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At Dinner, again

At Dinner, again Originally uploaded by kjda This time she’s out for the night. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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Because Wyatt Takes “Twinning” Very Seriously.

Because Wyatt Takes "Twinning" Very Seriously. Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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School day, redux

School day, redux Originally uploaded by kjda I don’t wan’ go school! That pretty much sums up our morning. Our babysitter, fabulous in nearly every way, isn’t on the school night train yet (and it’s been a tough one for us to get on, too). Rory went to bed an hour plus later than she needs to. She had to be dragged out of bed. All the way to school she insisted–she did not want to go. Wyatt had some […]

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Be as the Powerful Current (I made that up.)

Three solid i-friends (Mommy, Lori and the mother of Awesome Cloud) are in China right now. Some bonding troubles, not all is going perfectly–but I find myself envying them, especially those last two, who sound, at least, uncomplicatedly happy. I think China really screwed us–and this has nothing to do with Rory at all. But the quarantine…that was so hard, and so scary, even though in retrospect I can see that we didn’t need to be frightened, and so long…you […]

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And so it begins

Sam gets a weekly note home with all the homework for the week listed. For Wednesday it says “bring in a white twin sheet.” We don’t have a white twin sized sheet. Do you? We have some very, very attractive polka-dotted ones. Apparently, though, the Romans did not wear red-polka-dotted togas. What we do have is an old full or queen sized sheet, only slightly moldy, that I used as a Halloween ghost last year. Here is what I WILL […]

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I Blame the Kitchen Island

We have, in our kitchen–oh, who am I kidding, it is the kitchen–a very large island composed of granite tiles and a sink. Behind it lies the 3’x9′ kitchen space; in front, four barstools and then the living room. This means that when friends are there I can cook and be in the thick of things, it means kids can do homework and art projects and I can empty the dishwasher, it tends to mean that I absolutely never sit […]

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Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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Did I Say We Were Cutting Back

Did I Say We Were Cutting Back Originally uploaded by kjda On sugar and fat? KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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Mockery and the American Girl Doll

I have just been mocked, mocked. So mocked. I told a friend–mother of a 4th grade girl–that this coming Wednesday, I will be taking Lily to Boston to the American Girl Doll store, to buy her a doll. We do not own an American Girl Doll. We do not own one, and Lily has been asking, for the past year, when she would be old enough for one. Soon, I kept saying. Her friends began to acquire them, one by […]

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Rory is So SAD.

Rory is So SAD. Originally uploaded by kjda Wyatt was invited to a birthday party, and Rory…was not. Neither was Lily, but that is ok by her. Rory, in the other hand, is very upset. She even had Wyatt convinced to skip the party and come home to play Mario Wii with her…until I decreed the afternoon a Wii free zone and freed him up to go to the party. She cried all the way there…fortunately the party hosts couldn’t […]

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Flame Weeding.

I’ve spent several hours in the last few days doing things that I think are going to convey a totally faux idea of who you’re dealing with here. First, Saturday night, I waxed all of our nordic skis (well, mine, Rob’s and Sam’s). With hot wax, and a wax iron…this is something I just started doing, and I’m very proud (plus the results are indeed pretty great), but I feel like waxing makes me sound like the kind of girl […]

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On our way!

On our way! Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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Let the Party Begin!

Let the Party Begin! Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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Party!

Party! Originally uploaded by kjda Look at the bar my hostess set up…I love parties. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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A New Friend (and first official iPad Post)

We had one of those classic adoption encounters this weekend, really of the kind you only dream about. Ran into our old neighbor from across the street, who we consider a friend, at the grocery store. I’ve seen her probably a dozen times over the last year, but the only lengthy conversation we’ve had was about evil sports parents. Still, I think of her as someone I see fairly often. She greeted us, chatted–I see you’re one short today–yep, Wyatt […]

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Off the No Yelling Wagon

Sigh. Wyatt pushed me right over the edge this morning. Or should I take the blame and say I went over? My reaction to him ousted me over? Oh, whatever. He hit Lily. Wouldn’t go to his room, wouldn’t stay in his room, wouldn’t get in the car, wouldn’t get in the carseat…etc, etc. Lost his DS privileges for the weekend (the only time they’re allowed). Int was a long and drawn out battle, that took from 9:15 (when were […]

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Good Parents. Bad Kids.

To add to the nature vs. nurture debate: One proposal that in some cases, nature will always win out. Dr. Richard Friedman, intrigued by reports from patients he knew to have been “more or less decent parents” that their adult children were mean, unkind, unsympathetic, and rude, suggests in the New York Times that “for better or for worse, parents have limited power to influence their children.” Maybe, he says of one patient’s child, “this young man was just not […]

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The Five Worst States for Kids

The Annie E. Casey Foundation is a private charitable organization, dedicated to helping build better futures for disadvantaged children in the United States. If you’re an NPR listener, you’ve heard the name. The Foundation just released its annual KIDS COUNT Data book, in which it compiles markers for child-well-being in all fifty states. This is the 2008 data, and overall, things are looking bleak for the youngest citizens. The number of children living in poverty rose to 18% in 2008, […]

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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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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?