DEAR ABBY: I am a 14-year-old girl and I'm very worried. My mother is having a baby this summer. I'm happy for her and my stepfather (this is their first baby together), but I think they are expecting me to take on a lot more responsibility than I had anticipated.
My mother and my aunts make comments like, "Get used to changing diapers now, and you'll be a natural once your new brother is born." Or, "Just think, you have a baby sitter in the house so you won't have to worry about getting one."
Well, I don't want to be a mother to this baby. I just want to be a sister, one who loves and holds, and occasionally changes diapers or feeds the baby.
I don't know how to talk to my mother about this. I am afraid that I will upset her and she'll think I don't want this newcomer in our family. She has included me in a lot of the preparations, like shopping and decorating the baby's room.
My mother works full time and my stepfather works six days a week. I already take care of my younger sister after school and when my parents go out occasionally.
I want to enjoy my teen years, free to make my own plans that won't be overruled when my parents want me to baby-sit. Can you give me any suggestions? -- THE OLDEST SISTER
DEAR OLDEST SISTER: It is not unreasonable for your parents to expect you to watch the baby for short periods when they are absent, but they should not depend upon you for all of the baby's care. You will be in school for a good part of the time while your mother works, so she will need another caretaker for your brother in any event.
Show this letter to your parents. The important thing to remember is "compromise": They should not expect you to be an unpaid baby sitter for your new brother; you should expect to pitch in some of the time. You might discover, after the baby arrives, that you want to spend more time with him. Good luck, and congratulations on the new arrival.
DEAR ABBY: I got the shock of my life last week. I live in a well-lighted, expensive neighborhood, in an electric-gated, fenced home.
I was upstairs in my bedroom when suddenly there was a knock on my bedroom door and in walked my two grown sons.
The youngest had climbed over the gated fence, gone into the gated backyard, put a credit card into the breakfast room door, found my purse and got my keys so that he could turn off the alarm in my car, get the remote control and open the gate, so that they could get in, come up the stairs, knock on my door and walk in. I nearly had a heart attack.
Abby, anyone could have done that, and I might not be sitting here writing to you. Everyone, please: Beware and be careful. -- J.P.C. IN L.A.
DEAR J.P.C.: Since you now feel vulnerable in your home, it's time to contact a security company and have someone there evaluate your premises. For openers, you need to purchase a deadbolt lock for the breakfast room. And for your peace of mind, instruct your two budding second-story men to never again enter your home without calling first.
For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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