DEAR ABBY: My mom baby-sits for my 3-year-old, "Jessica," while I am at work. Last night I arrived at Mom's to find that she had again left Jessica sleeping in the back seat of her van, still strapped into her car seat. Jessica had been there for an hour, and although the temperature outside was fairly mild, my little girl was red-faced and sweaty.
Mother says I'm overreacting because the van was parked in the driveway with the door left open. But I know of at least one incident last year when she left Jessica sleeping in the van, got distracted with something in the house, and didn't realize my daughter had awakened and been screaming for some time. For weeks, Jessica talked about being left outside alone.
I have asked Mom numerous times not to leave my child sleeping in the car, but her only response is to roll her eyes, tell me I'm making a big deal out of nothing, and continue to do it.
Maybe if Mom hears from someone other than me that it's not OK to leave a child unattended in a car, even in a driveway, she'll stop doing it. Thanks! -- OVERHEATED MOM IN MASSACHUSETTS
DEAR MOM: Do not expect your mother -- who is in denial -- to listen to me. These incidents are recurring because you are allowing it to happen. Your mother has proven repeatedly that she is too easily distracted and too forgetful to responsibly supervise your daughter. Recognize that your daughter is in danger and make other arrangements for her immediately. To paraphrase an old saying: If something happens once, shame on the perpetrator. If it happens twice -- shame on the "victim."
DEAR ABBY: My son works at a place where the employees celebrate birthdays by gathering for cake. One young employee seems bent on learning everyone's age. Although many people are reluctant to state their age, he persists with his questions to the point of embarrassment.
Abby, our son was a victim of downsizing and recently joined the group. His birthday is in early November, and he is dreading their "celebration" because he is over 50 and fears his supervisors will think he's too old for advancement. How should that young man's question be handled? -- MOTHER OF A MIDDLE-AGED SON
DEAR MOTHER: When the impudent question is asked, your son should reply with a smile, "I'm old enough to know better than to tell you." If the questioner persists, your son can put him in his place, and probably gain the appreciation of everyone else who's been put on the spot, by saying: "I'm 29 again, and I'll thank you not to pursue this any further. It's rude."
DEAR ABBY: There's a kid at school named Michael. I want to be friends with him, but I don't know what to do. Like me, he lost his dad. There is only one difference -- Michael can still see his dad. I have to wait until I'm dead to see mine. What should I do? I'd really like to be friends. -- FRIEND-SEEKER IN MICHIGAN
DEAR FRIEND-SEEKER: For starters, let him know he's welcome to eat lunch with you and your friends. If teams are chosen for sports, make it known you'd like him to be on yours. If you and your friends plan some activity after school, offer to include him. The surest way I know to make a friend is to be one.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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