Nov 24 2014

Baby showers celebrate sweetest science, and now the men are invited

‘Because I Said So’ column for The Commercial Appeal

Nov. 24, 2014


Baby showers celebrate sweetest science, and now the men are invited

I’ve been a part of it four times, and I still have to say that the most impressive magic trick the human race has up its collective sleeve is making more people.

It is also one of the oldest.

Ever since Eve tossed that apple over to Adam, our population has been on the rise. And in all that time, little has changed with this natural process.

Science has involved itself. This was inevitable: Scientists are some of the best magicians around. Their sleight-of-hand has given the world in vitro fertilization, 3D ultrasound, octuplets and diaper genies. Despite these leaps, the basic elements are still there. The newest car off the assembly line may be far faster and sleeker than Mr. Ford’s Model T, but that’s still a combustion engine under the hood.

The most radical change in childbirth in my lifetime, though, isn’t from any laboratory or hall of medicine. It’s the “couples baby shower.”

Ever since Eve threw herself a little party with blue crepe paper and white-on-white sheet cake, the baby shower has been a solely feminine affair. At some point along the timeline, though, women felt bad for the men, those fathers-to-be, left at home all alone.

And because that future father was eventually invited, we all were. An entire gender was put on the guest list.

I’ll let you in on a secret of the brotherhood, ladies: We’re fine at home alone for a few hours.

I was recently invited to one of these baby showers and decided to go. We’ll call it research. There was good food and plenty of adult beverages. There were other guys who looked as out of place as I was. There were women fawning over the mother-to-be. There was a cake in the shape of a baby (I did not eat that baby). And I have to admit I had a great time. It was a night out without the kids, and that’s always special, regardless of the circumstance.

Baby showers, my research showed, are simply a forum for sharing experiences, anecdotes and advice on all things childbirth. My first advice is not to throw a shower on a night when the Grizzlies play; I was out of the room when all of this sharing happened. But as the elder statesman with four children, my advice for these doe-eyed young future parents would have been to remember every precious moment of the magic show they are about to be a part of. The unconditional love between parent and child is as spontaneous and awe-inspiring as a rabbit up my sleeve, and that is no illusion.

And I would have told them that when they get the chance, they should get away. Go against all instinct and leave that baby with grandparents or an aunt, and have an evening out together. Reconnect. Go to a movie, have a meal in a restaurant, attend a get-together with friends (even if it is a baby shower).

The disappearing act — it’s the second best trick in the book.

Link to The Commercial Appeal

Nov 15 2014

Even in our high-tech world, kids still lose their shoes

‘Because I Said So’ column for The Commercial Appeal

Nov. 10, 2014


Even in our high-tech world, kids still lose their shoes

How is it that, in 2014, my daughter still can’t find her shoes? With all of the technology in GPS and with all of those satellites circling the Earth, shouldn’t I be able to tap my phone and find out where she might have left them last night?

They’re not in the living room. They’re not in the bathroom. They may be in her bedroom, but I can’t even see the floor in there.

And how, after eight years as a person with feet, does she still manage to lose her shoes so often? They aren’t toys or anything nonessential. They’re shoes. She has to have them to go to school, the store, a friend’s house, outside in the cold.

Is forgetfulness an inherited trait? I went to a Catholic school with a strict uniform code, and one day, in second grade, I couldn’t find my Catholic shoes. I walked into class with grimy, secular sneakers on my feet and an apologetic note from my mother in hand. I can still feel that teacher looking down her nose at me with obvious disappointment.

I’m not looking down my nose at my daughter. These things happen. But I am rolling my eyes at her, and sighing loudly, and I’m anxiously checking my watch for the time as the school’s tardy bell approaches.

There should at least be a procedure in place for such an emergency. As it is, when she can’t find her shoes, the plan is for her to say, “I can’t find my shoes,” and then immediately sit down and become preoccupied with something else.

Could we get an app for this? I need to be able to speak clearly into my phone — maybe not to Siri, but perhaps to Nike: “She can’t find her shoes. Again.” A beep would sound, a beacon of some sort from beneath the sofa, at the top of a closet or outside by the trampoline, alerting me to their location.

My kids lose things. All kids lose things. They lose their shoes, they lose their minds, they lose their way.

I have a directionally impaired family, to put it mildly. My oldest has a car now, and while he can almost always find his shoes, finding his house has become another matter. I’ve tried to teach him that, in Memphis, the Mississippi River is always to the west, and the names of the streets that run from it to the east. He needs that lost shoe app so he can speak into his dashboard: “I can’t find my house. Again.”

