DEAR ABBY: I am married but have two children, "Venus" and "Adonis," from a previous relationship. These children are very good-looking, and I'm not just saying that because I'm their mom.
My husband, "Herman," is ready for us to start our own family soon. Not to sound shallow, but Herman was not a very cute kid. He wore thick glasses and braces as a child. Whenever I am asked by either Herman or his family if I think he was a cute baby, I lie.
I know I would love our babies as much as I do Venus and Adonis, but I'm afraid they will not be as cute, and that everyone will know my older children have a different father.
These worries are causing me to have doubts about having kids with Herman. Am I that shallow? Am I not in love enough with Herman because I'm scared our children will be ... ugly? This is killing me. Herman wants to start trying for a family this summer. Help! -- WORRIED ABOUT GENETICS, CLARKSVILLE, TENN.
DEAR WORRIED: I have news for you. Herman was a typical kid -- and look how he turned out. He's attractive enough that you married him.
There are no guarantees regardless of the gene pool you're fishing in. I firmly believe that each generation is becoming more beautiful than the last -- or at least that's how it appears to me as I look around.
But please understand that nobody else cares who fathered Venus and Adonis, and it's time to give up your obsession about it.
DEAR ABBY: I have read letters about girls who are overweight and that people should be careful about what they say to them. May I add something for those who are the opposite?
My daughter, "Claire," is 18 and since birth has always been small. Her doctor told me she will always be petite. Claire is 5 feet 2 inches. She weighs 105 pounds and is small-boned. Shopping with her and seeing how difficult it is to find something to wear can be a trying experience. (She wears a size 0 or 1.)
It is adults -- not her peers -- who make my daughter upset. I cannot tell you how many people have told her she looks anorexic. Claire is funny, talented, eats very well and has a boyfriend who thinks she's beautiful. She tries hard not to show the hurt caused by comments like, "Do you ever eat?" or "Don't you feed her?" and the most frequent, "You need to be careful. You're WAY too thin." She is NOT! I have taken her for her checkups, and her doctor says her weight is right where it should be.
Abby, please let people know that girls of all sizes can see themselves through others' words and opinions. I can only stick up for Claire when I'm with her. I have told her to set people straight and say, "I'm just the right size." -- PETITE'S MOM IN SALEM, VA.
DEAR MOM: I'm printing your letter as a reminder to anyone who thinks it's permissible to make personal comments about the body types of strangers. However, if Claire were my daughter, I would tell her to be more assertive when responding to comments like the ones she's getting. I would tell her to say, "What you said is very rude. My doctor says my weight is fine, so keep your opinions to yourself."
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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