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by Abigail Van Buren

Father Digs in His Heels in Battle Over Son's Name

DEAR ABBY: "Jack" and I were recently married and are now expecting our first child. Unfortunately, what should be a joyous time for us has turned into a battle of wills.

The day we found out I was pregnant, Jack told me if our child is a boy, he wants to name the baby after both his grandfathers, only one of whom is still living. I told him then I didn't care for either name and suggested we compromise by using one as a middle name, and then selecting a first name that we both like.

We learned last week that we are, indeed, going to have a boy. Jack refuses to discuss any other names. He said he has decided "not to be flexible on the subject" and doesn't care if it is fair or if I like it.

His attitude is killing all the joyful anticipation I should be feeling over the birth of our son. He has made it clear that "honoring" his grandfather is more important to him than considering the wishes of his wife -- the mother of his child.

I've tried telling him how I feel about naming the baby, and that I won't sign the birth certificate unless our son has a name we both agree on. He says he doesn't care; he'll sign it without me.

Shouldn't I have a say in choosing the name my firstborn will carry for the rest of his life? I can't get my husband to listen to me on the subject. What should I do? -- SAD MOM-TO-BE, WHITTIER, CALIF.

DEAR SAD MOM-TO-BE: It is unfortunate that naming the baby has become a battle of wills. However, there may still be some room for compromise.

Consider agreeing to name the boy after his paternal great-grandfathers, then promptly give the child a nickname. Or, tell your husband that if he names the first child, it's your right to name the second -- and put the agreement in writing.

DEAR ABBY: I read your column daily, and you offer good advice. Keep up the good work.

I'm writing to offer a suggestion to kids who have spare time this summer. I'm 12 years old and volunteer at my mother's job. She works in a nursing home. I walk with patients, talk to them, run errands and help with activities, plus a lot of other things. You can learn a lot, and bring patients joy and a smile to their faces.

Volunteering teaches you responsibility and earns you friends. I'd definitely recommend working at a nursing home or volunteering at other places -- such as animal shelters, businesses, farms, hospitals, or just work at people's homes for free.

It may sound boring to some people, but it's worth the time. I've made many friends and have had lots of fun doing it. -- REBECCA L. MAHAN, KEWASKUM, WIS.

DEAR REBECCA: Giving of one's time is the most precious gift a person can bestow. I know from personal experience how rewarding volunteer work can be. You are a mature and generous young lady who has learned a valuable lesson at a young age. Bless you for spreading the word.

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