I strive to help my kids find their way, whether it’s the quickest way from Point A to Point B, or where it is they might have dropped their shoes (which have to be here someplace). It’s our job as parents to set them on the right path. We give them directions throughout the years, yet when it comes time, we can only hope they can find their own way and that, when they begin on that journey, they’re wearing shoes.

Link to The Commercial Appeal

Oct 28 2014

Tired parents left to scrape together dinner at ‘The Fourth Line’

“Because I Said So” column for The Commercial Appeal

Oct. 27, 2014


Tired parents left to scrape together dinner at ‘The Fourth Line’

Over time, parents begin to look at life differently.

By time, I mean a week. And by life, I mean dinner. The beginning of a week — Sunday — is made for big family dinners such as pot roast with potatoes, a green vegetable and a starch; homemade banana pudding or cake for dessert. Perhaps spaghetti with meatballs, garlic bread and salad is more to your liking, with homemade banana pudding or cake.

But by the time we get to the end of the week, what’s for dinner? Grilled cheese with store-brand macaroni and cheese. Or, maybe it’s just the macaroni and cheese.

This is an actual quote I heard at the end of last week: “We fed the kids one big meal today; are we really obligated to make them another one?”

That question was voiced by the mother of my children. I didn’t judge, though. If you judge, you cook, and it was Saturday, so I was off duty.

We make a weekly menu around here, which begins impressively enough with actual meals. Leftovers come around on Thursday, and there’s generally a question mark next to Friday. Saturday is questionable indeed.

Chef Kelly English, restaurateur extraordinaire in Memphis, is famous for Restaurant Iris and, more recently, The Second Line. By the time we have “clean out the refrigerator night,” what is laid out on my kitchen counter has been reheated so many times, it might be called The Fourth Line. I’ve warmed up some iffy-colored food found in long-forgotten Tupperware. I’ve mixed ingredients that were never meant to be in the same room together, much less the same microwave oven. It’s all served up as small plates and on paper plates.

Much of the problem is that we’re tired of making the same meals week after week. And by the end of the week, we’re just plain tired. Our time is already limited during the evenings with the kids’ homework and bath times and everything else that comes with four school-age children. It becomes easy — too easy — to let meals go.

Part of it, too, is trying to come up with food they’ll all willingly eat. One kid will try anything, another eats most things, one has a few things he’ll eat, and one mostly refuses all food. It’s like the FDA’s most obnoxious food pyramid.

But then there are some foods I don’t believe they’ve ever tried. While at Kroger the other day, it struck me that my children have probably never tasted bologna, never mind eating it every single day for school lunches like I did.

Have they eaten tuna casserole? Chicken á la king? Perhaps Montesi’s, where my mother shopped when I was a boy, carried only those ingredients. Probably not. Probably, like my wife and me, she was just tired. Tired of thinking about food and what her thankless children might eat. Tired of being asked what’s for dinner and then hearing the answer critiqued.

Maybe tonight we’ll just have bologna and whatever that is in the Tupperware. It’s late, and The Fourth Line is open.

Link to The Commercial Appeal

Oct 17 2014

Party of six with room to ride, a different kind of midlife ‘crisis’

“Because I Said So” column for The Commercial Appeal

Oct. 13, 2014


Party of six with room to ride, a different kind of midlife ‘crisis’

I’ve been thinking a lot about cars lately, but this is no midlife crisis. Well, it is midlife, though I don’t feel any particular distress about it.

It’s quite the opposite, actually. I’m not thinking of a sporty little convertible built for two but a minivan built for a small army. A troop transport, that’s what this family of six requires.

These thoughts are prompted by my recent purchase of a car for my 16-year-old son and my wife’s involvement in a traffic accident. She’s fine, as is the other driver; the only casualty was our insurance rate. Good health is the most important thing, good coverage the next.

So we’re in the market for a gently used, low-mileage, low-cost vehicle capable of moving this many people across town and, on occasion, out of town.

As we browse the infinite-seeming online listings, I find myself recalling cars we had when I was a child — the Ford Pinto and Granada, the AMC Gremlin my aunts and uncles all shared and my grandmother’s station wagon.

