Raising Devils

Mama Time

By KJ / Thursday, September 1, 2011

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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The Respected House

By KJ / Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Two weeks ago or so, I posted about how we (I) cleaned an organized our hall/entry/mudroom to get ready for school starting. This past Sunday, with all of us trapped at home staying out of hurricane range, I called Rob into the playroom/family room. How, I asked, do you think the sofa would look turned sideways? Well, he said, let’s try it. Yes! Sam shouted. I demurred. If we moved the sofa we had to move the train table. Move […]

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One last summer picnic

By KJ / Tuesday, August 30, 2011

One last summer picnic Originally uploaded by kjda Sigh. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone —

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The Kid Who Gets It Wrong

By KJ / Monday, August 29, 2011

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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Moshi Moshi Moshi!

By KJ / Sunday, August 28, 2011

First thing this morning, the visitors started. “Can I play Moshi Monsters?” “Can I?” “Can I?” “And me too!” Weekend mornings are for wallowing in technology and television. Weekend mornings when every available activity has been cancelled by hurricane, even more so. (We sustained no greater damage here than that done by Rob and me when we decided to move the couch; it was a good day to live on the side of a mountain.) Anything the kids can do […]

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Moshi Monster Surrender

By KJ / Saturday, August 27, 2011

My babysitter’s daughter has been going online occasionally with the three younger kids to play Moshi Monsters. I’ve staunchly refused to let them do this at home, largely because I do not want to play Moshi Monsters, and I suspected that was what it would be. Plus, I’ve had my doubts about this entire genre, which seems to promote shopping and decorating as the only fun activities available to our virtual and real selves. But I’ve always secretly thought–who wouldn’t […]

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By KJ / Friday, August 26, 2011

Admitted Originally uploaded by kjda I love Lily’s new shoes so much, I checked to see if they come in my size. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone —

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Not Me!

By KJ / Thursday, August 25, 2011

IMAGE REMOVED DUE TO COPYRIGHT FEARS, BUT IT WAS A FAMILY CIRCUS CARTOON FEATURING THE “NOT ME” GHOST. When I was a kid I thought these Family Circus comics were so funny! Can you imagine a bunch of kids all saying it wasn’t them? That would be so crazy! I was an only child, and only once, once in my entire life was I ever not responsible for some transgression I was accused of. Left the oreos open? Me. Milk […]

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By KJ / Thursday, August 25, 2011

Captive Originally uploaded by kjda Food, water and shelter. At least Lily, Rory and their two friends are complying with the Geneva Convention. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone —

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Will Wishing Make it So?

By KJ / Wednesday, August 24, 2011

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 […]

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Can Your Adopted Child Name that Fruit?

By KJ / Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I need help. Rory has been with us now for two years and two months. And she came speaking English–about 2-year-old English. Her language is still behind in some expected ways–she struggles with “he” and “she” and verb tenses–and that’s cool. She gets speech therapy for that, and for leaving off the final consonants of all her words (speech therapy doubles as ESL in her case, since its not really her second language–they know the history and work with it). […]

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Reading Material: Good Eggs and Someday My Prince Will Come

By KJ / Monday, August 22, 2011

Good Eggs: A Memoir by Phoebe Potts My rating: 4 of 5 stars I love a graphic memoir, and I loved this one. I adore how tight and condensed the words of the story become, while the story itself, through the drawings, sprawls out as wide as any story can. I had a hard time putting this down to sleep. If you’re not a graphic novel reader, but you like memoir, you might be surprised how easily and thoroughly you […]

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We are READY (for School to Start)

By KJ / Sunday, August 21, 2011

If you’re one of those people (like me) addicted to organizing shows and Real Simple and all of their ilk, then you will understand why I had the most fantastic day: We are ready for school to start. Except for the little matter of Sam having one more paragraph of his summer reading assignment to go (that would be “summer writing assignment,” if you ask me, but they didn’t), school could start tomorrow and the kids could walk out the […]

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A Stompin’ Flickerin’ Good Time

By KJ / Saturday, August 20, 2011

I’ve written before about how loudly Rory walks. My theory is that she’s afraid if she can’t hear herself move, no one knows she exists. Like a lonely tree on the forest or something. Tonight she stomped so loudly across the upstairs that the lights downstairs flickered. This surely says something about our wiring, but that aside, I need this to at least ease up–so I have an evil plan. No, it’s not the destompinator (that may be next). I’m […]

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The Witches!

