DEAR ABBY: I go to movies occasionally with my niece "Connie" and her two kids. Although the theater has a sign "No Outside Food or Drinks Allowed," Connie sneaks snacks in in her oversized purse, then doles them out after the lights go down. I'm not talking about a couple of candy bars; she brings bags of candy, chips and cans of soda.
While I agree with my niece that the price of refreshments is outrageous, I also believe it's the theater operators' prerogative to set prices and policy. I suggested Connie skip the snacks during the movie and take the kids out for ice cream afterward, but she said she didn't want to "deprive" them. When I offered to pay, she said it wasn't about the money, it was "the principle, and besides, "everybody else does it."
I feel my niece is teaching her kids it's OK to break rules you find inconvenient as long as you can get away with it. I enjoy the outings with them so I've dropped the subject for the sake of harmony, but it still bothers me. Connie probably thinks I'm a critical old crank who's out of step with the times. I'd love your opinion. -- PAYING FOR MY POPCORN IN OREGON
DEAR PAYING: Here it is: Your thinking is spot on. Your niece's behavior is dishonest, and children model their behavior on the example set by their parents. Connie's excuse that everybody does it is a cop-out. Because "everyone" does something doesn't make it right.
Theater owners earn a large portion of their profits not from ticket sales, but from their concession stands. I am often struck by the amount of food I see purchased before people enter a theater -- large tubs of popcorn, king-sized candy bars, bucket-sized soft drinks and nachos. What does this say about us?
Obesity is at record levels in the U.S. We are repeatedly cautioned not to eat in front of the television set. The munching going on in theaters is another example of mindless, compulsive eating.
If Connie doesn't want to "deprive" her children, she should feed them a healthy meal before they go to the movie so they won't be hungry. That's my opinion, so I'm glad you asked me.
DEAR ABBY: After six years of marriage I am seven months pregnant. I never wanted children and did not expect this to happen. I am determined to be an excellent mother, but it's an intellectual exercise for me. I feel nothing for this baby and I have a hard time imagining our future. I also hate being pregnant.
I can't find any websites for women like me -- they're filled with women cooing over their bellies and fantasizing over their babies-to-be. I mentioned my feelings (or lack thereof) to my husband and he became furious with me. Is there something wrong with me? -- LACKS THE MOTHERING GENE
DEAR LACKS: No, there's nothing "wrong" with you. You're just not particularly maternal. I'm sure many women have felt as you do because more than half the pregnancies in the U.S. are "unplanned."
Discuss this with your obstetrician to be sure you're not suffering from pre-partum depression. When your baby arrives I am sure that you will fall in love with him or her as many other mothers have. Your husband may have reacted the way he did because he felt it was in some way a rejection of him, or because he does want children.
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