DEAR ABBY: Ever since our baby girl arrived eight months ago, my husband and I have been inundated with baby gifts. Our daughter is the only grandchild on both sides of the family. My husband's parents and mine are divorced and remarried, so there are eight grandparents doting on our daughter. Consequently, we have received multiples of every baby item you can imagine.
Because we live in a small apartment with few closets, there is nowhere to put all these things. We have donated several boxes of clothes and toys to the local shelter. My parents become upset if they visit and we can't produce every single item they sent us. They want us to get rid of other people's gifts and keep only theirs. I don't like the tension this is causing.
Are we obligated to keep these gifts, Abby? Isn't there a way to encourage people to be more restrained in their giving? -- TIRED MOM IN THE CITY
DEAR MOM: There is, but it will require you and your husband to become proactive. Tell your parents that you do not have enough room to accommodate their generosity and request that they limit themselves to one gift per couple. To avoid duplication, ask them to coordinate with each other when buying gifts for their grandchild.
As to your parents, explain that you love them, but once a gift is given it is the recipient's to do with as she wishes (right now, that's you). And explain that if you give everyone else's gifts away and not some of theirs, the others will be offended -- so it's not gonna happen. Period.
DEAR ABBY: My 15-year-old daughter, "Miranda," and I have always been close. We have talked about sex and about how it's always better to tell the truth. We have been open about things since Miranda was old enough to understand -- until now.
Miranda has been going with "Josh" for about a year. His mother found some very graphic sexual messages on his cell phone. When we confronted them, they swore they would not do anything and would wait until they're married. I even discussed birth control with Miranda and planned on getting her an appointment.
Well, I may have been too late. I found a letter to her from Josh. Some of the things he wrote were pornographic -- and they were things he said he wanted to do again! They are playing some of these games at school during breaks and in classrooms where they sit at tables.
I am not sure how to handle this. My husband would never understand. I'm torn about confronting her and the school for not properly supervising these kids. Please help me make the right choice. -- TORN UP IN MISSISSIPPI
DEAR TORN UP: Gladly. You are not giving your husband enough credit. He should be told immediately. He will understand only too well that your daughter and her boyfriend have been playing you like a fiddle.
The problem isn't lack of supervision at school. It is that Miranda has been lying to you and spends too much time with her boyfriend.
Your daughter should have far less free time on her hands and also have access to birth control and the knowledge of how to use it. Insist that she become involved in organized activities outside of school, including volunteer work. Right now, your daughter needs guidance and supervision, so please don't let her down.
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