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Control, that thing we all want

Here is a partial list of things I am letting go of: Keeping Rory awake in the car. Any opinion about what clothes are worn outside the house. The sporting of snow boots in all seasons. The amount of cereal poured into a bowl. The amount of milk poured onto the cereal. The size, shape and intended function of the spoon with which the cereal is eaten. The consumption of fruit at breakfast. The requirement that a san dwich form […]

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Parrot!

Parrot! Originally uploaded by kjda The Heard museum outside Dallas has, among other cool things, a parrot that says "Hello!" I think, that from Rory’s point of view, it was as if a dog greeted her. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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The One Thing You Can Control About Your Kid

Anyone who writes about parenting knows that baby names are a click-thru gold mine. Parents—and soon-to-be-parents and maybe-parents and wannabe-parents and maybe even nonparents—are endlessly fascinated with the subject of what we can, might and do name our kids. The Huffington Post offered a sneak peak at possible top girl names and boy names of 2010. The ratings aren’t based on what kids are actually named (for that, we have to wait for the annual report from the Social Security […]

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How to Argue, Fight, Bicker and Nag

Ok, so no one really needs a how-to manual on any of those activities. But the WSJ’s Bonds columnist, Elizabeth Bernstein, says that fighting can actually be good for your relationship. If you do it right. Couples who argue well are happier. Couples who roll their eyes, criticize each other’s opinions or regularly stalk out of the room in fury? Well, they’re more likely to split, before or after they get married. On the other hand, couples who don’t argue […]

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When You Have a Day for a Trip, and No Day Trip

One notable thing about blogging is that people frequently send you things to try out, review, or just read and possibly relay to interested readers. We don’t do much of that at Strollerderby. We’re more scoop than stuff. But then again, it’s not often that someone sends you a link to a website that does exactly what you’d always wished there was a website to do, and tosses in an iPhone app for good measure. A Day’s Outing is the […]

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Wiggled world

Wiggled world Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone —

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If you’re in New Hampshire, you should vote today

One of the contenders in the Republican primary may well be our next Senator, and I’m willing to bet you care which .

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Markers.

I can’t tell you how many, many, many times I have told Rory not to write on anything with markers other than paper. Not furniture. Not the car. Not her face. Not her brother. Not Sam’s toys. Not her own toys, although I’m a little more tolerant of that. NOT ANYTHING. I have even hauled her around the house pointing at things. Don’t write on the. Don’t write on that. Is this something you write on? No. There has been […]

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Not What I Should Be Doing

I am frittering. Oh, and doing laundry, sure, but frittering just the same. I fritter away a mean day, I do. I have Actually done the tutorial for a new piece of software I’m trying out (Scrivener). Found a rawhide for the dog. Done the email thing. More email. Did I mention laundry? I don’t know. I’ve been “working” for five hours, though. 5 hours and 25 minutes, actually. That’s embarrassing. I mean, even with the laundry. Seriously? Frittered away […]

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Ski Day

Ski Day Originally uploaded by kjda Enough cannot be said about how out of the woods we are with adoption and toddler-hood, etc. Wyatt is the youngest, at four, and he can: put his own ski gear on, get up when he falls, ride the jbar, get on a slowed down chair lift, and carry his boots and skis, thanks to the magnificent thing that is the boot/helmet backpack. Now, if you don’t ski, this all sounds just crazy. But […]

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Sunday Snapshot

I’m new to the Sunday snapshot game. photo.JPG Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone But I thought anyone who’s been following along might wonder what ever happened to our BIG gingerbread mansion. After weeks and weeks of “we we gon’ eat that? When? I wan’ eat that candy but I CAN’T!” eventually, they could. I wouldn’t have, but they did. Although not, I think, nearly as much as they thought they would.

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I Don’t Even Want to Control You. Do I?

I’ve been storing up examples of Rory’s need for control, in part to prove to myself that I’m not imagining things, and to gain, of course, additional verification that she is trying to drive me crazy: In a restaurant, I ordered her chicken fingers, and she pitched a fit. “I not want you do that! What they got?” Um, chicken fried steak, meatloaf, smoked chicken and chicken fingers. That’s it. That’s the kind of restaurant it is (and one, I […]

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The Family Meeting

The family meeting is a big part of Parenting on Track, and as it happens, it’s a part I really love. But oh, it’s hard to schedule. The idea is to meet once a week, at a regular time, for the following: family “appreciations,” the choosing/handing out of jobs (which ought to be called contributions, but we don’t), problems (which we don’t really do yet, I’m waiting to get really regular with the meeting) and allowance. I think tonight was […]

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What, Oh What Was I Thinking?

