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by Abigail Van Buren

Grandmother's Lullaby Really Packs a Punch

DEAR ABBY: We are a group of women who meet each week to play cards. Last week one women mentioned she had promised to baby-sit her 2-year-old grandson while her son and daughter-in-law go away for the weekend.

She indicated she really wasn't looking forward to caring for the child, and that if he resisted her attempts to put him to sleep, she would "give him a little something" to make him sleep. This woman's husband is a dentist and they have any number of drugs available to them.

When we expressed our shock over what she was planning to do, she brushed us off and said it was perfectly all right, because she and her husband had done the same thing to their own children when they were small.

We are tempted to notify the child's parents. Please help us decide what to do. -- LONG ISLAND CANASTA LADIES

DEAR LONG ISLAND LADIES: Children are not miniature adults; their bodies are developing and they respond to medication differently than do adults. Children should never be given alcohol or any medication unless prescribed by a pediatrician.

Grandma needs to be educated before she is entrusted with a 2-year-old. Tell her that unless she changes her mind, you will feel compelled to inform the child's parents.

DEAR ABBY: I am a man who by most people's standards would be considered normal. I am an architect in my late 40s and lead an average life, except for my hobby: baton twirling.

I have been fascinated with baton twirling since I was a boy. I never took it up, however, for fear of appearing effeminate. Now that I am a man and comfortable with my masculinity, I twirl in my home or back yard during my leisure moments. Abby, I cannot describe to you how much flak I have received about this.

While baton twirling may be an unusual hobby, I don't see what is so wrong with it. What do you think? I am unashamed, and proud to print my name. -- MICHAEL DEIBELE, PORTLAND, ORE.

DEAR MICHAEL: Baton twirling is an admirable feat. It require perfect timing as well as nimble fingers. If you wore a tall hat and had a marching band behind you, no one would give it a second thought. Besides, I would rather see men twirling batons than hurling them. Enjoy yourself.

DEAR ABBY: For some time now, I have been meaning to write to you about something that concerns me. I'm a catalog shopper and I'm distressed to see how many children's items are made to be monogrammed for a small charge. It is very tempting to put a child's name on something, but it is so dangerous if the item is one that will be used in public -- either worn, carried or played with.

With a child's name spelled out for those who would wish to do the child harm, it is all the more easy for them to call the child by name and thereby allay any fears the child might have of strangers. After all, if someone calls you by your name, he or she must know you.

Please caution mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandparents and gift-givers to refrain from putting children's names on items they will use in public. I think you will be doing a great service to the safety of children by doing so. -- BETTE K. STEWARD, BRIDGEWATER, MASS.

DEAR BETTE STEWART: I've had this warning in my column several times, but one cannot alert the public too often when the welfare of our children is concerned.

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