Wyatt’s my baby. My buddy, my beloved littlest one and the only one who looks like me. When I got to our sitter’s today I heard him sobbing through the window, and I rushed in–pausing to give Rory a hug on the way–calling what’s wrong, Wy? He didn’t want to come home, that’s what’s wrong. Now, I know Heather’s house is a haven of legos and turtles and popsicles (and it’s SUPPOSED to be, I love that they love it […]
We biked 18 miles today–two little kids on one double tag-a-long bike and one on a single tag-a-long. Sam and a buddy rode solo. It was the “Tour de Taste” with lots of stops for food, so it wasn’t quite the monster journey it sounds like. But it should have been 19 miles–which it turned out was exactly one mile too long. Rory went from super sport, rollicking along, talking to the other kids–to sound asleep. On the bike. I’m […]
Last night was windy–and where we live, that means it sounds like a freight train is coming over the hill. We lay in bed, listening, and began to hear, periodically, another sound: BANG BANG BANG. Or sometimes BANG. Or BANG BANG. It was not rhythmic, or constant, as you would expect of something the wind was blowing. And it not eventually result in the reappearance of a child, as you would expect from a kid-created noise. It just kept periodically […]
I’m the quintessential reformed Tardy Mom, Parenting Magazine’s poster child on the subject, and it’s true–our mornings, while not particularly resembling clockwork in any way, are now calmer, cooler and vastly more timely. Â Setting a load time and sticking to it, of refusing to serve breakfast to any child not already dressed, of setting up an actual alarm clock to ring when breakfast is over and tooth-brushing time has arrived–those have worked wonders (thanks, Mary Caroline Walker! I’d link to […]
What I Thought Kids Were Like Originally uploaded by kjda Before I had them. This may be one of the reasons I struggled so long with actually having them. It also took a really long time to get them to this point–lots of initial direction in getting the new puzzle together, I mean. Rory, in particular, still prefers to have you hand her two pieces that go together. But she is to the point where I can give her a […]
I went into the bathroom as Rory was supposed to be brushing her teeth, and found the mirror covered in suds of some kind, all over the back of the sink about where she could reach. What is that? I asked–and she froze. Did you do that? Dumb question, as it was wet, and she was the only child in there (or anywhere nearby). Frozen. Did you put soap on the mirror? Did you put water on the mirror? How […]
Sprouts! Originally uploaded by kjda Now that I’m done being the flavor of the week, the most interesting news around here is that the Brussels Sprouts and Broccoli have sprouted! (They’re from the same plant family, so it’s nut too surprising they’d be first together.)This is our first year growing the garden from seed (you can expect to read about it in Kiwi next spring) and we have four little grow shelves of seeds. We planted over the weekend, and […]
I hear a lot of women complaining about the way doctors and hospitals treat them during labor. Pushing epidurals, requiring pitocin, being generally unsympathetic to requests to limit intervention. Taffy Brodesser-Akner has written about her birth for both Self and Salon, and it’s a true horror story–a doctor who broke her water against her wishes and circumstances that only went downhill from there. Brodesser-Akner didn’t necessarily want an all-natural birth. She just wanted to be listened to and treated with […]
Mold in the ice machines. A cockroach crawling over the soda dispensers. Fruit flies swirled into the margaritas (at least you wonâ€™t be buying your kids those). ESPN reporter Paula Lavigne culled through hundreds of inspection reports for every stadium across the country and found that as unappealing as most classic stadium food is to begin with (hot dogs rolling under heat lamps, cardboard pretzels) the truth is even worse than we imagined, with temperature violations, unwashed hands and mouse […]
There are one or two minor things I don’t like about this parenting gig. The early rising, for example. The midnight sheet-changing. The diapers weren’t my favorite (past that!) and the Sisyphean dishwasher and laundry moments do get me down. But there is one thing, one single thing, one thing that’s somehow fallen to me in our house (all of those other things were or are shared tasks) that really pushes my buttons. One thing that looms over my head […]
I’m off to New York for a couple of days. I’m gonna see some people, do some stuff and head for this DoubleX comedy event. And I’m going to be alone, alone, alone, blissfully, Greta Garbo-y alone. Except for when I see people and I’m not. Everyone knows you can love your husband with extraordinary passion and your children suitably less so, or equally-in-a-different-way or however you want to put it, and still need a couple of days in your […]
I am taking a break, a breather, un petit vacances. From everything, lucky me. Well, everything except my head cold. No escape from that. Rob and I are with friends, having some adult time, and the kids are with grandma, having some time with someone who doesn’t say no to things lime making ink to try to write with a feather quill. I think this is good for us all.
