fbpx

Blog


Shamian Island: The Home Stretch

Shamian Island is best described as the place the British took over, back when tea and opium were in constant traffic across the sea, and although I am sure there was razing and looting involved in its creation, the result is extraordinarily pleasant. Shady verandas. Palm trees. Wide park-like walkways. Few cars. We are staying at the White Swan. It used to be right next to the consulate, so everyone stayed here. Now it’s right next to an entire cottage […]

Read More

Being a Good Sport

Being a Good Sport Originally uploaded by kjda I squeezed her cone trying to peel the wrapper off, but she can take it. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

Read More

Community, oh, Community

Everyone needs buds. MIne come in, um, human and online form. Physical and online? Ok, that sounds better. I couldn’t parent without mine, and I couldn’t write without my crew of fellow writers, too–a couple of whom, today, totally offhand, provided me with complete inspiration when I really needed it. Writers (like parents) tend to work alone. I’m lucky enough to have a couple of editors I’m in regular contact with, and a couple of steady gigs that mean I […]

Read More

And We Thought Our Trip to China was Bad

Imagine if we’d had to leave without Rory. It just happened, to this family. Here, in a nutshell, is the United States’ new plan for China adoptions: 1. Complete masses of paperwork. Travel to China. Adopt and become responsible for child. 2. Have child tested for TB. 3. If child tests positive for TB, stay in China for 2-6 months, as child will not be allowed to travel to the US, but is no longer the responsibility of anyone in […]

Read More

Wild Emotional Fluctuations (on my part)

After we went to Cape Cod, I had this whole post in my head about how, when you were young, you always imagined you’d go on vacation and come back changed, and now I had–I’d come back fully accepting and loving Rory and happy with our family. And then the last day had its ups and downs, and I lost the feeling, and since then, it’s gone wildly back and forth. It’s scheduling time, and change time, and as much […]

Read More

In Exchange for a Smile Picture

In Exchange for a Smile Picture Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

Read More

Contrary to the Picture

Contrary to the Picture Originally uploaded by kjda Rory quite liked the Ferris Wheel. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

Read More

You Know What I Love? School! (Plus Activity Angst)

School gives us a glorious level of consistency in our lives that I would otherwise be unable to achieve. Every morning, for four hours, there is ritual and order in Wyatt and Rory’s lives. Every day, for 6 hours, the same can be said for Lily. Every day, for seven hours, Sam is safe and surrounded by kids his own age, learning age-appropriate stuff at a school that suits him very well. And every day, when I get everybody back, […]

Read More

When Lily is Sweet

When Lily is Sweet Originally uploaded by kjda She is very very sweet. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

Read More

And they’re off…

And they’re off… Originally uploaded by kjda Trick or Treating: Not My Department KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

Read More

The Big Green Womens Hockey Team

The Big Green Womens Hockey Team Originally uploaded by kjda And their many many fans. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

Read More

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! Originally uploaded by kjda Well, ok, that’s a Christmas tree. Which we put up, because yesterday we actually had time to do it, and not in between rushing to one thing and racing off to another. Of course, one reason that we can do that is that what you see there is a big ole FAKE tree. Yep, right here in New England. I grew up in the south, with a very practical mother and an allergy to […]

Read More

New Years Resolution 1

New Years Resolution 1 Originally uploaded by kjda The kids get more chores. Christmas is a good time to be reminded of the abundance that we share…and also of the work that goes into it. It’s time, I think, to get more help (and accept some imperfections…). I know, the most common kid-related resolutions must be stuff like “spend more time with them” or “yell less” (made that one, anyway) and “have more patience” (ditto). But we have had such […]

Read More

One Sparkly Day

  One Sparkly Day Originally uploaded by kjda Post day exhaustion. THis was also me, trying out the multiple photo share option on the iPhone. Turns out they each come as a separate email.  Ok, got it. I love this picture–had to sneak to get it. I suspect Miss Thumb does not want to be recorded like this, although we’ve never objected to her thumb-sucking at all–in fact, we love it. For one thing, it helps her sleep, and for […]

Read More

CRAZY SPORTS PARENTS or the MMMRPH MRRPH (or, Hockey Drama in Perspective)

