About a year ago I grounded Megan for the first time.

This was a real grounding. I actually removed the power cables from both the computer and the GameCube in her room and told her she could have them back in a week, providing her behavior improved.

And then, remembering the hijinks I committed as a kid, I moved in for the kill. “Megan, ” I said, “I know you’re a smart girl. You could probably figure out a way to hook those back up and try to keep it secret from us. Just know that if you do that and I find out, you will be in more trouble than you’ve ever been in before. Do you understand me?”

“Okay, Dad,” she said, lip quivering. “Jeez, I wasn’t even thinking anything like that…”

And then she started crying. Jamie shot me a “Way to go, dumbass” look. Quick, Anthony, defuse the situation with humor!

“And if you invent a time machine, and go back in time so that you can stop yourself from doing what you did so you don’t get into trouble, and I find out, you will be in even more trouble! Do you hear me, young lady?!”

Whew! It worked. Both she and her mother cracked up. And thus one of our favorite in-jokes was born.