By KJ / Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sam’s teachers call him an “avid reader.” “I’ve never had a child love to read like Sam,” one said last year. You’d think my heart would ring with pride–that’s what my teachers said about me–but you’d be wrong, because I know the truth: Sam is an avid reader of Harry Potter. And nothing else. He’s reading them through for the third time this summer. I cheer that, I really do. But eventually, you have to read something else. Right? Right? […]

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The Pattern Trap

By KJ / Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I’ve been re-reading some old blog and journal entries from our first weeks home with Rory. Mostly, I’m seeing how amazingly far we’ve come (and how painful it was to get there). But then there was this, taken from an incident just two months after we came home from China. (Because of her foster home, Rory spoke some basic English when she first arrived.) I decided to make Rice Krispie Treats with Wyatt. I read Rory a book first. When […]

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By KJ / Tuesday, August 16, 2011

First we went to the Cape. This we shall universally regard as having been a good idea. Rob and I actually had a relaxing vacation. Periodically he would turn to me and say “you know what I really love? The sound of crying babies.” And I would sigh blissfully back “And screaming toddlers…” And he would reach his hand out from his pool lounge chair and take mine, and we would listen to other people’s babies and toddlers while our […]

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Cheerio Art

By KJ / Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cheerio Art Originally uploaded by kjda Both entertainment options and the dining situation on the Island have palled a bit. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone —

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The iBasket

By KJ / Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The iBasket Originally uploaded by kjda Note the tshirt. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone —

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Gone Islandin’

By KJ / Saturday, August 6, 2011

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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Wear Your Picture Clothes Please!

By KJ / Wednesday, August 3, 2011

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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Best $8 I Ever Spent

By KJ / Monday, August 1, 2011

Best $8 I Ever Spent Originally uploaded by kjda Rory is in love. His name is Sea, or possibly Fast. If you let go of him, he “run away” in the wind over the pool, and you have to swim after him. You can wear him to jump in. You can wear him to climb out. And he is only for Rory. She saw another little girl in one at the pool today and asked, just oh so very nicely. […]

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What’s Written on My Arm Today

By KJ / Sunday, July 31, 2011

I struggle with impatience. With yelling. With ranting voices in my head telling me how much I SUCK, and Everything SUCKS and my whole day is a great big pile of SUCKITUDE. Which is just patently not true, but the voices are amazingly determined. This is as bad for me as it is for the rest of the family. Worse, really, because I have to listen to both the voices AND me yelling or snarling or snarking, while they just […]

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Never Say Never, Except When You Say Never

By KJ / Friday, July 29, 2011

Babble’s editors (who were, when I was one of their bloggers, my editors) just started a fresh new Twitter hashtag: #neverinamillionyears. As in, as a parent, never in a million years would I: put a 6-year-old in a bikin (my contribution) put a TV in their room (@mychildPsych) post bathtime pics of my kids on social media (good one, @perpetuallykate) become THAT parent at a kids’ sporting event (ooh, yeah, @OWTK) punish my child by public embarrassment (oops, @mymomfriday, think […]

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The Gift of the Matchy Match

By KJ / Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Gift of the Matchy Match Originally uploaded by kjda All the matching stuff is corny. I never thought I’d do it. But they LOVE to match. Even Sam. They all, intentionally, chose the coolest matching shirts they could find on our last trip. They dig through drawers to match. I never ask it any more, except at, say, Disneyworld. It’s all down to them. But it has an unexpected benefit. Matching shirts mean no one ever says "THAT’s your […]

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Immediate Gratification

By KJ / Tuesday, July 26, 2011

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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Grilling the Pizza!

By KJ / Monday, July 25, 2011

There was much confusion surrounding my new version of make-your-own-pizza night. We’ve been into make your own pizza every since I spent an evening standing in my buddy Jess‘s kitchen while she rolled out pizzas and I ate all her pepperoni while thinking, “this is a really good idea for dinner.” I think we’d had pizza weekly since, BUT (and it’s a big but) we have no air conditioning. You really can’t cook pizza in your oven with no a/c […]

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What I’ve Been Reading

By KJ / Friday, July 22, 2011

I’ve dumped my Kindle. Not really. I’m just taking a break from you, Kindle, and from my iPad on-the-side version, too. I just wasn’t ready for a monogamous relationship and I do so love holding a book, buying a book, folding down the pages of a book or going back to scoot around in a forgotten sentence from a few pages ago in a book. And I like loaning them or giving them when I’m done, too. And so, these […]

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A Heat Wave, Their Way

By KJ / Thursday, July 21, 2011

It is really hard to let you wear tights and eat oatmeal when it is 100 degrees and we have no air conditioning, but I will stay cooler if I just let it go.

