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Sitter's pushy granddaughter is a concern for working mom

Brownwood Bulletin
Jeanne Phillips

DEAR ABBY: Because my husband and I work, I take our 6-month-old to a sitter several times a week. I understand little ones tend to be mean sometimes -- hitting, biting and pushing -- but in this case, it's a little different.

My sitter cares for her 3-year-old granddaughter as well as her clients' children, and her granddaughter pushes the littler ones. I have seen her push a 1-year-old down. I have never observed any of the other children do it, only the granddaughter.

I wouldn't be so worried if my daughter were 2 and could defend herself, but she's only 6 months old. She is crawling, sitting up and standing already, and I'm gravely worried the girl will harm my infant. I don't want my baby ending up with a head injury. What can I do to try to resolve this? -- DEEPLY CONCERNED IN THE SOUTH

DEAR DEEPLY CONCERNED: Talk to the sitter about your concerns. Ask if it is possible to keep the older girl separate from the younger ones, however, the only way to be absolutely certain your little one is safe would be to change babysitters.

DEAR ABBY: I made a friend on Facebook. "Drew" and I texted through Messenger, and I went to ride four-wheelers with him one day. We hit it off great. We started dating, and he moved in with me for a few months.

In the beginning, Drew didn't mention he was working only part time. After he told me he had been moved to part time, I told him he needed to tell his boss he needed full time or a different job. I wrote a comment to that effect on their page, and his boss texted me back saying Drew can work as much as he wants! He also said Drew hasn't worked full time since he started working there.

Well, Drew got mad at me and left. I still love him. I thought he was my soul mate. Should I keep wishing we could get back together? -- FEELING LIFELESS

DEAR FEELING LIFELESS: No! In a sense, you were taken for a ride, and I'm not talking about four-wheelers. Your next soul mate should be someone who is completely honest and, preferably, fully employed. Drew is neither.

DEAR ABBY: I have been remarried for four years to a wonderful man who treats me like a queen. However, he and my 18-year-old daughter dislike each other, which causes a huge amount of stress and conflict. They fight, and I'm stuck in the middle. I don't know what I can do to resolve this problem. I love them both with all my heart! -- DESPERATE FOR PEACE

DEAR DESPERATE: I wish you had mentioned why your husband dislikes your daughter and vice versa. Is he overbearing and trying to parent her? That is YOUR job, not his.

Your daughter is no longer 14. At 18, she is now considered to be an adult, and because the "combatants" are both adults, they should act like it, be civil and refrain from turning their disagreements into open warfare. Your mistake has been allowing yourself to be placed in the middle. A better solution would be to get family counseling if your daughter plans to continue to live with you.

DEAR ABBY: I am a 46-year-old woman, about to be married for the second time. My fiance lives with me and my two children from my previous marriage.

Other than cooking breakfast and some quick snacks, he does not contribute to the household. My issue is, I pay all the bills, and he complains about the temperature inside my home. My children and I need it to be cooler. If it's too hot, we sweat and become congested, which we hate, and it makes us irritable. I tell him to put on more clothes if he is cold, but he complains to the point that I turn off the fans and air.

My question is, don't I have a right to be comfortable in the home I pay for? He doesn't pay, so he should adjust to our climate. Right? -- HOT & FRUSTRATED IN VIRGINIA

DEAR HOT & FRUSTRATED: The answers to your questions are yes and yes. And your fiance -- not you -- should invest in a portable heater, which may solve his problem.

P.S. Are you absolutely sure you want to be married to this prize? Nowhere in your letter did you say you love this person. Not once did you mention his endearing qualities. Frankly, from your description, he seems like a third child.

DEAR ABBY: My dad passed away 25 years ago when I was barely a teen. My boyfriend proposed in March, and we are planning our nuptials next fall.

As a girl, I dreamed my dad would walk me down the aisle. I would now like my uncle to step in and fill that role. He has a daughter who is older than I am. She has been married for many years. Out of respect, I would like to ask her if she's OK with my asking her father. I'm pretty sure she won't mind, but I feel asking her is the right thing to do. I'm unsure how to go about it. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. -- MARRYING IN MAINE

DEAR MARRYING: Congratulations on your forthcoming nuptials. What you are considering is not unusual and, frankly, it's a great compliment to your uncle. I think your idea of running it by your cousin is sensitive as well as prudent. The discussion would be more loving and productive if you conduct it in person or by phone rather than a text or email. I can see no reason why she shouldn't be thrilled for you and her dad.

DEAR ABBY: I have a job I love. My co-workers are nice, but once I punch out at the end of the day, I want to forget them. I believe that's how it should be, but some of them try to arrange meet-ups after work to hang out. Or they insist on becoming my friend on social media. I don't consider them social friends, and I don't think they need to know the details of my private life. Is there a nice way to tell these people to back off a little because we only work together? -- NINE TO FIVE IN NEW YORK

DEAR NINE TO FIVE: When you are invited to hang out after work, explain that you have things you need to do or previous commitments. And as for sharing your personal information with them online, all you have to say is that you prefer to keep your business and personal lives separate.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are in our early 50s and married for nine years. I hate to say this, but the way he dresses embarrasses me to tears, and it's hurting our relationship.

Is it acceptable for a man to wear tights and nothing else? I'm not talking yoga pants; I mean ballerina dancer sheer tights that leave NOTHING to the imagination. He mainly wears them in our garage (where people who drive by can see), but lately I've caught him standing talking to neighbors like that. Am I overreacting by telling him he can't wear things like that outside the house? If it isn't the tights, it's skin-tight biker-type shorts or shorts made from a mesh material that shows it ALL if there's a light source behind him.

We have gone rounds over this almost daily. He promises he will stop, but it's only a matter of hours before he's back in costume. Is it OK to wear things like that now? I don't see women wearing tights that show off as much as his do. I'm at the point I want to gather up all offending clothing and head to the dumpster. If you say let him wear what he wants, I will, and I will keep my eyes and mouth shut. -- MORTIFIED IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR MORTIFIED: Your husband appears to be an exhibitionist who cannot control his urges. Frankly, I am surprised the neighbors haven't complained after seeing him in that attire. Ordinarily, I would advise you to let your husband wear what he wants, but in a case like this, it might be prudent to check what the ordinances regarding indecent exposure are in your community.

DEAR ABBY: I'm a woman in my mid-40s and have been with my husband for almost 20 years. I have never wanted children. I'm 100% certain about that and have been since I was a kid myself. In fact, I had my tubes tied when I turned 30.

For me, the no-children rule is nonnegotiable. My husband knew this going into our marriage and was fine with it, but in the past few years he has been expressing an increasingly strong desire for a child.

He has now taken to shaming me, saying things like he's depressed, that he'll never be happy "unless I give him what he wants" or that I'd do it "if I truly loved him." He always apologizes later, saying he loves me and wants things to work out. But, Abby, it's becoming increasingly difficult to shake what he has said in the heat of the moment.

I cannot compromise on this. I know bringing a child into the mix would only make things worse and foster resentment all around -- toward my husband, toward the unwanted child and toward myself -- which wouldn't be fair to anyone. It seems we have reached an impasse. I want this marriage because there are wonderful times, too, but I can't continue being hurt like this. I don't know what to do. -- BROKEN IN MICHIGAN

DEAR BROKEN: You and your husband have indeed reached an impasse. Although he agreed at the outset that your marriage would be one without children, he is now facing his biological imperative and can no longer live with the deal he made.

Because you don't want children and because of your age, if he needs them, he may have to do it with someone else. I am sorry if this seems brutal, but there is no compromise in a situation like yours. Please accept my sympathy.