master it)–but because, as she finally says […]

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Friday Festival of Sugar and Fat

Friday Festival of Sugar and Fat Originally uploaded by kjda What, you don’t celebrate that? KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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Plane Travel: Piece o’ Cake (thanks Nintendo!)

Today we flew home from DFW to BOS, just me and the gang of four–and we were fine. Dandy, even. Got to the airport, checked our bag and the little bag of coats, went through security, ate breakfast, got on the plane, seized our portable electronic devices (in my case, the Kindle) and went to town. Thanks to my policy of forbidding all access to said portables while visiting Grandma (well, ok, not for me), we were delighted to see […]

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A New Family Holiday: Light Stuff on Fire Day!

A Originally uploaded by kjda So, I think this makes a fine addition to the Friday Festival of Sugar and Fat. I had cardboard that would never fit into recycling (in our world, it it’s bigger than 2′ by 2′ the recycling guys throw it back on your driveway, and I think they pee on it first, because they hate their lives), and I thought, well, why not burn it? And while we are out it, why not put some […]

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In Which I have a Very Weird Day

Since no one can talk to Torry Hansen, currently in the running for worst parent ever, and I’m the author of I Did Not Love My Adopted Child  (please note that a) I did not write the title and b) past tense! Past tense! I wanted to call it Adoption sucks. But that’s no reason not to do it.), a bunch of people wanted to talk to me, which is how I ended up on CNN tonight. Mostly it was in […]

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The One Thing Rory’s Siblings Have that She Doesn’t, Still

Friends. That’s not entirely accurate–Rory has friends at school, and she has plenty of kids her age who come over often and romp through our house for various family events and family playdates–but she has no friends of her very own, who would invite her and only her over for a playdate or…the ultimate…a birthday party. Sam goes to birthday parties (he’s 8). Lily goes to birthday parties (she’s 5). Wyatt goes to birthday parties, and this is the unkindest […]

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Happy Birthday to Sam

Happy Birthday to Sam Originally uploaded by kjda Not really his birthday yet, but we will be traveling…so today was his full on, all out Mad Science Birthday, and it was awesome. This was his volcano cake. With melted Jolly Rancher lava. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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Cyberbully Parent, Behaving Badly

Cyberbully students are causing endless angst for schools who feel obligated to interfere when students bully and are bullied–but aren’t sure where the limitations of their authority lie. Legal wrangling about cyberbullying goes on–and so does the debate about what a parent’s role should be when it’s his kid on one side or the other of the online equation. Last week’s New York Times article spotlighted one parent who sued on behalf of his daughter, who was suspended from her […]

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A Daily Paper for Kids Whose Parents Don’t Read Newspapers

In my ongoing quest to get my rising fourth-grader to read more, I downloaded A Wrinkle in Time onto my iPad (which he’s otherwise not allowed to touch). He read a few chapters, lost his place a few times, changed the type color, changed it back, and then got caught up in a paperback copy of Holes that his school sent home for summer reading. When he finished it and declared it his favorite book ever, I asked him if […]

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Ready to Talk About Race With Your Kids? There’s an App for That.

If we truly want equality among races, we have to talk to kids about racism. Fortunately, there’s an app for that.

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You know your grocery store is indulging in multiple tricks, nudges and persuasion to get you to spend more. We’re all educated consumers, and we’re much harder to fool with that whole Oreos on the end-of-the-aisle display, store brands in the middle thing than we once were. But some of the manipulation plays out beneath the radar: who knew the pattern on the carpet was set up to lead you deeper into the store? Women’s Day magazine has an article […]

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Kids on Bikes

Kids on Bikes Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone —

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Hockey. Damn It.

It’s been a tough night around here. Hockey tryouts are over, and Sam skated his best. His dad, who watched, expected him to make one of the two middle of the four teams (that would be white or blue). He rode home in the car anticipating looking at the roster–would it be up? Who would be on his team? He was so excited. You can tell this is going to end badly, can’t you? It does. He made the red […]

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Proof Positive We Live in Paradise

Proof Positive We Live in Paradise Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone — KJ Dell’Antonia www.kjdellantonia.com 917-647-6600 Contributing Editor, Kiwi Magazine Read me on Slate’s XXFactor blog www.slate.com/blogs/blogs/xxfactor Twitter.com/kjda

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The Concert and the Tantrum

Holiday Concert! Originally uploaded by kjda It was an accident. I have been to enough Montessori concerts by now to know that you do not MESS with the afternoon before the concert. You do not go swimming. You do not have playdates, or hair cuts, or doctor appointments or flu shots. You do not accept deadlines or work assignments. You take those kids home, cursing the fact that a 6:00 concert makes dinner impossible, you feed them a massive snack […]

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Kids Fight for Us, But Knowing That Isn’t Helping Much

There’s no question in my mind when it comes to what my kids fight about. Mostly, they fight about me. Occasionally, they fight about one another (as in, two siblings fighting for the attention of another sibling). Once in a while, they fight about candy. But mostly, they fight about us, and even more specifically, they fight about me. Even more clearly since the advent of Rory, in our house, it’s all, all, all about who’s got Mommy’s love/attention right […]

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When to Win the Power “Struggle”

A couple of days ago I posted about refusing to give a screaming, rude and miserable Rory the sippy cup of water I’d brought for her to drink in the car, because when he first saw it she said (screamed) she didn’t want it. And yancy commented: This made me sad to read. Why does it need to be a battle or a question of someone’s winning and someone’s losing? The way I read it, you don’t want to give […]

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Happy Easter part one

Happy Easter part one Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia

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I Just Took All the Car Seats Out of My Car and Quit Piano Lessons

I’m not sure what pushed me over the edge. I was on it anyway. A wonderful friend accidentally pushed all my “terrible parent” buttons when I tried to explain why I’ll never take all 4 kids to NYC. “I just wanted to share the place I love with them,” she declared, and I realized: that’s the last thing I want to do. I want to keep the place I love, and have all of my professional interactions, and get work […]

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What If There’s Never a Normal (Social Cues, part two)

Today we were in an airport, which is either the best or the worst place to see Rory’s and my mother daughter dynamic, depending on your perspective. I’m still thinking about the fact that I am at my worst with Rory when she doesn’t follow social cues, and there are a whole lot of social cues to airports. Even putting aside the weird ones (I don’t fault anyone for not realizing you have to take off your shoes), I’m left […]

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Wear Your Picture Clothes Please!

Wear Your Picture Clothes Please! Originally uploaded by kjda This morning I hauled everyone out, dressed us up (me and Rob too) in blue and white and played photographer. I assaulted people on the beach and asked them to take our picture. I delayed breakfast. I made people wait to walk in front in front of us. I did it all. They’ll thank me later, I swear. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone —

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Mama Time

Rory has a playdate tomorrow. And Sam and Lily have school. That means I get Wyatt all to myself for a couple of hours. I’m planning on some legos, some coffee, and some snuggling. I’ve been realizing lately just how little solid attention I lavish on Rory or Wyatt. They’re such a pair! They play together nearly all the time, and even when it’s not entirely amicable play (I really wish Sam had not shown them how to shoot a […]

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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?