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by Abigail Van Buren

Lovebird's Short Curfew Keeps Her Close to Nest

DEAR ABBY: I have been dating "Colton" for six months. He's a year and a half older than I am and just started college. I'm still in high school.

Recently, my parents have begun putting restrictions on us, limiting us to one date a week, under four hours long and in a group situation. They like Colton, but they're worried I'll miss out on my friends and high school events.

We have obeyed their restrictions, but the time limit they have set is too short for many date activities, and getting a group together is nearly impossible. I agree I should balance my time, but I think their rules are too rigid because there are no exceptions.

I know my parents care about me, but I'm looking for a little more freedom and the ability to make my own choices. My parents agreed that if I could find other people who thought this situation was in some way unreasonable, they would reconsider some of the rules. So I'm wondering what your opinion is, Abby. -- RESTRICTED IN SALT LAKE CITY

DEAR RESTRICTED: In my opinion, it is very important that your primary concern -- and Colton's, too -- should be earning good grades and completing your education. Both of your futures depend upon it. That said, if there are special events coming up that you and Colton would like to share, the curfew should be adjusted on a case-by-case basis.

Read more in: Love & Dating | Teens

DEAR ABBY: I am a newer aunt who feels like I have lost my siblings in this life transition. When I call, I hear screaming boys in the background and it gives me shudders, so I don't do it often. When I visit, every single adult's attention is on the boys and no real conversation ensues.

When I grew up, kids were not a part of adult time. How can I let them know their kids are so unruly I can hardly communicate with them anymore? Or should I just leave my siblings to their own families now? -- UNIMPRESSED AUNT IN TEXAS

DEAR UNIMPRESSED: Because you are not yet a parent, you may not have noticed that when parents of small children get on the phone, their children, in a bid for their attention, become either very noisy or very quiet. The noisiness is preferable, because when the kids become very quiet, they are usually doing something they're not supposed to.

Because the noise your nieces and nephews make unnerves you, schedule phone calls with your siblings after their little ones have been put to bed. And if you would like adult/alone time with them, ask if you can schedule a lunch away from their home for an occasional visit.

Read more in: Family & Parenting

Spoon Outdoes Fork In Ice Cream Eating Conundrum

DEAR ABBY: Is it more appropriate to eat ice cream cake with a spoon or a fork? I'm always unsure which is preferable. -- ELLEN IN WOODLAND HILLS, CALIF.

DEAR ELLEN: Eat your ice cream cake with a spoon or a "spork" (a utensil that's a combination spoon and fork) so there will be fewer drips when the ice cream starts to melt.

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics

Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $14 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)