My frustration and hers became palpable. Sometimes I even found myself wishing that I had painted her room pink. (Would it have made a difference?) But there also was a sense that I had to finish what I started with her, come what may. So when she asked if she could pursue some sort of martial art—an outgrowth of her interest in Power Rangers—I didn’t hesitate. We went to a nearby taekwondo school, and during her first lesson I was stunned by how in her element she seemed to be. There she was tossing herself about, bellowing from her gut and throwing those coal-lump fists into the air. She was so natural and happy. The best part, though, was completely unexpected, and that was how enamored she became of her instructor, a former Mrs. New Jersey with a third-degree black belt: A real-life Barbie who could kick butt.