Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Next Generation May Give New Life to Heirloom Baby Set

DEAR ABBY: My mother passed away two years ago, and her first great-grandchild will be born in less than two months. I had hoped when I was still in my 30s to have a child of my own, so I had Mom crochet me a baby set -- sweater, booties, cap and blanket. Sadly, motherhood for me was not to be.

Do you think this baby set should go to the firstborn great-grandchild, or to Mom's favorite grandchild's children? The color is gender-neutral. Should I perhaps "loan" it to each of the great-grandchildren when they arrive to ensure that it will be maintained as a family heirloom? I paid for all the materials and Mom's time in creating these items. I feel it would be selfish not to share them. -- SOON-TO-BE-GREAT-AUNT

DEAR SOON-TO-BE-GREAT-AUNT: If you wish to establish that the baby set will become a family heirloom, stipulate that it is your intention that it be shared among the family members as more children come along. I do not recommend playing favorites with it, because to do so could create resentment.

However, it is important that you understand that once the baby set is given, it will be out of your control. There are no guarantees that it won't be damaged or hoarded. So unless you are ready to let go of it emotionally, don't give it away.

DEAR ABBY: I am writing about a random act of kindness. Last night my husband and I went out to dinner with our two small children. He's in the Army and wore his uniform because he had gotten off late and he didn't want to keep the kids from eating while he changed.

While we waited for our meal to be served, our waiter came to us and said it was our "lucky night." The couple seated next to us was paying for the entire meal. Things like this have happened to my husband before -- with small lunches or drinks -- but never something as large as dinner for four. The gesture was touching and thoughtful, and made more special by the fact that it was the woman's birthday. That she thought of someone else on "her" day made me smile.

We only got the gentleman's name -- it was Russell, like our son's -- but not hers. We want to express our gratitude to her. And we hope her birthday was as delightful as our evening was, thanks to her. -- TOUCHED BY HER KINDNESS IN FORT HUACHUCA, ARIZ.

DEAR TOUCHED: I'm sure it was. Happy people like to spread the joy around. And thank you for reminding me and my readers how much an expression of gratitude to our members of the military can mean to those who receive one.

DEAR ABBY: I have a beautiful 2-month-old daughter, and I like to dress her in little pants and shirts rather than dresses. Often these clothes are in gender-neutral colors -- yellow, green and, yes, sometimes blue.

Whenever she's wearing something other than pink, people assume she's a boy and say things like, "Oh, what a handsome little guy," or, "Hi, big boy!"

How would you suggest I respond to these people? Should I ignore them and go on with my errands or correct them? I hope that by reading this people will think before they assume a baby's gender based on the color of his/her clothing. -- ANNOYED IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR ANNOYED: They may or may not. The next time it happens, smile at the person and say, "It's a girl!"

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.)