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I Do What I Do Because I Know What You Do, That You Do That You Do So Well

By KJ / Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Something has changed. To hear me blog for the past couple of days, you would think we were right back where we were two years ago ( well, maybe not THAT bad). There’s an excellent reason for that. In my head, I have been reliving that awful, wonderful summer. I’m working on a book about how Rory and adoption and China among themselves kicked my sorry control-freak ass and left me the better for it. I have a fantastic agent; […]

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I Do What I Do Because I Know What You Do, That You Do That You Do So Well

By KJ / Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Something has changed. To hear me blog for the past couple of days, you would think we were right back where we were two years ago ( well, maybe not THAT bad). There’s an excellent reason for that. In my head, I have been reliving that awful, wonderful summer. I’m working on a book about how Rory and adoption and China among themselves kicked my sorry control-freak ass and left me the better for it. I have a fantastic agent; […]

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I Change My Mind

By KJ / Tuesday, July 19, 2011

More from the frontiers of virtual twinning: Rory does something Wyatt hates. (Don’t worry, Wyatt does PLENTY that Rory hates!) Whenever there is ice cream–and only when there is ice cream, and only, in fact, when there is a selection of popsicle ice cream stuff, like you find at a swimming pool or ice cream truck or, frankly, in our freezer, she chooses–and then, once he has chosed, frantically changes her mind and gets whatever he got. I have no […]

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Hey, Jealousy: the Virtual Twin Thing

By KJ / Monday, July 18, 2011

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 […]

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Do Not Take If You Get Nervous, Dizzy or Sleepless.

By KJ / Saturday, July 16, 2011

I have a really awful cough. It’s a really awful contagious cough, because Lily had it first, and now I have it. But it’s worse for me, because I have given birth four times (once things went very badly), and when I cough… well, let’s just say I really don’t like to cough. Every night for the past couple of nights, I’ve been taking this Mucinex stuff to loosen things up, with a cough suppressant too, so I don’t wake […]

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So Mean

By KJ / Friday, July 15, 2011

Child A is reading on its bed. Child B is irritated with Child A for some reason and appears mournfully in the doorway. “I’m too tired for quiet reading,” wails Child B. “I want the light off!” “OK, sure.” Child B has a flashlight on its bed, and, history suggests, plans to use said flashlight once the lights are out. I take the flashlight and hand it to Child A. “Here you go! Now you can read, and Child B […]

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AAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! (The GIrl Who Cried Wolf. Convincingly.)

By KJ / Thursday, July 14, 2011

Startled? Me too. This afternoon, I was working in the garden. Rory and Wyatt were playing in the playhouse, a couple hundred feet away or so. I heard a slam. I heard Rory yell angrily at Wyatt. And then I heard her take a deep breath and start to scream. AAAAAAGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!! AAAGGGHH! AAAGGGHH! AAAGGGHH! And I thought, oh, gosh, that’s it. This is the one time that she’s really hurt. She sounds different, doesn’t she? She’s hurt. What happened? I […]

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Can I Sit By You?

By KJ / Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Can I Sit By You? Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone — It happens at every meal we eat out. We enter. All is calm. Approach the table with a small, preliminary flurry of activity. There is, perhaps, a little jockeying for position and then: “Can I sit by you?” If nothing else, this post should convince you that no child in his or her right mind should WANT to sit by me. Because I don’t […]

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The All-Lily All-Year School Work Review

By KJ / Monday, July 11, 2011

Do you, at the end of the school year, when all the binders and the art and the whatnot come home in the various bags, do anything appropriate with them? I’m trying to make sure that Sam and Lily understand that their school work is VERY IMPORTANT to us. But those piles have been sitting in the hall for weeks. So this weekend I piled them up on the dining room table, and tonight Lily seized on hers and sat […]

