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by Abigail Van Buren

Talk About Moving Is Cheap for Living Room Freeloader

DEAR ABBY: My problem is that I have a brother who lives across the country who is planning to visit us and bring the 5-year-old daughter of a friend of his. He befriended an unwed mother and witnessed her daughter's birth, so a bond was formed between him and the baby. The natural father isn't even in the picture.

I want to write him a letter and explain what a burden this would be on his hosts, my husband and me. Abby, a child this age requires constant close supervision, not to mention entertaining, waiting on and cleaning up after, etc.

I know he'll be upset with me if I write him this letter, but I feel I have a right to be upset with him. He never once asked our permission; he just announced his intentions to bring her and stay with us for two weeks. Two weeks is too long for any company, especially when a young child is involved.

Before I write him, Abby, I would like your opinion. -- WORRIED SISTER IN ATLANTA

DEAR WORRIED SISTER: Your brother apparently feels that the child is part of his family. Be diplomatic; write to your brother expressing your concern about entertaining a 5-year-old for two weeks, noting that she may get homesick. If he insists on bringing her anyway, research ways to entertain a young child in Atlanta, including finding children her age to play with. Or make him responsible for the little girl's care and entertainment.