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by Abigail Van Buren

From Universak Press Syndicate

DEAR ABBY: I have a close friend who has a boy, 11, and a girl, 8 1/2. They sleep together even though each has his or her own bedroom. They bathe and play in the tub together unsupervised with the door shut.

When one has to use the bathroom, many times the other one will run to use it, too.

I have been told that the boy puts his hands between the girl's legs when they play and wrestle -- and at other times.

It appears that all of this could go on for years. Is this behavior OK? Please don't tell me to talk to their mother. She doesn't take advice well. -- CONCERNED

DEAR CONCERNED: No, that behavior is NOT OK. This boy and girl should have been separated years ago, around the time they began showing an interest in each other's genitals. According to my experts, the kinds of activities you described are too sexually stimulating for children their age. Where is their mother's common sense?

DEAR ABBY: With all groups of friends, there is always the one unofficial photographer -- the person who never forgets to bring a camera and take pictures of all events. I am that person in our group of friends.

I love to take pictures and realize the importance of recording special times. Of course, everyone wants copies of these pictures. I usually make copies and give them to my friends. However, it costs me money to buy the film and batteries for my camera, and to develop the film and order extra copies. It would be very awkward to ask friends to pay for these pictures.

Here is my suggestion: For anyone who has that friend who is always giving you pictures, how about giving them some film? Don't say that you don't know what kind to buy; any camera shop can tell you what would be standard. What a nice treat to give to the person who so generously treated you many times.

Abby, many "photographers" will thank you for printing this. -- SNAPPING AWAY IN GREER, S.C.

DEAR SNAPPING: I've got the picture, and I'm pleased to share it with my readers. Now let's see what develops.

DEAR ABBY: In response to "Mom in Denver," who asked what great moms do that make them great: My mother was a great mom, but I never realized it until after I graduated from college.

She always had dinner on the table, cleaned up after me and, of course, bought me most of the things I wanted that seemed reasonable. But what I remember most is that she was ALWAYS THERE for me. I was an athlete -- gymnastics, track, cross country -- in high school. I could always count on her being there. She'd drive five hours to watch a 15-minute race, then turn around and drive home. That is what I really remember.

I realize now that knowing my mom would always be there for me unconditionally made me secure and self-confident in a way that has carried over to my adult life. -- MELISSA IN SCOTTSBLUFF, NEB.

Everybody has a problem. What's yours? Get it off your chest by writing to Dear Abby, P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069. For a personal reply, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope.

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