Lily’s bread and Lily’s luck Originally uploaded by kjda Last night Lily made the rolls for today’s dinner. I helped; in fact, I made her follow a recipe and was so anal about the whole thing that when it didn’t raise as much as I expected we made another batch. In between Lily asked to play with the flour and water and such, and made something she said was bread dough. We had yeast left over from the rolls, so […]
I have a guest post on Motherlode this weekend. I love the essay before mine, too. What she said.
Sunday was a screw-up day. Long story short, we made an hour-and a-half drive there and back to go to an event that had been moved to Saturday, only I didn’t notice it in the emails. They also changed the time, which I DID notice. No one was very happy with me, least of all me. On the way home, we pulled in at Blanche and Bill’s Pancake House (near Killington). I’ve always wanted to stop there, so it seemed […]
Why Does It Always Have to be Snakes? Originally uploaded by kjda Today’s referendum on my love took place in the bathroom. I have to go. Fine, let’s go. Will you come in with me? It’s really tiny in there. I don’t fit. Look, you can see my boots. My boots are in with you. But I want you to hold my coat. Ok. I like your hat, Mommy! Does your hat fit you? Yes, yes it does. I got […]
Push, Push, Push Originally uploaded by kjda Both of my daughters are more like me–in all the ways I dislike myself most–than my sons, and so they are gifted with the power to push my buttons in ever more dramatic ways. Plus, and probably more relevantly, they WANT TO. Thus, here is Lily, tonight after dinner and an otherwise perfectly pleasant night. She carries a slice of apple in and sits on the couch and looks at me. You’re not […]
The City Slicker and the Snapping Turtle Originally uploaded by kjda We found this guy (actually, I think it’s a girl) on the road today. I wasn’t actually SURE it was a snapping turtle, and I figured Lily could outrun it in a pinch–plus, I needed some scale. So I made her get in the picture. Which the next person to pull over clearly thought was CRAZY. My plan was to cautiously approach the turtle from the rear, pick it […]
Another post from France… Weâ€™ve done the drive from Barcelona to Cazo before. As we headed into Narbonne, Rob reminded me that weâ€™d missed the turn in some way last time. â€œThatâ€™s how we ended up at the Carrefours, remember?â€ I did, and although weâ€™d liked the Carrefours, with all four kids asleep in the back of the car in the middle of the day and Rob and I each running on about an hourâ€™s poor sleep on the plane, […]
Corn maze! 85 degrees in the corn maze, but: corn maze! Rory is alone in the picture because the last time we went to this farm, I apologized to one of the people who works here after overhearing him tell her not to touch something, and he came over to me, and I said I’m really very sorry, again, and added that if he had one thing on the whole farm that she shouldn’t touch and he hid it under […]
This could end really well. Orâ€”let’s be honest hereâ€”it could go really badly. Lily requested cheeseburgers for dinner tonight on this, a fantastic day for grilling, and cheeseburgers she shall have. And, she said, those french fries you make, by which she means the Yukon Golds in cold peanut oil from Cook’s Illustrated. But I stopped by the farmstand on the way home for the potatoes, and they are unquestionably not Yukon Gold, but some type of russet. And when […]
I may be out of words for the day. On the fantastic news front, I will be taking the Motherlode blog again next week at the New York Times. I have some great stuff planned, and I’m going to link here every time, which I think I failed to do last time around. This will be the outtakes. The snark. The post behind the post. Or just the links. But it was a day of mucho wordiness. I started it […]
2011 Goodreads Choice Awards Vote now for your favorite books! Let’s see, I voted for Cinderella Ate My Daughter, Sideways on a Scooter, and The Wilder Life. I was sadly unable to vote in the fiction category, because, well, it’s been a low fiction reading year (although I’m loving the short stories in If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This, and have Stephen King’s new book on my bed table in all of its rather large and daunting […]
Delicious Nutritious Chocolate Cereal Pretzel Mix Part 4 Originally uploaded by kjda And, finally, the nutritious part. You must understand that one reason this is nutritious, and healthful, and a serious gift to myself, is simply that every night, right around this time, my stress wires fully fired, kids plowed into bed, evening of email ahead, determined to get a little down time, I sit down on the couch and plow whatever salty thing I can find it the cabinet […]
I cleaned my pantry. Less is more, and should the zombie apocalypse arrive, all that spaghettini will surely not save us. Bourbon, maybe, but that’s another cabinet.
