DEAR ABBY: When my husband and I bought our house, having children wasn't yet on our minds. The master bedroom is at one end of the house; the other two bedrooms are at the opposite end.
Two years into our marriage we got a surprise blessing -- a baby girl. She's now 3 and still sleeping in our room in her own toddler bed. She has great sleeping habits, and I don't think it would affect her to sleep in another room.
I am the problem. I can't bear to have her at the other end of the house. All I can think about are horror stories of babies and small children being snatched from their beds (from the window) while the parents sleep. What if something happens and I don't wake up? This may seem ridiculous to some, but it's a real fear for me. Can you offer some advice? -- PARANOID MOMMY IN SOUTH CAROLINA
DEAR MOMMY: Baby monitors (and cameras) were invented to allay the fears of parents who sleep apart from their little ones. If that isn't reassurance enough, consider changing all the sleeping arrangements until your daughter is a bit older. Put her in one of the bedrooms at the other end of the house, and you and your husband take the one next to hers. Have the baby monitor next to your bed so you can hear her if she stirs during the night.
You might also consider getting a dog, who would certainly alert you should anyone attempt to enter your home after you and your husband are asleep.Read more in: Family & Parenting | Health & Safety
DEAR ABBY: I have a daughter who is now 40 years old. Until she was 17, I didn't know she existed. She lives in another state, but we talk often. I consider us close.
Abby, I have been diagnosed with cancer and may not have much time left. I'm only 56. I was 16 when I was involved with her mother, homeless at the time and very naive. My problem is, although I have wracked my brain over the years I cannot remember actually having sex with her mother.
Nevertheless, I love this person very much and it would break my heart (and hers) if she wasn't mine. Should I tell her in case she might want to track down who her father is, if it's not me? I don't know how I'd approach her for a DNA test. -- URGENT DAD IN THE USA
DEAR URGENT: I'm so sorry to hear your prognosis. A gentle way to discuss this would be to explain that you have been diagnosed with cancer and may not have long to live. Tell her you love her, that in your heart she will always be your daughter, but that you are not 100 percent sure it is biologically true. Explain that you are saying it not to hurt or reject her, but only so that if she is not your child she may be able to locate the person who is, and she won't be fatherless when you are gone.Read more in: Family & Parenting | Death | Health & Safety
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)