cereta: Are you my mummy? (Parker gasmask)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR ABBY: I suffer from severe seasonal allergies. I have watery eyes and sneeze during January and February every year. I went to an allergist last winter, but he couldn't do much for me.

As I struggle to get through my days as quietly as possible, every sneeze seemingly elicits a "God bless you" from some stranger. If I'm unable to acknowledge it, I often get a "Well, thank you!" or some other show of indignation.

Abby, I don't need "blessings." Calling attention to my difficulties, frankly, just annoys and embarrasses me. I am trying the best I can to be quiet and avoid disruption. Can you please ask your many readers to end this ancient, silly convention and let those of us with allergies suffer in peace? -- ATCHOO IN KANSAS CITY

DEAR ATCHOO: No. The "God bless you" convention originated in the Middle Ages. People thought that when someone sneezed the soul left the body for a minute, and would be snatched by the devil if someone didn't say "God bless you." Those who say it today may be doing it because it has become a conditioned reflex, or to be polite. Accept the kind gesture and kwitchurbitchin.
cereta: Claudia Donovan in goggles (Claudia)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR ABBY: At 26, I am about to move in with my girlfriend, "Candace." I love her so much, and I'm confident she's the one I want to marry. Candace has her 4-year-old daughter, "Michelle," with her most of the time we are together.

I'm confident that moving in together is the right decision, but living with Michelle makes me nervous. Although Michelle is smart and well-behaved, like most kids, she can be bratty and demand a lot of attention from Candace and me.

Candace has the utmost patience with Michelle, and I trust her ability as a parent. What I'm worried about is my own level of patience. I don't want kids anytime soon, and I get annoyed with Michelle a little too easily. What steps can I take to assure longevity in this relationship? -- YOUNG STEPPARENT

DEAR YOUNG STEPPARENT: Feeling as you do, I am not at all sure you should move in together. I'm surprised that a man who doesn't want kids anytime soon is so eager to enter into a living situation where that very thing is guaranteed. Before changing your living arrangements, consider signing up for parenting classes. They may not only give you insight into what to expect, but also how to handle situations that may arise.
cereta: White Wine (White Wine)
[personal profile] cereta
Dear Prudence,
Our family has been close, seeing each other every week. My children are all in their 20s and have their own homes. Our only daughter got married earlier this year and we adore our son-in-law. Our son got engaged about three months before our daughter’s wedding. Our daughter was vocally angry that her brother got engaged before her wedding. When the newly engaged couple were looking for wedding venues, I (mistakenly) recommended the place my daughter planned her reception. It is a lovely location and I was thinking it would be a good fit. Unfortunately, they decided to book this same venue for their wedding scheduled a year later. Now my daughter is furious. She is demanding they move the reception somewhere else even though it will mean losing the substantial deposit. This has created a great deal of anxiety, especially for me, because I mourn the loss of our close-knit family. I don’t know what to do. We have even offered to pay the deposit and that angers her too. She says they have to pay the cost (I guess as a form of punishment). This is tearing our family apart. Please help.

—Something Borrowed

I fail to see how your daughter has been harmed in any way. Her ability to spin offense out of the thinnest strands of “thunder-stealing” rivals Rumpelstiltskin’s ability to spin straw into gold. Don’t think of this as losing your tightknit family. Part of what makes a family tightknit is the ability to handle conflict. Your daughter is throwing a tantrum and the best thing you can do for her (and yourself) is to refuse to humor her. She’s denying herself the opportunity to celebrate her brother’s wedding (and trying to manipulate him into giving up a substantial security deposit!) because she thinks the love and celebration that children deserve is a zero-sum game. It isn’t. Her brother proposing to his fiancé did not make her any less engaged to her own; her brother hosting his reception in the same building she once had hers does not diminish the uniqueness of her marriage. I hope very much this is an unusual lapse in grace for her. Tell her that she is being unreasonable and churlish, and that you look forward to her being able to put aside this imagined slight in time to celebrate her brother’s wedding. It’s going to be a lot of fun. She should try to have some.
cereta: "Candid" shot from Barbie Princess Charm school of goofy faces. (Barbie is goofy)
[personal profile] cereta
Dear Carolyn: I am a stepparent to a teenage girl who has recently moved in with us while her mom works in another city. So last week I got buttonholed by another kid’s parent for one of those, “You’re not a real parent, so I just wanted to let you know . . . ” talks. This other parent’s son had asked the Kid out to a school dance, Kid said, “Thanks, but no,” and asked out her crush. (He said yes, my door hinges thank him.)

According to the other parent, if she didn’t want to go with the first boy who asked her, then she can’t go at all and should stay at home knitting her nun’s habit or something.

Is this a thing? Or is this other parent just being a tool because her son got his feelings hurt?

Dance With the One That Brought You?: No, it’s not a thing, she can dance if she wants to.

