Spoiled niece has history of misbehaving at parties
Dear Abby: My husband and I want to host a college graduation party for our son. The problem is, one of my sisters has four children -- three teenagers and an 11-year-old who doesn't behave at parties. My sister calls her "Our Little Precious." She and her husband come to events, ignore the kids and want this to be their time to "relax." Another sister has two teenagers who are very well behaved.
My husband wants to ban Little Precious from the graduation party and invite the well-behaved teenagers. I agree with my husband that I do not want another party ruined, especially since my son worked so hard to graduate. But I don't want to cause a permanent rift in the family either. My sister is very stubborn, hot-tempered and clueless. Advice?
-- Sister in the Middle
Dear Sister: Your son deserves to celebrate the milestone he has earned without the distraction of an unruly child casting a shadow over the event. Consider having a small gathering for immediate family only, and something larger at another time that includes your son's friends as well as your own. Or invite your sister and her family with the proviso that if Little Precious acts up, they will leave and take her home. Precious, my foot!
Dear Abby: At 73, I am blessed with excellent health and stamina. The only nod to my age is that I like to have a 20-minute nap after lunch. However, my kids and others treat me like I'm 90. They keep asking how I feel and if I'm tired. My son-in-law "Dave" is anxious when I babysit my 4-year-old granddaughter unless it's at their home. How can I make clear to them that I'm as capable as I was 25 years ago without either insulting or angering them?
-- Napping Grandma in L.A.
Dear Napping: Your daughter and son-in-law are lucky. Their daughter has a healthy, caring grandma who is WILLING to look after her grandchild while Mom and Dad do ... whatever. Not all parents are so fortunate.
These days, 73 is not over the hill. Could Dave's concerns about your health be caused by ageism? Or does he prefer you do your babysitting at their house because he thinks yours isn't sufficiently childproof?
As to offending your daughter and her husband, if you prefer to babysit at your house, that should be your choice. But if they don't agree with that, suggest they hire someone because you will be playing tennis, a round of golf or training for a marathon.
Dear Abby: An acquaintance I see occasionally has a grooming problem I'm reluctant to tell him about because I don't know him well: He has hairs growing out of his nose, and they are not only noticeable but distracting. How can I apprise him of this without embarrassing him and myself?
-- Diplomat in San Francisco
Dear Diplomat: Allow me to answer that question by quoting an ancient Chinese proverb: "When in doubt, do nothing." While your intent is to be helpful, it would cause embarrassment, and I don't recommend it.
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