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Published November 21, 2010, 12:00 AM

Annie's Mailbox: Make alternative plans to avoid contact with cat

Dear Annie: When my husband retired, our daughter asked us to move near her because she was expecting twins. We took care of the children every day. Two years ago, our daughter announced she was getting a cat.

By: Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, INFORUM

Dear Annie: When my husband retired, our daughter asked us to move near her because she was expecting twins. We took care of the children every day.

Two years ago, our daughter announced she was getting a cat. Unfortunately, I am allergic to cats and cannot take allergy shots because they conflict with my heart medication. I told my daughter that not being able to come to their home would be devastating, but nonetheless, the cat arrived. I tried to put up with the dander, but it was no use. When I asked my daughter why it was so important to have the animal, she said it was “an emotional thing.”

My son-in-law hates the cat, and the children ignore it entirely. My grandson is exhibiting signs of an allergic reaction. Our grandchildren are now 8, and I haven’t been in their home for some time.

I feel so sad at not being able to spend as much time with my grandchildren as I used to. My husband and I are in good health, have many friends and an active social life. We take the children to church and are always available for them when needed, but it’s not the same.

It won’t be long before the twins will be teenagers and involved in their own social world. We have already lost a great deal of the past two precious years. What, if anything, can we do? – Having a Pity Party

Dear Pity Party: Find the silver lining. Your daughter hasn’t cut you off, and apparently, her decision to get a cat is about her and no one else. Your problem is simply location. Pick up the kids, and bring them to your house. Take them to the park or the zoo. Have them stay with you for a weekend. There’s no reason to let the cat keep you from seeing your grandchildren. Count your blessings.


Dear Annie: We are the parents of two boys, aged 5 and 9, who, despite our best efforts, have terrible table manners. They constantly chew with their mouths open and loudly smack their lips while eating.

We are continually telling them to close their mouths, but it only lasts a short while until the smacking returns. We are on the verge of feeding them through a straw. Any suggestions would be appreciated. – Losing it in Canada

Dear Canada: Welcome to Parenting 101. Children do not learn overnight. It can take a lifetime of effort and patience to teach them good manners. But if you keep reminding them to chew with their mouths closed, they will eventually remember to do so.


Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.

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