Also not a thing: “those, ‘You’re not a real parent, so I just wanted to let you know . . . ’ talks.” Even if they are a thing, please treat them as if they are not, because the surest way to alienate your fellow parents as you negotiate this newish role is to approach them as if you are the eye-rolling rebel to their monolithic sense of superiority. They’re doing their thing; you’re doing yours. Take each exchange as a conversation unto itself.
cereta: (batgirlwit)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR ABBY: My sister, "Dawn," recently got engaged to a man I detest. They have been dating for two years. I don't trust him, and I believe he is controlling her. He has lied to me and to my parents, and has strained Dawn's relationship with our family by constantly making her choose between either him or us.

Dawn worked hard to earn her master's degree and is now earning a great salary; her fiance has no education beyond high school, constantly switches jobs and uses my sister for financial support.

I have spoken to her multiple times in the past about my concerns, and at one point made it clear that I wouldn't attend her wedding. Now that Dawn has decided to move forward with the relationship, am I required to go? My parents, despite not supporting my sister's marrying this man, still plan to attend and are urging me to go. I don't think I can stomach seeing it. What do I do? -- OPPOSED IN NEW YORK

DEAR OPPOSED: Go to the wedding. If this man is as awful as you say he is, your sister is going to need all of the support she can get from people who love her. One of the things that insecure, controlling men try to do is isolate their victims. Letting Dawn know that you love her and will always be there for her will make it much harder for her husband to do.
cereta: (spydaddy)
[personal profile] cereta
Dear Prudence,
I don’t get along with my sister-in-law. She adores my brother and makes him very happy so I try to be friendly when I see her, but now that we’ve moved back to his hometown and she lives just a few miles away, it’s gotten much harder. She criticizes my taste in furniture, my clothes, and my cooking. I try to deflect the comments, but she will not let it go. Recently, my husband and I adopted two rescue dogs and posted pictures of them in Facebook. I then get a text from my sister-in-law telling me that I have to change the names of my dogs because she is going to use those names for her kids, and that she is now pregnant but I can’t tell anyone. This is ridiculous and I don’t know what to do. Do I just ignore her and hope it goes away? Share the text and get raked over the coals for spoiling the pregnancy surprise? Post tons of pictures of my dogs and refer to them as my babies? I have to live with this woman in my life and I don’t want to hurt my brother but I am not changing the names of my dogs.
—Changing Names, Keeping Boundaries


This is a sister-in-law for the record books! I’ve heard of plenty of fights over baby names, but I’ve yet to come across the dog-versus–unborn baby combo, where the dogs in question have already been named and the baby does not yet exist. I almost—almost—admire her ability to mine conflict from a seemingly peaceful landscape. As tempting as it might be to start rubbing Ruby and Synthesizer in your sister-in-law’s face, I think gentle nonengagement is the road to hoe here. “We’re not going to change the dog’s names, but congratulations on your pregnancy! What exciting news.” Don’t get drawn into an argument or an explanation for your behavior, because what she’s asking is so absurd that the only response it merits is a flat refusal. There is a nonzero possibility that this pregnancy is invented solely to try to get you to do what she wants, which is why she asked you and not your brother, and why she’s swearing you to secrecy now. Perhaps I’m being paranoid, but your sister-in-law has already displayed a propensity for the irrational, and it’s quite a coincidence she favors the name of both your pets, not just one. Plenty of dogs have human names and vice versa; your sister’s children, whenever they come into being, will have to share their names, no matter how unique, with any number of other humans and animals. They’ll be just fine.
cereta: Batman with words, "No, you're a poopy butt" (Batman thinks you're a poopy butt)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR ABBY: While our 6-year-old enjoys the positive attention he receives from his often unusual and imaginative clothing choices, his grandparents feel we are being "disrespectful to others" by allowing him and our other children to wear these outfits in public.

Neither my husband nor I was permitted freedom of expression as children, and we agreed that with the exception of health, profanity, lewdness, immodesty and adherence to organizational dress codes, that we would not restrict our children's freedom of expression. While we often don't agree with our children's choice of attire, it seems prudent to choose the battles we fight.

Is anyone other than our parents actually offended by a pirate (sans weapon) in the dentist office, or a backward shirt at the grocery store? And if they are offended, does their desire not to see a costumed child trump my children's need for a healthy outlet for their individuality during this phase of their life over which they have so little control? -- CLARK KENT'S MOM

DEAR CLARK KENT'S MOM: I seriously doubt that anyone other than your parents and in-laws cares at all if your children visit the dentist looking like Clark Kent, a cowboy or his horse. As far as I'm concerned, your children should be allowed to exercise their sartorial creativity. It's harmless. A few years from now they'll be getting pressure from peers about fitting in, so let them enjoy themselves while they can.
cereta: (bert and ernie)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR ABBY: After the birth of our son, "Ricky," my husband insisted he sleep in our bed with us. When our son was 3, I finally put my foot down because none of us were sleeping peacefully. Ricky is now 8, and my husband lies in his bed with him until he falls asleep.

Our daughter, "Julie," was born 2 1/2 years ago. She slept in our bed until she was 1, when I moved her to her own bed. She goes down well on her own, but seems to be more clingy (with me especially) during the day. I try to make sure she gets the affection she needs before bedtime, but I feel guilty that she doesn't get that closeness at night.

