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Still Not There.

I’m still waiting for the day when life just feels normal. Last night I dreamed that one of our neighbors covered the slopes of their yard with snow somehow, and I walked down the road with Rory, Wy, Lily and Sam and we just happened to stumble across it. It would be Rory’s first time playing in the snow, and I wanted to see her reaction, but she’d wandered off, and somehow we were surrounded by hundreds of families, all […]

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Who is this kid, and what did she do with Rory?

At dinner last night: This good, mommy! Thank you! To Wyatt, instead of a slap: You make me so MAD! (Wyatt: You make me so mad TOO!) This morning, 7 am, standing in our room fully dressed: I ready go school now! I get my shoes on! Tonight, awakened from an accidental post-dinner nap on the way home in the car (I tried to put her to bed, but it was just that much too early) and about to have […]

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Trucking

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

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Rainy Saturday

Rainy Saturday Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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Poopyheads R Us

We have a playdate this afternoon, one of our favorite neighbors and a friend of all three. She, Lily and Wyatt are all playing an elaborate game of make-believe. Rory is not; she likes some quiet time after school to do things without, I suspect, teachers coming over to make sure she is doing them in the approved Montessori way (although she loves Montessori; she has a bell and she rings it constantly around the house, saying “Please sa-ye your […]

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A Bat

A Bat Originally uploaded by kjda This was once a baby bunting from Old Navy. I think this is it’s fourth wearing. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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This Kid Has Game.

This Kid Has Game. Originally uploaded by kjda I don’t need help! When it’s said with a big smile by someone determinedly flailing away on the ice, that’s a deeply charming sentiment. The tough, resolute athlete tool it on the butt again and again, but after 45 minutes she was at least moving under her own steam. Some. Tonight Rob showed her some pictures of the other kids skiing. "What about me?" This one was born to live here. All […]

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Two Small Miracles

i am finally coming out of the flu fog, with this to report: This morning in the car, Rory was humming a little repetitive hum, a sort of non-song, over and over, and Wy chose to be outraged. You can’t do that! It’s annoying! She’s being annoying! Rory, everyone in your class will say, that’s so annoying! Mommy, Rory is being annoying! After a few miles of this, I asked Wyatt why he thought Rory was humming. (Rory, very satisfied-ly, […]

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Organization, continued

Ok, so I love systems, and getting organized. I also love staying organized, so once I find something that works, I do stay with it. Last year, I realized that Lily had a really hard time getting dressed in the morning. She just couldn’t decide, and couldn’t cope with deciding, so we decided to put her clothes out the night before. Which she also couldn’t cope with. She would change her mind, or need tights, or just in general begin […]

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Sam’s Magic Inventions, and Musings on Mental Health

Last night Lily announced that her tummy hurt. I muttered an uh-huh, sorry your tummy hurts sort of acknowledgement that we all know means “I don’t believe you,” and Sam asked: Has any one invented–you know how one person feels pain, and the other person can’t know, like, how bad it is–like when you try on hockey skates, and no one but you can tell whether or not they really fit? That was a little incoherent, but I got it, […]

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Texas Hike

Texas Hike Originally uploaded by kjda It’s gorgeous here today! And no one Compared this hike to a "forced march." KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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Fwd: Future scientists dissect cow eyeball.

Fwd: Future scientists dissect cow eyeball. Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone Begin forwarded message: >

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KJ on Kids and Branding on Slate

I’ve got a piece on Slate this week on kids and brands (one of my favorite fellow writers asked me what I was branding them with–a Bar Double X, perhaps?) I’d love it if you’d come, read and argue away.

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Not the Bike Ride They Thought Mom was Taking Them On

Not the Bike Ride They Thought Mom was Taking Them On Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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I don’t want you to work. I want you to just be home.

Think these words made me sad? Think again. I do work, and I work hard, and I have been struggling, of late, to get everything done and done well. But my writing work is important, and so, on a different level is the fact that I work at all. I want the kids to get that Rob and I both work, that we both worked hard to get to jobs that we enjoy and that help us all to lead […]

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Annals of Guilt-Inducing Parenting Research: Moving

Add this to the list of things that I’m apparently supposed to worry about, to which I don’t think my own parents gave more than a passing thought: Recent research results on moving during childhood show it’s harmful in the long run. Relocating parents of extroverted kids needn’t worry so much, but those who’ve spawned introverts and other “neurotic” types can add another brick to the never-ending load of guilt. With all due respect to the idea that knowing more […]

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Raising Responsible Kids, Presidential Style

I distinctly recall how badly I wanted to make money as a kid. I remember lemonade stands, getting $1 each for ironing my father’s shirts and, later, mowing lawns. I remember the first thing I did with my own money, too: I walked straight to Skaggs Albertson’s, which sold—wait for it—Charlie’s Angels trading cards. I remember once debating between Fruit Stripes gum and a book, and having my mother press me towards the book, which would last longer. I went […]

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6-Year-Olds and Pedicures? So Wrong.