You cannot do everything, right? I THOUGHT I was keeping that in mind this spring. I swear that I said no to lots of things. No baseball or tball. No gymnastics. No dance. No starting the violin. No art. No basket weaving, or underwater polo, or baking classes, or pottery, or…well, no baseball, anyway. That’s a classic spring sport! And we are not doing it! So it should all be good and work out for me, because I did say […]

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I Just Wanted to Give You a Crocodile

I’m not sure what inspired this. Lily loves to create art, and I think she may long for more of an audience for her work. And I’m not sure what teacher could resist it.

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The Martyr Effect

A post from France… Ok, I’m making a vow I probably won’t keep in honor of our vacation in France, generally considered a relatively hedonistic country and one where people, and especially women, know how to put themselves first. Have you ever read an old school French feminist on the subject of attachment parenting? It’s, um, refreshing. My vow: I’m going to stop martyring myself in the name of everyone else’s fun. What do I mean? Well, how about yesterday’s […]

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Gone Islandin’

We are off–we, as in me and four kids, to one Star Island, a rocky crag off the coast of New Hampshire (New Hampshire’s only island!). I’ll be attending a writer’s conference, while the kids go to a half-day camp. It’s the kind of thing that will either go fantastically, or … not. And it’s the kind of place where there’s very limited mobile phone access. Rugged, back-to-nature sort of stuff. I only hope we have a plug in our […]

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Lily’s Project

Lily loves a project. I suppose there are a couple ways in which being so much like me won’t work totally to her disadvantage (although I still think she inherited all of my very worst characteristics), and maybe this is one of them. She had an idea about marshmallow popsicles. Her vision was, I think, that we would melt marshmallow and reshape it into, well, different shapes. I’m not sure how she planned to hold the shapes together, but somehow […]

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Good Girls, Sinuses and Antibiotics

This always happens. I go to the doctor, knowing, as I did today, that I have a sinus infection. This one is a whopper, a horrible, painful, miserable, ear-popper. Moving my head is agony. Blowing my nose, worse, and of course I only have to blow my nose oh, every forty-seven seconds. Plus, you really don’t want to have a sinus infection if you’re going to change altitude by 600 feet or so a couple times a day, and here, […]

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Halloween

Halloween Originally uploaded by kjda The hogwarts crew (that is Sirius Black looking nobly off into the distance), Crookshanks (can we have some suspension of disbelief here? I know it looks like a stripper costume) and one Shy Guy. I don’t usually put pics of the kids’ friends on the blog, but somehow I think we’re cool. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone —

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Dentist! No Dentist! Dentist!

On friday I looked at my iCal and realized–dang, someone has a dentist appointment on Monday! Because I brilliantly failed to categorize it, though, I couldn’t tell who. “It’s all of them,” my husband said. “We got cards in the mail last week.” I thought that seemed funny. I thought it was a little soon, but I didn’t think about it very hard. And then last night, I looked again, and the dentist appointment was at nine. Which couldn’t be […]

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Party Clothes New Hampshire Style

Party Clothes New Hampshire Style Originally uploaded by kjda We are invited to a fantastic progressive party tonight. A full meal cooked by some of the best cooks in town. They call it "Howl at the Moon."

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“Happier at Home:” Gretchen’s Project, KJ’s Clutter

Getting “happier” about my possessions means more than just clearing clutter—but I’m going to have to clear the clutter first.

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Hey, School, Can’t We Just Start Slow?

For some kids, activities that start to early in a new school year are activities they’ll never be ready to join.

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Let the Darkness In

The weather has been so glorious. I’ve been on an epic high of good cheer and outdoor adventure. I kind of need it to stop.

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The Workout I Actually DO

I don’t even have to make a resolution around exercising this year, because—after years of trying things and failing, I’ve actually found a workout I can do, I will do, and I don’t really mind doing.

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Take Help

Oh, no, thanks–I’m fine. Got it all under control. Sure, one child broke her arm by falling off the zip line in our yard while we were hosting her grade’s back-to-school party, the day before school started. And we discovered that another needed to switch schools completely three days before. Oh, and there’s no water in the house this morning (plumbing problem), and there wasn’t yesterday, either. And we’re out of sugar. And there’s this emergency orthodontist appointment in fifteen […]

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How to Buy Better, Fewer Holiday Gifts for Kids

This year, spend less, stress less and make everyone happier.

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A secret to a happier vacation: plan some nothing.