My father once came home from work to show off the new Spitfire he’d bought on a lark from a colleague. It was small and foreign and a beautiful hunter green. My sister and I squealed with delight as we held our arms up to catch the onrush of air the open convertible allowed. In the end, it probably wasn’t the best choice for someone with two children and a pregnant wife. But then, neither was the Porsche 914 he brought home another day years later, or the Renault Le Car (OK, the Le Car wasn’t a good choice for anyone, regardless of station in life).

It isn’t these toy cars I’m nostalgic for, anyway; it’s the family cars. The big ones, the heavy ones, the steel dinosaurs that roamed the land with doors that took two hands and all the leverage a boy of 10 could muster to slam shut. I miss the dials and bench seats, the window cranks and plastic floor mats, the smell of gasoline that pervaded everything.

I’d like my kids to have such an experience. I’m in the market for a 1978 Buick Nostalgia LTD. It won’t be for everyday commuting, mind you, but maybe we’d take just a quick trip to the Emerald Coast of Florida with no air conditioning and no CD player. I’d buy a gallon of gas with pocket change and punch the buttons on the FM dial.

It would be a vinyl-seated time machine. I can almost hear the vibrato voices of the Bee Gees over the wind through the open windows.

On second thought, maybe it could just be a one-way time travel adventure. I’ll bring the minivan home, the one with multiple air vents and controls, mp3 jacks, a DVD player with headphones and doors that open with the push of a button from the comfort of my home.

I do get nostalgic from time to time, but I think 500 miles in my mother’s Buick would drive me into certain crisis.

Permanent link to The Commercial Appeal

Sep 25 2014

Mid-South Book Festival leads children to path of lifetime reading

‘Because I Said So’ column for The Commercial Appeal

Sept. 25, 2014

Photo by William Deshazer

Photo by William Deshazer

Mid-South Book Festival leads children to path of lifetime reading

My kids talk. A lot. But a large and healthy vocabulary is a gift all parents should give their children. At least that’s what I keep telling myself whenever I can get a word in edgewise.

The seed to a garden of so many words and sentences and paragraphs is found in a book. My children have outgrown “Goodnight Moon” and “Knuffle Bunny” and “One Fish, Two Fish,” and the truth is, I miss them sometimes. Reading to my kids gave something to both of us; it’s a give and take of knowledge and language, but also of bonding and irreplaceable memories. I could probably recite “Goodnight Moon” from memory if they’d ask, but they aren’t asking anymore; they’re too old for that “great green room.”

There are plenty of ways to keep our kids reading even once they’ve passed the age of tuck-ins at bedtime. There is school, of course, and read-a-thons. There are books that are made into films to capture their interest and, hopefully, make them curious for the source material. There are wizards and castles and magic tree houses. There are lions, witches and wardrobes.

And there is the library. I defy any child to walk through the pastel forest that is the Children’s Department entryway of the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, and not be drawn to the stained-glass house, the low-to-the-ground tables and the rows upon rows of mind-opening books.

Kids, this department is your great green room that will set you on a course of lifetime reading.

I learned the other day of a policy I hadn’t previously known. It seems that if your child has late fines in the Memphis Public Library system, he or she can go in and read for a preset amount of time in the presence of a librarian and that fine, or portions of that fine, will be dismissed.

Had I known about it over the course of the last 16 years with four kids, it could have saved me tens of dollars in nickel late fees.

What a wonderful policy, though. It teaches children that knowledge is more valuable than money.

Another way to interest children in the world of literature happens this weekend. It’s Literacy Mid-South’s first Mid-South Book Festival taking place from Thursday to Sunday. Saturday afternoon at Memphis Botanic Garden, there will be an outside children’s area with costumed characters, sidewalk chalk for writing haikus, a play by ShoWagon of Theatre Memphis, and Chef Dough Dough (Dolores Grisanti Katsotis) will give a cooking demonstration from her children’s cookbook.

There is plenty for adult readers, too, of course, and I’ll be moderating a Q&A session Saturday morning with Courtney Miller Santo, local author of “Three Story House” and “The Roots of the Olive Tree.”

Kevin Dean, executive director of Literacy Mid-South, warns that “If a child isn’t proficient in reading by the third grade, there’s a good chance that we’ve lost him forever. And you can’t rely solely on the school system to do that, that has to start at home.”

My passion for reading began early through trips with my mother to the public library when it was at Peabody and McLean in Midtown. That interest and curiosity is probably the greatest gift she ever gave me.