You may recall my muffled, angry comments about a mysterious local dispute I referred to as the “MPHOLLYPMHRPYLL MURPH MURPH Tempest, teapot MUMBLE MUTTER GRUPM GRIPE” in an earlier post (one too short to merit a link) and then questioned everyone about here, referring to the whole kerfluffle as “Thingy…” If so, or even if you don’t, prepare yourself for what has, thus far, made nearly everyone I’ve described it to giggle in its utter, insane, blown-out-of-proportion-ness. Here’s what I […]

Read More

BoxSled Racing

BoxSled Racing Originally uploaded by kjda With Hannah Kearney at the start gate! KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

Read More

Sprinkler in April

Sprinkler in April Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

Read More

Go to Your Room. And Then Come Out.

The go-to punishment in our house is a common one: go to your room. Now, I know that that’s a hot-button for Rory–go away from me, because you’re bad–and although she gets the sending, she rarely gets the leaving (other attempts, like a time-out chair and such, failed). She gets an immediate parental visit, a hug, a reminder of why she’s there, and nearly always, instant release–which she then inevitably refuses to take. I’ve talked about this before–how hard it […]

Read More

My Lame Last Day Picnic

My Lame Last Day Picnic Originally uploaded by kjda For the more elegant version, see below. I am having a bit of a crisis of confidence today, on many levels. On the one hand, you know how when you were a teenager, you dreamed that you would go away somewhere and come back changed? I feel like I did. We have been back for 14 days now, and I still haven’t lost my temper– which is what I mean by […]

Read More

35 Miles!

35 Miles! Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

Read More

Accepting a “Different Parenting Style”

The New York Times’ Motherlode blog has a plea for advice from a young mother who says parenting is “ruining her marriage.” I scarcely need to offer you a synopsis of her plaint: Essentially, she performs singing puppet shows with cutlery while her spouse is thumbing through his e-mail on his BlackBerry. Who hasn’t heard that before? In fact, this month’s Parents magazine highlights an argument so nearly identical to this one for its article on “How to Fight in […]

Read More

Vacation begins

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

Read More

Worth the Late Night

It was one of the rare goals of summer that I actually pulled off at our house: last night was the peak of the Perseid meteor showers, and my 9-year-old and I stayed up for it. In all honestly, it neared being a bust, clouds drifted overhead frequently, and he was so sleepy (I actually let him fall asleep outside, then went out and woke him at midnight for viewing) that I think he only clocked one or two meteors. […]

Read More

It’s the First Day of School for the Adopted Kid!

First Day of School #2! Today was Rory’s second “First Day of School.” There’s a new head teacher in Rory’s classroom this year; one who appears to have certain fairly defined expectations for how things will go. Last week, she invited each student to come in to meet her, bringing something to show her—a book, she suggested, or something important—and to see the changes in the classroom. We adopted 4-year-old Rory last summer, and she brought, as she will always […]

Read More

Happy Birthday Rory!

Rory had a (mostly) glorious day, and we also had our first “adoption moment.” For Rory, it was special snack at school with a mommy visit (Rainbow meringues and rainbow fruit cups, an inspiration, because a) Rory doesn’t really like cupcakes and b) the school expressed some anti-cupcake thoughts, proposing “healthy cupcakes” or maybe “special cheese and crackers.” Neither of those would have worked for Rory, who has had rainbows on her mind ever since Wyatt’s birthday last March, when […]

Read More

From Lily

From Lily Originally uploaded by kjda I have been walking by this for a Week and just realized what it said. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone —

Read More

The Organizing Bug

I have the New Year’s organizing bug, early. I can’t tell if I just want to get things in order (yes) or if I’m procrastinating a work assignment I’m having trouble with (yes). I guess it’s both. The basement is borderline organized, all kinds of things are planned out (including some holiday surprises that can’t be revealed here). My computer files are sorted. Backups are being arranged. It’s like it’s New Year’s Resolution season. I just want to GET STUFF […]

