Archive for Sunday, March 25, 2001

Mother-in-law, camcorder not welcome during birth

March 25, 2001


Dear Ann: My husband, "Vernon," and I have been married for seven years. I have been trying to get pregnant for six. We went through all the procedures to overcome our infertility, but nothing worked. Finally, our prayers were answered three months ago, and I became pregnant. I feel wonderful, and Vernon is out of his mind with joy. The nursery is furnished, and all we have to do is hope our child will be healthy.

So why am I writing to Ann Landers? It's my mother-in-law. This will be her first grandchild, and she is obsessed with the idea of becoming a grandmother. She already purchased a layette, and of course, she was the one who furnished the baby's room. Now comes the hard part. She insists on being present when I have the child so she can make a video.

I am opposed to this. She assures me that later, I will be thrilled to have the birth on film and will be forever grateful. I realize a lot of folks think the birth of a baby is beautiful and they want it captured on film, but frankly, I am not one of those people. I doubt I could ever bring myself to watch the video, and certainly, I would never subject anyone else to it.

Ann, I don't want her in the birth room. In fact, I don't want her to come to the hospital until it's over.

She is adamant. What can I do? Buffalo, N.Y.

Dear Buffalo: Stop arguing about it. Inform Vernon you want him to phone his mother after the baby is born and invite her to come with her camera. (The hospital staff will keep her out of the delivery room if you ask them.) I hope that by then, you will feel up to being photographed. End of problem.

Dear Ann: Tell me, Ann, is it OK for guests at a wedding to change the table arrangements and sit wherever they want?

After planning my wedding down to the last detail to make the day memorable for everyone, it was ruined by some rude relatives. Three couples who were sitting together didn't know the fourth couple at their table, so they moved to another table. When it came time to eat, I asked them to please move back to their original table. They refused. This started a huge fight, and they stormed out of the reception. I cried the rest of the night.

Now, these people demand an apology from us, saying we should have let them sit wherever they wanted. I cannot believe their rudeness. I don't want my husband to have lifelong problems with his relatives over this. What do you suggest? Need Help in New York

Dear N.Y.: I feel sorry for the fourth couple at the table. I assume they did not know anyone at the wedding or you would have seated them elsewhere.

You do not owe those rude relatives an apology. When there is assigned seating, guests should honor the wishes of the hostess and sit where they have been placed. This comes under the heading of "good manners." Guests who refuse to do so insult the hostess.

Another faux pas is to accept a "wedding and dinner" invitation and not stay for the dinner. The dinner was paid for by the hostess. When she sees empty places, she is sure to be upset, and of course, she will know who folded out.

If you feel that mending fences is necessary, call or write these relatives and say, "We're sorry you were not happy with the seating arrangements at the wedding dinner. We tried to seat guests with folks we thought would be compatible. Apparently, we failed. We missed you." This will put the ball back in their court. Let them sweat it out.

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