Last week, Sierra and Carolyn were discussing the places where kids just don’t belong. Bars. Comedy clubs. Nightclubs (I sense a theme here). I’ve got one more spot to add to the list, and it’s not even a place where you’re there to drink: Spas. No one who isn’t old enough to pay for her pampering with her own hard-earned cash belongs in a spa, and no 6-year-old needs a pedicure. As for spas actually meant for tots, I’m appalled. […]

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Lily lost a tooth!

Lily lost a tooth! Originally uploaded by kjda Alert the tooth fairy!!! KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone —

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Tour de Taste

Tour de Taste Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone — KJ Dell’Antonia Twitter.com/kjda

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Writing About My Little Daughter-of-a Bitch (Not a title Babble would let me use!)

Lily is upset about noodles. This is an understatement, the equivalent of saying that John McEnroe used to get upset at umpires’ calls at Wimbledon. 6-year-old Lily is upset about noodles. I put cold noodles in her lunch, not the hot ones she wanted, and as she picked her lunch up off the counter, the lack of a thermos tipped her off that this (like several other things this morning) has not gone according to plan. She is tired. She […]

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I Have a Dumpster

and I’m not afraid to use it. We are drowning in stuff here, climbing over it in the basement, shoving it into cabinets, packing it into boxes…years of hoarding hand-me-downs and “maybe we will use that someday” have left us with a house that almost cannot be cleaned–all we ever seem to do is move stacks from one spot to another. We’re REALLY trying to change that. Oh, it’s not all environmentally incorrect. Old tech gear goes to Best Buy […]

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Doin’ the Math

I recognize that this is a very corny, wholesome yet pushy activity for a parent to do with her kids, but sometimes—especially when the battling in the car gets to be too much for me to take—we do in car math drills. I call out the questions, taking turns for each kid. Wyatt loves this. He’s definitely a math guy, and I take pride in (and am mildly freaked by) his abilities. But Rory has struggled with this activity, so […]

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Not Quite Yet!

This is Rory’s favorite phrase. Rory, come play with me? Not quite yet! Rory, empty your lunchbox. Not quite yet! Rory, time to go. Not quite yet! Even for good things, it’s not quite yet, not quite yet. I finally tracked down the origin yesterday morning when she asked my husband if she could feed the dogs, and he said: Not quite yet. Not surprisingly, this turned out to mean when I’m ready and possibly never, which is certainly how […]

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Shifting Needs

We are (as you can see below) at a big, giant indoor water park/hotel. It’s “AWESOME,” and “the best valentine’s day ever” and “so COOL.” All of those things are true (it’s also, we’re just now noticing, right under the airport flight path, but that’s not going to bother me any. I’m a good sleeper, I am! It’s not crowded (while we in the East take two winter breaks to save on heating costs, in the South and West, they […]

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2 Minutes of Wild Hockey Action

Rory is #10, black helmet, black ponytail. Wyatt is white helmet, #19 (both in yellow tied-on pinneys). The video was created by the proud dad of #14 in red. They played hockey for 2 straight hours Sunday in a wild end-of-season “jamboree.” And now they are mad that it’s over.

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I need this.

I need this. Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone —

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On the Blogroll

I’m on a long overdue mission to update my blogroll, which has become sadly dated. (Since I found one link that hadn’t been updated in 786 days, I’m guessing that’s when I last linked anyone up.) I’m bringing on some of those hip new things all the other kids have, like the title of the last post and the timing of the update, which I love when my fellow bloggers kindly provide to me. I’m a big blogroll click-thru fan. […]

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Bad Ideas I Have Had, the Artistic Version

It all started when I read this book. I no longer remember the name of this book, but suffice it to say that as my co-author and I (Reading With Babies, Toddlers and Twos) are to reading with small children, this author was to small children and art. She was for it. She was for lots of it. Unfettered access to art supplies, lots of room to create, paint galore! But even she probably would not have given a six-year […]

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Immediate Gratification

Immediate Gratification Originally uploaded by kjda Sam has been saving. And this weekend, he found that he had enough for the lowest end iTouch, the 8G. Of course we have, as a family, a reasonably large quantity of iThisandThats. With EXTREMELY limited access, Partly because I don’t want them wired up during the week, and partly because of the competition allowing one to play the iPad entails. Everyone has accepted that the iFamily is for travel only. But if he […]

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The Kid Who Gets It Wrong

If you don’t try, you don’t get it wrong. If you don’t try to answer the phone, you will never accidentally hang up on your daddy. I felt like I got things wrong today, too. Tactless in a couple of instances, inattentive in others. Not present. Bothered by the echoes of flooding and loss that are all over, here (we’re right on the Connecticut river and unscathed but surrounded). And bothered, as I think I always am, by a beautiful, […]

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Happy Birthday Rory!