Read More

A “Parenting on Track” Plot

I’m a newly converted disciple of one Vicki Hoefle, parenting guru, who created the Parenting on Track program. My neighbor (flockmother) loaned it to me, and I quickly sprang for our own copies–which I am already loaning out. It’s a program that’s more about what YOU do than what your kids do–no starcharts or reward boxes, both of which have failed us–and one of the basic tenets is the idea of what Vicki calls “privileges and responsibilities.” Carrots and sticks […]

Read More

Making Valentines and Power Struggles

If you haven’t made Valentines yet, or have rashly promised treats for a classroom party, might I recommend these? It’s a Family Fun recipe and couldn’t possibly be easier. Sam and Wyatt made their own, with just a little help from me spreading it in the pan and cutting it. The results caused the kids to jump around the room shrieking “It’s so good! It’s so good!” and then “I love you! I love you!” So I guess, from a […]

Read More

Rory Can Take No for an Answer (Sort of)

Sometimes life is not fair, and one of those times is at 7:45 when your big sister has just been allowed to take a shower. Wyatt and Rory want to take showers too! Nope. Sorry. Just only Lily. (That’s a Rory-ism in common use around here.) A tub? Nope. BUUUT WHHHYYYYYYY???? Because in fifteen minutes it will be time to brush teeth, and because no. Just no. Not going to happen tonight. Apparently I said that in just exactly the […]

Read More

Call and Response

Call and Response Originally uploaded by kjda I know, you can’t see what’s going on. Suffice it to say that we are waiting for Sam to come out of school (Lily has a playdate), and I can hear how their messing around together goes WAY to well. It goes like this: Wyatt comes up to see what I am doing. Making a list, I say, and he tries to read it, while behind him: Rory: Wyatt tickle me! Tickle me! […]

Read More

Moment Moment Moment

I love my NPR. In the car, it’s pretty much solid NPR all day long, unless it’s Car Talk or one of the guest-oriented programs has someone on that I’m just not into. But NPR creates conflicts—namely, that all of my kids consider themselves, as conversationalists, way, way, WAY more interesting than even the most fascinating NPR story. And so should I, right? They will only be young enough to want to share with me, for a 25 minute drive, […]

Read More

I Wish I’d Thought of Crab Rangoon

I’m torn. Here I am, having my lovely evening all nice and quiet in my quiet empty house. I have eaten a dinner of junk food (a little ironic, given that my XX Factor post today was on the perils of fake food–but it wasn’t fake, just junk). And I am about to get some writing done, although clearly, given the hour, not as much as I had hoped or expected. I am a little lonely. I miss the pressure […]

Read More

Hey, Jealousy: the Virtual Twin Thing

Wyatt popped out of the pool with the traditional summer blue quivering lips and begged for his towel. “Can I sit on your lap?” I beckoned him in, and he settled, warm and damp, with me in the deck chair. I turned to the friend I was with and sighed. “Twenty seconds,” I said. “What?” “Twenty seconds. You’ll see. Give it twenty seconds.” Within fifteen, Rory–who just minutes earlier had been happily going off the diving board with Lily and […]

Read More

Will Wishing Make it So?

I really don’t want Rory to have a language issue. I go back and forth on whether I think the things I posted about yesterday–her srtuggles with nouns, her mixing up words within categories–mean anything more than, as Gina said yesterday, that she’s “just a girl trying to learn SO Much. Yes, she wasn’t only learning language but learning social cues, learning how to be in a family, learning so much more than kids brought up here at an earlier […]

Read More

A Very Good Reason to Love Me

Tonight Rory wanted to write me a note. To surprise me. I heard her, at the table, drafting carefully away. “I … Love … You…” “How you write ‘because I’m your Mommy?” I interpreted that she wanted me to write “because YOU’RE my Mommy,” and so I did, on a scrap of the holiday pad she was using, for her to copy. A few minutes she appeared at my elbow. “I have something for you! Surprise!” And she handed me […]

Read More

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Being a “Special Needs” Parent

So this past weekend, I was driving the car, listening to the Moth story hour on NHPR and feeling lucky. I love the Moth (true stories told live). Hell, I have a story I want to tell the Moth. (The Pringle Fairy.) But mostly, I love that what I expected to be a chore—a half-hour’s drive to a sleepover for Lily—was going to be a pleasure. Double amputee, athlete, actress and over-achiever Aimee Mullins was telling a fantastic story, about […]

Read More

Secret Agent Josephine’s Books Are Here!

