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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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I Want Teee!

I Want Teee! Originally uploaded by kjda It’s very important to be able to ask for what you want. It’s also very important to listen. When we got to the pizza place, Rory had to go potty. She was jumping up and down, and I told her to run, but– "What do you want to drink?" "I wan’ tee." "Really? Tea?" "I wan’ TEEEE!" "Ok! Fine! Go!" I ordered–pizza all ’round, three fountain drinks, and one bottled drink–tea, but I […]

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Lily’s Braids

Lily’s Braids Originally uploaded by kjda Lily is going to be Hermione tomorrow night. Hermione has bushy hair. Lily has straight hair.

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Results Achieved

Results Achieved Originally uploaded by kjda Through a judicious application of bribes and threats. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone —

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Old Enough to Do What I Want

And what I want to do, on this beautiful, sunny, glorious, relatively warm winter afternoon is… Not ski Not take-a-walk Not sled Not cross-country ski Not hike No, I want to stay inside, bake some cookies, and lounge around with a big pile of magazines and the Sunday Times, and I am DOING IT. I do feel a little guilty. Ridiculous, isn’t it? But I feel like I should “get out there.” “Just do it.” “Get outside!” “Take advantage.” I […]

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Actual Mail

Actual Mail Originally uploaded by kjda I am so happy, and feeling yanked back to childhood, because someone-as in Ayun Halliday– sent me a big fat fabulous envelope in the mail!!!

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The Mom Who Left the Planet

I’m listening to Samantha Ettus interview 5 women about work life balance, and Cady Coleman, astronaut, just said that one of her friends told her “look, this is who his mother is.”  They’re all saying they don’t go out at night, that mornings are chaos, that they don’t hide the kids. But that’s just the best line–“this is who their mom is.”  Other great lines–“I’ve made a life that works for me.” “You can’t listen to what other people think […]

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When Homework Engulfs the Whole House

Every night, when she opens her math homework, the drama begins. “I need help. I can’t do this.” She can—but it’s hard, and why not make everyone else suffer with you?

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#ReadySetGoal: Non-Resolutions to Guide You Into a Productive New Year

On Episode 34 of the #AmWriting podcast, Jessica Lahey and I talked writerly goals: specifically, what makes a good goal, and how to set some in honor of this traditionally goal-setting time of the year. We started off by defining a goal by what it’s not—it’s not a resolution. Or maybe it kind of is, but resolutions are often big and amorphous, hard to measure and somewhat doomed. (“I will be kinder. I will be a better daughter. I will […]

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August Book Recommendations, Part Two

I’m looking for stories of families who added more unstructured time to their summer this year. If that’s you, I’d love to hear from you. Reply email to this missive will indeed reach me. It’s been a good week for reading. Here’s why: The Outrun, Amy Liptrot A memoir of addiction, to alcohol be even more to the speed of city life, this is the story of Liptrot’s return to the Orkney Islands and a year spent largely in her […]

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Rules for Happier Parents: Children Change. When We Let Them

  Here is a list of some of the labels I was given as a child: Always Late. Picky Eater. Hates All Sports. Makes Excuses. Messy and Disorganized. Doesn’t Play Well with Others. It took time (decades, in some cases), but I’ve outgrown every one of those. (You’re still welcome to use stubborn, impulsive and loud-mouthed, however). I’m a foodie, an athlete, a hockey fan, and a reliable worker who never misses a deadline. But when my parents are around, […]

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Mild. Lame for hot sauce, great for parents.

It’s not just the lamest flavor of hot sauce. It’s the tone and the mental state you want to reach for when your kids shake on the Extra Hot.

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A Happier Parent Mantra that even works when things suck (and I wondered)

Here’s one of the four things happier parents do: they soak in the good. Which means that when things are pretty decent—not necessarily great, just fine, thanks for asking—they look around, and they notice, and they take a minute to let that soak in. They observe. They say to themselves, yep, dinner’s on the table, 5-year-old’s having a tantrum because the sippy cup is wrong, gotta go back to work and get to all those emails after bedtime, but overall, […]

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My Son, the Imaginary Bully

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In Which a Gentle Mist of Espresso Rains Down

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October in New Hampshire

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Babies Are Like Jam

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The bribe times 2.

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Schadenfreude, without the Schadenfreude

So, I just got an email from a friend promoting a book written by one of her friends. It’s The Feminine Mistake: Are We giving Up to Much?, and it looks to be an honest assessment of the affects of quitting one’s job in order to raise one’s children, with something of an emphasis (as one might gather from the title) on why that might not be such a great idea after all. I’m planning on reading it; I’m hoping […]

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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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