DEAR ABBY: I am 28, single, and have no kids. I don't want any. I love the freedom of picking up and doing what I want when I want, and I wouldn't trade that for anything. I come from a large family and have many nieces and nephews. I love them all, and some of my friends have children that I adore, too.
The problem is, I don't want them coming to my house unannounced. Many of these kids are small, and I have many breakables around my home. When I'm planning on having "little visitors," I take special care to put away anything I don't want broken.
I have tried explaining to friends and family that as much as I'd love for them to visit with the kids, please give me 30 minutes' notice at least, so I can child-proof my home. Many of them have taken this badly, assuming that I don't want their kids and, by extension, them in my home. How do I make it clearer? -- MYRA IN MISSOULA
DEAR MYRA: I see nothing out of line about asking that friends or family please call before dropping over to allow you a few minutes to prepare for the visit. Aside from the fact that you have breakables in your house, what if you weren't dressed or presentable?
Calling first is common courtesy. You should not have to "make it clearer" because the people who are rude are the "drop-ins" -- with or without children in tow. Of course, some parents have so completely lost their perspective that they cannot distinguish between themselves and their children, but that's another story.