DEAR ABBY: I'm engaged to a wonderful man I have been with for five years. We plan to get married as soon as his house sells and we can move into another home as a family. He has three children; I have four. Our kids get along well enough, and no serious parenting issues have come up yet.
My concern is, he and his ex-wife haven't immunized their kids. I have. All four of my children are up to date with their shots. We have agreed to disagree on this subject.
With the kids living together under the same roof, is there anything I should worry about as far as kids getting sick? I have read somewhere that it isn't good to have kids who are immunized around those who aren't. Truth? -- WANTS THE FACTS IN INDIANA
DEAR WANTS THE FACTS: Have you discussed this with their doctors? If you go online and visit vaccines.gov, you will find a complete explanation of why vaccinations are so important and why parents should ensure that their children receive the optimum dose, which may involve two or more shots.
According to the Food and Drug Administration: "For reasons related to the individual, not all vaccinated persons develop immunity. Most routine childhood vaccines are effective for 85 to 95 percent of recipients." If your children happen to fall into the unfortunate 5 to 15 percent category of recipients who haven't developed full immunity, then you should be concerned.
DEAR ABBY: My mother-in-law is a wonderful lady, but I'm having a hard time with how she is around my children. She is extremely obsessive over giving them baths, changing their diapers and, basically, just seeing them naked.
I have talked with my husband about it because I don't think it's appropriate. I want to discuss this with her, but he thinks it's no big deal because this is "just the way she is." How can I convey the seriousness of this issue? Or am I overreacting? -- JUST THE WAY SHE IS
DEAR JUST: I don't know your mother-in-law, so I can't judge her motivations. She was a mother before she became a grandmother, and it may be perfectly innocent. However, if something is going on that makes you uneasy, you must remember that, as your children's mother, you have a responsibility to put a stop to anything you do not feel is appropriate.
DEAR ABBY: My husband has a brother, "Tom," who is 10 years younger. He recently returned from college and is living with my in-laws. Tom has visited us a few times since his arrival. When he comes over, he doesn't bother to ring the doorbell or knock; he simply lets himself in.
I don't appreciate the lack of privacy in my own home. People should at least knock or yell hello from the doorway before barging in. When I told my husband it bothered me, he got upset and defensive and accused me of "picking on" his family. Am I making too much of this? -- DING DONG IN TEXAS
DEAR DING DONG: No, you're not. You didn't mention how long you and your husband have been married, but your home is not a bachelor pad that people drift in and out of. You are entitled to some privacy, and time to cover up if you are in a state of undress. That people ring the bell, knock on the door or yell to announce their presence is not too much to ask. In fact, it's considered good manners.
P.S. Keeping the door locked could help solve the problem.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order "How to Be Popular." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)