DEAR ABBY: My brother left his wife of nine years and his children for another woman. They now have a baby together. His wife nearly had a nervous breakdown because of it, and his children are understandably upset with the situation.
My question has to do with his new baby. I would like to send my brother a congratulatory card, even though his divorce isn't final. Our mother is furious and refuses to speak to him, let alone congratulate him. Still, I would like to send a card and a gift for the baby. How should I handle this? -- UNDECIDED
DEAR UNDECIDED: Send a card and a gift to the baby. The child should not be punished because of the behavior of the parents. However, considering the circumstances, forgo the congratulatory card to your brother.
DEAR ABBY: My two friends and I will be 12 soon. We would like to try to make our own money so we can get off our parents' backs. There are things like lip gloss and magazines we'd like to buy.
We have considered baby-sitting. But are we old enough? We'd appreciate your input. -- KAYLA IN MISSOURI
DEAR KAYLA: In baby-sitting, it isn't how old a person is but how mature and responsible the prospective sitter is. Some 12- and 13-year-olds are mature enough to handle it; others are not.
However, before deciding how your earnings will be spent, talk to your parents to determine how much they would like you to begin saving. It's never too early to start.
DEAR ABBY: In the 17 years I have been married, my husband has never called me by my name. Nor has he ever used a term of endearment such as "Honey" or "Sweetheart." It's just "Hey ..." or "Ummm ..."
Am I crazy? I was raised to believe you address a person by name, say "thank you" if someone does something nice, and compliment a person if he or she has done well. Can you help me understand why he behaves this way? -- I HAVE A NAME
DEAR I HAVE A NAME: Did your husband treat you this way before you married him? If so, you married an undemonstrative lump of a man who apparently never learned basic manners while growing up. If it started after your wedding -- and after you told him how his behavior makes you feel, he has persisted -- then understand that he is trying to punish you for something.
Now I have a question for you: Why have you tolerated this kind of passive-aggressive behavior for 17 years?
DEAR ABBY: When someone at the office lends you a lint remover, should you return it with the used lint paper still on it -- or tear it off and return it with a fresh one? Please let me know which is appropriate. -- ANGELICA IN SAN JOSE, CALIF.
DEAR ANGELICA: If the roller was clean when it was given to you, then it should not be returned with lint on it. In other words, when an item is borrowed, it should be returned in the same condition in which it was loaned.
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