We tend to fill our vacations with plans and projects. What if the plan was not to plan at all? A funny thing about Americans is that we can be a little afraid to do nothing. Our Puritan ancestors (who are absolutely not my direct ancestors and probably not yours either, but they still managed to dump this on us) were all about getting the things done. Milk that cow, tote that bale. Want some rest? Why not sit here […]

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Two Steps to Happier Parenting: Zero in on a Problem. Try to Make It Better.

  Mr. Tantrum is, of course, loud and noisy and demanding. So it’s tough to have him around sometimes—anyone can see that. And he tries to sneak up on us, but the truth is, he’s kind of predictable. He shows up at the end of long days and during transitions. If you can predict Mr. Tantrum, maybe (maybe) you can do something about him. A reader wrote me about Mr. Tantrum last week, because she noticed something in her parenting […]

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Feds to Overweight America: Drop Dead.

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Faith, Hope and Envy

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Trixie in Limbo

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Lily’s First (Real) Halloween

Picture058.jpg, originally uploaded by kjda. That’s Sam in the background, with “Boo” on his ghost costume. We made a ghost for Lily too, but she didn’t like it. So I produced Sam’s old dog costume and said, cautiously “Lily be doggie?” “No Mommy.” “Cute doggie, Lily. Look at his ears! Look at his tongue!” There was a moment of consideration, then she sat down in my lap and stuck her legs out for the fitting. As I remember it, with […]

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Musings on the False Alarm Frontier

All right, I might, repeat might be in labor. Don’t t all excited now, and (mom) don’t call me. These things happen, or, sometimes, they don’t. If we have a baby later I’ll let you know. When we have a baby, I guess I should say, but I DON’T KNOW IF I believe that anymore. Anyway, so the contractions are regularish, bearably painful, not really even close to go to the hospital level…and I’m bored. I do not think I […]

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The cut.

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Killling Kissy for

Tonight at 8:05 I was thinking hey. I’m pretty good at this. 5 years experience and I’m gettin’ pretty slick, if I do say so myself (and since there are no multiple choice tests for mothers, I’m the only one who’s likely to say so.) I’m tucking in the two “big kids”. The baby’s been out for over an hour. Everyone’s hair has been washed (this is an ordeal in our house). Baby had simple dinner. Big kids and I […]

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If You Don’t Like the Weather in New England…

Two weeks ago: Nor’easter. No power. For three days. Skiing. 4 wheel drive car stuck in driveway. Now: Biking. Sat on the green green grass for soccer. Tomorrow, swim lessons (indoor, but still) and t-ball. What we do here is, we go to extremes.

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The view from the top

The view from the top Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ

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2 dogs and a pilot

2 dogs and a pilot Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ

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Lily is the baby and Wyatt is the mom!

Lily is the baby and Wyatt is the mom! 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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A Late Winter Walk

A Late Winter Walk 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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There.

There. 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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New puppy!

New puppy! 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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Apparently, I am deeply worried about sofa cushion forts

I’m having a bit of a getaway–Rob had meetings at Stowe for two nights and I am playing taglong. NO obligations, no dinners even, just a place to hang out, swim, bike a bit and write a bit. All good. So why did I wake up at five this morning worried about forts? Specifically, one fort, the “biggest fort ever”, subject of much pride and joy and where Sam, Lily and Wyatt–and their long-suffering, game for anything, best-babysitter-ever Holly apparently […]

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Building towers at Lou’s

Building towers at Lou’s Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ Dell’Antonia

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photo.jpg

photo.jpg Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ Dell’Antonia

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My Postal Pickup

My Postal Pickup, originally uploaded by kjda. So you have to picture me, at the post office, mailing my one little package (Rebecca’s book) and handing over my pick up slip. And then he said…I’ll get the handtruck. What is it? One comforter, two fans and a few assorted items of clothing. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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Dear Ayelet Waldman

Dear Ayelet Waldman Originally uploaded by kjda I am enjoying your book. I loved your NYT essay that caused all the hoopla. But I am very, very happy to say that I think I am actually a very good mother. And so does Wyatt! I am pretty sure that by Chapter 18 you will have come to feel the same way. Although it sounds like you might still not go for the cruller and frappacino action. But I know you […]

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And…We’re Off.

We are ready. Ready, as in, weighed suitcases sitting in the hallway. My mom asleep already. Me, popping one last movie onto my iPhone and gathering a few last cords and ends. Three excited kids asleep in their room (miraculously, no reappearances!) knowing that the next time they sleep in there, there will be four. (Gulp.) I do plan to blog while we travel–there should be plenty of pictures and lots to tell. We’ll be in Beijing until Sunday 6/21. […]

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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?