My longtime internet buddy Secret Agent Josephine has three new books available on Amazon for your Kindle (or better, Kindle app, because you’re gonna want color and graphics for these): Secret Agent Josephine’s ABC’s Secret Agent Josephine’s Colors Secret Agent Josephine’s Numbers She’s a fantastic artist (people used to compete to have her create an avatar for them), a fun writer and deserving of much success. Back in the day, it was kind of all about whether you blogged undercover, […]

Read More

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Originally uploaded by kjda Peace and tranquility. Temporary, but mighty precious. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone —

Read More

Today, Three Years Ago, We Told the Other Kids About Rory.

How do I know? Because three years ago, to the week, if not the day, it was Sam’s “Wild Mites Jamboree” which is a hockey thing, and right before we went to the rink, we lined them up on our bed and produced pictures. They were beyond thrilled. We were happy. Our biggest problem was that we hadn’t printed enough pictures, because all three of them wanted to carry all the pictures around (and they did, too, until the day […]

Read More

Illustrating Motherlode

An 8-year-old on an aimless Monday morning of summer break is a funny thing. Deprived of his easy weekend go-tos (wii, minecraft, TV) and not yet quite able to come up with alternatives (by weds we will be good, next Monday he’ll have forgotten again). We went for illustrating the day’s Motherlode post, with the result that you get not one, but two today. I told him the player was faking the foul. “No!” He said. “He’s really hurt.” There’s […]

Read More

Am I Introverted, or Just Rude?

I’m shy, yes. But am I also rude? In a contest between my manners and my preferences, am I allowing my preferences to win?

Read More

Win the November Big Box O’ Books!

a Rafflecopter giveaway I did a drawing for my book drawing. This box is heavy–I’ve got 13 books stacked here to go into it. (I have to get new copies of “The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend” and “A Field Guide to Lies” because I’m giving my copy of Readers to a friend, and I want to keep A Field Guide to Lies–but it will be ready to go out next week, and full of books for reading and sharing. […]

Read More

What’s It Like to Eat at Your Kid’s House?

Something—some mention, some sound, some elusive flavor—reminded me of Captain Crunch yesterday. Captain Crunch, those indefinably flavored rectanguloids best known for scraping all the skin off the roof of your mouth as they stubbornly held their crunch even in the face of the deepest bowl of milk. Thus the name, I guess. But in addition to the flavor, Captain Crunch means something else to me. It means breakfast at Stephanie Ellis’ house, the girl who lived across the street from […]

Read More

Say Good Morning.

For a long time, when I head upstairs to make sure everyone is up in the morning, I’ve been walking into my sons’ room saying, cheerfully, “time to get up!” or “time to face the day!” And for the past week or so, my oldest son has been rolling over and saying “Good morning.” I answered him, of course. “Good morning!” I liked it. It’s so much nicer, I thought, when he says good morning instead of something like, “I […]

Read More

8 Reasons Why There Is No Salad with Dinner

There is a leek in the soup, thus covering the vegetable requirement. Made salad last night. It’s Caesar salad! That counts! What if every body just eats an apple? Can we do that? Can that be okay? I broke the salad spinner. I put out carrots and cucumber and dressing after school and they ate that. That lettuce looks wilted. I just can’t, okay? I don’t exactly hate salad. I eat salad other people make. But I hate making salad, […]

Read More

What’s the ideal size for your happier family?

What’s your ideal family size? There is, of course, no ideal family size. Only children aren’t lonely children. Kids with lots of siblings don’t feel neglected. And if fate deals you a family that’s not the one you expected, you’re very likely to end up perfectly happy about that. Humans are very good at reframing, and when you look at the wonderful family you end up with, well, it’s hard to wish things were different. I have 4 kids. My […]

Read More

Wanna Be Happier? Go Rube. (Works for Kids, Too)

There are worse things than tapping an oak tree your first time out. Like never making syrup at all.

Read More

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?