Dear Lois: I feel like I am living in some old joke because my mother-in-law is taking over our life, and I watch my husband giving in to her every step of the way.
I will not tell you all the incidents (I couldn't or there wouldn't be room for any other stories in this paper), but whatever I ask my husband to do - from recycling the papers to getting the car fixed - he has to call his mother first and discuss it with her.The reason I am so upset is that I just found out I am pregnant, and while I want the baby, I am crazy thinking what that grandmother will do to my home. She lives down the street, and I'm afraid she'll be here all the time.
If I say anything to my husband about his mother, he just looks at me as if I'm dirt and says she's a wonderful woman, and we (yes, we) are lucky to have her. How do I get away from her? She is suffocating me!
- Unlucky in Ohio
DEAR U: The temptation is to tell you that pregnancy may be making you overly anxious and that once the baby arrives, you could feel differently about mothers and children. But obviously your annoyance with your mother-in-law began before your pregnancy.
The best solution is to face your husband honestly and tell him why you feel as you do - is it because you think your authority is being undermined? Does your husband not respect your intelligence?
Also, you do not mention if your mother-in-law is contributing in any way to your support and thinks that buys her the right to an opinion.
Whatever the reason, next time your husband wants to ask his mother, why don't you ask him (politely and without anger) to discuss the problem alone and just with you. Maybe he thinks you've not been listening to him as well as Mom does.
Dear Lois: My 8-year-old granddaughter told me that she wants to give a boy-and-girl party for her ninth birthday. I think that's asking for trouble, and that's too young. What do you say?
- The Old-Fashioned Granny
Dear Old: You don't say what kind of boy-and-girl party. If it's a party for her class and they are going to have a picnic or enjoy some public activity in the afternoon with parents there, I don't see any harm. If you're talking about a nighttime party, I'm on your side.
But what do her parents say? I have a feeling little granddaughter may have sounded you out because her mom and dad said no, and she was looking for Grandmom's support for her position.
Dear Lois: I don't know if this has happened to other widows, but I am in shock. My husband died four months ago, and last week his best friend called and asked if I needed anything. I thanked him and said no. There was a pause, and he said, "Helen Gurley Brown says if you don't have a man, take someone else's. So don't you need sex?"
I was so rattled I just said, "No," and hung up. What do I tell him if he calls again?
- Mrs. J.
Dear Mrs. J.: Tell him to call Helen Gurley Brown.
Dear Lois: My 5-year-old granddaughter asked her mother, "What's an ami?"
Her mother was stumped. She asked Katie where she'd heard the word and how it was used.
Katie's answer was: "I heard you tell Daddy that the candy came from Miami."
- Paula Iacona, St. Petersburg, Fla.
Dear Paula: That takes the cake - and the candy, too.
Dear Lois: One of your readers wrote about wrinkles, and that reminded me of my daughter Sharyn's remark when she was 4 years old and said: "Mommy, isn't it strange that my cheeks feel like hard apples and yours are like peaches but Great-Aunt Marg's are like crumpled rose petals?"
Wasn't it inevitable that she would grow up to be a writer?
- Mildred Foley, Clearwater, Fla.
Dear Mildred: And perhaps also inevitable that she and I would eventually work together, because your daughter is my friend Sharyn Foley Hinman.