How It’s Done Blog

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar…

I came in from clearing out the garden for winter a few days ago and found Rory–who’d been outside a few minutes before–sobbing at the top of the stairs. Wailing. I ran up–I thought she was hurt–and she took one look at me and ran away, shouting no! No! Well, that’s never happened before. So I followed her. No! No! I don’t want you! This is dreadful. Did she come in and feel like she couldn’t find us? Did something […]

One Less Kid Than You Have

A wise parent once told me that the easiest number of kids to deal with was “one fewer than however many kids you have.” It’s not the smoothest statement, but it is so true–if you have three kids, going out with two is a piece of cake, and so on. My new addition, even less smooth, is that the easiest number of kids to deal with is one less than the number of kids you wish you didn’t have. Actually, […]

Powerpuff Girls

Powerpuff Girls Originally uploaded by kjda Bubbles and Blossom. Buttercup won’t play… Which, if you know anything at all about the Powerpuff Girls, is totally typical. You should have heard Lily–oops, Blossom–“but we need someone with beautiful black hair like Buttercup!” “No! I don’ wanna!” I think she would have done it if Lily hadn’t demanded that she dress up. She’d already spent ten reluctant minutes as a fairy. Rory likes to be comfy. I have been cleaning out closets, […]

Re-entry: Not Pretty

Some of my publishable thoughts on arriving home: Whoa. We got in at 11:00 night before last and the kids were up until 3. We hauled them through yesterday, even taking Sam and Lily to a tennis lesson and getting the boys a haircut–and put them to bed at a relatively normal time (when Rob and I were nearly asleep standing) but at 1:30 the first of them–Rory–appeared. And this is where the fact that they all sleep in the […]

Hoo, Boy

Worst. Parent. Ever. That’s me. Flat out worst. Which is a pity, because the day had gone rather well. Kids playing together, birds singing, sun shining, whatnot. I went out–promising Rory I would come back–and i did, which she seemed to see as a good thing. Better yet, I went for a bike ride with a friend, and every hill just felt good, because it was just so great to be out on my own. And then… I miscalculated dinner. […]

Warming up–to our babysitter!

We’re discovering a pattern, and it’s a good one. Once something happens once–she meets someone, we go somewhere, someone leaves the house and comes back–and nothing dramatic happens, then it’s ok. It’s worthy of interest, and possibly comment. One thing that’s important is that I notice what’s happening. Mama, come see. Come see Heather. Come see Eli’s daddy. Once I’ve seen—Yes, it’s Heather! Hi Heather! Big deal greeting…. Then we can all go on, somewhat hesitantly. Today is the third […]

Why Are You POKING Her?

I don’t understand. Not that Lily and Wyatt don’t touch one another, or bug one another occasionally–but Rory they feel compelled to constantly poke. If she is sitting on a barstool, one of them is touching her feet. If she is on the couch, one of them is on top of her, prodding her. If she is wandering around, someone is following her–touching her. They poke her in the car, they prod her in the stroller, they nudge her at […]

Not a, Baby

Adopting a three-year-old is not very much like having a baby, except in the level of shock to the system. One does not, for example, have to nurse, or wake up every three hours, or carry the baby around for hours on end in the hope that it will somehow stop crying. But the wow factor–the shock and awe and the what have we done–that’s there, in spades. Tonight was a wall-punching night for me. I was congratulating myself on […]

Dear Kittymama and other new parents…

I’ve been thinking lately about one particular internet friend, known online as kittymama, and I’ve been thinking about her because the child she brings home will be her first. And I want her to know, in advance, one thing: You hate them sometimes no matter what. Babies, biological, adopted, I’m guessin’ any way you bring them into the family, they screw things up. And I mean that in the most loving, actually dealing pretty well way. When you have your […]


The thing I like best about the swimming pool is that they can all touch. Not that this means I am off in my plastic adirondack chair licking a Jolly Rancher icepop (the biggest vice available at the pool, sadly–where is my mojito?). But I can sit on the side, in primo splashing territory for all the horrible little splashy children in their swimsuits, shoving the ones that don’t belong to me aside and saying jeez, kid, don’t get between […]

Rory’s Other Mother

How weird must it be, to talk to your kid’s new mom about what she was like as a baby? Is it akin to giving your husband’s new wife a call to tell her what he likes in bed? Only Rory’s other mother knows, and she’s not telling. Because she is a kind person, and because, I suppose, we both know it would change nothing. The way it is is the way it is. She belonged with her first family […]

Alone with the Needy

All night I’ve been thinking–who can I get to hang out with us tomorrow morning? No babysitting Thursday mornings, see, and I’m faced with three hours alone with the dynamic duo, waiting to pick up Lily. Alone, in the house, with Mr. Mario Cart and Miss I Want Scissors I Want Painting I Want Coloring. Actually, both of those activities are fine, as they are individual and require nothing from me except, you know, something about every ten minutes, or […]

I No Like You!

Rory told me she “no like you” for the first time today. It was totally ok, because at that moment, I didn’t like her much, either. She’d thrown a massive, all out temper tantrum at the swimming pool–the kind people date from–remember that time the naked kid screamed in the grass for 20 minutes? Oh, yeah, that was the day they had adult swim… Ah, adult swim. I mocked it at first–who wants to haul their kids out of the […]


This may be an exaggeration. It may be wishful thinking. It may be putting too much weight on one good day… But I think we’ve crossed some kind of line. Yesterday was a pretty good day. The parts that weren’t good were mostly in…my head. Today was a totally good day, and I’m looking at Rory with fresh–and more loving–eyes. I’m hearing her differently. Every hug isn’t an attempt to steal my attention away. Her little family recitation–that my Nini, […]