DEAR ABBY: I had to write after reading the letter from "Baby O.D." about the "proud daddy" who brings photos of his child to work weekly to show co-workers. I have a co-worker who does the same thing. She brings photos, stories, videotapes, you name it, of her children to work.
Usually the stories are mundane and go something like this: "My child made a heart-shaped paper at school today. She used her purple scissors and smiled at her teacher while doing it. She's right-handed, just like me. Last week, she made a star-shaped paper," and on and on.
I learned to smile politely and to excuse myself after 60 seconds. Others, feeling obligated, would stand and listen to her droning even though there was work to be done.
Co-workers who are not parents have confided that "diaper talks" between mothers are extremely disgusting to be subjected to during lunchtime. For the record, I'm a mother, but I save my "kid talk" for after work. If the subject arises during lunchtime, I make it short so others have a chance to talk, too. -- BEEN THERE IN OREGON
DEAR BEEN THERE: That's because you are someone with social sensitivity. This isn't a problem that happens only with new parents. Grandparents can also be guilty of it. Read on for a sample of the comments that letter generated because some of them are a hoot.
DEAR ABBY: The letter about the "proud daddy" brought to mind a wonderfully funny incident that occurred a number of years ago on a trip through central Asia. We had a grandmother on the trip who, at the slightest inducement, would whip out a veritable Jacob's ladder of her grandchildren's photos and show them to anyone who could not get out of the way in time.
One evening, while relaxing after a terrific meal in northern India, the grandmother turned to Bob, an older bachelor seated next to me, and said, "Bob, have I ever showed you photos of my grandchildren?" "No," Bob replied, "you have not. And thank you so much!" -- STILL LAUGHING IN SAN DIEGO
DEAR ABBY: We solved this issue in our office by converting one whole bulletin board into a "Sharing Board" for moms, dads, grannies, aunties, etc. We can all look at it at our leisure (or not), and the pictures can be displayed for a longer period of time as well. Maybe "O.D." could start up a board in their office. We all like to "show off" our treasures! -- HAPPY GRANNY IN CINCINNATI
DEAR ABBY: My co-worker and I had the same problem. He talked about his dogs too much; I talked about my kid too much. It took a while, but now when I go overboard, he starts talking about his dogs, and vice versa. After a few minutes, we just change the subject. It's not confrontational -- and it works! -- PROUD MOM, NAPA, CALIF.
DEAR ABBY: Recent research has identified the unique contribution of fathers in the development and success of young children. Mothers often receive support for parenting, but fathers are often left out of the picture. Teachers often phone a child's home and, if the father answers, the teacher will ask for the mother.
When fathers are present, the child benefits from an increased sense of playfulness, improved communication skills, higher self-esteem (especially in girls), higher academic achievement and higher financial security. I say hats off to fathers who are so involved that they proudly display pictures of their children. -- JANET D., HUNTINGTON, W.VA.