Dear Ann: My 10-year-old son has a friend who is very nice, but his mother is driving me crazy. Whenever the two kids get together, "Lorna" comes along and sits in my house for hours. She drops by with her son and won't leave.
I am a busy person, and don't have time for this. If I get up to change the baby or check the oven, Lorna helps herself to my refrigerator, my phone and my computer. She is pushy and manipulative, not to mention rude. I have explained that I have cleaning and cooking to do, but she says, "Great! I'll help!" When I say I don't need her help, she says she'll sit with the kids until I'm done.
I don't have the nerve to tell her to stop coming over. Is there any other way to handle this? Too Busy in Richmond, Va.
Dear Richmond: No. You must deal with Lorna head-on. Be blunt. Forget about "manners." This woman needs to know you will no longer allow her to impose on you. The next time she shows up, tell her, "Sorry. You can't come in. I'm too busy for company today. One of these days we'll have a visit, but not today." Then, SHUT THE DOOR. Remember that old Ann Landers admonition: Nobody can take advantage of you without your permission.
Dear Ann: When I read the column about the 8-year-old boy who wanted a baby bottle, I felt compelled to write.
I was my grandson's caregiver throughout his childhood. He, too, wanted bottles when he was past toddler age. He usually wanted the bottle when he was watching TV or when someone was reading to him. When he started school, he would come home and ask for a bottle with warm milk. It was comforting to him.
We never scolded or teased him, and he eventually outgrew it. Today he is a handsome 15-year-old high school student with beautiful white teeth from all that milk. L.H. in the South
Dear L.H.: I am happy your grandson has beautiful white teeth, but you are giving too much credit to his milk-drinking. Milk is a good source of calcium, which is important for developing healthy bones and strong teeth, but it does not make teeth white. Tooth color is inherited, and can be affected by environmental factors (such as smoking), foods that stain the teeth (like coffee), and aging. If your grandson has white teeth, you can credit his family history, fluoride and good dental hygiene.
Dear Ann: I just read the letter from "Sad in Sacramento." Her teenage niece was often told she was "just like her aunt," and it wasn't a compliment. As a result, the girl was sullen and unpleasant.
I was one of those sullen teenagers whenever I was around my grandmother. She used to tell me I was "just like my father" whenever she was angry. As a result, I had a very poor relationship with her. My father was a wonderful person, and I knew her insults meant she knew nothing about him. It made me think Grandma had no judgment and was mean. As a result, I spent as little time with her as possible.
My suggestion to "Sad in Sacramento" is to invite her niece to visit over spring or winter vacation. If the two of them spend some time together, they will know the negative information is false, and they will find a friend in each other. Experienced in San Diego
Dear San Diego: Thanks for sitting in my chair today. Your advice is right on. I could not have said it better.
Gem of the Day: To err is human, but when the eraser wears out before the pencil, accept the fact that you are overdoing it.