Richard J. Alley is the father of two boys and two girls. Read more from him at Become a fan of “Because I Said So” on Facebook:

More information on the Mid-South Book Festival at

Permanent link to The Commercial Appeal

Sep 10 2014

Dad is odd man out when it comes to the fair

‘Because I Said So’ column for The Commercial Appeal

Sept. 11, 2014

Photo by William Deshazer

Photo by William Deshazer

Dad is odd man out when it comes to the fair

My family loves going to the fair. I do not like the fair.

Somehow, this makes me the odd man out. A house full of carnies and I’m the weird one.

Fair season is the most wonderful time of the year for my wife and kids who, along with my mother-in-law, all went to the Delta Fair & Music Festival at the Agricenter last weekend.

They ate the food, rode the rides, and walked among the crowds.

I stayed home where it was quiet and air-conditioned and comfortable. Sofa-And-A-Book is my favorite ride.

I don’t like fairs and never have. I am 44 years old and I’m scared of carnival rides. There, I said it. It’s something I never would have admitted as a teen; peer pressure was scarier than the rides to me then. But I’m OK with it now. Why? Because I’m the father of four and that takes a stronger constitution than any roller coaster you can dream up. I can eat a deep-fried Snickers bar and watch Nickelodeon for hours on end without feeling nauseous.

As a boy, though, I begged to go every year. Excitement built as September neared with the promise of a whole day spent wandering the Mid-South Fairgrounds and Libertyland. I would pester my parents to take me until they relented.

Once we passed through the ticket booth, though, and into the land of Pronto-Pups and sideshows, I knew I didn’t want to be there.

I know, too, that this made me a curmudgeon at the age of 8, a kiddie killjoy.

And I still am at 44.

So, my family went without me this year, as they do every year, and came home visibly vibrating with adventure and sugary cotton candy coursing through their bloodstreams. They regaled me with stories of spinning rides and bouncing rides, rides that turned them upside down and pulled them backward. I grew dizzy trying to follow the conversation as it bounced among the kids.

I’m somewhat surprised at this enthusiasm for the fair. It’s the gene of risk from their mother that, thankfully, cancels out the gene of anxiety they got from me. You must be this neurotic to ride this ride.

One daughter in particular surprises me. She has a natural, healthy, if not somewhat overwhelming, sense of self-preservation. She is terrified of storms, for example. She loves funnel cakes, but fears funnel clouds. The Tunnel of Irony is her favorite ride. Yet she is not a fair-weather fairgoer and would have gone back again and again if we’d had the tickets.

I’m glad they’re brave and find so much pleasure every fall. I get a vicarious thrill from their thrills. Do I wish I could join them? Sometimes. But then those roller coaster cars start whirring, the sideshow barkers start calling, the smell of farm animals permeates the air, and I lie back on the couch, open my book, and become fairly dizzy with the silence.

Link to The Commercial Appeal

Aug 28 2014

Cost of raising kids causes dad to swerve

‘Because I Said So’ column for The Commercial Appeal

Aug. 28, 2014


Cost of raising kids causes dad to swerve

On a half-hour drive across town the other day I tuned the radio dial from station to station looking for anything to distract me from the stop-and-go Memphis traffic. In that time, I heard the same song by a popular ‘80s hair band twice, a Morgan & Morgan law firm commercial 19 times and a story on NPR about it now costing $245,000 to raise a child until he or she is 18 years old.

I nearly swerved off the road.

By my calculations, it’s going to cost me a cool million to get my four kids to adulthood. I don’t have a million dollars. I’m not sure what the penalty is for that — some sort of kid foreclosure, I suppose. The bank will show up and repossess them, which is fine, let them learn how expensive Pop-Tarts can be.

The study is conducted every year by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for some reason. I suppose they need to know how much milk they’re going to have to make (at least four gallons per week for my kids) or how many hot dog buns to produce.

They say children are a gift, but I’ve never in my life spent so much on a gift.

The greatest expenses are housing and child care, the study declares. These are followed closely by notebook paper, three-ring binders and glue sticks. Having just barely survived the start of the school year, I’m fairly certain the long list of school supplies required to accommodate elementary, middle and high school must take up a great swath of real estate on the USDA’s child-raising ledger.

The report also says that teenagers are the most expensive, though that might have come from the U.S. Department of the Obvious. My teen outgrows his clothes at an inhuman rate and eats more than the rest of the family combined. Then there is the issue of bandwidth and digital usage, costs my parents didn’t have to consider.

