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by Abigail Van Buren

Parents Wage Tug of War Over Toddler's Car Seat

DEAR ABBY: My toddler and I were rear-ended a few days ago. Thankfully, neither of us was hurt. The other driver's insurance is paying for the car repairs. They will also reimburse me for a new car seat if I buy one and submit the receipt.

My husband, the sole wage earner in our family, insists that we don't need to replace the car seat. Money is tight, but I think we could come up with it, and besides, we'd be reimbursed. He also thinks the accident was so minor that the seat should protect our child in another collision, and I'm "just a gullible consumer buying into marketing propaganda." (For the record, he's a loving husband and father, just tight with money.)

Should I replace the car seat knowing it will upset him, or should I continue feeling guilty about placing our child in a possibly compromised car seat? -- SAFETY-FIRST MOM IN TENNESSEE

DEAR SAFETY-FIRST MOM: Far be it from me to imply that insurance companies aren't the epitome of generosity, but when an insurance company offers reimbursement for a child safety device that has been through an accident, I think you should take the hint. As to your husband's fiscal conservatism, tell him that he won't be fronting the money because you are gullible. He'll be doing it to give you something worth more than money -- and that's peace of mind.

DEAR ABBY: I have been living with a very nice man for 28 years, and at one point we were married. He lives in my house and drives my car. I do the cooking, cleaning, laundry and household chores. He does small repairs around the house, keeps the irrigation system in good repair and contributes $600 a month for expenses.

He goes to visit his family and friends in the West every summer for two weeks or more. This year he told me he was not coming back because he's broke. I was upset to say the least. He did come back, and now at 75, I think I will end up supporting him for the rest of my life.

Abby, should I bite the bullet, say "It's only money" and support him, or should I kiss him goodbye and wish him well? -- UNDECIDED IN FLORIDA

DEAR UNDECIDED: Have you kept him in your house all these years because of his handyman skills and the $7,200 a year he gave you? If the answer is yes, then out he goes. However, if you cooked for him, cleaned for him, washed his dirty underwear and socks and slept with him because you LOVED him -- then I think the pain of separation would make your life misery and you should continue accepting him for who he is and let him stay.

DEAR ABBY: I recently had my teenage daughter vaccinated against HPV. Since then, my mother-in-law has been sending me e-mails regarding the "dangers" associated with these vaccines. The vaccination was recommended by my daughter's pediatrician and she handled it fine.

Regardless, it was a done deal -- so why try to horrify me and scare her granddaughter? Any ideas on how to handle this? -- TIRED OF MEDDLING MOTHER-IN-LAW

DEAR TIRED: Just this: Did you seek your mother-in-law's input when making the decision? No? Then don't take the bait and don't react, but do delete her e-mails.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)