I know better, but I did it anyway.
I can really only do one thing at a time. You could call that Unitasking, or Monotasking, or my favorite—being human, since no one can really do more than one thing at a time—but whatever you call it, it’s how I work best.
For me, one of the biggest barriers to setting goals is stopping doing things long enough to decide what I want to do. 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. For Episode 35, we’re actually setting those goals—which means getting them down on paper. It also means checking in on last year’s […]
You’re going to read the bedtime story, make the extra orthodontist appointment or pick up the kid who missed the bus. You might as well do it with grace. Some days (weeks, months) are frustrating. All anyone wants from you is everything—every spare minute, every ounce of patience, and oh, that sandwich you just made for your own lunch looks good too. Everywhere you look, there’s another octopus, all grabbing arms and suckers, holding you in place until they use […]
How to Be a Happier Parent appears for the first time in online bookstores this week! I’m so thrilled. I love the book, and I’m looking forward to sharing it. For now, here’s what my publisher has to say about it: An encouraging guide to helping parents find more happiness in their day-to-day family life, from the former lead editor of the New York Times’ Motherlode blog In all the writing and reporting KJ Dell’Antonia has done on families […]
Disagreements among brothers and sisters aren’t just inevitable – they’re educational. Angry footsteps upstairs. Screams. “I hate you!” Slam. Fists, on a bedroom door. Then, inevitably, the unified shriek: “MOOOOMMM!” That was the soundtrack of the year when my daughters were 11 and 12, shared a bedroom, and fought like caged tigers. As a parent, I was at a loss. It seemed like every meal or car ride ended in misery, and I was convinced that our family life was […]
I had an amazing morning today, which can be summed up as follows: got child to doctor’s appointment on time. Let’s back up. Why would that constitute an amazing morning? Because it’s something I rarely achieve. The doctor’s office is a 25-30 minute drive, at the end of which, just as you’re thinking hey, we’re just in time, you encounter the parking garage. The parking garage takes a minimum of ten minutes to navigate, because it’s a narrow structure […]
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Really, nothing is better than a little bit of dish. Particularly if that dish makes you feel, oh, just that much better than the person about whom your source is dishing. Maybe, just maybe, you feel like a better mother, or a better wife, or just a better person all around, period. Gives you just that warm glow. For about an hour. Then you’re left with knowledge. Knowledge that, if shared, could make others feel like better mothers, better wives, […]
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Every year the Byliners on The Well (my favorite online community of freelancers and roustabouts) post “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”– a little annual review of career, life, and just a touch of politics. Here’s mind (feel free to do to same on your blog, and let me know). The Good: Broke into 4 national magazines in one way or another. First essay accepted for national mag. Finally have some strong recent clips. Finished co-author book, edited, well […]
This has definitely become something of a navel-gazing blog, and the more navel gazing I do, the more I start to notice that much of my navel probably ought to be kept private. I didn’t set out to do quite this. My plan was to post more finished, funny, essay-like entries, but I can tell you right now that those take time–and, of course, that’s not time that comes from my kids, laundry or sleeping efforts. It comes straight off […]
Yesterday at the grocery store I completely lost my head. This was partly thanks to the entertaining musings of Caitlin Flanigan in To Hell With All That, which we read for book club. Flanigan is always fun to read. For one thing, she’s a person who can see the guilty side of anything. I closed the book, thought the hell with that, I am the mother I am, and went and bought $300 worth of chicken nuggets. OK, an exageration. […]