I recently wrote a check for our first auto insurance premium with a teenage driver attached to it. It more than doubled what we had been paying. I nearly swerved off the desk.

It isn’t all about money, I know. I love these kids, they are irreplaceable. They are not, it turns out, priceless — the government has put a price on them.

Anyway, I look at it all as an investment. I don’t normally invest a million dollars in a single industry like child raising, but I don’t really have a choice in this matter. And I do intend to collect dividends.

I intend to collect that money in person, showing up at my adult kids’ homes once a quarter with my hand out. I’ll demand a check, some Pop-Tarts and a ride back to my house since I’ll have to sell the car to pay for that last teenager to eat her weight in hot dog buns.

Should they refuse payment, I know of a law firm to handle the case. I’ll pay the legal fees, I’m sure.

Link to The Commercial Appeal

Aug 13 2014

Take cue from kids in making friends

“Because I Said So” column for The Commercial Appeal

Aug. 14, 2014

Han Solo and Chewbacca, friends since 1977

Han Solo and Chewbacca, friends since 1977

Take cue from kids in making friends

We lost a king. A peanut farmer took the Oval Office. The Rebel Alliance was victorious over the Galactic Empire. And a scrawny, 7-year-old, would-be columnist was relocated across town.

It was 1977, and everything had changed. My family moved from a small house in Midtown to East Memphis where I started second grade at St. Louis Elementary School. Though the landscape was much the same – a heavy canopy of oaks and magnolias and dogwood trees – that 6 miles from house to house might as well have been a world away.

I had left Central Avenue, where I’d learned to ride a bike and explored the block I’d come to know by heart for the unknown just off Mendenhall Road. Also left behind were nearby cousins and a friend who would run that block with me.

How does a kid whose world has just changed make new friends? There was no social media then, no planned play dates as I recall. Seven-year-old me simply walked out the front door and there were Liz and Lisa who lived next door and across the street respectively. From Day 1, I imagine, we were climbing those trees, racing that block on our bikes and walking to and from school together. It seems so easy in retrospect, so simply innocent in a child’s desire to be around like minds and like energy.

The three of us recently visited, Lisa in town from her home in New Mexico, and we shared stories from those days in the ‘70s, caught up on life events in the intervening years, and got to know each others’ children.

Things seem more complicated these days with so much of our lives, and our kids’ lives, taking place virtually. They text instead of call, comment instead of converse. More time is spent indoors at a screen than outdoors in a tree.

How do today’s kids make friends? It’s something I think about each year at the beginning of school. Along with pencils, notebook paper, folders and glue sticks, I wonder if my kids have enough friends to go along with all of those school supplies. The social aspect of school, how a future adult moves within his or her world, is as important as their grasp of equations and Shakespeare.

I ask them every evening for the first few weeks of school if they made any new friends. They usually do. “How?” I asked my youngest, a newly minted third-grader, this year.

“She had a lot of crayons and I said, ‘That’s a lot of crayons,’ and we were friends.”


We could all take a cue from our children sometimes. I do almost daily. Once we drop all the pretenses, the expectations, the anxiety and fear that we carry around as adults, it all comes down to just saying hello, doesn’t it?

I’m not sure who first approached whom on that block in 1977 or what it was we found we had in common. Maybe it was a fondness for the silenced voice of Elvis Presley or the excitement when Darth Vader first appeared on screen. Or maybe it was something as simple as a shared love of crayons.

Link to The Commercial Appeal

Jul 31 2014

Son’s road test sends dad down memory lane

‘Because I Said So’ column for The Commercial Appeal

July 31, 2014


Son’s road test sends dad down memory lane

The moment my first child was born, I stood for a moment in disbelief. “I’m a father,” I said over and over in my head. There were other thoughts going through my mind as well; it was a virtual white-noise machine of worry and elation and wonder in there.

Walking the hallways of Baptist Hospital-East, I nodded at other new fathers in recognition and wide-eyed amazement at what we’d just witnessed and at what we’d suddenly become.

There have been other milestones over the years, of course, now having four children in the stable. There were first days of school, where the parents looked more frightened than the kids. There was the first time riding a two-wheel bike when pride swelled us up to near bursting. There was the first trip to the emergency room and the fear that we’d somehow damaged our child.

