Never Make a Video of Your Butt

"Never, ever make a video of your butt." This is the first rule of digital citizenship. "Why?" Declan asks. We've been home for some snow days. He's using this time to make painfully long videos.  He wants to be a YouTuber. He tells me he's going to show his butt in...

Punishing Kids without Punishing Yourself

"Are your shoes on?" "Yes," he says. He hides his feet. "Are you telling me the truth?" I know the answer. I'm just trying to let him save face. Or maybe his life. "Yes." "Show me your feet." No shoes. He starts to argue that he has his shoes on. "I seeeee your...

Getting Rich by Age 7

"You know what today is?" I asked the boy. I was sitting at the computer. Declan looked over my shoulder. "What?" he asked. "Payday. That's the day I give away all my money and pay the bills." "Don't give away your money, Mom!" I told him I enjoyed paying...

No Bathrooms in Times Square

It's New Year's Eve, my least favorite holiday. I'm sitting on my couch in a seat marked "boring" drinking tea, trying to get the boy to stay in bed. He came out again with a Lego device. He said it could blow up the world. "Mom, here's where the detonator goes, and...

The Morning After

Christmas is over. I've spent weeks shopping, preparing, budgeting, cutting, slicing, roasting, entertaining, arguing, taping, and wrapping. Every bow has been removed, the egg nog has been drunk by the morning after. I want to rest. But now, it's the season of...

The Naughty List

Santa told Declan he'd been both good and bad, that he was right smack in the middle of the lists--not yet on the "Naughty" or "Nice" lists...but there was still time to be good. It's Christmas Eve. Declan's standing in front of me at the cusp of the "No way, buddy,...

Christmas Letters to Satan

"S... A... T... A... N...E" "To Satan." With a silent-e. "From Declan Rowe." "Would you like another envelope?" I asked. "This one's addressed to Satan." Declan was never a regular at Catholic church and he hasn't gone to CCD, so he doesn't realize the full impact of...