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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I work in an office where folks sometimes bring in birthday cakes, desserts and other goodies to share. "Dolores" is always the first in line, and helps herself to a large portion of the treats and says she's taking some home for her family.

Last week, someone brought in an exotic dessert and I got out the dessert-sized paper plates. Dolores took out two regular-sized paper plates and cut off a quarter of the entire dessert! No one could believe it, but we didn't know what to say or do. One time, she actually cut a huge portion of someone's birthday cake to take home before the "birthday boy" even got a slice. This woman is not poor. What do you recommend? -- "DESSERTED" IN TENNESSEE

DEAR "DESSERTED": Your co-worker is behaving the way she is because no one in your office has spoken up and objected. The next time someone brings something to be shared by the office staff and Dolores makes her usual move, the "bringer" should tell her plainly that she's not to take more than a portion for herself until everyone else has had some -- and to ask permission beforehand if she wants to take any of the remainder home.

DEAR ABBY: My son's birthday is coming soon. I want to invite his Scout troop and some of his schoolmates. The problem is "Matt." Matt is a horrible child who is in both Scouts and school. I know he'll destroy the party, but how can I invite everyone else and not him? His parents are lazy and overindulgent and can't seem to make him understand that there are rules of conduct. -- PERPLEXED MOM IN THE WOODLANDS, TEXAS

DEAR PERPLEXED: Do not invite all but one child to your son's party. If Matt acts up, take him aside and tell him exactly what you expect from him while he is with you -- and that if he can't behave appropriately he will be sent home. You may be surprised to find that when he hears it from you -- rather than from his ineffectual parents -- that he will listen and comply.

DEAR ABBY: When I take my children to the pediatrician, we are usually there for one reason -- flu-like symptoms, stomachache, etc. Sometimes my child will happen to have another ailment, like a sore ankle or a fever blister.

I don't feel comfortable bringing up additional issues with our doctor because when I do, I get the "evil eye" from him -- like he's only there to help with the one reason for our visit.

Is it appropriate to talk to the doctor about several medical problems in one visit, or only stick to the issue at hand? -- IN A QUANDARY, KETTERING, OHIO

DEAR IN A QUANDARY: If you are asked by the person who takes the appointment why you're bringing your child in, and you reply that your child has flu-like symptoms or a stomachache, the person will block you in for a certain amount of time with the doctor. If, after your child has been examined, you start talking about the sore ankle, the fever blister, etc., what you're interpreting as the "evil eye" may be stress because the necessary amount of time was not allotted and the doctor will be behind schedule for the rest of the day.

If, however, you feel the doctor is insensitive or not meeting your child's needs, then you should change doctors.

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