Last week was another milestone as I took my son to get his driver’s license. It was, like that first day of kindergarten, a moment when I wanted to take his hand and usher him through each step. But I was only there to sign any necessary paperwork. He filled out forms, answered the examiner’s questions and, finally, took the keys from me and went out to the car, alone.

I waited in the lobby. I could see him there, behind the wheel, awaiting the examiner to join him. I looked away, unable, or unwilling, to watch him back out of that tight spot and begin the road test. When I looked again, the car was gone. Somewhere, out on Summer Avenue, he was driving — nervous, anxious, excited — as the stranger beside him checked off boxes and made notations on her clipboard. Such anxiety and expectation is a rite of passage in itself.

Meanwhile, I stood in disbelief as I had that day in the maternity ward where it had all begun. The other parents and I raised our eyebrows in acknowledgment that we, too, were experiencing a sort of rite.

“I’m a father,” I thought again. In the time he was out on the road, my mind flew back to the beginning and his birth, that first trip down the block on his bicycle, that visit to the emergency room and his first days of school. I saw him again as a baby, a toddler, a little boy running with his siblings and frightened at night of the dark. That government building on Summer — that cramped, nondescript bunker — is not much of a place for an emotional slideshow, yet I’m sure it’s had its share.

It wasn’t too long before Calvin and his examiner returned. His poker face is such that I couldn’t read him at all, had no idea how it had gone and, once again, I wanted to take his hand and ask if he was OK. But this was his moment and embarrassment need not be a box checked off the road test.

It wasn’t until the examiner told him to step in front of the blue cloth to have his picture taken that he exhaled and the color returned to his face.

I’m wondering when I’ll be able to exhale. It’s been 16 years of worry and elation and wonder, and every day I’m amazed at what these kids are capable of and where, on the road of parenthood, they’ll drive me next.

Link to The Commercial Appeal

Jul 17 2014

City of Memphis, I feel your budget pain

“Because I Said So” column for The Commercial Appeal

July 17, 2014

Genevieve's invoice

Genevieve’s invoice

City of Memphis, I feel your budget pain

Kids really do say the darndest things, don’t they?

In the 1950s and ‘60s, entertainer Art Linkletter built an empire off the silly things issued forth from the mouths of babes.

I’ve been saying it in my own way right here in this column for six years. My oldest son, as a toddler, once referred to the plumber my wife had called to the house for a middle-of-the-day emergency as “different daddy.”

Such a delightful scamp.

Linkletter had other grand ideas beyond asking earnest questions of unassuming children. In 1960, he, along with business partner Clyde Vandenburg, proposed a redevelopment of the Mid-South Fairgrounds to include such amenities as a new arena and a 700-foot-long lagoon to stretch along East Parkway. Of that plan, the Mid-South Coliseum was the only feature to see the light of day.

Recently, the city floated a plan for a Tourism Development Zone in and around the Fairgrounds in an effort to pay for redevelopment of the property. The city is also grappling with ways to pay for the pensions and benefits of firefighters and policemen.

I don’t claim to have all — or any — of the answers to such issues. Nor do I have any plans as outlandish as a Memphis blues lagoon. I have my own issues at home with budgeting the cost of four children who continually redevelop the landscape of my days and bank account.

Among these kids is an 8-year-old daughter who doesn’t yet have a job or a pension. Occasionally, though, she’ll complete a chore around the house and, once finished, will then tell me how much I owe her. And with Genevieve, there are no negotiations.

She recently presented me with an invoice — an actual paper bill — for having rolled the garbage can to the curb for pickup. According to her cryptic handwriting, she’s owed fees in the amount of $10 for the weight of the can and $5 for the “stink.” Despite already being charged for the odor, she tacked on $20 because she had to hold her breath. There is a $100 balance that has been carried forward; from what, I have no idea.

In all, I owe this child who lives in my house and eats my food $135, essentially for walking 20 yards down the driveway.

I think she may be on to something.

Fiscal matters matter, even to children. They won’t stay kids forever, and the things they say and do won’t be all that cute, or profitable, for too long. They need to be taught early about budgets and bank accounts and the dangers of overextending oneself. One day, Genevieve will need to manage her own pension and may even, heaven help us, administer that of an entire city’s worth of employees.

When that day comes, she’ll need to know how to spend wisely and when to save. These darned kids will have to understand when it’s imprudent to purchase a new television or car, and that it’s good business to honor all promises of payment. And they’ll want to know when to prioritize the cost of a plumber over a new lagoon.

Link to The Commercial Appeal