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Books I Have Loved: Mamalita and The Anti-Romantic Child

By KJ / Sunday, July 10, 2011

I’ve been reading some good stuff lately. I love a good, engrossing memoir, and these were both tough to put down. Mamalita: An Adoption Memoir by Jessica O’Dwyer My rating: 4 of 5 stars I loved this memoir of a procedurally tough Guatemalan adoption, which I know others who’ve lived through. It reminded me of Love in the Driest Season. An unflinching look at both Guatemala and its corrupt systems, and at adoptive parents, besides. It’s an exciting and even […]

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I Hate Being Enlightened

By KJ / Friday, July 8, 2011

A post most emphatically NOT from France (as you’ve probably gathered, I wasn’t posting directly from vacation, due to technical difficulties). The whole point of the last two years plus of my life has been to realize that I control both everything–and nothing. Nothing, in that what happens outside of me–external career stuff, traffic, other people’s emotions, quarantine, illness–I can’t control any of that and I never will. Everything, in that what I do control, completely, is my own reaction […]

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Open to the Unexpected: La Famile Qui Vont en Velo Ensemble

By KJ / Thursday, July 7, 2011

More from France: The bike shop in St. Chinian where we rent our bikes is a very small bike shop. And in France, they take their biking very seriously. So it is a small and serious bike shop. Which means we were able to rent bikes for me, Rob and—barely—for Sam, but not for anyone else. This is what comes of vacationing in a place where, at least from the place’s perspective, no one in her right mind would vacation, […]

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There’s Something Familiar About This Place

By KJ / Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Another post from France… We’ve done the drive from Barcelona to Cazo before. As we headed into Narbonne, Rob reminded me that we’d missed the turn in some way last time. “That’s how we ended up at the Carrefours, remember?” I did, and although we’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 hour’s poor sleep on the plane, […]

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The Martyr Effect

By KJ / Tuesday, July 5, 2011

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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What If There’s Never a Normal (Social Cues, part two)

By KJ / Monday, July 4, 2011

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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Ice Cream and Coffee

By KJ / Thursday, June 30, 2011

We went to an outdoor cafe today, and the kids ordered ice creams–like, Dove Bar kind of stuff-and Espresso. And the waitress was all seriously? And I said, oh yeah. Really, they mean it. Espresso. And she brought it, with one sugar each, and disappeared, and that’s how they drank it. Except that they dipped their ice cream bars in. Affrogato on a stick. Why not? It’s summer, after all….

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The Birthday that’s Family Day

By KJ / Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It’s Sam’s tenth birthday! It was a spectacular one…about which, more, with photos, anon. It’s also Rory’s “family day,” and that’s what I want to talk about. For “family day,” we did nothing. Not that Sam would mind. He wouldn’t, not at all. But I am not, and never have been, sure how to mark the day when Rory both lost and gained her family. I did say something–to her, and to everyone, about it (just to point it out, […]

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Social Cues

By KJ / Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rory is still lousy at picking up social cues. And I’ve realized that this, above all things, is what she does that pushes my buttons. It’s part of what happened at the Aquatic Center (in the below post). I’ve realize that when I overreact to her, its often at one of those moments. I don’t care if she makes mistakes. I don’t care if she misbehaves (I do, but I don’t–you know what I mean.) I react in a normal, […]

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Who, Exactly, Makes Me Mad?

By KJ / Monday, June 27, 2011

It should have been a perfect afternoon. Rainy first day out of school, end of last week, but some brilliant parent has scheduled a birthday party, not outside (as suckers like me invariably do for June birthdays) but indoors, at the aquatic center. I figure I am guaranteed happy children, because generally the aquatic center is the biggest of treats for them, and we’ve reached the point where I don’t even have to get in the pool. I’m toting my […]

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Bad Ideas I Have Had, the Artistic Version

By KJ / Sunday, June 26, 2011

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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Fairness, Part Two

By KJ / Saturday, June 25, 2011

We were at Sam and Lily’s “Move Up” ceremony when the next utterly unfair event took place. Rory, ten minutes into the event, says “lappy.” I say, no way. You’re a wiggling, squiggling ball of pointy bones that kick, and there is no way I’m holding you on my lap for however long this is. And it is long. Not really, in the grand scheme of things, but long enough. Rob is seated one row in front of us and […]

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