Rory’s birthday was Friday, actually. (I think I begin to see why that word showed up in my wordle.) And it was also a little bit Saturday, when we skyped with Grandma Jo and opened HER presents, and then it will be a little bit Monday, when we take treats to class because you cannot take treats to class on muffin day, seriously, people, what are you thinking? It’s muffin day. And then even more NEXT Saturday, which is her […]

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Dinner

Dinner Originally uploaded by kjda Let it never be said that Rory’s KFC meal did not include vegetables.

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Surprise! The Kitten Would be a SURPRISE!

I always forget I know some of you IRL. So–it’s a Christmas surprise. More anon.

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Helping the Dentist Out

Helping the Dentist Out Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone —

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The Perils of Hangman With 7-Year-Olds

The Perils of Hangman With 7-Year-Olds Originally uploaded by kjda

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Why We Should Schedule an Empty Schedule

Just because the day looks empty certainly doesn’t mean it will be.

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Here’s What’s Wrong with the Anti-Helicopter Parent’s Backyard (Hint: He’s Still Hovering)

The parent who created the Playborhood may not be helicoptering, but he’s hovering just the same. Only instead of saying “be careful,” he’s saying “jump.”

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The Get Your Butt in the Chair Manifesto: It’s Up to You Whether You Write Today.

I read the Get Your Butt in the Chair Manifesto, below, today on the #AmWriting podcast I do with Jessica Lahey, after a day of cursing out every interruption even as I accepted and, shall we say, enabled them (especially those “interruptions” called Messages, Twitter and Facebook). (You’ll find it in Episode 32.)   I know it’s December. I know things are tough. I know that, quite literally, EVERY SINGLE PERSON I have interviewed this week has at least one […]

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Want a happier end to summer? Try this: Sometimes, if you see something, don’t say something.

  Last week, we took out annual summer family vacation: a trip to Cape Cod, where we stay in the same place and do the same things, every year, which still manages to always be just different enough. As we often do, we took a fishing trip. We saw whales. We dropped lines and jigged for mackerel to use as bait. We zoomed at top speed to a place where the striped bass might or might not be—and for the most […]

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The Blessing of an Ordinary Week

Soak up the joy of ordinary days, and you build up a reservoir of peace and contentment that keeps you strong when the storms come.

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Oh, Just Join In Already

Some things are just cheesy. I was at a conference recently, and I went to a session where we were first asked to draw our inner monster. (The voice that tells you you suck all the time, and if you don’t have one, then, well. That’s great. I was going to say something snarky but that would be contrary to the spirit of this missive). Next, we went on an inner meditative journey to meet ourselves in 20 years, and […]

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Things Happier Parents Know: Family is the Place to Say Things You Don’t Mean

  I HATE SCHOOL AND I AM NOT GOING! I’M QUITTING THE TEAM! I AM NEVER COOKING DINNER FOR YOU PEOPLE AGAIN! I HATE YOU YOU RUIN EVERYTHING! I AM NEVER SPEAKING TO YOU AGAIN! IF YOU COME IM MY ROOM I WILL KILL YOU! OUR CHILDREN ARE THE RUDEST CHILDREN IN THE WORLD! Yeah, yeah, yeah. In this, the first week after school starts here and a fairly early week of the school year for many of us, I […]

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Cheap Amusements, Part 1

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I Get to Go to a PARTY! (Two!)

When we were in NYC, we went out. All the time. Even after Sam was born, we went out after bedtime, we went out with a babysitter, we took him along. He’s slept under more bars than my friend the Hip Big Spender, back in his drinking days. Now, we stay in. Some would blame this on the arrival of baby Lily and the growing up of Sam, but I think not. He was sleeping in his stroller in a […]

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I Have to GOOOOO!

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The House that Got Away

Oh, well. Someone willing to pay more for it than we were bought the house we wanted. I’m dejected and disappointed, but we bid the right amount…you know, it probably feels worse to overpay than to not get the house. I’m partly just disappointed because I was revved up for it to HAPPEN. And I hate it when I want something and don’t get it. I’m not good at that at all. I know, a better house will come rolling […]

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Lily lets me READ!

I wrote a book about reading to babies–and it’s been months since Lily has really let me read to her. She brings books, yes–but after a page she’s off for another book. She’d rather “read” to herself–and she does, she sits and talks and turns the pages–but like everything else, she just doesn’t want anyone to do it for her. But tonight, ar long last, she let me read. I happened to grab a handful of board books she hadn’t […]

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Why We Call Lily Wednesday Now

Music class this week–our last class, my last one ever unless my better nature takes over on Wyatt’s behalf. Of course both kids were flawless, adorable, Lily dancing with her friend and Wyatt showing off his new clapping abilities. I realized, as I never had before, that the real reason to go to these things is to show off how cute and smart your kids are. I should perhaps say that the reason I’ve never spotted that before is that […]

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Big Day for Wy

Big Day for Wy Originally uploaded by kjda. Facing forward in a new seat!

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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?