By the end of the day I'm exhausted, and I do not want to fall asleep in a kid's bed. Am I wrong for wanting bedtime without kids? At what age should children sleep on their own? -- SLEEPY IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR SLEEPY: You're not wrong. Some parents co-sleep with their children for the first few months after they are born because they enjoy the closeness. After that, they transition the baby to sleeping in a crib nearby so the child's needs can be attended to as necessary.

According to Los Angeles pediatrician Faisal Chawla, M.D., children form their sleep habits early: "The longer co-sleeping continues, the more difficult sleeping separately becomes. At 7 or 8 months, babies begin to develop age-appropriate separation anxiety. By the age of 1, a routine is usually set in a child's mind. By age 2, it becomes very difficult to change the sleeping routine because of the 'terrible 2s' temperament that begins."

Your husband has done Ricky no favors by continuing to lie beside him until he falls asleep. Your son should have started sleeping alone years ago. A boy his age should be able to go to sleepovers at friends' houses or away to summer camp without having to worry about sleeping because his dad isn't there.
minoanmiss: (Default)
[personal profile] minoanmiss
Q. After a recent family gathering, I received a series of disturbing e-mails through Messenger on Facebook from my brother-in-law of 19 years.

First, he stated that he would like to “talk apart from family gatherings” because he wanted to “get more of a feel for who you are as a person.”

At first I thought that was nice, but he then went on to state that there is more to life than “constant surveillance, restriction, etc.,” noting that “everyone needs a safety valve sometimes.”

He later noted, “I have carte blanche from my wife to do whatever I want, as long as I don’t bring home any surprises.”

Even though he implored me not to “blab it around town,” I’ve shared this with two women friends and my husband.

They all think, as do I, that it’s a pick-up, and very odd and strangely aggressive.

I, for one, am trying to figure out how I led him to think this would be OK with me.

His wife (my sister-in-law) is an angel, but is fiercely protective of him. I think she would just be mad at me and my husband if I told her. I have not responded at all to these messages, however, there will be family gatherings this fall and now I don’t know how to behave. Can you make any suggestions? Perhaps I’m reading this incorrectly?

Bewildered


A. You should make two assumptions: That this is a come-on, and that you have not done anything to lead this man on.

Your brother-in-law is being rude, ridiculous, and disrespectful.

You should respond to him (not his wife), saying, “I find these messages very unwelcome and would appreciate it if you would direct your attention away from me. I see you as a family member, along with your wife, and I don’t wish to communicate privately with you.”

If he continues (other than to acknowledge receiving your message), and certainly if he ramps up his aggression, you should screenshot his communication and forward it to his wife.
cereta: Amelia Pond (Amelia)
[personal profile] cereta
Q. Marriage possibly ending: I have been with the same guy for six years, married for one. He has two sons from a previous marriage, and she is not in the picture. If it is relevant I’m a male too. My husband has asked me if I could accept his moving into his own apartment for a year because he has never been on his own. He says he doesn’t want us to break up, just live apart for a while. The boys would stay with me in our home, and he would take them to spend the night every so often. We would also have a weekly date night just to keep our relationship “on track.” He married his ex right out of high school, and they had children right away, so he really hasn’t ever been on his own. I have not given a response other than asking a few questions. Truthfully the idea makes me mad as hell and I just want to tell him to leave if you want and take your damn brats with you! Then I calm down and realize I can’t live without him and the boys. Or maybe I can. I feel this is unbelievably selfish of him, but I kind of understand. But the boys have already been abandoned by their mother, how would this plan affect them? I am so confused, and hurt. Help!

A: I would resist the urge to take your (extremely understandable) frustration, hurt, and confusion out on the kids by referring to them, even facetiously, as “your damn brats”; whatever happens between you and your husband, I hope very much that you can see his children are not responsible for his behavior. What troubles me the most is his request that you take over primary custody of his children so he can have a bachelor pad. It’s one thing to suggest living apart from one’s romantic partner; it’s quite another to abdicate daily responsibility toward your own children just because you’ve never lived in a studio. I might have more faith that your husband was trying to suggest a genuine, radical-yet-loving change in your living situation if he weren’t also asking you to become his children’s primary caregiver—it sounds to me that what he is asking is for you to become the father he no longer feels like being, while you get to see him for one date night a week. If he wants a divorce, that’s one thing, but what he’s offering is a homemade custody agreement that puts the burden of daily caregiving almost entirely on you. That’s not “keeping your relationship on track”; that’s abandonment. What he’s proposing is selfish and cruel, and you are right to reject it. Tell him that his plan is unacceptable and that you will not consider it, and hold firm. If you two end up divorcing over this—and you may—you should figure out a custody agreement that benefits the children first, and your husband’s desire to live in a loft second.

Profile

Agony Aunt

December 2016

S M T W T F S
    1 23
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Dec. 7th, 2016 06:11 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios