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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I'm 13, and about six months ago my mom confiscated my iPod because I misbehaved. When it was time to get my iPod back, my mom couldn't find it. We have been searching everywhere in the house for it -- but it's gone.

My iPod is very important to me because almost every cent I earned went into buying the music and applications. The amount of money I spent is greater than the cost of the iPod itself. I asked my mother to buy me a new one to replace the one she lost, but she said it was my fault that it was taken away, and she could not keep track of where it was.

I think it is unfair that my mom lost something I spent so much on. Who is responsible for buying a new one? -- MUSIC-STARVED IN OLYMPIA, WASH.

DEAR MUSIC-STARVED: Good parents model responsible behavior for their children; that's how children learn. You misbehaved and you were punished for it. If the agreement was that you would get your iPod back, and your mother lost it, then she should replace it -- including the money you invested in loading it. She should be ashamed of herself for trying to weasel out of it.

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend, "Ethan," and I have graduated from a prestigious four-year university. We have stable incomes and bright futures ahead of us, and we're planning and saving for a wedding within the next two years.

The problem is, we feel like oddballs in our group of friends -- ostracized and shunned. They feel our level of commitment is too great for our ages and that it's wrong to want to marry so young. My friends constantly say bad things about Ethan, and I'm tired of defending our relationship. Is there something wrong with being committed? What can I say to my friends the next time they put down my relationship? -- YOUNG BUT SERIOUS IN SAN DIEGO

DEAR YOUNG BUT SERIOUS: You and Ethan are out of school. Planning a wedding in two years doesn't appear to be rushing into anything. You do not have to "defend" your relationship to anyone.

Tell your friends you feel lucky to have found "the one" so early, and that you wish them luck in their own searches. Tell them that when they put Ethan down, it shows a lack of respect for your judgment. And start looking for other couples with whom to socialize so you're not so dependent upon this group. If they are uncomfortable with the idea of including a "committed couple" in their circle, then you and Ethan may have outgrown them.

DEAR ABBY: I wear colored contact lenses that make my blue eyes appear much more defined. When I wear blue clothing it makes my eyes stand out even more.

Many people comment on my eye color, but I find questions such as "Are they real?" or "They must be contacts" to be rude. I would never ask someone with nice hair if it was dyed or a wig.

Have you any suggestions on what I should say in response to these comments? -- VERY BLUE-EYED IN INDIANAPOLIS

DEAR VERY BLUE-EYED: What the people are conveying through their questions and comments is that you are not fooling anybody. Because your natural eye color is blue and you are wearing contact lenses, answer yes to both questions. However, you do not need to elaborate further.

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