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by Abigail Van Buren

Terrible Teen Turned Terrific Wants to Thank Mom and Dad

DEAR ABBY: Some weeks ago, you agreed with a reader that birthday invitations should not include the child's sizes and toy suggestions.

Abby, I see nothing wrong with including sizes and toy preferences. The information is helpful in selecting gifts and ensures the clothing will fit. As far as being expected to bring a gift -- duh -- gifts are usually expected at birthday parties. -- BLANCHE POWELL, DETROIT

DEAR BLANCHE: While gift suggestions and sizes may be handy, it is still considered rude to "tell" people what they should give. If guests want to know sizes and preferences, they should call the host or hostess and ask.

I agree that gifts usually are expected at children's birthday parties, but whatever happened to the element of surprise in opening gifts chosen by the givers? That should be part of the fun of the child's birthday.